Migrants Mass, Westminster Cathedral, 5 May 2014
Bishop Patrick Lynch, the Catholic bishop with pastoral responsibility for migrants, has celebrated the “tremendous contribution that migrants make to our Church and our society” at a special Mass in Westminster Cathedral on the Feast of St Joseph the Worker.
Bishop Lynch, Chair of the Bishops’ Conference Office for Migration Policy, spoke in his homily of the dedication of migrant workers to our national institutions such as the National Health Service.
As well as praising their skills and expertise, he also lauded migrant workers’ willingness to take on low paid and sometimes dangerous work in the domestic service industry and similarly in the agriculture and fishing industries.
Bishop Lynch quoted Pope Francis’ recent document Evangelii Gaudium in which the Holy Father encouraged society to ‘overcome paralysing mistrust and integrate those who are different’.
“We cannot accept the attitude of some who criticize migrant workers especially from Eastern Europe but at the same time are willing for society to benefit from the hard work and very often the low pay of migrant workers on the other. In today’s first reading we are reminded that we are all made in God’s image and we are all called to cooperate with God in building a better world together. It is important, therefore, that we continue to create a society that is fully integrated both socially and culturally.”
After commending the ‘immense’ contribution migrants make to the life and prayerfulness of the Church, Bishop Lynch concluded by highlighting the difficult situation faced by many thousands of undocumented children – the children of ‘irregular migrants’:
“Many have been born in this country or have lived nearly all their lives here. They seem to be caught between conflicting policy agendas – namely the protection of children’s rights on the one hand and the enforcement of immigration control on the other. I would ask the Government to look as a matter of urgency at possible proposals which might provide effective and workable pathways for undocumented migrant children to have their legal status regularised.”
You can download the full text of Bishop Patrick Lynch’s homily by using the link in the top right hand corner of this page.