World Day of Migrants and Refugees: CCCB Will Publish a Pastoral Letter on Immigration and the Protection of Refugees

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According to the 2001 census, close to one in five Canadians were born outside the country – the highest this rate has been over the past 70 years. In 2004, Canada received 235,824 newcomers from a number of countries, of whom 14% were refugees.


Being an alien or transient is the reality for 2.9% of the world population today. At least 175 million men, women and children are estimated to be living outside their country of origin; this includes economic migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.

On Sunday, 15 January 2006, the Catholic Church throughout the world will celebrate the World Day for Migrants and Refugees, a day intended to heighten pastoral concern for immigrants and refugees, whose numbers are continuously on the rise.

To help the Christian community reflect on migrant and refugee issues, and to highlight the celebrations that will take place on 15 January, the Episcopal Commission for Social Affairs of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will launch a pastoral letter early in the new year on immigration and the protection of refugees, entitled: “We are aliens and transients before the Lord our God.

The pastoral letter outlines the current situation facing migrants and refugees throughout the world and in Canada. It also describes a number of the injustices confronting refugees and immigrants, including separation of families, human trafficking, and poverty. The pastoral letter reaffirms the stance of the bishops that the need for recourse to church sanctuary, as a last resort to avoid deportation, highlights significant flaws in the Canadian refugee system.

Lettre pastorale sur les migrantsThe Social Affairs Commission recalls that the Church must continue to raise its voice to defend the human dignity of migrants and displaced persons wherever they may be, and contribute to changing current policies which threaten their rights. The pastoral letter reminds all Christians of their duties and responsibilities toward migrants and refugees. Their presence “is a sign of the Risen Christ. When people of different origins are welcomed, God is revealed: ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me.’”

Dioceses, parishes and groups are invited to request copies of the pastoral letter (in English or in French) from the Office of Justice, Peace and Missions of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at:

Phone: (613) 241-9461, ext. 133; 
Fax: (613) 241-9048;
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


For More Information Contact:
Sylvain Salvas
Director, Communications Service
Tel: (613) 241-9461
Fax: (613) 241-9048
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Last Updated on Thursday, October 05 2006  
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According to Statistics Canada the number of Catholics is close to 13 Million or 44 per cent of the country’s total population.