The bishops responsible for the pastoral care of migrants discuss integration models in Europe

CCEE meeting in Madrid on integrationThe national directors for the pastoral care of migrants have focused on the theme of integration during the Year of Mercy. Photo: CCEE Madrid, 3 October 2016 - On 26-27 September, the bishops and delegates responsible for the pastoral care of migrants gathered in Madrid for a meeting convened by the Catholic Bishops' Conferences of Europe to discuss potential patterns of integration into the European society.

The bishops and delegates acknowledged that the current integration of migrants and refugees is far from being a one-fits-all model as it adjusts according to the needs and capacities of each community. The Catholic Church has long combined both the individual migrant's needs and those of the welcoming community in forging an approach of "working together" to promote real integration.

"People must be able to understand what it means to be a refugee, what it means to have one's life contained in a simple backpack. It is clear therefore that the real challenge of integration begins with an educational work addressing the whole society. It is necessary to educate people to dialogue and encounter," the delegates remarked during the meeting.

The bishops and delegates emphasized the need to spread a culture of hospitality, embodied at the local level by the parishes, a safe, all-inclusive space where "the true pedagogy of encounter and dialogue can be enacted."

The press release of the event is available below in English, French and Spanish.