The prayer service is being jointly hosted by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) and the Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace (OJEP) – both agencies of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.
The theme for Refugee Week 2022 is healing. As the Refugee Council of Australia explains, “healing can occur through storytelling, through community and also through realisation of our intrinsic interconnectedness as individuals”.
ACMRO director Fr Khalid Marogi said the “online prayer service will engage these elements by gathering the Catholic community, telling stories through the medium of video and praying together as sisters and brothers in Christ”.
Bishop Vincent Long OFMConv, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, will lead the online prayer service. The service will be recorded and the video made available for further use.
A number of resources have been created to mark Refugee Week in a Catholic context, including prayers, an explanation of Church teaching on refugees and asylum-seekers and details about the Church’s advocacy in this area.
Videos featuring the stories of people on different sides of the asylum-seeker journey – one who sought asylum and one who advocates for and welcomes asylum-seekers – have also been prepared.
“They help us to get behind the headlines to understand the human experiences that are often masked by fear-driven policy debates,” OJEP director Sandie Cornish said.
“Both stories are stories of faith and family.”
While faith communities can join with other community groups to celebrate Refugee Week, the Catholic community will have another opportunity to focus on these issues later in the year.
The Church around the world marks Migrant and Refugee Sunday on September 25 this year – the 108th such commemoration. Further resources will be made available for that celebration.