The Holy See
back up

 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 101 (Suppl.), August 2006






Archbishop Agostino MARCHETTO

Secretary of the Pontifical Council 

for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People



I. Changes

The Cardinal President

The event that distinguishes this period more than anything else is the conclusion of the term of office of Cardinal Hamao as President, a year after the submission of his resignation, with its acceptance by His Holiness Benedict XVI and the nomination of his successor, His Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, who retains his Presidency of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace. “For the time being” – as the letter of nomination says – the two Councils are united “sub unico Capite”. This formula may signify a planned reform of the Roman Curia. If so, we hope it would consider the specific nature of the “pastoral care of human mobility”, which encompasses for us - as you know - concern for nine different Sectors. So our gratitude and prayers go to His Eminence Cardinal Hamao with our good wishes for many more years of active service to the Church, and our warm congratulations, good wishes and prayers to Cardinal Martino for his increased responsibilities and service in our midst.

New Members and Consultors

Our Dicastery of the Roman Curia has also been enriched by the appointment of new Members, chosen by the Pope from residential Bishops. They are their Excellencies

- Precioso D. Cantillas, SDB, Bishop of Maasin, Philippines;

- Lino Bortolo Belotti, Auxiliary Bishop of Bergamo, Italy;

- Jean-Luc Brunin, Bishop of Ajaccio, France. Welcome among us!

The following have also been confirmed as Members of our Council:

- His Eminence Cardinal Georg Maximilian Sterzinsky, of Berlin, Germany, and

- His Eminence Cardinal Adam Joseph Maida, of Detroit, USA; 

and Their Excellencies

- Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzarán (Yucátan, Mexico);

- Anselme Titianma Sanon (Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso);

- Ramón Benito de la Rosa y Carpio (Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic);

- Szilárd Keresztes (Hajdúdorog, Hungary);

- José Sánchez González (Sigüenza-Guadalajara, Spain);

- Pierre Molères (Bayonne, France);

- Béchara Raï, OMM (Jbeil of the Maronites, Lebanon);

- Salvatore Boccaccio (Frosinone, Italy);

- Petru Gherghel (Iaşi, Romania);

- Nicola De Angelis, CFIC (Peterborough, Canada);

- Nicolas A. DiMarzio (Brooklyn, USA) and

- Patrick J. Harrington, SMA (Lodwar, Kenya).

Msgr. Guerino Di Tora (Rome, Italy) has also been re-confirmed as Consultor, while the following have been appointed as new Consultors:

- Commodore Christopher York (Great Britain);

- Mr. John Lloyd Sackey (Ghana);

- Mr. José Roberto Zepeda (Australia);

- Dr. Rolando G. Suárez Cobián (Cuba);

- Mrs. Margret Bretzel, MSS (Germany);

- Mrs. Alžbeta Koválová (Slovakia);

- Mrs. Brigitte Proksch (Austria) and

- Dr. Chiara Amirante, Italy.  

To all of them our warm congratulations and good wishes.

As you see, there are now laymen and laywomen among our Consultors; that is a source of satisfaction to us.

Staff members

On 24 August 2005 Pope Benedict XVI nominated our Under-Secretary, the Very Rev. Father Michael Blume, SVD, as Apostolic Nuncio in Benin and Togo, while on 2 February this year his Holiness raised to the episcopate our Head of Office, Msgr. Anthony Chirayath, as Eparch of Sagar of the Syro-Malabar Church.

Moreover, during the last two years, a new Official has joined our permanent staff, the Rev. Father Gabriele Bentoglio, CS, in charge of the Migrants Sector. 

II. The Thought and the Work of the PCPCMIP 

The thought (we are, after all, a think tank) and the vision that inspires our work have been further developed over these last two years, in particular during the preparation and holding of meetings, especially at the regional and world level, organized by or with the participation of various of our Sectors, as also as a result of the presentation and diffusion of Messages of the Holy Father relating to human mobility. The publication of the “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Gipsies” should also be mentioned; I will come back to this later.

I wish here, however, at least to mention briefly the most significant events and aspects concerning the pastoral care of people on the move, since the time at my disposal precludes me from giving a more comprehensive account. For a more complete coverage the relevant volumes on the “Attività della Santa Sede” can be consulted: the one published in 2005 and the one due to be published this year. 

Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Foreign (International) Students

One result of our 16th Plenary Session was the fact that the Cardinal Secretary of State, with his Letter of 14 October 2004, communicated the positive response of the Superior Authority to the suggestion made by our Dicastery for the celebration of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on a fixed date, namely on the first Sunday after Epiphany when its celebration is shifted to the Sunday following 6 January, and on the second Sunday after Epiphany when this is celebrated on that date.

The Pope’s Message for the 91st World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2005), on the theme “Cultural integration”, was presented by the Cardinal President, Archbishop Secretary and Very Rev. Under-Secretary of the Pontifical Council at a press conference in the Holy See’s Press Office on 9 December 2004.

The title of the 1st Message of Benedict XVI for the 92nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2006), issued on 18 September last year, was also significant: “Migrations: a sign of the times”. It too was presented in the Press Office on 28 October, with interventions and comments by our Cardinal President and Archbishop Secretary. The whole documentation was published in our magazine People on the Move XXXVII (2005), No. 99, pp. 51-86.

