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 Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

People on the Move

N° 107, August 2008



Address to the holy father 


Cardinal Renato Raffaele MARTINO

President of the Pontifical Council

for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People


Your Holiness, 

We are now at the end of our Plenary meeting and have the grace of this audience with Your Holiness. It is the culminating and most desired moment of these three days of communion between the Members, Consultors, Experts and Officials of our Dicastery. Your willingness to meet with us shows your paternal and pastoral concern for the world’s migrants, refugees and itinerant people.  

The images surrounding your pastoral visit to the United States are still fresh in our hearts and minds. We rejoice at the success that Our Lord Jesus Christ granted Your Holiness on behalf of the Church in America. 

In reminding the people of the United States of their migratory origins, Your Holiness called to mind the importance for all people of faith to be more welcoming of those in need. Along with that, Your Holiness  spoke of family reunification regarding immigrants. 

Turning to an issue that has been addressed many times by Your Holiness and your predecessors,  please allow me to briefly focus on the theme of our discussions, that of the family as it relates to the recognition of our human dignity; two essential aspects of the teaching of the Church. That teaching, based upon mankind’s creation in the image of God, becomes more engaging when we consider our brothers and sisters who find themselves in difficult situations. 

Based on the needs of the family, addressed in recent documents of our Pontifical Council,  we have considered the situation of the family in today’s world. In particular, we have discussed the challenges faced by the families who find themselves, for whatever reason, separated from their homes and homelands.  

The teachings of Your Holiness, along with those of your predecessor, Servant of God, Pope John Paul II, have enlightened us regarding the importance of the family within the Church and within the world. Those teachings have enabled us to better recognize all of the issues that have an impact on the family within the context of migration and movement. One of those, the separation of members of the family, adds particularly to the miseries related to migration.  It cries out for the promotion of the right to reunification. 

I am referring, Your Holiness, to all migrants, refugees and itinerant people, including students in foreign lands, truck and transport drivers, seafarers and fishers, gypsies, airport workers and flight personnel, street children and women, and the homeless, tourists and pilgrims as well as circus and amusement park workers. Particular attention was also given to mixed marriages which give rise to opportunities for intercultural dialogue and communion in the face of and in response to the break up of migrants’ and itinerants’ families. Those discussions have renewed our zeal for greater pastoral care and concern for the family in situations of mobility.

Your Holiness, these issues continue to guide our thoughts and concerns. The result of our  reflections and prayer in these past days has strengthened us, through the gift of God’s grace, to cooperate more fully in the tasks that lie ahead.  

We ask you to bless all people on the move. Their numbers are a sign and commentary of the world today. We humbly ask that you also bless us, that our efforts will help to further the pastoral care of the Church.