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Pope: Encounter Christ in encounter with migrants, refugees

Pope Francis is offered a cake as he celebrates his birthday with children assisted by the Santa Marta dispensary during an audience in the Paul VI Hall, at the Vatican, Sunday, Dec. 17, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Pope Francis said that an encounter with migrants and refugees is also an encounter with Christ, since “God not only walks with his people, but also within them.”

In the Holy Father’s message for the 110th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, he emphasized how God identifies with the least, the poor, and the marginalized, which is seen as the “extension of the mystery of incarnation."

“Every encounter along the way represents an opportunity to meet the Lord; it is an occasion charged with salvation because Jesus is present in the sister or brother in need of our help,” said the pope.

“In this sense, the poor save us, because they enable us to encounter the face of the Lord,” he also said.

Pope Francis also took note of the fundamental reality of the Exodus, where “God precedes and accompanies His people and all His children every time and place.”

The Holy Father even saluted the “Good Samaritans” who constantly provide consolation to migrants and refugees in their moments of discouragement.

“How many Bibles, copies of the Gospels, prayer books, and rosaries accompany migrants on their journeys across deserts, rivers, seas, and the borders of every continent!” said the pope.

Furthermore, Pope Francis explained that extending more aid to migrants and refugees serves as a gentle reminder to the Church to further rediscover its Synodal nature.

He said that these itinerant groups can be seen as a “living image of God’s people on their way to the eternal homeland.”

“May we journey together with them, be ‘synodal’ together, and entrust them, as well as the forthcoming Synod Assembly, “to the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary,’” said the pontiff.

The 110th World Day of Migrants and Refugees is set for September 29.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.