The Migrants Sector dedicated special attention to ecclesial, cultural and socio-political formation, taking as its basis the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi (EMCC). The events in which we participated in this context can be listed as follows: the 8th Plenary Assembly of the Federation of the Asiatic Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) at Daejong, Korea; the meeting of national Directors for Migration of some Bishops’ Conferences forming part of CELAM at Luján, Argentina; the meeting of the Commission of the CCEE for Migration and the European National Directors for the pastoral care of migrants at Mechelen, Belgium; the Symposium of Bishops of Africa and Europe, organized jointly by SECAM and by the CCEE, at Rome; the meeting of the Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions (assembly of CELRA) in the same capital; a meeting of the Irish Bishops’ Commission for Migration in Dublin, with a follow-up at the University of Limerick; the annual assembly of the Commission “Migratio” of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference at Lucerne; the 32nd Portuguese national Migration Week at Fatima; the “Festival of Peoples” in Rome; the meeting of Deans and Chaplains for Migrants, and of professors and students at the Seminary of the archdiocese of Westminster in London; the general assembly of the Documentation and Studies Service (SEDOS) of the Religious Congregations with missionary activities, in Rome; and, in the same capital, meetings with members of religious congregations, seminarians and lay students of the University of Salzburg’s Faculty of Theology, and on the occasion of the Conference held by SIMI (Scalabrini International Migration Institute)in Rome.

The EMCC was also disseminated, and its guidelines explained, among various movements, associations and groups in Italy, at Rome, Asiago, Tarcento, Lignano Sabbiadoro, and at the International Centre of Missionary Animation of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

Other activities involving the Sector, held in 2004, were: 

the seventh international meeting on migration, held at Loreto (Italy); the introductory session of the national meeting of diocesan directors and collaborators of the Migrantes Foundation in Chianciano (Italy); a round table held by the International Association “Political Charity”, in Rome; a conference in the parish of San Valentino Martire, also in Rome; and a solemn Eucharistic Concelebration of the “Sentro Pilipino” (Philippine Centre) in the Basilica of Saint Mary Major; the meeting on “Religions and culture: the courage to forge a new humanism” in Milan; and the celebration in Rome for the Latin-American community in the Italian capital, on the occasion of the Day of Migrants and Refugees in Italy.

In the civil sphere, we should also mention our participation, again related to the EMCC, at the following meetings: the conference entitled “Living together in the city” in Bologna (Italy), organized by the City Offices on the general theme “Immigration and life together in European cities”; the 9th annual conference of the Italian Society of International Law (SIDI), in Rome; the conference “Islam and Peace”, again in this capital city, promoted by the Mediterranean Observatory of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the regional meeting for Europe of the Global Commission on International Migration (GCIM) in Budapest (Hungary); the “Bern II” Conference in the Swiss capital, convened by the Swiss Government, in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM); the meeting organized by the US Embassy to the Holy See, in Rome; and another one called by the Italian Ministry of Equal Opportunities, again in the Italian capital. 

The task of disseminating and explaining the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi has also continued in 2005. In this regard, in chronological order, we call to mind various appointments with the Bishops’ Conferences and Episcopal Commissions for Migrations, like the one in Malta, and others, and that is, at the Andinian-Hispanic Symposium, in Quito; at the 6th regional conference of Chaplains and Pastoral Workers for Filipinos in Europe, in Loreto; at a workshop in Trivandrum (India), organized by the Commission for Migrants and Itinerant People of the aforementioned Latin archdiocese, with the presence of Malabarese and Malankarese representatives; and at a meeting with the Clergy and Pastoral Agents of the Archdiocese of the Mother of God, in Moscow.

We should also recall the world meeting of Portuguese communities in Porto; the first meeting for the Congregation’s Sisters working in the area of migration, organized by the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul in Paris; the National Conference for Chaplains and pastoral agents of migrants and refugees, in Sydney; the training course of the Socio-political Commitment Group at Bassano del Grappa (Vicenza); the meeting of the “Circolo di Roma” on “Migrants in the Church and in the World”; the seminar on “Intercultural integration: a challenge for Christian Europe”, again in Rome; and two conferences at the “Fundación Barrié de la Maza”, in La Coruña (Spain). We should further mention two other events for the promotion of migrants in Rome: the meeting on “Migrant Women”, promoted by the International Association of Political Charity, in the context of the “New Feminism”; and an awareness-raising and formation course for the pastoral care of Italians in the world, promoted by the Migrantes Foundation; and two conferences for the participants in the annual course of the International Centre of Missionary Animation (run by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples).

During the first months of the present year, the President and Secretary of our Pontifical Council have also had occasion to continue the intensive activity of presenting the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, in various contexts: at the 87th ordinary assembly of the Peruvian bishops in Lima; at the seminar promoted by the “Mar Thoma Fellowship” in Rome; at a round table organized by the “Centre Culturel Saint-Louis de France”, also in Rome; at a meeting in Vicenza; and at the Pontifical Spanish College and Pontifical Philippine College, both in Rome.

The migratory situation on the frontier between Mexico and the USA should also be recalled. The Holy See and the Catholic Church in Mexico and in the USA have repeatedly expressed their concerns on the matter. For my part, I expressed my worries in this regard in two interviews, one on the radio, the other on television, given to two leading Mexican networks.  

Lastly, we point out with satisfaction the publication of the first volume of the new series of Quaderni Universitari, with commentaries on the EMCC. The issue is dedicated to “The Church’s Solicitude for Migrants”, and published by the “Libreria Editrice Vaticana”.

To mark the first anniversary of the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, we published a special issue of our review People on the Move (No. 98, August 2005), with commentaries by experts, and an article in “L’Osservatore Romano”. The latter was repeated this year.

As regards the Refugees Sector, we may recall the participation of the Pontifical Council in various events relating to this field: at three meetings of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva; at the meeting of the workgroup “Exodus” in London; at a study day on the trafficking of human beings organized by the Pontifical Gregorian University and the US Embassy to the Holy See and at a conference at the same University on religious liberty; at the 55th session of the Executive Committee (EXCOM) of the Programme of UNHCR in Geneva; and a visit to the Association “DORAS Luimni” in Limerick (Ireland).         

