Pontifical Council for the Pastoral
Care of Migrants and Itinerant People


2015 Christmas Message



Dear People of the Sea,

            Christmas this year will fall within the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy,a special time for the Church, a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective”. The words of Pope Francis in the Bull of Indiction Misericordiae Vultus of the Jubilee Year could assist us to understand and live more deeply the meaning of the celebration of Christmas when our mind is still filled with the dramatic images of terrorist attacks in different nations and while many of us live in fear that something will happen again.

            The message of the Angel addressed to the shepherds in the dark night is repeated to all of us in the darkness of our time and of our uncertainties:  “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Messiah and Lord.  (Luke 2:10-11)”.

            Christmas is the day in which the Savior has been born and continues to be born in our hearts, if only we will allow it to happen. His name is Emmanuel, God with us. This is what we celebrate at Christmas!

            Jesus, our Savior, brings us a renewed sense of hope especially in this extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy in which mercy is the force that reawakens us to new life and instils in us the courage to look to the future with hope[1].

            Jesus, the loving Son of the Father, brings reassurance and security to our troubled and frightened hearts because “the mercy of God is his loving concern for each one of us. He feels responsible; that is, he desires our wellbeing and he wants to see us happy, full of joy, and peaceful.[2]

            Jesus, the Prince of Peace brings us an overwhelming sense of peace, that allows us to live in solidarity with people of different nationalities, races and beliefs, calling all of us to ”…reach out to them and support them so they can feel the warmth of our presence, our friendship, and our fraternity![3]

            Jesus, the Messiah and Lord, gives us strength to overcome our daily struggles to build a world without divisions and barriers among people and nations and we should commit ourselves so “…that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God![4]

            Jesus with his exemplary life teaches us to care about others more than we care about ourselves. Therefore, following the invitation of Pope Francis starting with this Christmas: ”Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead. [5]

            I know that many of you during the Christmas Season will be separated and far away from your families and loved ones, because you might be at sea or in a foreign port. I would like to remind you that you are never far away from the love of God and the maternal protection of Mary, Star of the Sea.            

            May each of you have a Blessed Christmas!


                                                                       With all best wishes,




Antonio Maria Card. Vegliò


X Joseph Kalathiparambil


[1] Pope Francis, Misericordiae Vultus, Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy N° 10

[2] Idem, N° 9

[3] Idem, N° 15

[4] Idem, N° 5

[5] Idem, N° 15