(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis made an appeal for migrants and refugees on Sunday – the Church’s 100th annual World Day for Migrants and Refugees. After the Angelus prayer, speaking to faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square beneath the window of the Papal apartments in the Apostolic Palace, the Holy Father said, “I extend a special greeting to the representatives of various ethnic communities gathered here, in particular the Catholic communities in Rome.” Pope Francis went on to say, “Dear friends, you are close to the heart of the Church, because the Church is a people on a journey toward the Kingdom of God, that Jesus Christ brought into our midst.”
“Do not lose hope for a better future!” said Pope Francis, expressing his hope that migrants and refugees might be able to live in peace in the countries that welcome you, and that they might be able to maintain the values of their culture of origin.” The theme of the Holy Father’s Message to mark the recurrence in 2014 is Migrants and Refugees: toward a better world. In the Message, published in August of 2013, the Holy Father writes, “A change of attitude towards migrants and refugees is needed on the part of everyone, moving away from attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization – all typical of a throwaway culture – towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world.”