During 2005 we also participated in the annual conference of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa, held at Windhoek (Namibia) from 15 to 21 May. The meeting focused on the scourge of AIDS among refugees, asylum seekers and displaced persons. A long pastoral visit of solidarity was also made to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The Pontifical Council conducted its pastoral mission, as usual, in the specific sector of the defence of the dignity and rights of refugees, offering its collaboration to civil institutions to this end. In this regard, we should recall in particular our active cooperation with efforts to curb the trafficking of human beings, a field that we are following with growing attention and commitment, also at an inter-sectorial level, due to the grave violations of the dignity, freedom and integrity of those who fall victim to it.

Last year the Pontifical Council once again made its contribution to the activities of the Institutions of the International Community, through our presence at the UN High Commission for Refugees in Geneva: in particular at the 32nd and 33rd meeting of the relative Standing Committee, at the 56th session of the Executive Committee (EXCOM) of UNHCR, and at the 5th session of the Forum convened as part of the initiative Convention Plus

This year the Pontifical Council once again attended the 35th meeting of the Standing Committee of the UNHCR (Executive Committee).

As regards the pastoral care of Foreign (International) Students, contacts continued with the main organizations involved in this field, in particular in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Poland, Spain, the USA and Switzerland. Special mention should be made here of the Service of European Churches for International Students(SECIS), and its meetings held in Amsterdam in July 2004 and in Rome in 2005. 

Nor should we forget the meeting on Foreign Students in Italy, in December of the same year, promoted by the Catholic Office for Foreign Students in Italy (UCSEI). On 10 September we received a visit from a group of foreign students of the KAAD (Katholischer Akademischer Ausländer-Dienst) in Germany, accompanied by two Professors. In November 2004 we visited the Catholic University Chaplaincy in Oxford (Great Britain), on the occasion of the welcome given to the icon of the “Sedes Sapientiae”, during its pilgrimage to various European campuses. 

The most significant task of the Sector in 2005, however, was the preparation and realization of the 2nd World Congress for the Pastoral Care of Foreign (International) Students, held in Rome, on the theme “Foreign students and the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi”. It was attended by some sixty representatives of 20 countries and of various religious congregations, ecclesial movements and organizations, and also enjoyed the presence of the fraternal delegates from the Anglican Church and the World Council of Churches, as well as of a Lutheran Observer. The final communiqué of the meeting is already available on the website of the Holy See, while the proceedings will be published in People on the Move. The communiqué has also been sent to the Presidents of the Bishops’ Conferences, to our Members and Consultors, and to the Ambassadors to the Holy See. We participated in the 4th European Day of University Students, here in Rome, in the presence of the Holy Father, on 11 March 2006.

The Secretary of the Pontifical Council also participated in the international meeting on university pastoral care at Cologne, in the context of World Youth Day. The theme of the meeting was: “The presence of the Church in the universities, in Leiturgia, Diakonia and Martyria: reality and vision”.

Pastoral Care of Tourism and Pilgrimages

As usual, the Pontifical Council disseminated the Pope’s Message for the World Day of Tourism, promoted by the World Tourism Organization and celebrated on 27 September. In his Message for the 25th Day, on the theme Sport and Tourism: two living forces for mutual understanding, culture and the development of societies, John Paul II had stressed that tourism needs to be fostered on the basis of the supreme principle that must govern human co-existence, namely, respect for the dignity of each person, as underlined by the Social Doctrine of the Church. The Cardinal President and Archbishop Secretary of this Pontifical Council presented the Papal Message at a press conference in the Press Office of the Holy See, and then in a series of articles and interviews.

The next Message had as its theme “Travel and transport: from the imaginary world of Jules Verne to the reality of the 21st century”. It points out that the dream of tourism without frontiers is gradually being realized, and prefigures, in some sense, a system of international relations based on the principles of truth, freedom, justice and brotherhood. 

A key event in the activities of the Sector in 2004 was the preparation and holding of the 4th European Conference held at Kevelaer, Germany, on the theme Ecumenism of Holiness. Pilgrimage at the start of the Third Millennium. The proceedings were published in our magazine People on the Move XXXVII (2005), Supplement No. 97. 

In 2005 our efforts in this Sector were concentrated on the preparation and holding of the 2nd Asian Congress for the Pastoral Care of Pilgrimages and Sanctuaries, held at Seoul (South Korea) on the theme “Pilgrimages and Sanctuaries, gifts of the God of Love in Asia today”. To mark the occasion the Asian Association of Rectors of Sanctuaries and Directors of Pilgrimages was established; its members initially comprise the representatives of the 14 nations present at Seoul, who appointed a Coordinator.

Our Pontifical Council also participated in various events linked to the pastoral ministry of tourism in 2004, namely: the ecclesial meeting – of which it is co-responsible – held in conjunction with the Borsa Internazionale del Turismo (BIT) in Milan, on the theme Tourism: driving force in the struggle against poverty, for the creation of jobs and for social harmony; the world congress of BITS (International Office for Social Tourism); the celebration marking the centenary of the Pius X Dolomites Social Tourist Centre at Borca di Cadore; and the international meeting promoted by the Christian Russia Foundation and by the Synodal Theological Commission of the Patriarchate of Moscow (at Seriate, Bergamo), with the presence of its President, His Beatitude Filaret of Minsk. Archbishop Marchetto addressed the meeting on the theme Ecumenism of Holiness – Pilgrimage at the start of the third millennium. The Pontifical Council also took part in the inauguration of the exhibition Popes posing for portraits – from the Renaissance to John Paul II, held in Rome, on the initiative of the European Centre of Tourism and the municipal authorities of the capital; in the celebration atMáriapócs (Hungary)of the centenary of the third miracle of the lachrymation of the Icon of the Mother of God venerated atthe Marian sanctuary there; and in the 34th European Day, held in Rome again, on the initiative of the above-mentioned European Centre of Tourism and the City Offices of Rome. 

