World Day for Migrants and Refugees in Seychelles |03 February 2015
Pope’s message, migrants' testimonies higlight day in Seychelles
“Church without frontiers. Mother to all” is the theme of Pope Francis’ message for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2015 to the world.
In Seychelles a ceremony to mark the day was held at the Mont Fleuri community centre last Friday where the Pope's message was explained by Father Louison E. Bissila Mbila and migrants living in Seychelles gave testimonies on their lives and experiences here.
Explaining the reason for such a theme for this year the message reads: “Jesus is ‘the evangelizer par excellence and the Gospel in person’ (Evangelii Gaudium, 209). His solicitude, particularly for the most vulnerable and marginalised, invites us all to care for the frailest and to recognise his suffering, countenance, especially in the victims of new forms of poverty and slavery. The Lord says: ‘I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me’ (Mt 25:35:36).”
“The mission of the Church, herself a pilgrim in the world and the Mother of all, is thus to adore and love Jesus Christ, particularly the poorest and most abandoned; among these are certainly migrants and refugees, who are trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers and every kind. For this reason, the theme for this year's World Day of Migrants and Refugees is: ‘Church without frontiers. Mother to all’.”
“How can we address a world event with a message from one faith as some people may feel excluded,” asked Father Bissila Mbila when summarising the Pope’s message to the audience. He urged all for a culture of acceptance and solidarity instead of one of intolerance to improve the situation of migrants and refugees.
“The Church opens her arms to welcome all people, without distinction or limits, in order to proclaim that ‘God is love’ (1 Jn 4:8:16). From the beginning the Church has been a mother with open heart to the whole world, and has been in the first centuries, the missionary proclamation spoke of the universal motherhood of the Church,” reads the message. It continues by explaining the Church's nature where it begets sons and daughters and ‘takes them in and embraces hem with her love and in her heart’.
Pope Francis’ message ended by asking all migrants and refugees not to lose their faith and hope.
There were also testimonies by migrants living in Seychelles. Though they have had to adapt, which is normal, the majority of migrants living in Seychelles are very happy with their lives here.