Due to the numerous difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pope Francis has decided to dedicate the World Day of Migrants and Refugees to the “the drama experienced by internally displaced persons.”
In union with the petition of the Holy Father, a special Mass for migrants and refugees will be celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception Sept. 27 at 3 p.m. It will be presided by Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and concelebrated with Bishop Jorge H. Rodriguez, other priests and invited representatives from different ethnic groups in the Archdiocese of Denver.
The Mass will be livestreamed through archdiocesan channels and the faithful will be able to join with the aid of a booklet with all the readings and petitions in English, since they will be said in different languages.
An “internally displaced person” is someone who is forced to leave his or her home but who remains within his or her own country.
The drama these people experience is “an oft-unseen tragedy that the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated,” Pope Francis said.
For this reason, his message for this year’s Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees was also extended to “all those who are experiencing situations of precariousness, abandonment, marginalization and rejection as a result of COVID-19.”
“We have heard in our country stories of people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic and consequently have lost their homes – people who live with fear of COVID-19 and do not qualify for medical attention or help from the government,” said Bishop Rodriguez. “In Christian charity and a humanitarian sense, it is necessary and urgent for us to encounter these brothers and sisters and become neighbors to them; helping them navigate the COVID-19 crisis with medical care, with the protection of their homes and jobs, and in any other way that helps them overcome their situation as ‘internally displaced persons’ living in our communities and cities.”
Bishop Rodriguez invites the faithful to join the universal Church in praying for migrants, refugees, internally displaced persons and those harshly impacted by the pandemic.
“I have met families who have been severely affected during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have shared in the suffering of those who have lost a loved one,” he said. “I would tell them the same words Jesus told them: ‘Be not afraid… It is I.’
World Day for Migrants and Refugees Mass
September 27 – 3 p.m.
Livestream: Archdiocese of Denver, Denver Catholic, El Pueblo Católico