Caritas Bangladesh has joined the ‘Share the Journey’ campaign, promoted by Caritas Internationalis and officially launched by Pope Francis at Wednesday’s General Audience in St Peter's Square in Rome.
The social arm of the Catholic Church of Bangladesh which made the announcement at the same time the campaign kicked off in the Vatican on Sept. 27, reiterated its commitment to refugees and migrants in a country that is currently grappling with a massive refugee crisis with the arrival of Muslim Rohingya fleeing violence and persecution in neighbouring Myanmar, where they were living for centuries.
"We are all migrants in the sense that we have been sent by our Heavenly Father to this earth. We cannot be united with migrant people until we realize the truth," said Dhaka Auxiliary Bishop Francis Shorot Gomes, a member of Caritas Bangladesh general body.
Culture of encounter
Caritas Internationalis 2-year “Share the Journey” campaign aims to promote strengthening of relationships between migrants, refugees and host communities. It is the response of Caritas to Pope Francis’ call for a culture of encounter and to see people on the move with open hearts and minds. The campaign encourages people to actually meet migrants, refugees and the displaced and listen to their stories, rather than treat them as mere numbers and statistics imbued with negative stereotypes.
At the launch of the campaign at this week’s General Audience, Pope Francis stretched out his arms in a symbolic gesture of welcome saying, “Christ urges us to welcome our brothers and sisters with our arms truly open, ready for a sincere embrace, a loving and enveloping embrace”.
Both domestic and cross-border migration
Caritas Bangladesh plans to involve all its branches to ‘Share the Journey" of all migrants, domestic or foreign, who seek a better future. Hundreds of Caritas volunteers and several migrant workers were present at the launch of the “Share the Journey” campaign in Dhaka.
Bishop Gomes reminded those present of Pope Francis who wants us “to unite to welcome, to protect, to promote and to integrate people obliged to leave their home and seek a new one among us."
Some of the participants at the launch shared their stories of hardships they encountered abroad where they sought to build a better future for themselves and their families. Caritas Bangladesh is also involved with domestic migrants, who abandon their villages seeking a better future in cities.
The Caritas Internationalis campaign is being backed by its national organizations in more than 160 countries, by the ecumenical ACT Alliance of over 140 members, by several United Nations agencies such as the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Organization for Migration, the UN’s refugee organization, UNCHR and the World Food Programme, as well as numerous religious and civil society organizations. (Source: AsiaNews)