DAY OF A MIGRANT AND A REFUGEE
People on way
Fr. Wiesław Wójcik, Director of the Institute of Emigration Pastoral
The Holy Father Benedict XVI suggested reflecting on the following issue on the 99th World Day of a Migrant and a Refugee: ‘Migrations – a pilgrimage of faith and hope’. How important this contemporary phenomenon is for 215 million people living away from their homes, but also important it is for their relatives and families and the whole emigration pastoral ministry. 2 million our compatriots have left Poland recently. Most of them live and work in European countries – 1.7 million of them, mainly in Great Britain and in Germany. We have lost and are still losing young, educated people who do not find work in their own country and are forced to undertake the migration exile. In Ireland over 125 thousand our compatriots live, who are the biggest national minority in this country. Last Year in Sweden Poles became the third foreign group in size. Nearly 73 thousand people born in Poland live there. The record number of compatriots settled down in Holland. Today 108 thousand Poles live there. Emigrants from Poland are accompanied by diocesan priests, monks and nuns. There are still very few of them. Belonging to the Society of Christ for Polonia Abroad, which has been conducting pastoral care in 20 countries for 80 years, I see a need for constant calling to God for new Polonia priests, ‘so that no Pole would get lost abroad’ – as cardinal August Hlond used to say.
The World Day of a Migrant and a Refugee was celebrated in our country under the presidency of the primate of Poland archbishop Józef Kowalczyk, who arrived to the centre of the emigration pastoral ministry of Christ’s priests in Poznań on 13 January. During the Holy Mass he said: - I am glad that I can celebrate the 99th World Day of a Migrant and a Refugee in the General House of the Society of Christ in Poznań. Indeed, this charismatic community was set up by the will of the pope Pius XI in order to provide Polish migrants and refugees with pastoral care.