Last Tuesday evening representatives from Parishes across the Diocese gathered at Wheeler Hall for the launch of the Community Sponsorship Scheme in the Diocese of Leeds. Members of the Diocesan Refugee Support Group including Carol Hill (Director of Catholic Care), John Battle (Chair of the Leeds Diocesan Justice & Peace), Deacon Joe Cortis (heading up Caritas Leeds) and John McLaughlin (St Monica’s Housing) hosted the evening and welcomed guest speakers including Sean Ryan, who is the National Caritas Community Sponsorship Coordinator, Tim Finch from Citizens UK and the Home Office.
Those gathered heard all about Community Sponsorship, what is involved in setting up your Parish Group, how it has such a positive impact on Parish life and how uplifting welcoming the Syrian family into their community really is.
As with all things there are rules and paperwork, but Rebecca from the Home Office explained it all very clearly.
The Catholic Church is really leading the way with this scheme and whilst only a handful of parish groups have actually welcomed their family to date there are around 80 groups in various stages of preparation.
Lets hope and pray that those attending feel inspired to set up a community sponsorship group in their parish and respond to the call from Pope Francis to care for refugees.
If you require any further information please contact Carol Hill at Catholic Care 0113 288 5400 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.gov.uk/government/publications/community-sponsorship-how-you-can-make-it-happen
If you would like to hold a meeting in your Parish to find out more Carol or one of the team are very happy to attend.