As we recall the migrant journey that the Precious Blood Sisters made from Switzerland to Ohio in 1844, we are aware of modern-day migrants in our communities and around the world. Do these migrants receive the same positive welcome that the Sisters received from the German immigrants in Ohio? Unfortunately for many of them, the answer is no.
Though people migrate for a variety of reasons, such as the Precious Blood Sisters did for ministry, or for better work or educational opportunities, some are forced to flee life-threatening war, natural disasters, persecution and poverty. They leave behind family members and the familiarity of their homeland. How frightening it must be, not knowing where they will end up or how they will attain food, water and shelter.
What are our attitudes toward strangers seeking to live among us? As Christians, we are called to welcome the stranger, and when we do so, we welcome God in person. Through God’s grace, we can overcome our fear and our concerns about refugees and immigrants and look for the face of Jesus in our migrant brothers and sisters. In doing this, we will be made richer through their gifts of culture and faith.
Pope Francis calls us to walk with migrants and refugees in support and solidarity through the two-year campaign launched in September called “Share the Journey.” The Holy Father said, “We must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter that restores to each person his/her own dignity.”
One way you can participate in Share the Journey is to join the U.S. bishops and urge Congress to pass the Dream Act of 2017 (S. 1615/H.R. 3440) to protect from deportation young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. And always, your prayer is needed for the vulnerable 65 million displaced people in our world today.
During the Advent season, we remember that the Holy Family was a migrant family. Our duty is to be like the innkeeper, offering refuge to those in need.
– Story by Colleen Kammer