In a preface to a new Vatican guide on the pastoral care of migrants, Pope Francis highlighted the duty of Catholics to promote fraternity with others.
“All of us are called to commit ourselves to universal fraternity. For Catholics, this translates into being ever more faithful to our being Catholic,” he wrote in Pastoral Orientations on Intercultural Migrant Ministry, published on March 24.
The 20-page booklet was created by the migrants and refugees section of the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
“As I wrote in the Message for the 107th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, ‘encountering the diversity of foreigners, migrants, and refugees, and in the intercultural dialogue that can emerge from this encounter, we have an opportunity to grow as Church and to enrich one another,’” he said.
“In times of greatest crisis, like the pandemic and the wars that we are currently experiencing, closed-minded and aggressive nationalism and radical individualism fracture or divide our unity, both in the world and within the Church,” Pope Francis wrote.
“The highest price is paid by those who end up getting labeled as ‘them’ versus ‘us’: foreigners, migrants, and the marginalized who inhabit the existential peripheries. In this context, these guidelines propose an ever wider ‘we,’ which refers both to the entire human family and to the Church.”
The guidebook invites Catholics to work together to help people experiencing tragedy and uprootedness, the pope said.
It is a chance for the Church to promote communion, and to “live out a new Pentecost in our neighborhoods and parishes, as we come to realize the richness of their spirituality and vibrant liturgical traditions.”
The pastoral guide is broken into seven sections, with practical suggestions on topics such as overcoming fear, showing compassion, understanding migrants as a blessing, fulfilling the evangelizing mission, and living Catholicity.
The book’s introduction says that the Catholic Church is confronted with two main challenges, which can also be seen as an opportunity and a mission: to be both “ad intra and ad extra.”
“The ad intra challenge is how to live out the catholicity of our faith: a Church that is able to include everyone and recognize that every single baptized person in the Catholic Church is a full member of it, wherever he or she may be,” it says.
“This requires embracing the arrival of Catholic individuals from different parts of the world and integrating them into the local communities as citizens and equal members, as we hear clearly from St. Paul: ‘you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the holy ones and members of the household of God’ (Ephesians 2:19).”
The ad extra challenge, the guide explains, is “how to be a truly missionary Church: to reach out to those needing help, the discarded, the ostracized, the oppressed … all to be recognized and cared for because it is a commandment of the Lord.”
“And through charity and love to encourage conversion of heart, particularly among those who are outside the Church either because of a choice they have made, or because they have never heard the saving message of Jesus Christ,” the guide continues.
“This is a call to be an inclusive Church, where every human being receives the message of salvation in Jesus Christ.”