SANTIAGO, Chile – The Church in Chile’s capital celebrated the National Day of the Migrant September 2 with a Mass of Thanksgiving and a charitable collection for the more than one million displaced people who currently live in the country.
In Santiago, Catholics of more than 20 nationalities gathered at Our Lady of Pompeii parish to celebrate the Eucharist and share their traditions. The parish is locally known as the “Latin American parish” because its members hail from many different Latin American countries.
Auxiliary Bishop Cristián Roncagliolo of Santiago presided over the Mass. He noted that the Church “is a migrant people which traverses the world and announces the Gospel, which constantly calls us to conversion.”
The bishop highlighted that in the midst of different charisms, gifts, nations and rites, “the unity of the Church comes through faith – we’re different but we are members of one and the same faith.”
In his homily, Roncagliolo encouraged those present to take up the challenge of working for communion, integration and welcome.
“In Chile in recent years, we have taken in a great number of migrants. For us Chileans, this is not just a sociological issue but an issue of charity, to help our brothers from different parts of the world feel at home,” he said.
After Mass, participants enjoyed more than 20 stands with typical food from different countries, cooked by migrants as a way to share their culture and thank the Chileans who have welcomed them.
As part of the observation of the National Day of the Migrant, a collection was held in all dioceses throughout the country, raising money for the Chilean Catholic Migration Institute, which assists migrants, primarily from Venezuela and Haiti.
The fund-raising campaign will last the entire month of September through online donations.
In neighboring Argentina, the Church commemorated the Day of the Migrant and Refugee September 2 with a call to “welcome, protect, assist and integrate those experiencing this situation.”
The Argentine Bishops’ Committee on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People offered a series of online resources including Pope Francis’s message for the 2017 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, and liturgical suggestions for the day.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.