We must never forget, however, that migrants, rather than simply being a statistic, are first of all persons who have faces, names and individual stories.”  – Pope Francis

Around the world, more than 70 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes due to political instability, violence, and other reasons. To raise awareness and encourage Catholics in the call of “Welcoming the stranger among us,” the Catholic Church in the United States annually celebrates National Migration Week. This time is set aside to reflect on the circumstances confronting migrants including immigrants, refugees, children, and victims and survivors of human trafficking and to engage migrants as community members, neighbors, and friends.

The theme for National Migration Week 2020 which takes place Jan. 5-11 is “Promoting a Church and a World for All.” This year’s theme draws attention to the fact that each of our families has a migration story, some recent and others in the distant past. Regardless of where we are now and where we came from, we are all part of the human family and are called to live in solidarity with one another.

How can I get involved?

Opportunities to encounter and accompany include:

  • Becoming a foster parent to a migrant child who has been separated from family members;
  • Participating in or establishing a local Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR) program;
  • Launching a new initiative that will support migrants in their effort to become American citizens, or
  • Engaging in advocacy with local, state, and federal leaders to ensure that resources are in place to support refugees and immigrants during their transition and beyond.

Learn more about: Caring for Migrants and Refugees

Additional resources:

Immigration Legal Services in the Diocese of Grand Rapids (en Español)
From the Bishop: The borders we don’t see (November 2019 FAITH Grand Rapids magazine)

From the USCCB:
Church stands in solidarity with immigrants and refugees: Observing National Migration Week (Jan. 2, 2020)
Migration and Refugee Services

Messages from Pope Francis:
World Day of Migrants & Refugees, September 2019 (English | Español)
World Day of Peace, January 2020  (English | Español)

Holy Family, Refugee Family (CRS)
Welcoming the stranger among us (November 2019 FAITH Grand Rapids magazine)