Every minute of every day, nearly 20 people are forced from their homes, displaced by conflict or persecution. That’s more than 28,000 people every day. In total, more than 65 million people are displaced worldwide, among them are 22.5 million refugees who were forced to flee their home countries. World Refugee Day remembers the suffering and persecution of those who are denied their homes and homelands. Catholics are encouraged to become aware of the issues, support organizations that help refugees, and pray for reconciliation and compassion.
The Catholic church supports refugees around the world, including Syria, which has been at war since 2011. More than 11 million Syrians live as refugees or as internally displaced persons, who still live in Syria but have been forced from their homes. Offer this prayer:
A Prayer for the People of Syria
Almighty eternal God, source of all compassion,
the promise of your mercy and saving help fills our hearts with hope.
Hear the cries of the people of Syria;
bring healing to those suffering from the violence,
and comfort to those mourning the dead.
Empower and encourage Syria’s neighbors
in their care and welcome for refugees.
Convert the hearts of those who have taken up arms,
and strengthen the resolve of those committed to peace.
O God of hope and Father of mercy,
your Holy Spirit inspires us to look beyond ourselves and our own needs.
Inspire leaders to choose peace over violence
and to seek reconciliation with enemies.
Inspire the Church around the world with compassion for the people of Syria,
and fill us with hope for a future of peace built on justice for all.
We ask this through Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace and Light of the World,
who lives and reigns for ever and ever.
A Prayer for the People of Syria: United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, usccb.org
Refugee statistics: United Nations High Commission for Refugees, unhcr.org
Image credit: Patrick DELAPIERRE/CIRIC