The Winter 2019 General Meeting of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference called on all Catholic parishes and communities to welcome and assist refugees in their local areas in light of the Gospel message. For Catholic communities who are able to be more proactive in terms of practically assisting with the accommodation and integration of refugees.
Bishops welcomed the Apostolic Letter by Pope Francis, published on the first Sunday of Advent, on the meaning and importance of the nativity scene. In it he reminds us:
‘By being born in a manger, God himself launches the only true revolution that can give hope and dignity to the disinherited and the outcast: the revolution of love, the revolution of tenderness. From the manger, Jesus proclaims, in a meek yet powerful way, the need for sharing with the poor as the path to a more human and fraternal world in which no one is excluded or marginalized.’
People long for God and his love, and so they need angels “in flesh and blood who draw near to dry tears, to say in Jesus’ name, ‘Do not be afraid,’” the pope said.
“Evangelizers are like angels, like guardian angels, messengers of good who do not deliver ready-made answers but share life’s questions” and know “the God of love” is needed to live, he said.
“And if, with this love of his, we were able to look into the hearts of people who, because of the indifference we breathe and the consumerism that flattens us, often pass before us as if nothing were wrong,” the pope said, “we would be able to see the need” for God, their search for everlasting love and their questions about the meaning of life, about pain, betrayal and loneliness.
The persecution of Christians in Iraq has led to “many thousands” of Muslims converting to the faith in the country, according to the newly appointed archbishop of Mosul. Chaldean Archbishop Najib Mikhael Moussa, a Dominican and Mosul native appointed to the formerly ISIS-occupied archdiocese in January, said that “many thousands of Muslims discovered the Person of Jesus Christ” after the “kind of violence” Christians faced there — persecution that led the faithful to become “stronger and stronger” in their faith.
“Yes, we lost everything except our faith in Jesus Christ,” Archbishop Moussa told participants at the Second International Conference on Christian Persecution in Budapest.
“We’re sowing a seed,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, “giving the persecuted what they need and getting back from them the Christian faith, love and persistence.”