Statement by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on National Migration Week
(Sept. 18-24, 2023)

The Diocese of Arlington joins with Catholics throughout the United States in recognizing National Migration Week, which culminates in the World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday, September 24. The theme Pope Francis chose for both observances is “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.” This theme shines a light on the root causes that drive migration. In many cases, war and conflict have left people with no option but to flee their homes and seek safety in a new land.

Recognizing some of the difficult and tragic circumstances that many face throughout the world-including political instability, abject poverty and persecution-gives us compassion to understand why so many seek refugee status and desire to migrate to the United States. Through education, advocacy and charitable works, we can help create the conditions that people need to live in safety and dignity, wherever they choose to reside.

From the inception of our diocese, Catholic Charities has worked to resettle refugees and welcome newcomers, assisting them with becoming self-sufficient in their new homes. Pope Francis has said that “the inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God's Kingdom.” May we prayerfully and earnestly seek to serve our new neighbors and pray for migrants everywhere, so we may grow closer to our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

Visit your parish website or the Catholic Charities website at to find out how you can help build a welcoming community.