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Catholic charities want people to hear migrants' stories


  • Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, speaks about "Sharing the Journey," a campaign that will begin in late September to encourage people to meet with and listen to migrants and refugees. Roy was interviewed July 27 in his Vatican office. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)
  • Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis, speaks about "Sharing the Journey," a campaign that will begin in late September to encourage people to meet with and listen to migrants and refugees. Roy was interviewed July 27 in his Vatican office. (CNS photo/Robert Duncan)

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VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- No matter the position one takes on national migration policy, Pope Francis, Caritas Internationalis and national Catholic charities across the globe want Catholics to meet a migrant or refugee and listen to his or her story.

In late September, Pope Francis will launch the "Share the Journey" campaign, a two-year program of Caritas Internationalis to promote encounters between people on the move and people living in the countries they are leaving, passing through or arriving in.

Meeting migrants and refugees and listening to their stories -- and having them listen to the stories of people in their host communities -- mean the walls people have erected in their minds and hearts should begin to fall, said Michel Roy, secretary general of Caritas Internationalis.

"You may be afraid of migrants as a large group of people coming in, but when you meet a migrant, then you have a different vision," he said July 27. Listening to their stories makes it clear that "they are human beings, they are human beings who have suffered much; they've left a situation where they could not live anymore because of violence, conflict or just because of misery."

"Once you understand the story of the person, then you will have a different attitude," he said.

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