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St. Scalabrini: Father to the Migrants

He felt that migration is a human need and a human right. During his time, he forcefully urged governments to intervene with laws to regulate migration and to protect migrants on their long and perilous journey from departure to arrival. He spoke up against migration agents, calling them “dealers of human flesh,” because they were taking advantage of the poor with empty promises and misleading information.

He undertook two visits to the Americas: in 1901 to the United States, he met with many bishops and spoke with President Roosevelt; in 1904 in Brazil, he urged civil and religious authorities to protect migrants within their territories and encouraged his missionaries to truly be and live like migrants with migrants.

In a letter to Pope St. Pius X written from São Paulo, Brazil, he urged the pope to make migration a priority for the Universal Church. He wrote:

“Whether migration is good or bad is not a concern what is important is that migration is happening and it must be dealt with creatively.”

Noting that there was no common policy in dealing with migrants, he asked the pope to set up a central congregation in Rome for the protection and pastoral care of all Catholic migrants throughout the world.

Today, once again history repeats itself and migration is a very hot topic. It is also an ongoing tragedy and an urgent historical priority. The blood of the migrants is not overlooked by Jesus who said: “I was a stranger and you did not reject me, but you welcomed me and took me in your midst.” (Mt 25:43)

Happy Solemnity of St. J. B. Scalabrini to all.

 May St. Scalabrini intercede for us.


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