Statement from Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on World Refugee Day 2023

On World Refugee Day, the Diocese of Arlington joins the international community in recognizing the plight of refugees and other displaced persons around the globe. Today there are 89 million men, women and children who have been forced from their homes, fleeing in search of a new life. The number is both astounding and heartbreaking.

In the last decade, the number of those forced out of their homes because of persecution, famine, war and other assaults on human dignity has more than doubled. We honor these refugees and other displaced persons by praying for them and taking action, doing all that we can to help ease their suffering.

In 2022, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington, with the help of our parish communities, resettled 3,244 refugees and parolees. These newcomers were provided with housing and assistance finding gainful employment, as well as education for themselves and their families.

The theme for this year's observance is “Be a friend in your community.” As Catholics, this theme aligns with what God tells us in Holy Scripture: “You shall love the alien as yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt.” (LV 19:34)

We are called to accompany these refugees in their trials, helping them find stability so they and their families can live peaceful lives and thrive. We invite all to join us in prayer for refugees around the world, and to welcome those who have recently arrived in our diocese. May God our Father, through the intercession of St. Joseph, bless and protect them now and always.