#WorldRefugeeDay is a day of action! Through #CatholicRelief, #GlobalCitizen and other organizations, we have the confidence that we can make a difference of people who are suffering from displacement, terror and fear.
If you have read any of my posts you already know that as a result of my 2016 Catholic Relief Services travel to Greece and Serbia to observe the humanitarian work being done for the refugees fleeing Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, I believe we need to be more accepting, caring and hospitable to these, our fellow human beings.
Recently, apparently as a result of my meager efforts on behalf of the refugees, several dear friends of mine arranged for me to receive a Lampedusa Cross. These crosses are hand made in Lampedusa, Italy out of the remnants of boats that have shattered on the rocks at Lampedusa. (There will be more on the history and creation of the crosses in a later post.) Reportedly there are only 3-4 of these in the United States, but who knows.The Lampedusa cross on my desk reminds me that while I have returned to normal life, 65 million people are displaced from their homes, families, countries and lives. When I see it, I am reminded that I have an obligation to those who I met, to speak for them because they have no voice as refugees.
Today is a day for us to all speak up on behalf of refugees but more significantly for us to imagine the unimaginable; that due to disaster, war, persecution and unrest we ourselves are refugees; leaving comfortable chairs, televisions, friends, families and even Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram far behind us in search of safety and protection. Most Americans are incapable of this, we cannot imagine being refugees. Our focus is often on how the healthcare bill with help us, how tax reform might put more money in our pockets, whether the president colluded with the Russians to get elected, or not. Being forced from our homes is simply not in our frame of reference. But in 2001, it wasn’t in the minds of Syrians, Afghans or Iraqis either.
World events and circumstances create refugees and it is our duty is to come to their aid. It is quite simply the moral duty of every person of any nationality, religion or culture. As a Christian, I see it as a pathway to not only peace here on earth and safety for others but as the road to salvation. We can support refugees with our prayers, financial resources and our efforts. Let us take this path, not because it is easy, not because it is convenient but because it is hard and it is right. Peace!