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Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Cover of Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The Church has celebrated the World Day of Migrants and Refugees each year since 1914. This is an occasion for the Church and people of faith to reflect upon the role migration has played in our tradition, express concern for migrants, refugees, and people on the move, and build awareness about the challenges and opportunities migration presents. Read our compilation of World Day of Migrants messages (also available in Spanish). Here you can also find Pope Francis’ 2016 message where he says all migrants are “our brothers and sisters in search of a better life, far away from poverty, hunger, exploitation and the unjust distribution of the planet’s resources which are meant to be equitably shared by all.”

The"Papal Messages of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees" compiled by CLINIC covers the rich history of statements issued by the Holy Father from 1995 to the present.

Download Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (pdf)


Lea nuestra compilación de mensajes sobre el Día Mundial de los Migrantes y Refugiados. Aquí usted también puede encontrar  el mensaje de Papa Francisco de 2016 donde el Santo Padre dice que todos los migrantes son “nuestros hermanos y hermanas que buscan una vida mejor lejos de la pobreza, del hambre, de la explotación y de la injusta distribución de los recursos del planeta, que deberían ser divididos ecuamente entre todos.”

Bajar Mensajes para las Jornadas Mundiales del Emigrante En Español (pdf)


All text is from the Vatican website.


Related CLINIC Resources

Compilation of Catholic Social Teaching Passages on Migration

Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration

About CLINIC's Catholic Identity

Guiding Principles of CLINIC's Work




Compilation of Catholic Social Teaching Passages on Migration

Cover of Notable Quotes document

Modern Catholic social teaching is the body of social principles and moral teaching that is articulated in the papal, conciliar, and other official documents issued since the late nineteenth century dealing with the economic,political, and social order. This teaching is rooted in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures as well as in traditional philosophical and theological teachings of the Church.

CLINIC's "Modern Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration: Notable Quotes" is a compilation of excerpts from the encyclical and conciliar documents that are typically considered core texts, as well as some key teaching documents issued by national bishops conferences and Vatican congregations, which contribute to the ongoing development of Catholic social teaching.

The excerpts in the document are instances that touch on immigration issues. The depth and richness of Catholic social teaching is best understood through a direct reading of these documents.

Download Modern Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration: Notable Quotes (pdf)

This document will be updated periodically. Last updated June 18, 2015



Passages quoted in Modern Catholic Social Teaching on Immigration are from the following sources:

Major Documents

Rerum Novarum (On the Condition of Labor) – Pope Leo XIII, 1891

Exsul Familia Nazarethana (Apostolic Constitution on the Spiritual Care to Migrants) – Pope Pius XII, 1952

Mater et Magistra, (Mother and Teacher) – Saint Pope John XXIII, 1961

Pacem in Terris (Peace on Earth) –Saint Pope John XXIII, 1963

Gaudium et Spes (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) Vatican Council II, 1965

Populorum Progressio (On the Development of Peoples) – Pope Paul VI, 1967

Octogesima Adveniens (A Call to Action) – Pope Paul VI, 1971

Justicia in Mundo (Justice in the World) – Synod of Bishops, 1971

Laborem Exercens (On Human Work) – Pope John Paul II, 1981

Solicitudo Rei Socialis (On Social Concern) – Saint Pope John Paul II, 1987

Centesimus Annus (The Hundredth Year) – Saint Pope John Paul II, 1991

Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life) – Saint Pope John Paul II, 1995

Deus Caritas Est (God is Love) – Pope Benedict XVI, 2005

Sacramentum Caritatis (Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist) – Pope Benedict XVI, 2007

Caritas in Veritate (In Charity and Truth) – Pope Benedict XVI, 2009

Evangelii Gaudium (Apostolic Exhortation on the Joy of the Gospel) – Pope Francis, 2013

Laudato Si (On Care for Our Common Home) – Pope Francis, 2015

Other Papal And Vatican Statements Of Note

Instruction on the Pastoral Care of People Who Migrate – Sacred Congregation for Bishops, 1969

The Church and Peoples on the Move – Pontifical Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, 1978

Refugees are Neighbors – Saint Pope John Paul II, Message for Lent, 1990

Speech of Saint Pope John Paul II to the General Assembly of the International Catholic Migration Commission,1990

Refugees: A Challenge to Solidarity – Pontifical Council “Cor Unum” Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People, 1992

Faith Works Through Charity – Saint Pope John Paul II Message for the 1997 World Day of Migrants.



