Archive for the ‘refugees’ Category

Displaced people and the “Hidden Victims” of the coronavirus

Hundreds, Thousands

Dear Friends for Life: Recent estimates disclose that 79,500,000 people are displaced worldwide. These are people who have fled from persecution, violence and armed conflict. It is the seventh year in a row that the number of displaced people has increased. UN refugee agency chief Filippo Grandi said that “the world has become almost unable to make peace”. Some 13.6 people were newly displaced during the course of 2019. This is the highest increase that UNHCR has seen in its 70-year existence. Continue reading

On New Year’s Eve, Pope Francis calls listening an act of love

Urban elderlyPope Francis said on New Year’s Eve, “It is an act of love to spend time with others, to listen to them and their needs, and to try to see them as Christ sees them.” “We are called to meet others and listen to their life, their cry for help. Listening is already an act of love!
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The Nativity Scene

Every Nativity scene is a “living Gospel,” as Pope Francis says. Looking at the Child in the manger, I try to understand what this means. What is a “living Gospel”? One clear message flowing from the scene is that we must turn and become like children to enter the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 18:1-8, God’s words tell us that to acknowledge the rights and dignity of children is to acknowledge Him and accept His meaning of life. The message clearly implies every child has a universal inalienable right to equal status, equal rights and equal dignity. To deny this is to deny ourselves. Continue reading

“Merry Christ-mas”

Christmas! God yearns for intimacy with humanity. He sends His Son who enters and becomes man in our current human condition: where more than one billion children live in extreme poverty, 22,000 die each day due to poverty; where an estimate of 40-50 million babies every year are not allowed to be born, about 125,000 per day; where more than 357 million children live in war and conflict zones, half in “high-intensity “areas. Yet the LIGHT of HOPE continues to burn for humanity. EMMANUEL- “God is with us”. Jesus is born for all of us and gives all of us the love of God, the love gives all His children the same love of God. Let us allow our heart, our soul, and our mind be touched by this fact. “Merry Christ-mas”
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“Immigration” vs “Migration” – confusion?

Dear Friends for Life:   Many news articles use the words refugees, migrants and asylum seekers when reporting on the movement of people. Japan Times headline this morning – “Japan to limit work permits for asylum seekers from 2018” – talks about asylum seekers who file for refugee status in order to work as immigrants in the country. The number of applications has jumped from 1,202 in 2012 to nearly 17,000 in 2017. But only 28 people were recognized as refugees in 2016, causing much international criticism that Japan is closed to refugees. On the other hand, Japan has over one million foreign workers who are referred to as “Immigrants”. Are these workers really “Immigrants” or “Migrants”?. What’s the difference? Or is there? Continue reading

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow?

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are reminded that God is with us on our individual life journeys and that we too are called to accompany others on theirs.

During the Advent season leading up to Christmas, we are invited to contemplate a young pregnant woman with her husband who left their home and faced a journey of difficulty and uncertainty.

The Holy Family was a family of MIGRANTS. Jesus was born in a stable outside Bethlehem, on the “wrong side of the tracks”, as they say nowadays. There was no welcome for his pregnant mother and her husband. The doors and hearts of the day were closed to them.

Jesus was born in the poorest and humblest of settings and not long after his birth, he became a REFUGEE. Fearing for their lives, his parents fled with him to Egypt. Continue reading

One Solitary Life

Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He grew up in another village. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.

He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never put His foot inside a big city. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…

While still a young man, the tide of popular opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied Him. He was turned over to His enemies. He went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed upon a cross between two thieves. While He was dying His executioners gambled for the only piece of property He had on earth – His coat. When He was dead, He was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend.

Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress. Continue reading

Sexual Exploitation of Children in Japan

Dear Friends for Life:   The current population of Japan is a little over 127 million, of which approximately 25 million are children under the age of 18. According to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a child is defined as anyone under the age of 18. Japan is a major destination, source, and transit country for children subjected to sex trafficking and sexual exploitation. Continue reading

Imagine a world more open to refugees

Today is the most important day in the lives of Refugees. Why? Because tomorrow never comes. It is today that they are forced to flee war, persecution and violence. It is today that they need safety and assurance that other human beings stand with them. Among the basic needs of refugee families today is a safe place to live. In reality, this should not be classified as a need, but as a basic human right which applies to all human beings today. Continue reading

Humanitarian Crisis looms in Scary Flights

Dear Friends for Life:  Reading daily about the suffering of refugees, we conclude that no one chooses to flee their home. Forced to depart suddenly, it is impossible for people to apply for the necessary papers and visas required to travel. This results in a growing number of persons who have no alternative but to choose potentially hazardous methods to slip away –  by foot, by boat or by being smuggled out.

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