After four years, the “Share the journey” campaign ends next Sunday. For Cardinal Tagle, the “movement towards forced migrants, victims of poverty and social injustice can be a missionary movement and evangelisation in many parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Caritas Internationalis announced that its “Share the journey” campaign of solidarity with migrants and refugees will end next Sunday, World Refugee Day.
At a press conference in the Vatican, the Catholic charity looked back at the campaign, which began on 27 September 2017 when Pope Francis said: “Brothers and sisters, let us not be afraid of sharing the journey! Have no fear! Let us not be afraid of sharing hope!”
The initiative was aimed at sharing migrants’ journey rather than just looking at them, especially at a time when governments were pulling back the draw bridge. In addition, it sought to teach not to be afraid of strangers and create instead “bridges of hope”.
With this campaign, Caritas “helped to spread a new culture globally, a culture of personal encouragement, a new vision of welcoming the human person in the migrant,” said Card Luis Antonio Tagle, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples and President of Caritas Internationalis, as he laid out the campaign’s results at the Vatican Press Office.
In the past four years, “Christians, Muslims, Hindus, followers of other religions, and atheists were welcomed as human beings,” Card Tagle explained.
“At a time when COVID-19 should lead us to global solidarity, [. . .] when states are more concerned with protecting their own citizens, with the risk of boosting selfishness and fear of foreigners, the end of Caritas Internationalis' global campaign is an appeal to continue sharing the journey with migrants, especially at such a time of great difficulty. The campaign formally ends, but the mission continues.”
The “movement towards forced migrants, victims of poverty and social injustice, can be a missionary movement and evangelisation in many parts of Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” the prelate added.
The goal of “Share the Journey” was to create spaces and opportunities to meet migrants, refugees and local communities, promoting a culture of encounter and mutual knowledge. It involved 130 initiatives undertaken by 162 national Caritas members of Caritas Internationalis.
The campaign was backed by other groups like the ecumenical Act Alliance and some UN agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Many of the activities involved the Share the Meal programme with migrants and refugees in order to get to know them.
In June 2018, Caritas Internationalis organised a week of shared meals around the world involving local communities, migrants and refugees. Caritas Syria, for example, brought together Muslims, Christians, Alawis and Druze to eat and pray together.
In June 2018, when a soup kitchen was held for about a hundred migrants, refugees, and political, community and Church officials, Pope Francis issued a message encouraging them to “create new spaces for sharing” to reach “a renewed fraternity”.
With the final day just around the corner, Caritas Internationalis is urging people to join a global solidarity initiative alongside migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons.
Starting today, it will be possible to light a virtual candle of hope on the Caritas website, choosing a country and offering a message of solidarity with migrants and refugees. The messages will then be collected in a booklet that will be offered to the Pope.
Even after the end of “Share the Journey” campaign, Caritas Internationalis will continue to share the journey with migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, promoting programmes aimed at eradicating the causes of migration.
The Catholic charity will likewise continue to support safe migration routes and greater protection for migrants, urging governments to recognise their right to citizenship in host communities, as well as voluntary repatriation.