Related CLINIC Resources

Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration

About CLINIC's Catholic Identity

Guiding Principles of CLINIC's Work



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Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration

Image from Pope Quote Document

Pope Francis has spoken out on immigration issues since the beginning of this papacy.

CLINIC's "Quotes from Pope Francis" is a compilation of select excerpts from Pope Francis' homilies, messages, and teaching documents on immigration issues.


Download Quotes from Pope Francis on Immigration (pdf)


 This document will be updated periodically. Last updated February 11, 2016.


Related CLINIC Resources

Compilation of Catholic Social Teaching Passages on Migration

Papal Messages for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees

About CLINIC's Catholic Identity

Guiding Principles of CLINIC's Work




Justice For Immigrants Lenten Toolkit

Toolkit cover - image of cross in the desert

The Justice for Immigrants campaign, of which CLINIC is a part, has put together this Lenten toolkit (also available in Spanish) for parishes and communities to use during Lent. It offers weekly resources to accompany you through your Lenten journey. The resources are designed to help you reflect on the biblical call for immigration reform, and act to impact our current political reality.

The Lenten Immigration Resources will provide you with stories, scripture readings, prayers and reflection questions for personal use or to share with a group.

We hope you find these tools useful and engage in a Lenten sacrifice of prayer and advocacy to fix our broken immigration system.

Download the 2015 Lenten Toolkit (pdf)

Download the 2015 Lenten Toolkit in Spanish (pdf)

Download a flyer to promote the 2015 Lenten Toolkit (pdf)



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Wendy Rhein

Washington, DC (October 19, 2012) - The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) regretfully announces today the termination of its National Asylee Information and Referral Hotline.  The 11-year-old, toll-free hotline, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), has provided vital information and resources to more than 39,000 asylees since its inception.  ORR did not award funding to renew this project for 2013.    

The asylee hotline, provided by CLINIC and ran in partnership with Catholic Charities Community Services of the Archdiocese of New York, provided one-on-one support to those granted political asylum in the United States. It offered referral services to local refugee resettlement programs in 18 languages.  The hotline operators fielded more than 400 calls monthly from a diverse body of asylees representing about an average of 67 nationalities.

“Over the years the hotline has been an

Wendy Rhein

Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2012)  The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is encouraged by today’s 5-3 Supreme Court decision to strike down three of the four provisions of Arizona’s immigration law that were challenged earlier this year.   

“This decision is a broad affirmation of federal supremacy in the area of immigration, and that is very positive,” said Maria M. Odom, CLINIC’s Executive Director.  “However, the Court’s decision to block several components of the Arizona law does not take the place of much-needed federal immigration reform.   CLINIC’s affiliates throughout the country will continue to work to keep families together and bring a measure of justice to a broken immigration system.”

Though the Court decided that the troubling “show me your papers” provision could not be blocked at this time, CLINIC will continue to monitor pending legal and civil rights challenges to this section, which threatens essential civil liberties and family unity. 

Wendy Rhein

Washington, D.C. (June 20, 2012) The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) is enhancing its legal immigration training courses with an innovative new learning tool: a self-directed online training course.  

This first self-directed e-learning course called “Volunteers Helping Immigrants Become U.S. Citizens: The Naturalization Group Application Workshop,” trains volunteers on the most effective ways they can help immigrants apply for U.S. citizenship.  

“Naturalization is a cornerstone of immigrant integration,” said Maria M. Odom, executive director of CLINIC.  ”Among many things, it creates an opportunity for volunteers in our welcoming communities to work with immigrants who are ready to take the meaningful step of applying for U.S. citizenship. This training is an essential tool for those dedicated volunteers.” 

The self-directed course allows participants to complete the training on their own schedules and in the comfort of their offices or homes.  This free course educates participants on the basics of

Wendy Rhein

Washington, D.C. (June 15, 2012)  The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) welcomes the announcement by President Barack Obama and the Department of Homeland Security that deferred action will be granted to certain eligible undocumented immigrant youth.  Many of these immigrants who entered by age 16 would qualify for relief under the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act.

