Vatican joins South American episcopal conferences to assist Venezuelan migrants

 | 
07/05/2018
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According to the International Organization for Migration, hundreds of thousands of Venezuelan migrants have flooded nearby countries in the last two years, in flight of a worsening economic and political climate. 

Now, eight episcopal conferences from South American nations have joined together to compose a pastoral plan to assist the migrants. 

FR. ARTURO SOSA
Superior General, Society of Jesus
“The parishes, the clergy and schools were taking in migrants and began saying, 'How can we improve our way of helping these people?' Above all, the reception is always important, but so too is the other issue of integration into the society where they arrive.”

With assistance from the Vatican's Migrants and Refugees Section, the conferences consulted with frequent places of encounter, using their insight to compile a range of activities and services.

In addition to presenting opportunities, officials also aim to help migrants avoid common mistakes. 

FR. MICHAEL CZERNY
Under-Secretary, Migrants & Refugee Section
“They're lacking reliable information about what are the next steps, the next challenges, how can you prepare for what you need to do as you move along. You also need reliable counter-information to the bad leads, where people are trying to entrap you for trafficking or manipulating for whatever reasons.”

As the collaborators recognize the migrant and refugee crisis is a worldwide phenomenon, they hope this plan will serve as an example for their counterparts in those nations affected. 

FR. FABIO BAGGIO
Under-Secretary, Migrants & Refugee Section
“There are other vulnerable immigrants and places that must not be forgotten. So, in those projects that they're beginning, they should also include that vulnerable person, because regardless of his or her nationality, he or she has a right to aid.”

Pope Francis has called for prayers for Venezuela on numerous occasions and continues to be a strong voice for migrants, most recently in his latest apostolic exhortation. 

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