Pope Benedict XVI- Angelus

Angelus Message
On Baby Jesus, the Refugee
"The Child ... Must First of All and Always Be Considered a Person"
H.H. Benedict XVI
January 17, 2010


Dear brothers and sisters!

This Sunday we celebrate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees. The presence of the Church at the side of these persons has been constant through time, reaching singular heights at the beginning of the last century: We need only think of Blessed Bishop Giovanni Battista Scalabrini and St. Frances Cabrini. In my message for this occasion I called attention to young migrants and refugees. Jesus Christ, who as a newborn lived through the dramatic experience of being a refugee because of Herod’s threats, taught his disciples to welcome children with great respect and love. The child too, in fact, whatever his nationality or the color of his skin, must first of all and always be considered a person, the image of God, to promote and protect against every marginalization and exploitation. In particular, it is necessary to take every care that minors who live in a foreign country are protected by legislation and above all watched over in the countless problems that they must face. While I strongly encourage the Christian communities and organizations that are engaged in assisting young migrants and refugees, I exhort everyone to keep alive an educative and cultural sensitivity toward them, according to the authentic Gospel spirit.

This afternoon, almost 24 years after the historic visit of Venerable John Paul II, I will go to the Synagogue of Rome, which is called the “Great Temple” (Tempio Maggiore), to meet the city’s Jewish community and take another step on the journey of concord and friendship between Catholics and Jews. In fact, despite the problems and difficulties between the believers of the two religions, we breathe an air of great respect and dialogue, which testifies to how much the relationships have matured and the common commitment to value what unites us: faith in the one God, first of all, but also the protection of the life of the family, the aspiration to social justice and peace.

Finally, I would like to note that tomorrow the traditional Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins. Every year it constitutes, for believers in Christ, a propitious time to revive the ecumenical spirit, to meet each other, to get to know each other, to pray and reflect together. The biblical theme, taken from the Gospel of St. Luke, echoes the words of the risen Jesus to the apostles: “You are witnesses of these things” (Luke 24:48). Our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus will be much more credible and effective the more that we are united in his love, as true brothers. Thus, I invite parishes, religious communities, ecclesial movements and associations to pray unceasingly, in a special way during Eucharistic Celebrations, for the complete unity of Christians.

We entrust these three intentions -- our migrant and refugee brothers, religious dialogue with the Jews and the unity of Christians -- to the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, Mother of Christ and Mother of the Church.

[After the Angelus the Pope greeted the pilgrims in various languages. In Italian he said:]

Our thoughts, in these days, turn to the dear people of Haiti, and [we] raise up sorrowful prayer. The apostolic nuncio, who, thanks be to God, is unhurt, keeps me continually informed, and thus I heard of the sad passing of the archbishop, as well as of many priests, religious and seminarians. I am following and encourage the numerous charitable organizations, who are taking charge of the immense necessities of the country. I pray for the injured, the homeless, and for those who tragically lost their lives.

On this World Day of Migrants and Refugees I am happy to greet the representatives of different ethnic groups who are present. I hope all will participate fully in the life of society and the Church, maintaining the values of their cultures of origin. I also greet the Brazilians who have come today and who are descendants of immigrants from Trentino. Thank you for coming!

Finally I offer a special greeting to the participants in the second edition of the International Festival of the Journeys of the Spirit, taking place at the Nuova Fiera di Roma, where Holy Mass was just celebrated by the president of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People.

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]

[In English, he said:]

To the English-speaking visitors and pilgrims here today, I extend heartfelt greetings. In particular I welcome the students from the "Catholic Studies Program" at Loras College, Dubuque in the United States. In today’s Gospel we hear how Jesus let his glory be seen by turning water into wine. May all of you discover the transforming power of his love in your lives, so that his glory may be manifested today to those around you. Upon all who are present, and upon your families and loved ones, I invoke God’s abundant blessings.

©Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

© Innovative Media, Inc.

Reprinting ZENIT's articles requires written permission from the editor.


Look at the One they Pierced!

siervas_logo_color.jpg (14049 bytes)
Return to main page
This page is the work of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary