‘Migrants and refugees need our special attention and care, as they are our brothers and sisters’, Bishop Vincent Long said today as he released a parish kit celebrating the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen OFM CONV is the Bishop Delegate for Migrants and Refugees.
The Catholic Church in Australia has dedicated the month of August to creating awareness of migration, which will culminate with the celebration of the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees on Sunday 30 August 2015. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has made a pastoral resource kit available to assist parishes in celebrating the Day.
In reference to this year’s theme, Bishop Long quoted Pope Francis saying ‘the Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity’.
‘This is an important opportunity for solidarity, to welcome persecuted peoples into our own home, Australia,’ Bishop Long said.
‘I would like to draw attention to the on-going conflict in the Middle East and the issues closer to home faced by asylum seekers.’
‘As a refugee myself, along with several members of my family seeking shelter and security, Australia has always been generous. It is now again the time to show the same kind of generosity that was shown to the Vietnamese refugees 40 years ago, to our Middle Eastern brethren as well as those in our Asia-Pacific Region seeking asylum.’
‘Migrants in our communities often go through challenges and difficulties that are unseen. Simple things, which many of us either growing up or living in Australia for a long time, often forget or simply don’t notice, can be a challenge for new migrants. Things such as language, culture or customs can bring about hardship and anxiety.’
‘It is precisely here, in these everyday situations, that Christ is calling us to move beyond ourselves, and express solidarity to our fellow brothers and sisters. To lend a helping hand, just saying hello or even just a simple smile.’
‘This is the beginning of encounter. From here, we can move together in solidarity. Many of us may never change the world, but let us not forget that we can change the world around us.’
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