In 2005 we were once again present at the ecclesial meeting Borsa Internazionale del Turismo, held in conjunction with the international tourism trade fair, in Milan, on the theme “Places of the Spirit, places of the new man. Promoting a tourism that attracts”. Archbishop Marchetto also participated in a book presentation at the Cultural Centre of Saint Louis de France in Rome.The book in question was Les pélerinages dans le monde à travers le temps et l’espace, by Jean Chélini and Henri Branthomme.The Secretary also discussed it in the problematic context of the Christian roots of Europe. The final part of his address was dedicated to an analysis of recent ecclesial teaching on pilgrimages and shrines.

Archbishop Marchetto, as representative of the Pontifical Council, also participated in World Youth Day in Cologne. He gave two catecheses on this occasion, dedicating one to the specific theme of pilgrimage, icon of the journey of humanity as a pilgrim, in the quest for a single family, in peace. 

We were also present at the General Assembly of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile), at Rome (of which the Pontifical Council is an Associated Member). 

This year too we participated in the International Tourism Trade Fair (BIT) in Milan. The theme for reflection at our meeting held in conjunction with it was Tourism, sharing the values of the world: from tourist globalization to cultural globalization. Archbishop Agostino Marchetto gave the opening address. He also spoke on The Church in response to tourism, sign of the times at the national meeting organized by the Italian Bishops’ Conference, held in Viterbo in March 2006. One of our representatives also gave an address on Leisure time seen from outside (i.e. from the various continents) at the seminar on the pastoral care of tourism and free time in France, held at Anglet, in the diocese of Bayonne.  

Among other events in the early months of 2006 we may further recall our presence at Ischia and at the 14th national meeting of pastoral theology, held by the Opera Romana Pellegrinaggi, in which we underlined the necessary link between pilgrimage, evangelization, human mobility and language, in the context of the theme of the meeting, and that is, “the languages of pilgrimage”. We were also present at the 25th European Exhibition of Tourism, in Rome, on the theme “The Cross, a symbol of faith and art for humanity”.

The publication of the Bulletin of the Pastoral Care of Tourism, Pilgrimages and Sanctuaries, in four languages (French, English, Italian and Spanish), also permitted the Pontifical Council to maintain contacts with its own correspondents and to keep them updated on documents published, and activities conducted, in this specific pastoral field in various parts of the world.

Apostolatus Maris

Two meetings at the regional level were held in 2004: the first for South-East Asia, at Cebu (Philippines), with the inauguration of a new “Stella Maris” centre (the 110th in the world), and the second at Rio de Janeiro, for the countries of southern and central America. The latter marked the revival of the Apostolatus Maris (AM) in Latin America, where many problems beset the sector, not least the ever more marked presence of the sects that are gaining ground in “frontier ministries” (the apostleship of the sea is one). 

The Pontifical Council was also present at the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of “Stella Maris” in Augusta, as part of the celebration of the Week of the Sea; at the annual meeting of the AM of the USA, with the participation of a large number of chaplains of cruise ships, and at a meeting of the Apostleship of the Sea of England and Wales. 

Also in 2004, a start was made to giving a higher profile to the celebration of “Maritime Sunday” and “World Maritime Day”, organized by the OMI, which also chooses its theme. John Paul II, during his corresponding Angelus address, asked, in this regard, for greater justice and respect for the dignity of people of the sea. It was the first time a pope had done so. 

Following a meeting with a delegation from “Costa Crociere” at the Pontifical Council, moreover, we came in contact more closely with the reality of cruises, which is the sector that is at present enjoying the greatest expansion in the maritime industry.

Strengthened by the experience gained at Auckland (New Zealand), in 2003, on the occasion of America’s Cup, we established contacts with the Archdiocese of Valencia, the city currently hosting the regatta, and with the Archdiocese of Marseilles, where the first “manche” of the race was held. Our aim in doing so is to prepare a pastoral plan to provide spiritual help to the participants in this important event, and their families, also with a view to raising the awareness of AM in the world of yachting. 

The annual meeting of the regional (continental) Coordinators of AM was held in January 2005. It was followed by that of the International Committee of the AM for Fishing, for the most part dedicated to the disaster of the tsumami that dealt a particularly severe blow on artisan fishermen in Asia. The decision was then taken to create an AOS Tsunami Fund. In confirmation of our commitment to tsunami relief, the Secretary of this Pontifical Council took part in a round table on International solidarity after the tsunami held in Lyon on the occasion of the meeting “Peoples and Religions”, organized by the St. Egidio Community last year.

During the meeting of regional Coordinators, a delegation of AM in England and Wales presented an important project for an AOS International Website; it had been preceded by lengthy dialogue with the Superiors of our Dicastery. The website will contain all information concerning the various sub-sectors of the apostleship in question: fishermen, seamen, cruises and yachting. 

In the course of 2005, five meetings at the regional level were also held with our participation (at Taiwan for South-East Asia; at Progreso, in Mexico, for North America; at Port-Louis, Mauritius, for the Indian Ocean; at Brisbane for Oceania and at Chennai, in India, for the Indian sub-continent). 

As far as meetings at the national level are concerned, we were present at the national congress of the Italian AM, at Rocca di Papa (near Rome), and at the meeting of the AM of England and Wales, now combined with that of Scotland, in London. 

