Sunday, April 26, 2015

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Both  editorials in the Catholic papers bring to the attention of the readers the difficulties of the  migrants in Korea. Today Korean Catholics remember the 101st  World Day of Migrants and Refugees along with Vocations on Good Shepherd Sunday.  

The world village in which we live brings the reality of different people and cultures living together. Korea has ethnic Koreans from China, Russia and North Korea and many other migrants with different facial features who have come from poor countries and are here to do the difficult, dirty and dangerous work of the society, often discriminated and shunned. There is also a large number who have married Koreans and are living in the country.

They are often treated worse than those in the lowest stratum  of society: they are  the invisible persons in society.Very basic human rights are not respected, health care, educational aid, and when sick hospital  care is not easily found, and in school ignored by classmates. Even in the Church we see this happening. We have separate Masses for them and they are not relating with the parishioners. When we  don't accept a foreigner we are refusing something basic of a person's humanity. We are treating  another as a commodity and fitting them into the  structures of the society we have made.

In our elementary, middle and high schools one out of a  hundred are children from another culture. This shows that we are becoming a multicultural country. This requires we change the way we think and act.

Many in society do not hear the cry of the weak, and fail to see their pain and the need to find solutions. A survey made  recently found that those married to Koreans, in 2009,  36.4 % felt discrimination and in  2012 it increased to 41.9 %. Three years ago 3.% of the migrants  said prejudice  and discrimination made life difficult, this has now gone up to 7%. A sign that we are not doing  well in our efforts.
Pope Francis  in his message for the 101st World Day of Migrants: "The Church without  frontiers Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable. When living out this motherhood effectively, the Christian community nourishes, guides and indicates the way, accompanying all with patience, and drawing close to them through prayer and works of mercy."

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