The pastoral care of migrants and refugees: between integration and inclusion
Meeting of bishops and delegates from Europe’s Bishops’ Conferences with responsibility for the pastoral care of migrants
La Valletta, Malta, 2-4 December 2013
The challenges and prospects for the pastoral care of migrants and refugees, co-operation between the Bishops’ Conferences, the exchange of experiences and the difficulties faced by national directors, migratory policies and the issue of integratrion of immigrant workers will all be the focus of discussions at the two-day meeting, promoted by the Council of European Episcopal Conferences (CCEE), for bishops and national directors from Europe’s Bishops’ Conferences with responsibility for the pastoral care of migrants and refugees, scheduled to take place in La Valletta (Malta) from 2-4 December 2013.
The two-day meeting, promoted by the “Migrants” Section of CCEE’s Caritas in Veritate Commission, chaired by Cardinal Josip Bozanić, Archbishop of Zagreb, and aimed at bishops and delegates from the Bishops’ Conferences with responsibility for the pastoral care of migrants, will begin with a visit to Hal Safi, in the south of Malta, a ‘closed’ centre for asylum seekers.
The meeting will take place in La Valletta (Malta) at the invitation of the local Archbishop, Mgr Paul Cremona O.P., and will see the participation of numerous experts and protagonists in the pastoral crae of migrants and refugees; including the leaders of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, its President, Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, and the Under-secretary of the Vatican dicastery, Mgr Gabriele Ferdinando Bentoglio. During the meeting, there will also be interventions from the Honourable Emmanuel Mallia, the Maltese Minister for Home Affairs and National Security; the Honourable Helena Dalli, Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties; Ambassador José Angelo Oropeza Rojas, IOM Director of the Co-ordinating Office for the Mediterranean and Chief of Mission for Italy and Malta; and the Holy See’s local representative, Mgr Aldo Cavalli, Apostolic Nuncio to Malta and Libya.
“The phenomenon of migration has always been present on the European continent, but today for a variety of reasons it assumes new dimensions and appears to be more complex than ever”, said Mgr Duarte da Cunha, CCEE General Secretary. He added: “Refugees, temporary migrants (seasonal workers), young people looking for work, need an answer from society at the social, political and also pastoral levels to the new challenges. Following a long tradition, CCEE desires to contribute through these meetings to the pastoral issues arising in Europe in the sphere of pastoral care with and for migrants. Conscious that religious life and belonging to a faith community is very important in the life of each person and that this is felt particularly in those who are far from their home, it is urgent that the value the Church’s pastoral care has for the life of emigrants be recognised by everyone. We want to repeat that the pastoral care of migrants is not an accessory, but rather it is a priority for the Church and has an influence on the whole of social life. In fact, the Church’s contribution which leads to social cohesion and the harmonious integration of the stranger is enormous and must be greatly appreciated. The Church is committeed to re-inveting hospitality, in the light of faith in Jesus Christ, the Church knows that it is possible to re-invent the capacity to live in harmony and share “being at home””.
A news conference will take place on Tuesday 3 December at 1230 at “Mount St. Joseph Retreat House” – Triq il-Missjunarji Maltin, Tarġa Gap, Mosta MST 9072, MALTA. There will be interventions from:
- Cardinal Antonio Maria Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People;
- Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb and President of the “Migrants” Section of CCEE’s “Caritas in Veritate” Commission;
- Fr Alfred Vella, Director of the “Malta Emigrants” Commission
- Mgr Duarte da Cunha, CCEE General Secretary
The programme for the meeting is available at www.ccee.eu. The meeting is not open to the public. A news release will be published at the end of the meeting.