On December 18, 1990, the General Assembly adopted the international convention on the protection of the rights of migrant workers and members of their families. Migrants often flee their own countries in a desperate search for safety and a way to feed their families. For the most part, they seek stability, safe from fear and intimidation, shelter, food, water and a future of hope. Although they frequently face many obstacles when they settle in a new country, they also contribute culturally, economically and socially to their host country. Globally, migration has become a growing problem, due to wars, drug and gang violence, political oppression, drought and flooding due to climate change, and religious persecution. Rather than welcoming the stranger, many countries have retreated into a globally rising nationalism that demonizes migrants as “the other”, stoking fear, mistrust and hatred leading to violence. International Migrants Day serves to celebrate the movement of migrants and their contribution to world development. Globalization has made the world a much smaller place than it previously was. Humans have always migrated but now they do so much faster and much further, many of whom risk their lives trying to reach a safer land with more opportunities. On this day, we are called to join together to protect the rights of migrants, helping them in their journey and to settle in their new countries in order to find hope and peace.
Holy One, we pray for your protection and blessing on migrants throughout the world. Keep them safe from exploitation and abuse. Help them to find the work, housing, nutrition and healthcare that they need to support themselves and their families. Help us to open our hearts and our homes to welcome the stranger in our midst, in whatever ways we can. Give hope to those who feel lost and hopeless. Give joy to the sorrowing and security to the vulnerable. Most of all, make me a channel of your peace, understanding and love.