Categories: Pastor's Desk

This past week I spent numerous hours, with the help of a friend, packing up things in my office at Assumption and moving them to St. Angela. I was impressed by how much I had acquired during my five years here in Windsor. I came from Edmonton with everything packed into my car, plus two large suitcases sent earlier. Now, little by little (from gifts or purchases or the result of meetings, etc.) I have accumulated more: books, papers, clothes, nick-knacks, etc. Some of these things have sentimental value; others just kind of ended up in a drawer or on a shelf or whatever, and ended up at St. Vincent de Paul or in a recycle bin. I moved some things to my bedroom, which remains at Assumption.

This weekend I am conscious of all my “possessions” as the Church celebrates the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. This year Pope Francis chose “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee” as the theme. Bishop Fabbro writes about the stories we have learned from refugees and migrants served by the Diocese of London:

We have learned through their stories that they have come to our country because they were forced, like Jesus, to flee, to find safety for themselves and their loved ones (Mt 2:13). Their lives were turned upside down because of war or political unrest or poverty or environmental degradation, and they had to seek a new home. Some had to leave their country to earn a living, so that they could send support back home to their families. Their stories, in fact, echo the stories of our ancestors who came to Canada in search of a new way of life, a way to support their loved ones. (Letter of 22 September 2020)

I am reminded of how many people flee their homes, their cities, their cultures, everything they know, in search of safety or a better life. They often leave with little more than the clothes on their backs. Some of you reading these words will have experienced it yourself. For others of us, it is our ancestors who have migrated. I often remember how my great-grandmother and her son (my grandfather) arrived in New Orleans on a boat from Palermo with one suitcase and two dollars, coming to join her husband and hope for a better life in Texas. Many of you in our parishes and communities that make up our Family of Parishes could tell similar stories; others came with more “comforts”. Regardless of when or how Migrants and Refugees arrive, Pope Francis encourages us to seek ways to “welcome, protect, promote, and integrate them”.

In this weekend’s gospel passage, Jesus tells us that “the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God” ahead of the self-proclaimed “righteous” people. Perhaps this is an opportunity to review our attitudes of the recently arrived, and to see in what areas they can teach us.

-Father Maurice

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