JRS Europe wishes to thank Pope Francis for His words at today’s General Audience and to reiterate His call that conditions must be in place for the Catholic Church to receive asylum seekers in urgent need of resettlement/relocation within the EU. JRS stands by and supports the Church in Europe as she welcomes, protects, promotes, and integrates our brothers and sisters on the move.
The large family of the JRS in Europe was deeply moved by Pope Francis’ visit to Cyprus and Greece, and especially by His visit to a refugee camp on the island of Lesbos. Our colleagues from JRS Greece were able to share with Him the reality of our work in the country, also sharing a gift made by refugee children.
With regard to our European migration policy, we believe that “Negotiations on the New Pact on Migration and Asylum have barely advanced and Push-backs and deaths at the EU external borders are still a daily reality” (Asylum in Europe 2021). Pope Francis recognised how “the European community, torn apart by nationalist egoisms, sometimes appears blocked and uncoordinated, instead of being a motor of solidarity”(Meeting with authorities, Athens, 2021), “while in reality, it requires a shared responsibility from which no country can escape.“ (General Audience GA, 22 December 2021)
Pope Francis, as a testimony of hospitality, and with the support of the Italian government, has welcomed a number of refugees he met during his visit. These refugee families will be welcomed, as a Church. As the Pope says: “It is a small sign, which I hope will serve as a stimulus for the other European countries so that they will allow the local ecclesial realities to take charge of other brothers and sisters who urgently need to be relocated.” (GA)
For many years, JRS in Europe has been providing hospitality to people who have come here seeking safety. We think that deep within us lies the capacity to open our doors to our neighbours: as humans, we are driven to welcome the stranger and build new relationships. Our communities of Hospitality are spread all over Europe as authentic spaces of encounters and constitute an invitation to be witnesses of hope. We all win when humanity becomes hospitality, because then hospitality becomes humanity.
JRS supports the Church in Europe to welcome, protect, promote and integrate our brothers and sisters on the move. As Pope Francis expressed to European governments at the end of the audience this morning: “All that is needed is to open a door!” (GA)