Asylum Seekers! Migrants! Emigrants! Throughout this year we have been hearing so much about peoples on the move. For so long the people of Europe have been emigrating outwards in order to find places of opportunity so that they could establish new lives as farmers, business people, or even to express their faith freely. After a long time of struggling, of living in hardship and of working to integrate themselves into the host cultures, many people made it!
Now, in our time, the situation has become reversed! Now, thousands of people, from other cultures, religions, and languages, are attempting to get into Europe by fair means or foul, while fleeing from religious persecution, wars, natural disasters and so on, to the anguish of many in Europe. Where will we put them? How will we accommodate them? Who will look after them? They will need health, education and social welfare! They will need homes, schools and health care facilities! Will we be able to cope? Will they displace us? There is much concern, there is much anxiety!
Acknowledging that the issue of Migration has become such a dominant reality for many people nowadays, VIVAT Ireland has decided that it’s book of reflections this year will focus on the topic and do so from a Christian and holistic point of view. We herewith offer four reflections about Migration which can be used individually or in a group setting.
In our first reflection, we consider the ways in which environmental degradation effects the lives of the Bofo family in Ethiopia and forces some members of the family to migrate.
Our second reflection speaks of the importance of welcoming the one who arrives as an Asylum seeker. Martha Obeka, Uganda, helps us to open our eyes to her reality and to her need. It is hard for us to imagine people being oppressed in the ways that she was. It would be difficult to say “no admittance” to people in her situation!
Our third reflection tells us about Lili Pujiati of Indonesia and about the brutal reality that is “Human Trafficking”, another gross abuse of human rights in our time, which has become very prevalent in our consciousness. Can we turn a blind eye to people caught up in this predicament?
In our fourth reflection we pray that there be peace on earth and we acknowledge such peace must begin with each one of us. Sr Ann Kelly MSHR illustrates this in her powerful story. In keeping with the recent Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ we affirm the interdependence that does or should exist between humanity and all creatures of the earth and indeed with the earth itself. Disharmony between people, nature and the earth creates upheavals which, in turn, leads to the other problems upon which we have been reflecting.
May our hearts and our minds be opened to the needs of peoples in our world today and to our capacity to overcome those problems which make it necessary for people to run away from their home and from their lands in the first place.
**read the full book of reflections here (PDF)