The idea of the Franciscan Network on Migration emerged in April 2018 during the annual JPIC Course in Guadalajara, Mexico, whose central theme was “Migration: Franciscan causes, walls and perspectives”
The work of La 72, a shelter migrants on the southern border of Mexico, inspired dialogue among the friars on how to share information and offer support and protection to people who have been forcibly displaced due to extreme situations. poverty, institutional violence, organized crime and drug cartels; particularly to the people of the northern triangle of Central America: Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala.
Friar Jaime Campos OFM, director of the JPIC Office of the General Curia for Friars Minor and member of the Steering Committee of the new Network, believes that this initiative is more necessary today than ever:
“In the current international situation, migration has become one of the greatest needs to address. We are clear that the migratory phenomenon is not new and that it has always been present in the history of humanity. However, various factors, such as violence, poverty, climate change, political crisis, among others, have contributed to today’s a critical phenomenon. As Franciscans and faithful to the spirit of welcoming lived by Saint Francis, we wish to respond in a more organized way to what we are already doing in one way or another in various countries, in order to better accompany the victims who are forced to leave their lands.
We believe that it is a challenge to which we must not remain indifferent, since we invite all people who sympathize with the welcoming and fraternal spirit of Saint Francis and wish to collaborate, to join us in this Network.”
The Network initiated with three shelters: La 72, in southern Mexico, The Migrant Center of New York, and the Pilgrim house of the migrant Santo Hermano Pedro in Guatemala. The Saint Francis of Assisi community kitchen for migrantes in Mazatlán, Sinaloa, Mexico was added later.
The activities of the Network also focus on the mutual empowerment of local teams, coordinated advocacy, information exchange, and coordinated and personalized support for the migrants they help.
For Friar Jaime, the desire and the objective for which they have been involved in this project is, “to echo the verbs proposed by Pope Francis: “to welcome, protect, promote and integrate” migrants and refugees. For this reason, we proposed to systematize a network work to improve and enhance our accompaniment and empathy with migrants, provided that migration is made safe on the one hand, and to ensure that the social conditions of a country do not cause massive exoduses of people forced to leave their lands.”