Refugee Office

Syrian refugees arrive in early May at a camp on the border in Royashed, Jordan. (CNS photo/Jamal Nasrallah, EPA) 

Moving quickly to strengthen the Section for Refugees and Migrants in the new Vatican department for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Pope Francis has appointed as under secretaries a Canadian Jesuit, Michael Czerny, and an Italian member of the Scalabrini Fathers, Fabio Baggio. The Vatican announced the appointments on Dec. 14. Father Czerny emphasized that the department will work directly under the pope on what has become “one of the most important and urgent human phenomena of our times,” the movement of people across the globe. “There’s hardly a place on the planet which is not touched by this phenomenon,” he said. He described the role of the section for “refugees and migrants” as that of “accompanying” people on the move from war zones, poverty, economically depressed areas and ethnic zones, as well as addressing the xenophobia that is spreading in many countries. This new office “touches all the dimensions of human experience” of people who are on the move for whatever reason, he said.

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