From 12 to 17 February in Manila, ICMC’s members in the Philippines and India and the Vatican Dicastery for Integrated Human Development held a training for 50 pastoral workers supporting migrants. The training provided participants with insights into the needs and challenges of migrants and refugees, and the role of pastoral care.
U.S. Bishops have called on legislators to pass a proposed bill that would finance anti-human trafficking measures and support survivors. “It is incumbent upon all of us to unite in promoting efforts that prevent the evil of human trafficking,” said Episcopal migration lead Mark J. Seitz.
On the International Day of Prayer and Awareness against Human Trafficking on 8 February, Pope Francis urged Catholics to work to stop “this global scourge.” “It is a call to take action, to mobilize all our resources in combatting trafficking and restoring full dignity” to survivors, he said.
U.S. Bishops have raised concerns about border legislation being debated in the Senate, urging leaders to reject proposed changes that would “unjustly undermine due process” and “pave the way for avoidable and potentially life-threatening harm” to vulnerable people seeking humanitarian protection.
Spanish Bishops launched a virtual “hospitality guide” for African migrants that highlights Church-run “safe spaces” and advises on migration risks, legal issues, and rights. The app and website aim to “save lives” and “facilitate access to accurate information,” says the Episcopal migration office.
Bishops from Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda meeting in Goma, DRC, called for an end to “the violence of insecurity” in the region. They held a peace mass and visited Lushagala refugee camp, home to 90,000 forcibly displaced people, during the regional Episcopal gathering.
The Central African Episcopal migrants’ commission partnered with ICMC to support over 540 people in 2023, offering educational and nutritional assistance for children as well as mental health support in four locations. “The Church must be close to migrants and refugees,” the Commission head said.
The Catholic commitment to care of life includes caring about migrants and conditions driving migration to the U.S., says Cardinal Alvaro Ramazzini. The Guatemalan Bishop is featured together with U.S. migrant Bishop Mark J. Seitz in this “Welcoming the Stranger” piece by the Global Sisters Report.
Archbishop Stefan Heße, Episcopal migration lead, is one of six German Bishops warning against “ethnic and nationalistic” ideas of right-wing parties. In upcoming elections, voters need to reject “simply simple solutions” like expulsing migrants and denying refugees protection, they said.
Current immigration policies have violated migrants’ human rights, Bishops from along the Mexican–U.S. border said in a document that proposes concrete actions to improve conditions for those on the move. Laws could be created that support a secure border while respecting human rights, they noted.
As an election year begins, the U.S. lead migration Bishop has urged Catholics not to waver in supporting people on the move. “The work of the Church” is to help politicians “not to lose sight of the real human beings that are impacted” by the laws they are creating, Bishop Mark J. Seitz said.
People forced to migrate should receive respect and protection, Pope Francis said in a meeting with ambassadors to the Holy See. He said migration governance needed to balance regulation with human rights and dignity. “We are quick to forget that we are dealing with people with faces and names.”
Support from the Catholic Bishops' Conference in Papua New Guinea has enabled proper toilet facilities to be built for more than 200 West Papuan refugees in settlements in the capital city. Camp leaders welcomed the facilities, saying that many refugees had died from poor sanitation in the past.
Pope Francis reminded government authorities of the vulnerability of migrants, many of whom have suffered trauma. “They are faces and not numbers and should be embraced", he said during a meeting with prefects, who are responsible for the welcome and integration of migrants at the provincial level.
Take a stand against racism, Irish Bishops urged after riots in Dublin with an anti-migrant tone. Speaking at their winter conference, the Bishops praised Catholics and other faith groups who are promoting welcome, encounter, and integration, and enabling migrants to make a positive contribution.