This year the Holy Father, Pope Francis, challenges us with the motto of the World Day of Migrants and Refugees “Free to choose whether to migrate or stay“, because in the streets, narrow and wide, of Guatemala City we see more and more migrant brothers and sisters from different continents, and especially Venezuelan brothers and sisters who are being forced to leave their country seeking a life that in their own country is so threatened. Our Nicaraguan brothers and sisters lack life opportunities, and we need not look no further than in the Red Jesuita con Migrantes Network (the organization with which I collaborate) where we see the departments of Guatemala emptied of young people because the need to live has forced them to migrate. Migrating is a right, not only because international conventions have ruled it so, but also because, by nature, we are migratory birds and, above all, because the earth has been given to us by God so that we may live a full life wherever we may be. In God’s heart, no one is a foreigner, we are all brothers and sisters, we are all just as welcome there as we are in our mother’s kitchen.

Hope multiplies strength a hundredfold, as Mother Cabrini tells us.

Personally, every day in the face of the countless needs of my brothers, I feel helpless when I try to offer what little I have. But the days are also filled with so many people, moments and gestures of fraternity and life. I cannot help mentioning how, as a network, together with the families of the young people murdered and burned on January 22, 2021 in Tamaulipas Mexico, we rejoiced when we received the news that after 2 years and 8 months the sentence was handed down to the murderers. The words to the murderers spoken by Ricardo, father of the Santa Cristina victim, resonate in my head and in my heart: “I forgive you, with all my heart, I forgive you and I hope that one day you may enjoy heaven, but now you must pay for what you did so that no other migrant goes through what my daughter and we have gone through.” During these more than two years, at least once a month various members of the Network team have shared the families’ suffering and encouraged their hopes, either in a court room, in psychosocial work or in their homes. Migrating is a right and we shall continue to protect this right, as well as the right to stay in dignified conditions. We must continue walking, today, tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, as Father José Luis said during the Eucharist in honor of Myrna Mack, and that is what we intend to do; to continue walking with our brothers and sisters who leave either through choice or are forced to leave. Their strength and determination are incalculable. God walks with them and we intend to do the same.

Sister Sonnia Osorio MSC

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