Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants
Sunday 19 June 2016
The New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference marks a special Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants on a Sunday close to World Refugee Day (20 June). This year, the Day of Prayer falls on Sunday 19th June 2016.
Refugees and asylum seekers have been around for over 3,500 years. But since 2015, the number of displaced people internationally has been greater than it has ever been with 60 million people displaced by war and conflict. For a country like New Zealand, this is more than twelve times our population! In 2015, New Zealand offered to accept an extra intake of 600 refugees over the next three years from Syria alongside our current UNHCR quota refugee programme.
Today, the growing number of refugees is something that we cannot ignore. The New Zealand Bishops Conference has offered support for increasing our refugee intake and welcome to those settling in New Zealand and written a statement on Migration for this year’s Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants and Social Justice Week.
The theme of Pope Francis’ message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2016 is Migrants and Refugees Challenge Us. The Response of the Gospel of Mercy. In his message, Pope Francis encourages us to pursue a culture of encounter:
“Biblical revelation urges us to welcome the stranger; it tells us that in so doing, we open our doors to God, and that in the faces of others we see the face of Christ himself. Many institutions, associations, movements and groups, diocesan, national and international organisations are experiencing the wonder and joy of the feast of encounter, sharing and solidarity”
“Concern for fostering good relationships with others and the ability to overcome prejudice and fear are essential ingredients for promoting the culture of encounter, in which we are not only prepared to give, but also to receive from others. Hospitality, in fact, grows from both giving and receiving.”
Readings for the Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants, 19 June 2016 (Liturgical Year C: 12th Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C):
First reading: Zechariah 12: 10-11; 13:1 …when that day comes, there will be great mourning in Judah, like the mourning of Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo…
Psalm: Psalm 63:2-9 … for you have been my help; in the shadow of your wings I rejoice…
Second reading: Galatians 3:26-29 …there are no more distinctions between Jew or Greek, slave and free, male and female, but all of you are one in Christ Jesus…
Gospel: Luke 9:18-24 …If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross every day and follow me…