Church embraces, cares for those seeking ‘home,’ safety, says Pope Francis

Pope Francis shakes hands with Father Leonir Chiarello, superior general of the Scalabrinians, more formally known as the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, during an audience at the Vatican Oct. 14, 2023. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service

[Vatican City – CNS] – The Catholic Church is open and maternal to everyone, especially migrants, seeking a home and safe harbour, Pope Francis said.

“Let us be clear: migrating is not a pleasant pilgrimage in communion; it is often an ordeal,” he told members of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo, also known as the Scalabrinians, a religious order dedicated to ministering, materially and spiritually, to migrants and refugees.

“And this is precisely where your spirituality comes in: how do you dispose your heart toward these brothers and sisters? With the support of which spiritual path?” the pope asked during an audience at the Vatican Oct. 14. Members of the congregation had been in Rome for a symposium on spirituality Oct. 9-14.

Throughout history people have migrated by every means possible, and today “we could add boats, TIRs (International Road Transportation trucks) and barely seaworthy vessels,” he said.

But the destination is always the same: “Jerusalem, the city of peace, the Church, the home of all peoples, where the life of each is sacred and precious,” he said.

For St. Scalabrini “this Jerusalem is the Catholic, that is, universal, Church; and she is such because she is ‘mother,’ because she is a city open to anyone seeking a home and a safe harbor,” he added.

The saint had “an enlightened and original vision of the migratory phenomenon, viewed as a call to create communion in charity,” and he saw “missionaries of migrants as cooperators of the Holy Spirit for unity,” the pope said.

Pope Francis asked that they continue to “cultivate hearts that are rich in catholicity, that is, desirous of universality and unity, of encounter and communion” as well as “to spread a mentality of proximity,” which is “a spirituality, a mindset of care and welcome, and to make ‘the civilization of love’ grow in the world.”

He also encouraged the missionaries to deepen their “relationship of love with Jesus,” especially through the Eucharist, “celebrated and adored.”

Silent adoration in front of the Eucharist is important, he said. “The modern mentality has taken this sense of adoration away from us a little bit. Rediscover it, please, rediscover it.”


© OSV News / Our Sunday Visitor, Inc. 2023 – from CNS Vatican bureau, used with permission