On September 25, 2023, The John J. Brunetti Human Trafficking Academy, in partnership with Campus Ministry hosted a mass and a luncheon to reflect and pray for migrants, refugees, host families, and survivors of human trafficking. The community of St. Thomas University commits itself to building our future with migrants and refugees, and also through our human rights and social justice programs also commits to advocacy for building conditions of peace for migrants and refugees to live a life of dignity in their own country, when they so choose.
This year’s theme is “Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay.” The day celebrates the 109th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. On this day, Pope Francis sent a message to all people that the “decision to migrate should always be free, yet in many cases, even today, it is not. Conflicts, natural disasters, or more simply the impossibility of living a dignified and prosperous life in one’s native land is forcing millions of persons to leave.” People have the right to live in peace and dignity in their own country, and the international community as well as all nation states have to work together to guarantee this right.