The new policy will afford work authorization and protection from removal to an estimated 800,000 to 1,000,000 young people ages 15-30.  Often referred to as DREAMers, these individuals came to this country as young children and now seek a better future in this, the only home many of them have ever known. 

Those who qualify, including individuals currently in removal proceedings, will be granted protection against removal as well as work authorization for a renewable period of two years.  This new policy does not confer permanent legal immigration status on the individual.

Wendy Rhein

Austin, TX (May 23, 2012)  - The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) today recognizes the SC Ministry Foundation with its CLINIC Champion award as part of its 2012 Annual Convening.

“We are extremely grateful to the SC Ministry Foundation for its commitment to all immigrants and for its financial support of CLINIC and essential programs serving immigrants across the country,” said Maria M. Odom, CLINIC’s executive director.  “Over the past decade, the SC Ministry Foundation has meaningfully invested in communities and in community programs,

LawLogix and CLINIC have entered into a multi-year partnership to provide immigration case management software to CLINIC’s large and growing network of non-profit legal services providers. Under the terms of the agreement, LawLogix will provide CLINIC affiliates across the U.S. with value added benefits including custom user training and certification programs.  For more on the new pricing discounts and programs exclusively available to CLINIC members and subscribers) and for information on how to become a CLINIC affiliate, click on the aforementioned links in orange.

Phoenix, AZ (PRWEB) February 14, 2012 --LawLogix Group, Inc., the proven leader in Immigration Forms and Case Management Softwareannounced today an exclusive multi-year partnership with Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) to provide immigration case management software to CLINIC’s large and growing network of non-profit legal services providers, the largest network of its kind in the country.

Under the terms of the agreement, LawLogix will provide CLINIC affiliates across the U.S. with special pricing discounts, custom user training, and exclusive certification programs designed to promote best practices for immigration case management through the LawLogix EDGE software

Alabama's anti-immigrant law went into effect in September, causing confusion for nearly everyone in the state, because the law impacts every aspect of life for immigrants and those who interact with them.  CLINIC's State and Local Project created an “Alabama Resource Center” -- a one-stop-shop for updates and materials, including Q&As in both English and Spanish, “know your rights” materials, and analyses of the court's decisions.  CLINIC also matched immigration practitioners with family law experts, so everyone could better assist immigrant parents trying desperately to avoid separation from their children. 


To help CLINIC support advocates working to combat anti-immigrant legislation, click here.

One of the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Pro Bono Project attorneys has made significant inroads to enhance the rights of immigrants with mental disabilities.  Representing a Jamaican immigrant with serious mental disabilities, the efforts of Janet Beck and her students at the University of Houston Law Center contributed to the Board Precedent decision, Matter of M-A-M.  Thanks to Janet Beck and CLINIC, Immigration judges may no longer turn a blind eye to the issue of whether the respondents in their courts understand the proceedings against them.


Click here

to support this and other CLINIC initiatives

Dario feared for his life in his native country, but told no one at the detention facility because he was afraid that the news could get back to his country and put his parents and siblings at risk.  An LOPC staff member explained the concepts of confidentiality and attorney-client privilege to the child’s potential custodian and assured her that the child would be screened by a local non-profit program, at which point the child should not hesitate to speak candidly about his fear of persecution.  The potential custodian said she would encourage Dario to tell the truth to the attorneys at the facility where he was being detained.


To help CLINIC support immigrants like Dario,
click here.

Having grown up in New York, Lutu (age 22), was about to start his final year in college when he was stopped for a minor traffic violation.  Due to his status as an undocumented immigrant, Lutu was taken into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody and paid a $10,000 bond.  Nevertheless, Lutu was rearrested and detained after voluntarily returning to the ICE office.  Thanks to his Catholic Charities attorney and CLINIC’s advocacy efforts, ICE released Lutu and deferred his deportation to Uruguay for a year so that he could complete his college degree in the U.S. 

To help CLINIC support immigrants like Lutu,
click here.

