Przesłanie Papieskiej Rady ds. Migrantów i Ludzi w Drodze

Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care

of Migrants and Itinerant People


Christmas Message 2016


Dearest People of the Sea,

            The liturgical celebration of Christmas reminds us of the fundamental value of universal Love and family. It will be a day that will be celebrated by many of you in a strange land with profoundly different traditions and customs, far away from your loved ones. I am convinced that the contact you will have with your families by telephone or other forms of modern technologies, will be a relief of some of the nostalgia present in your hearts – you, who are obligated to spend the holidays with your crew that is a particular “family” formed by chance and without familial ties, similar nationalities or faiths.

            In our reflection on the Mystery of Christmas, we can discover that even Mary and Joseph experienced the birth of their Son, Jesus, in Bethlehem – a city that was strange and distant from their familial hometown of Nazareth. Present to welcome and greet the Saviour of the world were the shepherds who were, by chance, in the region. Yet, this difficult situation became a proclamation of God’s infinite love and mercy to all men of good will.

            Today, in our society where war and terrorism, poverty and misery, race and language have become reasons for conflict and violence, there is now more than ever a need for this message of God’s love that overcomes discrimination, hostility and division.

            The fishing industry forms a global world. Ships traverse the oceans unifying the nations.  Crews unite dispersed humanity…  These realities can become concrete signs of God’s message of love, for God became man so that we may become brothers and sisters in the great universal human family in constant search of peace, joy and solidarity.

            To all of you, wherever you find yourselves on December 25th, I wish that the celebration of Christmas be an opportunity for you to be authentic witnesses of Jesus’ love. Share the peace, happiness and serenity that the Lord Jesus, born in Bethlehem, brings to the world in these festive days of joy and celebration.

            May these sincere and heartfelt best wishes reach all of you, wherever you may be. Merry Christmas to you and to your families: may this celebration bear much fruit in the form of mutual love and joy.


Antonio Maria Card. Vegliò