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Migration is certainly a complex issue evoking a range of feelings and opinions. No matter where one falls on the spectrum the one thing we all can and should do is pray.

The website of the United States Bishops offers a series of petitions to be considered during prayer services during National Migration Week. We invite you to re-visit this post daily for the next week and spend a few moments in personal prayer about one of these petitions concerning migrants, slavery, refugees, and government officials.

Migrants

  • For all bishops in our Church, that he may be encouraged by our prayers and support to lead God’s people in building a culture that respects the human dignity of all migrants, we pray to the Lord,
  • For all Catholics, that God inspire them to take action in their local communities to support and protect migrants and to advocate on their behalf, we pray to the Lord,
  • For unaccompanied migrant children, that God protect them on their journey and safely reunite them with their families, we pray to the Lord,
  • For our neighbors, coworkers, friends, fellow Christians, and all people, that they may grow in their awareness of the issue of migration and become a voice in the public square calling for greater protections for these populations, we pray to the Lord,
  • For migrant workers, that they may labor in safe and just conditions, and that we who benefit from their labor may be truly grateful for what they provide, we pray to the Lord.
  • For migrants, refugees, and all other strangers in our midst, that they may find strength in our concern for justice and feel the warmth of our love, we pray to the Lord.

Slavery

  • For Pope Francis, that our Heavenly Father may gift him with deep wisdom as he calls the Church to struggle against the evil of human trafficking, we pray to the Lord,
  • For all bishops in the Church, that they continue to be leaders in the fight against modern day slavery, both domestically and abroad, we pray to the Lord,
  • For our priests and deacons, that they may boldly proclaim Church teaching on human dignity and the Church’s teaching on human trafficking, we pray to the Lord,
  • For our religious brother and sisters and all the lay faithful, that God inspire them with the continued commitment to fight the evil of human trafficking, we pray to the Lord,
  • For everyone who is trapped in a situation of slavery, that God will help to liberate them from their chains, we pray to the Lord,
  • For perpetrators of slavery, that they repent of their evil ways and turn to God for forgiveness, we pray to the Lord,

Refugees

  • For the bishops, that they will continue in their commitment to refugee resettlement and provide in their communities a place of welcome, we pray to the Lord,
  • For all refugees who are forced to flee from their homes, that God bring peace to them and their country of origin, we pray to the Lord
  • For refugees in Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere who are experiencing great suffering, that God might bring them to a place of peace and safety, we pray to the Lord
  • For refugee children, who have been separated by their family due to circumstance or death, that God will provide his protection, we pray to the Lord,
  • For an end to all strife and persecution that gives rise to refugee crises, we pray to the Lord,

Government Officials

  • For the President of the United States and all government leaders: that they continue to work tirelessly to end the bane of slavery that continues to exist in our communities, we pray to the Lord,
  • For the President of the United States and all government leaders: that the Son of God, who became human, will help them understand the great dignity of human persons, and support legislation that better protects vulnerable populations in our midst, we pray to the Lord,
  • For policy makers in our nation, that God grant them the wisdom to enact laws that provide greater protection for all migrant populations, we pray to the Lord,
  • For policy makers in our nation, that they will provide the support to migrant populations who yearn for a new beginning, we pray to the Lord

National Migration Week 2017 is observed from Jan. 8-14. The theme for this year’s celebration draws attention to Pope Francis’ call to create a culture of encounter, and in doing so to look beyond our own needs and wants to those of others around us.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops web site has a list of resources including a downloadable toolkit that has ideas for prayer petitions, samples of letters to editors, homily suggestions, some talking points for media engagements, and more.

For more information click here for the US bishops’ National Migration Week link.