Jessica and Ana (ages 5 and 11) were released into the custody of their uncle, who they had never met before.  The uncle initially refused to let the childrens’ mother see the girls.  When Jessica and Ana eventually went to live with their mother, the uncle refused to give the girls’ immigration court documents to their mother.  The LOPC Project Coordinator referred Jessica and Ana’s immigration claims to an attorney.  The Coordinator also spoke with the uncle, explaining the importance of the girls’ court documents to their immigration case.  Subsequently, the uncle agreed to turn over the court documents to the attorney representing the girls.


To help CLINIC support immigrants like Jessica and Ana,
click here.

Due to political violence erupting in Kenya, Fr. Jamil’s mother was forced to flee her home and rebuild her life.  Fr. Jamil, a Kenyan priest working in the U.S., needed to temporarily return to Kenya to take care of his mother during this time of unrest.   His religious worker visa expired, however, and the delay in processing Fr. Jamil’s visa petition would prevent his immediate return to Kenya.  CLINIC staff attorneys wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security explaining his situation and Fr. Jamil’s visa petition received expedited processing.  He was able to leave for Kenya in two weeks.  Later, Fr. Jamil returned to the U.S. with a new visa to continue his priestly ministry.

To help CLINIC support immigrants like Fr. Jamil,
click here.

A school in rural North Carolina refused to enroll Silvia because her custodian was not the child’s parent or legal guardian.  After the Legal Orientation Program for Custodians (LOPC) staff in Harlingen educated Silvia’s custodian and the school about the child’s right to receive an education, she was eventually enrolled in school.  LOPC staff also referred Silvia's immigration case to local legal aid agencies and reported the school issue to the Charlotte LOPC site for follow-up with the state board of education.

To help CLINIC support immigrants like Silvia,
click here.

Mrs. Gonzalez, an 85 year old grandmother, dreamed of becoming a U.S. citizen ever since she received her green card.  However, she felt intimidated due to her age, her lack of English, and the cumbersome application process.  Catholic Charities staff helped her apply for an English exemption based on her age and long-term residency, helped her prepare for the U.S. history and civics test, and cheered her on at every stage of the process.  She became a proud U.S. citizen in August 2011.


To help CLINIC support immigrants like Mrs. Gonzalez,
click here.


After Margarita’s long battle to win asylum from the abusive father of her children and his fellow gang members, she was able to reunite with her two sons.  Her eldest son is receiving an education she never thought possible because of his learning disability.  She is now on the path to becoming a citizen of the country she is proud to call home.

To help CLINIC support immigrants like Margarita,

click here.

Help Educate Catholics on Immigration Issues

On May 10, 2005, the U.S. Catholic Bishops launched the Justice for Immigrants (JFI) Campaign in an effort to educate Catholics, including Catholic public officials, and other people of good will, about Catholic social teaching concerning immigrants.  The goals of the Campaign are to raise the awareness about the positive contributions of immigrants to our society and to advocate for changes in immigration law.  Congress should provide an orderly and safe pathway for undocumented people to integrate into our society.

We need your help to educate Catholics and others of good will about Catholic social teaching with respect to immigrants.  Please help us change hearts and minds by spreading what we teach: 

  • No person is a criminal in the eyes of God merely for being undocumented.  No good Samaritan should ever be considered a criminal for providing humanitarian assistance to another person in need.
  • All people regardless of their immigration status deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
  • The Catholic Church does not support illegal immigration.  It respects a nation’s sovereign right to control its borders for the common good.  If the laws that control the border do not serve the common good, then they are not fair and just.
  • Catholic social teaching instructs us that people have a responsibility to care for their families.  People have a right to live in their own country.  Yet, if society prevents them from caring for their families due to poverty or other circumstances, then they have a right to migrate to support their family.  If our economy needs these workers to fill jobs that Americans will not take, a fair and just law would allow them to enter legally.
  • People do not want to migrate illegally.  People would migrate legally if they could.
  • Catholics make up 23 percent of the U.S. population.  We are an immigrant nation and an immigrant church.  Immigrants are a positive force for our country.

The JFI Campaign needs your help to raise the awareness among Catholics.  They must see the human face of undocumented immigration and recognize the positive contributions that immigrants, including undocumented immigrants, make to our country.

More info:


We find out more about the devastating human consequences of workplace raids by U.S. Immigration Officials to seek out and arrest illegal immigrants...Listen here

Source (Vatican Radio)