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Share the Journey campaign: walking in solidarity with refugees and migrants around our world

Pope Francis launches Share the Journey Campaign through Caritas Internationalis

Development and Peace-Caritas Canada joins in September 2018 through August 2019

 

By Louise Bitz

 

“Hope is what drives the hearts of those who depart,” said Pope Francis Sept. 27, 2017 as he opened the Caritas ‘Share the Journey’ two-year global campaign for awareness and action on the growing reality of forced migration and refugees.

 

“Hope is also what drives the hearts of those who welcome: the desire to meet each other, get to know each other, to dialogue. Hope is what drives ‘sharing the journey of life’, as the Caritas campaign we are inaugurating today reminds us. Brothers and sisters, we are not afraid to share the journey! We are not afraid to share hope!”

 

The campaign emanates from the spiritual truth that we are all connected; we are one Body in Christ. Pope Francis often uses the language of building a culture of encounter: a culture that slows down, becomes more aware of the other, and reaches out to welcome. We are part of one another’s life journey. This campaign promotes building a culture of encounter with forced migrants and refugees. 

 

Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, President of Caritas Internationalis said, “If we bond with refugees and migrants, we will break down the barriers with which some are trying to separate us. The campaign reaches out to recognise, restore and share our common humanity.”

 

Some parish and school communities are taking it one step further.  Holy Spirit Parish in Saskatoon, for one, this year is embracing the call to build a culture of encounter and share the journey as a way of being church, the People of God. 

 

Led by Fr. Darryl Millette and the Pastoral Council, the parish will be invited to engage in various initiatives throughout the year that have the spirituality of “encounter” at the core. Parish Youth Ministry Coordinator, Celena Komarnicki, is working in close collaboration with the parish’s six elementary schools to support building a culture of encounter and sharing the journey in the schools.

 

As part of the visible action in the campaign, Pope Francis made the “Reach Out” gesture — opening his arms out wide.  Participants in the Development and Peace-Caritas Canada Fall Campaign Workshop held in Saskatoon on September 22, make this gesture as they enthusiastically accept the challenge to share the journey.  (see attached picture)

 

In Canada, the campaign will have three components. First, there is an educational componentto learn about the causes of forced migration and refugees.

 

Secondly, there is an action componentto petition the Canadian government to offer more support to peace-building initiatives in vulnerable countries and to give more support to countries who are receiving those forced to flee their homes.

 

Third is the fund-raising component, which has the important Share Lent focus, but also includes this year a Walkathon to literally Share the Journey. This walkathon is being proposed, when possible, for Catholic Education Week in May of 2019.  St Thomas More College launched the campaign in Saskatchewan with their Walkathon (called the Walk for Freedom) on Oct. 14. 

 

For more information about Share the Journey, email Armella Sonntag at  asonntag@devp.orgor Louise Bitz at lbitz@devp.org

 

 

 

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