The theme chosen by Pope Francis for the upcoming World Day of Migrants and Refugees is “Welcoming, protecting, promoting, and integrating migrants and refugees.”
Last year in response to the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Archbishop Mancini challenged our parishes to sponsor 100 refugees. To help us in this endeavor we sought the assistance of Sister Yvonne Poirier, SC. Sr. Yvonne has been active in this ministry for many years and we knew that with her expertise, knowledge and commitment there would be, with the Lord’s help, a good outcome. With Sr. Yvonne’s assistance many communities and parishes rose to the challenge and are currently sponsoring 128 refugees.
Archbishop Mancini issued a challenge to the parishes of our Archdiocese in September asking us to consider if we are able to sponsor some of the refugees escaping from war and terror in Syria. You have responded with great generosity and energy. To date 20 parishes in our Archdiocese are part of the sponsorship process. In some cases they have partnered with three parishes in the Diocese of Antigonish and four from the Diocese of Saint John to help them sponsor refugees as well. Eight of these parishes have completed their fundraising and are waiting for refugees to arrive some as early as this week and other in the new year. Archbishop Mancini has written a letter of thanks and appreciate to the faithful of the archdiocese for our efforts and encouraging us to continue to work for these brothers and sisters of ours especially as we open this Year of Mercy!
The reports about the current refugee crisis have had a worldwide effect. It is causing many people to ask: what can I do about it?
- Pray – for families and children impacted by the violence in Syria. Pray especially for families who have been separated due to the conflict. Pray for emotional and physical protection for vulnerable children and families.
- Get Informed – read accounts of Syrian refugees in the media and online
We have all been impacted by the recent images and stories of Syrian refugees seeking safety beyond the borders of the country they call home. Sadly many have faced challenging and often heartbreaking circumstances: watching family members killed in front of them; witnessing the destruction of their homes; facing constant hunger and other painful events. As they attempt to make their way to a new life the challenges do not end and in some cases some refugees paid the ultimate price by losing their life instead of making it to a place where they can build a new one. Many Canadian Catholics are asking: “How can we help?”