A safe place to call home

A safe place to call home


"We are all searching for a place to call home; a place where we can feel safe and fearless."
Sr. Mary John Kudiyiruppil Ssps, UISG Vice Executive Secretary


The training course 'Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay. Pastoral Care with migrants and refugees.' organized by Scalabrini International Migration Institute (SIMI) and International Union and promoted by the Dicastery for Human and Integral Development, of Superiors General was held from Septermber 18th to September 21th.

The course was attended by more than 100 people; many experts spoke during the in-depth sessions on the four thematic areas that characterised the training days:

  • Migration as a Global Phenomenon,
  • Church and Migration,
  • Human Rights and Advocacy
  • Pastoral Orientation for the Care of Migrants and Refugees.


On the first day, welcoming the participants of the course, Sr Mary John Kudiyiruppil, Ssps, UISG Vice Executive Secretary, invited for a moment of silence for the victims and survivors of the disasters that have struck Morocco and Libya in recent weeks emphasing the importance of considering that, unfortunately, people are not always free to choose whether to leave their country or to stay there.

Giocchino Campese, Professor of Pastoral Theology of Human Mobility ath the Pontificial Urbaniana University, moderated interventions of: Aldo Skoda, cs, Director of the SIMI Institute, Julia Young, Associate Professor of History from The Catholic University of America, Gabriele Beltrami, cs, Socio - Pastoral Communication Expert and Alessia Puddu, Psychologist and Psychotherapist, ETNA.


During the second day, the modernator was Veronica De Sanctis, PhD of the SIMI Institute. She presented Gioacchino Campese, Regina Polak, Associate Professor of Practical Theology at the Faculty Catholic Theology at the Univerity of Vienna and Chery Lee Chan, Consultant of the Episcopal Commission on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ECMI).

The main issue of the day was the relation between Church and Migration: experts the delved into the topic of “the inner spiritual meaning of contemporary migration in dialogue with theological traditions and the Teaching of the Church.” 

During the third day of the course, Claudia Bonamini, JRS, Victor Genina,Director of Development and Policy, Scalabrini International Migration Network and Oliviero Forti, Head of the Migration Policies and International protection Office at Caritas Italiana, “explored the topic of human rights and advocacy for migrants and refugees stressing the importance of the role of faith-based organizations.”


Sharing some best practices, during the last day of the course, Fr. Aldo Skoda, Andrea Marchesani, Reaserch Section Dicastery for Integral Human Development, and Sister Marides Sansisters from VIVAT International focused on some of the phenomenons related to migration. Human trafficking, environment, rights of indigenous people, violence, explotation and conflicts must be strongly considered when talking about migration. 


Today, dealing with migration is not an option. This phenomenon has consequences at the local and the global level. 

The focus of many men and women religious and lay Catholics is on the Synodal Assembly to be held in October. How we can take care of migrants and refugees in a synodal way?

As difficult as the topic is, there is perhaps a simple answer: “listening each others finding a way all together because everyone is part of the community and so is part of the process to build together”, said during these days Fr. Aldo Skoda.

In this process of inclusion of the others, we cannot forget the key role played by:

  • formation (training for various groups and at different levels),
  • communication (campaign for human justice),
  • policies (regulations that protect against injustices and inequalities),
  • victim assistance (empowerment and improvement of the migrant’s skills),
  • networking (between Church, institutions and civil society).


Since the Church has always been involved in anthropological and social challenges, the need of our time is to promote a culture of peace and protection of human rights because the intercultural dimension, especially in the exact historical moment we are living, is the only way we can continue our mission with 'faith and passion'.


UISG Communication Office


See the photo gallery of the event

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