As usual, the Pontifical Council issued a message for the celebration of Maritime Sunday, in July. World Maritime Day, called by the OMI, was celebrated on 29 September 2005, with the theme “International maritime freight: driving force of world trade”. To mark the occasion, the Holy Father addressed a short message “to all who work at sea” in his Angelus address of Sunday, 25 September 2005. 

As already mentioned, we have ascertained – and this is a positive development – an increase in the pastoral concern of Chaplains and national Directors for the pastoral care of cruise ships, which now represent 12% of the maritime industry. The Pontifical Council therefore held a meeting attended by representatives of the countries most involved in the phenomenon, namely, USA, Italy, Spain, France and Great Britain. It was then decided to combine the various Manuals for the training of cruise Chaplains, prepared in some countries (we are engaged in this at the moment), to ensure they have a fairly uniform formation. Our hope is that it will also be possible to formulate a kind of “Code of Conduct”. 

During 2005, our Pontifical Council also cooperated with International Organizations dedicated to the welfare of seamen. This explains, e.g., our presence at the general meeting – at Chennai, India – of the International Committee for Seafarers’ Welfare with the aim of creating infrastructures in the region. Representatives of the Government, Churches, and other NGOs had been invited to attend. The ICSW is the Organization that coordinates the distribution of funds for development in the various regions.

The activity of the Apostleship of the Sea in 2006 also began with a meeting with the Regional Coordinators. We should emphasise here the considerable efforts being made and the encouraging projects being implemented in Latin America, as also the contacts we have made in the Persian Gulf to promote the pastoral care of the seafaring world in the region. Difficulties, on the other hand, are being encountered in Eastern Europe, Oceania and Southern Africa. The meeting of the Regional Coordinators was followed by a meeting of the International Committee of the AM for Fishing, during which the commitment made by the AM to aid fishermen in the disaster-stricken zones was gratefully acknowledged.  

During the meeting a start was also made to the preparation of the next World Congress of the AM due to be held in Gdynia. Its theme will be “Solidarity with the People of the Sea. Witnesses of Hope with the Word of God, Liturgy and Charity”. The congress will be pastoral in nature and examine the spirituality of Apostolatus Maris and its dedication to the maritime world.

We should recall, lastly, that the Sector has published – as usual – a quarterly News Bulletin in four languages, reporting on various activities, projects and missions pertaining to maritime pastoral care.

Civil Aviation Apostolate

Over the last two years, I wish to point out first of all an inquiry conducted on airport chapels, with particular reference to the Eucharistic celebration and the presence of the Blessed Sacrament in these. The very interesting results were communicated to all Chaplains and published in our magazine People on the Move [XXXVI(2004), No. 94, pp. 81-95],in the form of an article with the titleThe Spiritual Heart of the Airport (results of an inquiry). A second part was published in No. 97[XXXVII (2005), No. 97, pp. 77-88].

The events promoted by the Pontifical Council in this field, last year, also included the 12th International Seminar of Catholic Chaplains and Pastoral Agents in Civil Aviation, held at Sacrofano (Rome). The seventy-five participants from forty-one international airports in four continents discussed the theme “The Eucharist: source and culmination of the life and mission of the Church”, in the context of airport chaplaincies. Another important and closely related question tackled at the meeting was that of “Permanent Deacons, Ministers of the Eucharist: origin, role and importance of the permanent diaconate in the airport ministry”. The seminar’s conclusions are published on our website.

In these last months our work in this sector has been concentrated on the preparation of the 5th European Seminar of Catholic Civil Aviation Chaplains and Chaplaincy Members, scheduled to be held in Wroclaw, Poland later this month.

I would lastly recall that, following the nomination of Msgr. Chirayath, Ms. Nilda Castro is now in charge of this Sector.

Apostleship of the Road

An important programme was inaugurated with the realization of the 1st International Meeting for the pastoral care of street children, held in Rome in October 2004. The final document, released to the press and sent to all Bishops’ Conferences and Embassies to the Holy See, met with a positive response. The proceedings of the meeting have already been published in People on the Move [XXXVII (2005), Suppl. No. 98] and also in our website.

As a sign of this new openness to those who live on the street, as well as to motorists and all those who work on the roads to offer them service, the “Christmas lunch of solidarity” was held in the Basilica of San Lorenzo in Lucina, in Rome, in 2004. The less fortunate, and those without any fixed dwelling, were invited to this lunch and assisted by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. 

In 2005 efforts in this Sector were mainly concentrated on the preparation and holding of the 1st International Meeting of Pastoral Care for the liberation of the women of the street, held here in Rome with a high participation and extensive coverage in the mass media. The final document, released to the press, and likewise sent to all Bishops’ Conferences and Embassies to the Holy See, met with a positive response. The proceedings of the congress will be published this year, while the final communiqué is already available on our website.

The Pontifical Council has also sponsored, in this context, the short film “Ballerina”, which will be produced by the Cooperative Society “L’IMMAGINE”, and a programme on road safety (“Vacanze coi fiocchi, da’ un passaggio alla sicurezza”), promoted by ANIA, Foundation for Road Safety; the latter forms part of our traditional field of pastoral care for motorists.

In this regard, the so-called Lineamenta, in view of the Guidelines for the apostleship of the road, were sent to you last year, preparatory to their publication. The document consists of four parts: the first directly concerns road and rail mobility, while the other three concern street children, women of the street and those without fixed abode.

John Paul II, in his Angelus of 26 June 2005, made an appeal for prudence on the part of holiday makers preparing to travel by car to the various resorts. Benedict XVI, on the occasion of the European Day of road victims, made a similar appeal, after the Angelus of 20 November.

Meanwhile preparations are going ahead for the 2nd International Meeting of the Pastoral Care of the Road on the theme “On the road of sustainable mobility”, due to be held in Rome on 1-2 December this year. Consideration will also be given to railways and motorway services. There will also be a presentation of the apostolate among “inhabitants of the street” (children, women, tramps). With regard to street children, those who participated in the congress two years ago have been contacted again, for a necessary follow-up. 

