Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee.

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020 was celebrated on 27 September 2020 under the theme chosen by Pope Francis “Like Jesus Christ, forced to flee”. His message for the day continued his previous exhortations to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees with a particular focus on internally displaced persons this year.

In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help (cf. Mt 25:31-46)

Pope Francis, Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2020

This year Pope Francis encouraged everyone to further enhance the dignity of displaced persons by new calls to the following actions as described in each of the video links below.

to know in order to understand

to be close in order to serve

to be reconciled, we need to listen

to grow, it is necessary to share

to be involved in order to promote

to cooperate in order to build

The Justice and Peace Office together with the Nangami Peace and Justice Group of Our Lady of the Way Parish North Sydney and the Jesuit Refugee Service Australia hosted a webinar with the theme “A Time for Grace”. The current coronavirus pandemic has highlighted that this is a time for grace in how Australia treats people seeking protection as the boats have stopped. A video of the webinar is available here as a brief summary of the event on page 6 of our newsletter, Act Justly.

The Diocese of Broken Bay and the Social Justice around the Bay group also hosted a webinar for the day with the theme “Forced like Jesus to Flee”, a video of which is available here.

The Diocese of Parramatta has also created a video that documents the experiences of some people who have sought protection in Australia and those who have assisted them.

The situation of those seeking protection has considerably worsened during the coronavirus pandemic especially due to the lack of any federal government support.

We encourage you to take at least one of the following actions listed below:

Employ someone who is a person seeking asylum or refugee. It is very challenging to find employment. People seeking asylum will be one of the last groups to attain employment. In order to find out more, contact Leonie Dyer (, Employment Coordinator, The Empowered to Work project, which supports people seeking asylum and refugees find work. 

Contact your State or Federal Minister to let them know your views. Write them a letter, request a meeting and sit down and they will listen to you.  For help on how to prepare, contact the Justice and Peace Office:

Connect with a local Social Justice group in your area. There is a lot of great work happening somewhere close to where you live. Contact the Justice and Peace Office who will try to put you in touch with a group close to where you are or assist you to start your own.

Angels Unaware: Image of the sculpture that Pope Francis unveiled in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2019. The Sculpture takes its name from the Bible verse “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” – Hebrews 13: 2