California Bishops Call for Solidarity with Migrants and Refugees

“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’
nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’” (I Cor. 12.21)

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 26, 2021:

“The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’
nor again the head to the feet, ‘I do not need you.’” (I Cor. 12.21)

(En Español) St. Paul’s instruction to the Corinthians reminds us of the obligations we have with our neighbors who are migrants and refugees.  In the same spirit, Pope Francis encourages us, in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees “that we are all in the same boat and called to work together so that there will be no more walls that separate us, no longer others, but only a single ‘we.’”

Immigrants and refugees work with us, providing many essential services.  Their children study in our schools.  They care for our sick and elderly.  They harvest our daily sustenance.  They are our neighbors, coworkers, and friends.  Still, many live under a cloud of uncertainty.  Their horizons are dimmed by the dawdling of lawmakers keeping migrants, refugees, as well as ourselves, from the greater and better “we” that makes us stronger and healthier together. 

We invite our brothers and sisters in the Catholic community and all people of good faith to pray and act together with the same conviction of St. Paul.  We are all part of the one body of Christ.  (cf. I Cor. 12.27)  

The immigrants, migrants, refugees and asylum seekers turning to our country for relief from their distress should only serve to strengthen our commitment to be good Samaritans.  Indeed, we continue to advocate for a just and humane immigration reform, as we have for decades.  In particular, the plight of young immigrant people who are Dreamers, of refugees still living under Temporary Protective Status, and of immigrants laboring as “essential workers” must no longer be ignored by Congress.  Most especially, the United States at this time must come to the rescue of Afghans who served alongside our soldiers in that troubled region.  This is a moral imperative of the highest order, and from which we cannot excuse ourselves.

While the troubling gridlock hampering our elected leaders continues to confound us, let us always be aware of our call and responsibility to respond as good neighbors to those who work with us, study with us, and pray with us.  “If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor” (Ps 127:1).  With God’s help, and only with God’s help, we can build thriving neighborhoods, good schools, safe streets and robust economies, and so assert that wider “we” to which our one God and Father calls us.

St. Paul reminds us to never tire of doing the good.  “Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up.”  (Gal. 6.9) The patience of both migrants and citizens has been tried by governmental delays.  Together, let us do what we can, trusting that God “is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us.” (Eph. 3.20)

May the Holy Couple, the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Joseph, pray for us and journey with us as pilgrims seeking the Father’s House where all God’s children may honor and cherish one another in peace.


Holy, beloved Father,
your Son Jesus taught us
that there is great rejoicing in heaven
whenever someone lost is found,
whenever someone excluded, rejected or discarded
is gathered into our “we”,
which thus becomes ever wider.

We ask you to grant the followers of Jesus,
and all people of good will,
the grace to do your will on earth.
Bless each act of welcome and outreach
that draws those in exile
into the “we” of community and of the Church,
so that our earth may truly become
what you yourself created it to be:
the common home of all our brothers and sisters. Amen.

Pope Francis
World Day of Migrants and Refugees message




In 2019, Pope Francis asked that the last Sunday in September every year be celebrated as the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.  In response, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have moved National Migration Week ( ), traditionally celebrated in January, to the end of September (Sept. 20-26).

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