Some brief studies and news items regarding the Apostleship of the Road, compiled by this Sector, have been published during this period in the News Bulletin of the Tourism, Pilgrimages and Sanctuaries Sector.


Reflecting our concern for nomads, representatives of the Pontifical Council took part, after the last Plenary, in various national and international events during 2004, namely: the biannual meeting in Assisi, promoted by the national Office for the pastoral care of Roma and Sinti (UNPReS) in Italy; the inauguration of the first chapel for Gipsies in Italy at the Sanctuary of Divine Love near Rome, dedicated to the gipsy martyr, the Blessed Ceferino Jiménez Malla; and the 8th national meeting of the pastoral care of nomads in India (PACNI), at Bhopal. 

Still in 2004, an inquiry was conducted on translations of biblical and liturgical texts in gipsy languages, in response to a request made during the 5th world congress of pastoral care for gipsies. The aim of the survey is to achieve a better preparation of the Liturgy and catechesis by adapting them more closely to the values of gipsy culture. The results of the inquiry, based on an evaluation of the replies and a classification of the texts sent to the Pontifical Council, are valuable and have been published in an article in our magazine People on the Move [XXXVII (2005), No. 97, pp. 89-102].

To promote the pastoral care of gipsies, this Pontifical Council participated in various national and international meetings in 2005, and maintained regular contacts with delegates for this pastoral care in various countries. In this regard we may mention our presence at the following events: at the 9th annual conference of the pastoral care of nomads in India (PACNI), held in Bhopal; at the celebration in the “open-air church” dedicated to the Blessed Ceferino at the Sanctuary of Divine Love (near Rome), to mark the beginning of the year of religious formation among Sinti and Roma in the diocese of Rome; and at the recent meeting of the CCIT in Augsburg.

In this context, we are pleased to report the nomination of Mr. Léon Tambour as Representative of the Catholic Church at the European Forum of Roma and Travelling People, at Strasbourg.

The process of preparing the “Guidelines for the Pastoral Care of Gipsies” has been completed. Sign of the Church’s genuine concern for them, the document sets out a specific pastoral ministry that pays particular attention to their culture. It was published at the beginning of 2006, dated 8 December 2005, and presented in the Vatican’s Press Office. It will be published in six languages in the supplement of number 100 of our review People on the Move

Lastly I wish to recall that, following the departure of Msgr. Chirayath, Sister Alessandra Pander is in charge of our Sector of Nomads and Circus People.

Circus and Fairground Workers

Among the events promoted in 2004 we may recall the international congress held in Rome; eleven years had gone by since the previous congress. The theme was Welcoming Circus and Folk Show People – From Diversity to a Friendly Co-existence of Differences. The proceedings of the congress have recently been published in People on the Move [XXXVII (2005), Suppl. No. 99].

The Pontifical Council was also present at some significant events for the pastoral care of circus people, fairground workers and travelling show people, that is, at the 12th Annual Conference of the Apostleship of Circus and Fairground Workers in Sarasota (USA); in a series of visits at Cremona; at the Italian National Meeting for the Pastoral Care in Circuses, Fairgrounds and Folk Shows at Carvaggio; and at the 30th Annual Meeting of the International Catholic Committee for Gipsies at Tepté (Czech Republic). 

Another aspect of our work worth mentioning are the visits paid

I will limit myself to mentioning only the more important visitors to our Pontifical Council, namely, Mrs. Jennifer Mitchell, of the US Department of State (Human Rights and Legal Affairs); the Ambassador of the OSCE in Bosnia and Herzegovina, accompanied by his Assistant and by the Secretary of the Embassy of the USA in Italy; the Assistant Minister for Population, Migration and Religious Affairs of the Mexican Government; a member of the Swedish Commission Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation; the Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization, Dr. Francesco Frangialli, accompanied by an aide and by Franco Vitale, Director General of the Italian Tourist Board; Archbishop Marco Dino Brogi, Apostolic Nuncio in Egypt, who briefed us about the granting of a site to the Catholic Church for the construction of a chapel for tourists in the Egyptian seaside resort of Sharm El-Sheikh (an initiative proposed and supported by our Pontifical Council); Archbishops Paul Richard Gallagher, Apostolic Nuncio in Burundi, and Ivo Scapolo, Apostolic Nuncio in Bolivia; Msgr. Giovanni F. Brugnaro, new Permanent Observer of the Holy See at the World Tourism Organization; the Ambassador of Mexico to the Holy See, Mr. Javier Moctezuma Barragán and the Mexican Minister Miguel Angel Vilchis, to prepare the visit of the Mexican Foreign Minister. 

With regard to Pontifical Representatives we have prepared the Instructions for some forty of them at the start of their mission. We have also received visits from some forty representatives of the Episcopates on their ad limina visits to Rome.

Having reviewed up to this moment the activities and thought of the Pontifical Council, in relation to the various sectors of our activity, I now wish to emphasise the importance we have attached in recent times to

Cooperation within the Roman Curia

After the general presentation of the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, an informal meeting of Secretaries or Under-Secretaries of the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia was convened in our offices in October. 

Various letters were then drafted, jointly with other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, aimed at raising the awareness of the various components of the People of God about the phenomenon of migration, and encouraging them to derive suggestions and guidance from the new Instruction for the pastoral care of migrants. The Congregations involved in this consultation were those for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, for the Evangelization of Peoples, for the Oriental Churches and for Catholic Education. In addition, in consultation with the Pontifical Council for the Laity, the Letter to Catholic International Associations on the pastoral care of migrants was sent to those concerned.

