Pope meeting migrants in Greece uai

World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2023

World Day of Migrants and Refugees is celebrated every year on the last Sunday of September. In 2023 the 109th World Day falls on Sunday 24th September.

It is an occasion to express support and concern for vulnerable people forced to flee their homes; to encourage Christians and others to remember and pray for those displaced by conflict and persecution; and to increase awareness about the opportunities and challenges that migration offers.

Each year the pope choses a theme for the Day. For this year Pope Francis has chosen Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay. You can download the Pope’s message here. Below you can find information about Catholic Care’s work with migrants and refugees, as well as resources from the wider Church.

Catholic Care’s support for refugees

Over the last few years Catholic Care has been working with local community groups and parishes to help welcome and support refugee families under the Community Sponsorship scheme. A number of Syrian families are supported under the scheme in communities across Yorkshire.

Under the scheme, a community group (which might be based in a parish but not necessarily) works together with the guidance of Catholic Care. Our Community Sponsorship Coordinator, Sue Parsons, pulls together a resettlement plan which includes finding accommodation for a family, raising funds, researching school places and health care, and the other needs a family may have when they come to a new country and perhaps don’t speak the language. Once the application is approved by the Home Office, a refugee family is chosen with the assistance of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Catholic Care | World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Reflecting on 2023’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees, our Community Sponsorship Coordinator Sue said:

“At Catholic Care, our main input into caring for migrants and refugees is through the Community Sponsorship programme. And sad to say, people resettled under this scheme felt they had no choice but to leave their homeland.

Our first Community Sponsorship group welcomed a Syrian refugee family to the town of Settle four years ago in August. The scheme offers support for a family for up to two years, but because 6 months after their arrival the country went into Covid lockdown, the local group supported the family for longer, and are still in touch occasionally now the family has become independent. The family have moved from Settle to Bradford and are enjoying their new life in the UK. One great note of optimism is that the mum has started a course retraining as a nursery nurse.

The next family we supported settled in Normanton where both older boys are keen football players. In fact the younger of the two is regularly awarded Player of the Match in his local Under-8s team!

The dad of a family in Pateley Bridge has been working during the summer at one of the cafes there, improving his English and gaining work experience. He and his wife are interested in setting up their own business offering Syrian food – and by all accounts their cooking is delicious!

And finally, dad in the family settled in Ripon, is going to address an Institute of Migration event for their Cultural Orientation Trainers in Sheffield. He’ll be speaking to an audience of about 35 people about some of his experiences of being a refugee and being resettled under the Community Sponsorship scheme.”

Catholic Care has found that the Community Sponsorship scheme is a mutually enriching experience. Not only are refugees able to start a new life in safety, but members of the sponsoring community in Yorkshire find that their minds and hearts are opened to new horizons.

Further resources: International

Further resources: England & Wales



To find out more about Community Sponsorship, then please contact Sue Parsons – sue.parsons@catholic-care.org.uk or 07702 255113