The Vatican announced the theme for the celebration of the 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees: “It is not just about migrants.”

Last Sunday, the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development’s Migrants and Refugees Section announced the theme for the 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The 2019 World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be on Sunday, September 29th later this year. Normally in January, the Holy Father moved the date for the 105th annual celebration in November of last year.

Father Michael Czerny, S.J., is the Under-Secretary for the Migrants and Refugees Section. He explained that the theme chosen by Pope Francis is meant to highlight the deep concern for all those who inhabit the peripheries of society, not just migrants and refugees.

Father Czerny said the message aims to help us realize that

“as Christian communities and societies, we are all called to respond and to reflect how our faith life and commitments are engaged in responding to vulnerable people on the move.”

The origins of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees goes back over 100 years. A few months before the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Pope Pius X called on Catholics to pray for migrants in light of the millions of Italians who migrated abroad since the beginning of the 20th century.

His successor, Pope Benedict XV, instituted the Day of the Migrant to support the spiritual and economic work behind the pastoral care for Italian emigrants.

In 2004, the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People included refugees in the day, calling it the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

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