Another instance of cooperation within the Roman Curia was the fact that on 20 July, His Eminence Cardinal Hamao, together with the Secretary and some Officials of the Pontifical Council, met Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, President of the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace, and Bishop Giampaolo Crepaldi, Secretary of the same Council. The meeting gave rise to a memorandum for the meeting of Apostolic Nuncios of Africa, on the question of migration. Another meeting between the two Councils took place on the subject of Uganda, a country visited by Cardinal Martino in his efforts to promote the cause of justice and peace.  

Again in the context of cooperation within the Roman Curia, our Pontifical Council took part in the meeting in Rome organized by the Pontifical Council of Culture on “Where is your God? The Christian faith faced by the challenge of non-belief and religious indifference”. The President also attended the 1st World Congress of ecclesial organizations operating for justice and peace, organized by the competent Pontifical Council. 

A meeting between the President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, His Eminence Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, and our then Under-Secretary was held at the Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace.

We also presented to the Pontifical Council Cor Unum a draft to update the document “Refugees, a challenge to solidarity”, published jointly with Cor Unum in 1992. It was then decided, however, to draw up an entirely new text rather than proceed to a simple revision of the former document with the addition of new parts, as Father Blume had suggested. A new start is therefore now underway.

Our Under-Secretary also intervened, with particular reference to the phenomenon of migration, at the meetings of the inter-dicastery Group on Islam, coordinated by the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue.

We also participated in the International Theological Colloquium, promoted by the aforementioned Pontifical Council, in the Vatican, in January 2005, on the theme “Resources for peace in traditional religions.” Our Dicastery was also present at another Colloquium promoted by the same Council, held at Mödling (Vienna) in September, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Nostra Aetate.

Other meetings in which we participated were one convened by the Secretariat of State with Dr. A.M. Costa, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), who presented a report on “Crime and development in Africa”, and one on Catholic NGOs.  

Another aspect of our work worth underlining is its

Ecumenical dimension 

Repeatedly recalled by the Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi, and which has a growing impact on our pastoral practice. 

In this perspective, the Secretary received the Anglican Archbishop Emeritus of Adelaide (Australia), with special responsibilities for migrants in the Anglican Communion. He also received Mrs. Maria Aranzazu Aguado, Consultant of the Catholic Church at the “Mission and Ecumenical Formation Team” of the World Council of Churches. We also had a working lunch with the members of the Delegation of the World Methodist Council.

On 20 December 2005, the Archbishop Secretary gave a lecture in Moscow on “A reading of Vatican Council II with particular reference to the Russian Orthodox Church”, towards a sound conciliar hermeneutic. He was invited by the Orthodox Theological Commission of the Patriarchate of Moscow, in whose seat the lecture was given, in the presence of some qualified members of the said Commission. On that occasion, he also presented our Pontifical Council and referred to our Instruction Erga migrantes caritas Christi.

An Official from the Pontifical Council also formed part of the Catholic Delegation that participated in the World Conference on Mission and Evangelization, convened by the “World Mission and Evangelism” Commission of the World Council of Churches (Athens, from 9 to 16 May 2005), and, some time later, the same Official, gave a lecture on “Ministry of the Catholic Church to migrants” during the annual meting of the Synod of the Anglican diocese of Europe, held in Rome.

As far as the Apostleship of the Sea is concerned, the person in charge of the Sector took part, as usual, in the meetings of the executive committee of the “International Christian Maritime Association” (ICMA) and in its 9th World Conference. 

The Apostleship of the Sea was also represented, among the delegates of the ICMA, at the 93rd International Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, at which discussion focused on two drafts for new Conventions: one on the mercantile marine and the other on fishing. Unfortunately the ILO failed to adopt that relating to fishermen, which would have “covered”90% of all the personnel employed in the fishing sector at the world level; it is a matter of regret that some of the world’s poorest countries also failed to vote in its favour. 

We should recall the visit paid by a delegation of Norwegian Lutheran pastors to our offices and our participation in a meeting of the “Exodus” workgroup at Sacrofano (Rome) in April last year; the workgroup brings together associations, NGOs and chaplains in the airport sector, of various religious confessions, united by a common desire to understand, and find suitable solution to the problems relating to the presence of asylum seekers and detainees in the transit zones of European airports.

The Pontifical Council also participated in the 37th annual conference of the International Ecumenical Association of Chaplains of Civil Aviation (IACAC), held at Seattle (USA) in September 2005, and in the Forum of the Christian Organizations for the Pastoral Care of Circus and Fairground Workers, twice in 2005 and once at the beginning of this year. 

Lastly, at the ecumenical level, we should point out – as already mentioned – that two fraternal delegates took part in the 2nd World Congress of the Pastoral Care of Foreign Students, namely Rev. Dr. Richard Burridge, representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and Dr. Gary Vachicouras, Delegate of the World Council of Churches (WCC). A Lutheran Observer was also present.

Another aspect of our work worth underlining is that of 

Collaboration within the Church

We may begin by mentioning the meetings, here in Rome, with the members of the executive of the “Comité Catholique contre la faim et pour le développement” (CCFD), our special cooperation with the Catholic International Commission for Migrations (CICM), and our participation in several of its meetings. As part of this traditional collaboration, Archbishop Marchetto opened the meeting of the CICM’s “Executive Committee”, held in Rome from 25 to 27 of last November. 

I would also recall our participation in the meeting on the theme “The Day of the Risen Lord. Life for the Churches and peace for the world”, in a debate on “Immigration and ecumenism. The presence of immigrants [in Italy] of other confessions and the new pastoral problems”. We were also present at a meeting on “Inter-religious dialogue in the intercultural context” in Piacenza.

