By Bishop Richard J. Malone 11/23/2015
all been horrified by the senseless terrorist attacks in Paris. Join
me in fervent prayer for victims of the massacre, for justice for ISIS
leaders and killers, and for world peace.
there have been calls to close our borders to Syrian refugees fleeing
the ravages of civil war, we cannot simply close our doors to refugees
simply because they are from Syria. But we must remain vigilant.
Careful screening of all who wish to enter this country is needed.
Francis' concern for refugees and immigrants is very well known, as we
see in this recent comment: "Facing the tragedy of tens of thousands of
refugees - fleeing death by war and famine, and journeying towards the
hope of life - the Gospel calls, asking of us to be close to the
smallest and forsaken. To give them a concrete hope," he said. "And not
just to tell them, 'Have courage, be patient!'"
These words of the Holy
Father were addressed primarily to the Catholic people of Europe, where
waves of refugees from Syria and elsewhere are fleeing in the largest
movement of refugees since the 1990s. In the last five years, at least 4
million Syrians have fled their country's civil war and the threat of
ISIS. Most have fled to nearby nations, especially Egypt, Lebanon,
Jordan and Turkey, along with the many others who moved to Europe.
What of us in the
United States? The U.S. Catholic bishops have joined Pope Francis in
calling on our government as well as the international community to
support both the Syrian refugees and countries that have been at the
forefront of this massive humanitarian effort. Our bishops call for an
end to the conflict in Syria and Iraq and for working toward an
inclusive peace that will allow refugees to return home. The
international community must stop the persecution of Christians and
other religious groups in the Middle East.
Migration and Refugee
Services, an agency of the United States Conference of Bishops,
recommends seven ways U.S. Catholics can help:
President Obama, urging him to strengthen U.S. resettlement efforts of
Syrian refugees who are fleeing violence, and to work toward a
negotiated end to the current conflict that will protect human rights
and religious freedom.
Urge your Congress members to provide much-needed development aid for refugee host countries near Syria.
Donate to MRS' Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees fund to aid Syrian refugees.
Donate to Catholic Relief Services' efforts in neighboring countries and Europe to support refugees fleeing the Syrian crisis.
Charities to find out how we can assist in their effort to resettle
refugees. I can personally attest to the good work that is being done by
Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities in particular. During
my tenure as a board member of Catholic Relief Services, I witnessed
firsthand the direct impact this agency has on people in great need. As
so many of you know, our local Catholic Charities offices also do
tremendous work and deserve our ongoing support in service to refugees.
Join the conversation on social media: #refugeeswelcome.
Most importantly, please pray -
for the refugees and migrants, for their plight, and for their safety
and peace. The following prayer for migrants and refugees was given to
us by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. I hope you will
join me in praying it for all those suffering during this refugee
Lord Jesus, when you
multiplied the loaves and fishes, you provided more than food for the
body, you offered us the gift of yourself, the gift which satisfies
every hunger and quenches every thirst! Your disciples were filled with
fear and doubt, but you poured out your love and compassion on the
migrant crowd, welcoming them as brothers and sisters.
Lord Jesus, today you
call us to welcome the members of God's family who come to our land to
escape oppression, poverty, persecution, violence, and war. Like your
disciples, we too are filled with fear and doubt and even suspicion. We
build barriers in our hearts and in our minds.
Lord Jesus, help us by your grace:
To banish fear from our hearts, that we may embrace each of your children as our own brother and sister;
To welcome migrants and refugees with joy and generosity, while responding to their many needs;
To realize that you call all people to your holy mountain to learn the ways of peace and justice;
To share of our abundance as you spread a banquet before us;
To give witness to your love for all people, as we celebrate the many gifts they bring.
We praise you and give
you thanks for the family you have called together from so many people.
We see in this human family a reflection of the divine unity of the one
Most Holy Trinity in whom we make our prayer: Father, Son, and Holy