Bishops of Bolivia, Chile and Peru: In the skin of the migrant and refugee

The IX Meeting of Triple Border Bishops ended in Tacna with a message of hope for migrants and encouragement for those who discover in them the suffering face of Christ. The Pope urges them to commit themselves to the “fight for a society that does them justice and respects their dignity.”

Vatican News

The IX Meeting of Bishops of the Triple Frontier that took place in the Peruvian city of Tacna, from June 18 to 21, concluded with a declaration where the bishops indicated that “it is extremely important to involve the entire Church in a process of awareness of the forced migration, getting into the skin of the migrant and refugee.”

Francisco: Don’t lose hope

Dozens of pastoral agents—lay men and women, religious men and women, priests—together with the border bishops of Bolivia, Chile and Peru, opened the work – a note from ADN Celam reports – with words of encouragement from Pope Francis read by the bishop of Tacna, Monsignor Marco Cortez Lara:

“I thank my brother bishops and pastoral agents who care about migrants. The I encourage them not to stop discovering and wiping in each one of them the suffering face of the suffering Christ, every time they are forced to abandon their land when they find no other way out, facing multiple risks and tribulations of a hard path and not always filled. Thank you for committing to them in their fight for a society that does them justice and respects their dignity.”

In the letter addressed to the bishop of Tacna, Francis also directs his thoughts to all migrants, encouraging them to “never lose hope for a better future, and to put their trust in the God of mercy who is not indifferent to the suffering of his people.” children, rather, he always shows his concern, his closeness and a deep tenderness.”

“God walks with his people”

This IX Triple Frontier Meeting had as its theme “And, Who is my neighbor? (Lk 10, 29), a question that, as the bishops explain in their final declaration, Pope Francis answers in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2024, “God walks with his People” by encouraging us to see in the migrants “the face of the suffering Christ, every time they are forced to abandon their land for economic and socio-political reasons.”

In the current context of the triple border, the bishops analyze, considering the long process of years of forced migration, “we witness the discouragement of so many people, of groups that return without prospects, of single women with children, of families in great precariousness. ”. The declaration, however, emphasizes that, despite the effective collaboration between the dioceses and public powers, the situation is increasingly challenging: “precarious urbanization and the ‘taking’ of land, irregularity and the criminalization of migrants and refugees, the irregular market of ‘false processors’, among others”

“In harmony with Pope Francis who calls us to walk in a spirit of synodality and communion, we seek to listen to the cries of the migrants who transit through our territories,” the bishops’ message reads.

Very close to us

“We reaffirm, therefore, our support for the commitment assumed 20 years ago and the effort that continues to be undertaken by pastoral agents, as ‘good Samaritans’, in their work in the complex field of human mobility. We thank God for the dedication of collaborators and volunteers who act in so many initiatives for the good of migrants and refugees. In fact, as recognized by Cardinal Michael Czerny, prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development, our horizon is to generate the culture of encounter in ‘the shelters and care centers on the three borders’, and ‘it is extremely It is important to involve the entire Church in a process of awareness of forced migration, getting into the shoes of the migrant and refugee,’” the bishops express in the final declaration.

Bolivia, venue of the next meeting

This year, the IX Triple Border Meeting had as special guests Monsignor Lizardo Estrada Herrera OSA, general secretary of CELAM and Cuzco auxiliary, and Monsignor Jaime Villarroel, president of the Episcopal Commission on Human Mobility (Venezuela). The border bishops who participated in the event were: Monsignor Marco Antonio Cortez Lara, Tacna and Montegua; Monsignor Ignacio Ducasse Medina, Archdiocese Antofagasta (Chile); Monsignor Moisés Atisha Contreras, San Marcos de Arica (Chile); Monsignor Tomás Carrasco Cortez, Calama (Chile); Monsignor Cristóbal Bialasik SVD, Oruro (Bolivia); Monsignor Juan Carlos Asqui Pilco, auxiliary of Tacna and Monquegua and apostolic administrator Chuquibamba Prelature (Peru); Monsignor Jorge Carrión Pavlich, Puno (Peru).

The next Meeting of Triple Border Bishops will take place in 2026 in Bolivia.

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