Four Ways to Welcome the Stranger
On World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day, when the United Nations draws attention to those who, seeking safety from violence and persecution, are forced to flee their homes. To mark the occasion, the U.N.’s refugee agency released its annual Global Trends Report, and the picture it paints is grim. Last year, the number of forcibly displaced people around the globe topped 65.6 million. Some of the countries that Catholic Near East Welfare Association serves are among the biggest sources of refugees:

  • Iraq: 4.2 million people displaced
  • Syria: 12 million displaced
  • Ukraine: 2.1 million displaced

What can we do about the tragedy of forced migration? As Christians, we’re called by Scripture to welcome the strangers in our midst. In a time when our culture seems to be growing more suspicious and hostile, our challenge is to see Jesus in the refugee and to respond to His suffering with mercy and compassion. Here are four suggestions for this World Refugee Day:

Pray. You can use this prayer from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops: “Teach us, Lord, the ways of hospitality. Give us the spirit of joyful welcome and the sensitivity to help people on the move feel they belong. Grant that our tables at home may draw our new neighbors from other lands into a loving community and that the Eucharistic tables in our parishes may prefigure the banquet in heaven where all are one with You, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.”

Learn. Educate yourself about the issue of forced migration. Understand the magnitude of the problem by looking at the new U.N. report. Read what Pope Francis said to the World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Migrants. Familiarize yourself with how CNEWA and our local partners are ministering to refugees’ humanitarian and spiritual needs.

Reach out. For refugees who’ve lost everything and who struggle to meet even the most basic needs, it can feel like the world has abandoned and forgotten them. Let them know they’re not alone. Share some of the resources that God has given you with your refugee sisters and brothers.

Share. Once you’ve prayed, learned and reached out to refugees, invite your friends and family to join you. You can share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter and let everyone know what you’ve done. Maybe you’ll be an inspiration to others who are looking for an opportunity to do good.

Thank you for taking action on this World Refugee Day — and blessings and prayers of gratitude from all of us at CNEWA!

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