Madrid, Spain, Sep 19, 2019 / 05:50 pm (CNA).- The head of the migration commission for the Spanish Bishops’ Conference emphasized that love of neighbor is essential for Christians, and this includes a care for migrants and refugees.
“We don’t love God if we don’t love our brothers,” stressed Bishop Luis Quinteiro of Tuy-Vigo in a presentation on the bishops’ preparations for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Observed in the Church since 1914 as an opportunity for prayer and awareness, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees will be held Sept. 29. Pope Francis has chosen as this year’s theme, “It’s not just about migrants.”
Normally observed in January, the day will instead by marked on the last Sunday of September this year.
Quinteiro called migration “a decisive issue” and said he hopes that this World Day of Migrants and Refugees will help remind people that foreigners are “not a danger, but help to enrich us.”
In a message, the Spanish bishops called for the most vulnerable to be protected and for human rights of migrants to be respected regardless of their legal status.
They also called for the closure of detention centers where migrants who cross the border illegally are held. The detention centers have drawn significant criticism for poor living conditions.
“It’s not just about migrants, it’s about humanity,” said Fr. José Luis Pinilla, secretary general of the Spanish Conference of Religious.