Holy Father: Refugees are ‘God’s children’
By Ann Schneible
Catholic News Agency
AMID questions over whether European nations will reevaluate their migrant policies in the wake of the deadly attacks in Paris on November 13, Pope Francis offered a reminder that refugees are more than statistics: they are children of God, each with his or her own inherent dignity.
“Behind these statistics are people, each of them with a name, a face, a story, an inalienable dignity which is theirs as a child of God,” the Pope said on November 14 at an audience marking the 35th anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS).
Pope Francis made these remarks one day after 129 people were slaughtered and more than 300 wounded in Paris by more than half a dozen Islamic militants.
During the audience with JRS, the Pope acknowledged the mass increase in the number of refugees fleeing Africa, Asia, and the Middle East in what has become largest-scale exodus since World War II.
He lauded JRS’ presence in conflict and post-conflict regions, recalling the agency’s mission: “to accompany, to serve and to defend the rights of refugees”.
The Pontiff concluded his address by calling those working with refugees to reflect on the Holy Family, as well as Christ’s words: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”.
“As you persevere in this work of providing education for refugees, think of the Holy Family, Our Lady, Saint Joseph, and the Child Jesus, who fled to Egypt to escape violence and to find refuge among strangers,” he said.