Great Jubilee News

Vatican Prepares Jubilee for Migrants 

VATICAN ( -- As he briefed reporters in Rome on plans for the Jubilee of migrants and itinerant workers, Bishop Stephen Fumio Hamao observed that the Catholic Church has always been mindful of the welfare of migrants.

"To the Church, no one is a stranger," noted the Japanese-born president of the Pontifical Council for Migrants. That council coordinates Church efforts to help refugees, migrant workers, diplomats working overseas from their homes, and tourists and other travelers.

Today, the Pontifical Council pointed out, "migratory movements touch every continent, and nearly every country." Msgr. Francesco Gioia, the secretary of the council, reported that "nearly 1 person in every 120 around the world is a refugee or a homeless person." That number should roughly be doubled in order to provide an estimate of the number of homeless people living within the borders of their own countries, he added. Bishop Hamao said that hostility toward foreigners remains an important problem. "We are concerned by the movements opposed to immigrants," he said. "We hope that the Jubilee will be an occasion for going beyond racism and exaggerated nationalism." The Jubilee for migrants will culminate with a special Mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II in St. Peter's Square on June 2. The Pontifical Council anticipates that 40,000 people will attend-- including 8,000 native Filipinos who now live in Europe.