Catholic Care | World Day of Migrants and Refugees

World Day of Migrants and Refugees

The Church has celebrated the World Day of Migrants and Refugees since 1914 and this year it is 25th September.

It is an occasion to express concern for vulnerable people on the move; to pray for them as they face many challenges and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.

This year with the difficulties the world faces there are more people on the move than ever. As the title for his annual message, the Holy Father has chosen Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees. You can download the Pope’s message here.

Catholic Care has been working with groups and parishes for the last few years to help welcome and support refugee families under the Community Sponsorship scheme. Currently there are four Syrian families living in the diocese who have arrived under the scheme and another group has just formed to start the process. It can be a challenging process, but is also hugely rewarding.

Under the scheme, a community group, which might be based in a parish, but not necessarily, works together with the guidance of Sue Parsons, the Community Sponsorship Coordinator to pull 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, then a family is chosen with the assistance of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees and soon after they arrive.

Catholic Care | World Day of Migrants and Refugees

As you can imagine, settling here is a life changing experience for the family, but it also makes a difference for members of the group. As the Pope maintains in his message, the behaviour of refugees enriches the communities that receive them. He goes on to say:

“Openness to one another creates spaces of fruitful exchange between different visions and traditions, and opens minds to new horizons. It also leads to a discovery of the richness present in other religions and forms of spirituality unfamiliar to us, and this helps us to deepen our own convictions.”

Catholic Care have also been involved in the Homes for Ukraine scheme, helping refugees from Ukraine find homes and support here in the UK. Although Catholic Care haven’t been able to help directly, they have been able to introduce volunteers to those organisations who can help, with the result that some members of the diocese have or are about to welcome Ukrainians into their homes.

To find out more about Community Sponsorship, then please contact Sue Parsons – or 07702 255113