Since 2009, the Catholic bishops of Minnesota have designated the Feast of Our Lord’s Epiphany to mark Immigration Sunday Minnesota.
This year Minnesota’s Bishops have moved this day to Sunday, September 27th to join with Catholics around the globe to mark World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This year’s theme is Forced to flee like Christ.
Immigration Sunday is an important moment for Minnesota Catholics to show their commitment to welcoming migrants and refugees in our communities through our prayers, education, and actions. By accompanying them in person and in prayer, we can not only help them integrate into our communities but show that we see and welcome Christ in them.
In his annual message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis places a great emphasis on the need for pastoral care for displaced people. In this letter he writes:
“Displaced people offer us this opportunity to meet the Lord, ‘even though our eyes find it hard to recognize him: his clothing in tatters, his feet dirty, his face disfigured, his body wounded, his tongue unable to speak our language’”.
In his letter, Pope Francis emphasizes the relationship between six practical actions that we can take to better serve those who are displaced:
- You have to know in order to understand.
- It is necessary to be close in order to serve.
- In order to be reconciled, we need to listen.
- In order to grow, it is necessary to share.
- We need to be involved in order to promote.
- It is necessary to cooperate in order to build.
Around the world, we know that many people are forced to flee their homes due to violence, hunger, poverty, and disease, but what does this look like in our own state? How is your parish implementing these practical actions? How is your parish working to provide for the pastoral care of internally displaced people? As we approach Immigration Sunday Minnesota, we encourage you to begin examining what it means in Minnesota and for those in your community to be displaced.
To move toward a greater understanding and gather ideas of how your own parish can mark Immigration Sunday Minnesota, make use of the resources: