Parishes and other religious communities are being encouraged to reach out and welcome new arrivals in their midst as part of the 104th World Day of Migrants and Refugees, under the theme, ‘Welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating migrants and refugees’.
The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has produced a kit to celebrate Migrant and Refugee Week (August 20-26) offering practical suggestions for parishes to extend a welcoming hand to those from other countries.
“This kit is designed to help us reflect as a community and to find ways to be on the lookout for newly arrived migrants and refugees in our parish communities, to make sure they feel welcome and at home,” ACMRO says.
“There is no doubt that Catholic immigrants will experience the Church’s welcome at the level of the parish. Others may do so through our Catholic school system. Catholic immigrants try to go for help and support first to their parish priest.
“In Australia, we are truly blessed, because of the presence of many priests, religious brothers and sisters, pastoral associates, and helpers who themselves come from various countries and cultures. This understanding enables them to respond effectively to sometimes little understood cultures.”
Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishops’ Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, who was himself a refugee from Vietnam, says Pope Francis has made it clear in his message for World Refugee and Migrant Sunday that welcoming, protecting and promoting migrants and refugees is essential for Christians.
“Reflecting on his pontificate and global events in the last five years, the Holy Father reminds us of the urgent need to care for our displaced brothers and sisters, who have been forced to leave their homes for a better future,” Bishop Long says.
“He makes the parable of the Last Judgment concrete by stating that every act of charity shown to migrants and refugees is an opportunity to encounter Christ.
“We are challenged by the message of the Holy Father to consider how we can welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees in our own Australian context.”
Click here for the Migrant and Refugee Sunday Kit 2018 - Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office