Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo, regional coordinator of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican's Dicastery of Integral Human Development, speaks March 11 at SS. Cyril and Methodius Parish in Sterling Heights, Mich., during the Detroit Archdiocese's annual Lenten Symposium. (CNS photo/Mike Stechschulte, The Michigan Catholic)
DETROIT (CNS) -- Msgr. Anthony Figueiredo's mission to the United States is of the utmost importance to the Vatican: to be the pope's ears on the ground.
Visiting the Archdiocese of Detroit for the annual Holy Trinity Apostolate Lenten Symposium March 11, Msgr. Figueiredo's role in the Vatican's Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development means he has the task of speaking with local bishops and Catholic leaders about what is being done, and what more can be done, in support of refugees and immigrants seeking safety in the United States.
The new dicastery was formed by Pope Francis Aug. 31 and took effect Jan. 1, bringing together the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum, Migrants and Travelers, and Health Care Ministry.
Msgr. Figueiredo said the councils were combined to create the new dicastery to answer to the needs of thousands of migrants, refugees and victims of human trafficking, who are being forced from their homes.
"The department does not wish to be an action center, but rather look at the whole phenomena of migration and refugees," Msgr. Figueiredo said in an interview with The Michigan Catholic, Detroit's archdiocesan newspaper. "It's in our bones to migrate; it's part of human history."
Msgr. Figueiredo cited a U.N. report stating there are as many as 78 million refugees in the world today, and as many as 244 million migrants and refugees all together.