To mark the Centenary of the death of the Blessed Giovanni Battista Scalabrini, Archbishop Marchetto concelebrated at the Eucharist presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, in the church of SS.Ambrogio e Carlo, in Rome, on 30 January 2005.

We received in our offices a delegation of “Secours Catholique-Caritas France” and later on of Caritas Internationalis. We participated in the 7th Congress of Migrations held at Subicke Toplice, in Croatia, promoted by the Commission for Migrations of the Council of the European Bishops’ Conferences. It devoted particular attention to nomads. 

We may further recall our presence at the Inter-Regional workshop on anti-trafficking, promoted by Caritas Internationalis, as well as at another Caritas conference. We also participated in the celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Jesuit Refugee Service

Lastly a few remarks on

Our means of social communication 

The review of the Pontifical Council, People on the Move, has appeared regularly, with various supplements in which we decided to publish the proceedings of our various congresses to ensure they would not be scattered. The magazine also contains the texts of the Pontifical Messages for the World Day of Tourism and for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees and articles, documentation and reports. We have reached the 100th issue of our review this year, and that is no small achievement. We published in it indices covering nos. 51 to 99, thus completing what was already done for the first 50 issues. The review’s scientific value and ease of consultation is thus enhanced.

Our website (under the heading “Pontifical Councils” on romana was further extended and updated in 2005 – a process still ongoing, in a systematic way, sector by sector, though with some difficulty, due to lack of personnel. The site also contains the calendar of our “activities”, a list of our publications, and the entire contents of People on the Move, with obvious advantages.

Our own computerized system of internal communication, or Intranet, functions within our Office: a network that links our personnel, facilitates the exchange of information and documents, and permits the electronic storage of letters and the consultation of a “virtual library” of common interest to all our Sectors. 

III Thinking of this “Plenary”

At the 16th Plenary in May 2004 we discussed on dialogue, principal instrument of our Pontifical Council to ensure that the various categories of people on the move “be offered effective and appropriate spiritual assistance in the local Churches” (Pastor Bonus, 150 §1). This dialogue should be established in the first place between the particular Churches of arrival and departure of migrant and itinerant people, and also between these Churches and the many people who arrive or depart for various reasons. It goes without saying that the members of other religions, not least our Muslim brothers and sisters, should be involved in such dialogue.

So the choice of the theme of this year’s Plenary is natural enough. It is “Migration and itinerancy (the two realities that together encompass the pastoral concern of our Pontifical Council) from and towards countries with an Islamic majority”. 

According to an already tried and tested formula, after two reports providing an introduction to the general situation, we will hear speakers whose papers are related to each of our Sectors, respecting the from and towards of the theme. These sectors deal with various categories of people on the move, i.e. migrants for economic reasons, refugees and asylum-seekers, foreign students, seafarers, air travellers, people who live on the streets, nomads, tourists and pilgrims. You will also find in your folders photocopies providing useful additional material.

We will then try to draw some conclusions, assessing various suggestions to improve the existing situation, with particular consideration for Africa, a continent that deserves all our attention.

The aim of this dialogue, which has become plural in nature – as I said two years ago –, is therefore Finalized, among other things, at ensuring that: 

●        “those members of the faithful who, on account of their way of life [of mobility], are not adequately catered for by the ordinary pastoral ministry of the parochial clergy or are entirely deprived of it”(Christus Dominus 18) feel accepted and understood;  

●        these individuals, or groups, are enabled to make their contribution to the community in which they are living and to the local Church; 

●        the more stable communities understand the particular needs of their “guests”, and so develop a sense of solidarity both towards them and towards others in similar circumstances elsewhere in the world;

●        people with fixed residence in the community, and those in transit, work amicably together to realise a culture of cohabitation, mutual understanding and peace, in respect for the human rights of each; 

●        we learn to conduct a more critical analysis of the historical events that we live through, those that condition mobility, and help in this way to formulate a policy and pass legislation aimed at ensuring a just regulation of mobility and the protection of those involved in it, together with everyone.

Of course the dialogue to which our Plenary session is being devoted does not just concern the Church ad intra. It has a wider purpose: it would also like to furnish guidelines, indications for just mediation, regarding the ways of tackling modern challenges, including that of inter-religious co-existence, in respect for the rights and duties of each. The objective is reciprocity, in the way we defined it in EMCC, that is, “not merely as an attitude for making claims but as a relationship based on mutual respect and on justice in juridical and religious matters. Reciprocity is also an attitude of heart and spirit that enables us to live together everywhere with equal rights and duties. Healthy reciprocity will urge each one to become an ‘advocate’ for the rights of minorities when his or her own religious community is in the majority. In this respect we should also recall the numerous Christian migrants in lands where the majority of the population is not Christian and where the right to religious freedom is severely restricted or repressed” (No. 64). The aim of this reciprocity is to achieve a civil cohabitation in societies that are becoming more and more intercultural and multi-religious, and thus contribute to the establishment of world peace.

Lastly I entrust to you the synthesis, in Italian, of the annual reports for 2005, sent in to us by the National Episcopal Commissions for Migration. From this document, in conjunction with my own report, you will see the changes, thought and work of the local Churches, which have responded to our appeal to supply us with information to enable us to learn about and assess how, at least in part, the pastoral care of human mobility in the world is proceeding in the world. We are grateful to all those who have contributed to this. 

Let us try to ensure – and for this we pray – that the experience of these days together, by sharing our thoughts and reflections – i.e. by entering into dialogue together – may inspire the mission entrusted by the Pope to our Pontifical Council, and also the life of the particular Churches from which we come. May it help us walk along the road of a cohabitation that is ever more respectful of human rights, and of the Gospel. May it foster peace in the world and lead finally to the civilization of love. Thank you.