40,000 ATTEND MIGRANTS' JUBILEE
| Refugees and Circus Performers with Pope
VATICAN CITY, MAY 31 (ZENIT.org).- Migrants, refugees, foreign students, agents and
staff involved in tourism and pilgrimages, seafarers, nomads, circus and fairground workers, civil
aviation personnel: these are the participants of the "Jubilee of Migrants and Itinerant People,"
scheduled from June 1-3.
On Thursday, June 1, the various groups will gather in Roman Churches for catechesis on
reconciliation. On Friday, June 2, the Holy Father will preside over a Jubilee Mass; 40,000
people are expected to attend. The largest group will be a contingent of 8,000 of Filipino
extraction from all over Europe. The Migrants' Jubilee will end in St. Peter's Square on June 3 in
the evening, with a pilgrims' prayer for the Pope.
Strangers and Pilgrims
Bishop Luigi Petris, director of the Migrants Foundation, said, "In this Jubilee year, there is not
only curiosity among migrants, but expectation and hope." Their hope is that attitudes will change
toward them. "After all, the Jubilee is a year of redemption and liberation, a year of
According to the Bishop, the migrants' hopes can be transformed into reality on one condition:
"That the Jubilee becomes a 'holy time' for Christian communities, an occasion to examine if their
own conduct is in tune with God's plan. If the Christian community were to really live in depth
this Jubilee message, its hospitality and esteem would not admit any form of exclusion or
marginalization. It's easier to help a stranger than to feel yourself a stranger or brother or sister of
If the Migrants' Jubilee "is not to be reduced to an empty charade, it is essential for each
Christian community to realize that it, too, is a stranger and pilgrim in this world, and that it must
welcome the outcast and immigrant with esteem. It is essential that it not entrench itself in
defending its own worldly securities to the detriment of its brothers of different language and
culture." The Jubilee, Bishop Petris concluded, "is an occasion of divine grace to reveal to us
what kind of God we believe in: a God who is reduced to being protector of our own vested
interests or a God who is truly the Father of us all."
In his message for the 86th World Migrant and Refugee Day, to be celebrated on June 2, 2000,
John Paul II invites developed nations, "prisoners of the insatiable desire to concentrate the
available resources in their own hands," to show hospitality towards immigrants, especially
during this Jubilee year. "Many countries are making a considerable effort to welcome
immigrants, many of whom, after overcoming the difficulties inherent in the phase of adaptation,
are well inserted into the host community," the Holy Father says. However, "the lack of
understanding that sometimes hits foreigners confirms the urgency of transforming structures and
of a change in mentality."
"The figure of the migrant, the refugee, or the illegal immigrant confers a very concrete meaning
on the Jubilee, and is a call for believers to a change of mentality and life," the Pope says.
"Working for the unity of the human family means being committed to rejecting any
discrimination based on race, culture or religion as being contrary to God's plan." This entails
"the promotion of everyone's right to live in their own country in peace, as well as careful
vigilance to ensure that in every State, immigration legislation is based on the recognition of the
basic rights of the human person."