Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv report on the International Catholic Migration Commission Council Plenary Meeting, 6-8 March 2018, Rome.
During 6-8 March 2018, I attended the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Council Plenary Meeting in my capacity as the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees. Also from Australia, Fr Maurizio Pettena CS, Director, Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office and Sr Maryanne Loughry RSM, a member of the Governing Committee of the ICMC also attended, along with about 80 representatives of other national Catholic Bishops Conferences from around the world.
The assembly is ICMC’s highest governing body and is composed of representatives of its national members, including national-level coordinating structures and specialised agencies serving refugees and migrants under the auspices of the Catholic Church.
The Council meets every four years and its statutory responsibilities include appointing the Governing Committee (the highest authority between Council meetings) and electing the President, who chairs both the Council and the Governing Committee.
Australia is well-represented in both the Council and the Governing Committee. Dr Anne Therese Gallagher AO, from Canberra, was elected the new President of ICMC and Sr Maryanne Loughry RSM was elected as a member of the Governing Committee.
The Council finalised and adopted a Strategic Framework 2019-2022 for the ICMC and its members. This Framework aims to be dynamic and responsive to the needs of refugees and migrants today, to our roots in Catholic Church Doctrine and Tradition and to the strong leadership of Pope Francis, who invites us to “welcome, protect, promote, and integrate refugees and migrants.”
In addition to fulfilling its statutory responsibilities, the Council meeting was also an opportunity for dialogue, reflection and experience-sharing. I was privileged to have been invited and shared my experience as a refugee, along with other accounts of engagement with refugees around the world.
The highlight of the meeting was the Papal Audience on March 8. The Holy Father greeted all members of the Plenary Council meeting individually and encouraged us to fulfil the mission entrusted by God to the Church in welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating migrants and refugees in all parts of the world.
Most Rev Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM Conv
Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees
Bishop of Parramatta