· Vatican City ·

Letter to a group of migrants gathered in Lajas Blancas, Panama

Offering relief and hope

 Offering relief and hope  ING-012
22 March 2024

The following is the translation of a letter Pope Francis sent to a group of migrants gathered at the Lajas Blancas reception centre in Panama. The centre is in the Darién Gap, a stretch of jungle between Colombia and Panama where some 3,000 migrants from Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Haiti, Nicaragua and other Latin American countries live.

Dear Migrants,

I would like to be there with you at this time. I too am the son of migrants who set out in search of a better future. There were moments in which they found themselves with nothing, to the point of suffering from hunger, empty-handed, but with their hearts full of hope.

I thank my brother bishops and the pastoral workers who represent me before you. They are the face of a mother Church who journeys with her sons and daughters, in whom she discovers the face of Christ and, like Veronica, affectionately offers relief and hope in the via crucis of migration. Thank you for working with our migrant brothers and sisters who represent the suffering flesh of Christ, when they find themselves forced to abandon their homeland and face the risks and tribulations of a difficult journey, having found no other way out.

Migrant brothers and sisters, never forget your human dignity. Do not be afraid to look others in the eye, because you are not a throwaway; you too are part of the human family and of the family of God’s children. And thank you for being gathered there.

May Jesus bless you and the Holy Virgin keep you. And please, do not forget to pray for me.

Fraternally yours,

Rome, Saint John Lateran,
21 March 2024