Thursday, January 28, 2010

Refugee Sponsorship and the Bishops

Recently I was in Toronto to attend the Ordination of Vincent Nguyen as Auxiliary Bisho of Toronto. Earlier in the day I attended a special convening of Bishops to conincide with the First National Ctholic Conference on Refugee Sponsorship. The purpose of meeting was to discuss refugee sponsorship in the Catholic Church and in particular how we might address the crisis that our Iraqui Christian brothers and sisters are currently experiencing.

As Christians we have always understood the need to be attentive to people who are forced to flee their homes because of war and persecution to find a place of refuge. For good reason, for Joseph and Mary and the child Jesus were refugees in Egypt.

Present at the meeting was the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. I had the opportunity to speak with him before the meeting began. Of interest to people here is that the Minister is a graduate of the Athol Murray College of Notre Dame in Wilcox.

The Conference was sponsored by the Assembly of Catholic Bishops of Ontario and CNEWA (Catholic Near East Welfare Association) a Papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support and hosted jointly by the Archdiocese of Toronto and the Diocese of London. Speakers seated at the table were Martin Mark from the Office of Refugees for the Archdiocese of Toronto, Fr. Tim Hanley, John McGrath, Chancellor of Temporal Affairs of the Archdiocese of Toronto, the Hon. Jason Kenney, Archbishop Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto and Carl Hetu of CNEWA.


Archbishop Collins spoke of the time of the first bishop of Toronto, Bishop Power, when 40,000 Irish immigrants arrived in Toronto, at that time a city with a population of 20,000 people. They were stricken with typhoid fever and thousands died including Bishop Power who contracted the disease while caring for them. Most recently, the new Auxiliary Bishop for Toronto who was ordained that day, Bishop Vincent Nguyen, fled Vietnam at the age of sixteen as one of the Boat People seeking refuge in Canada. While our goal must be to help people stay in their own country and strengthen them, we must also welcome those who cannot stay



The Hon. Jason Kennedy said that Canada accepts the largest number of refugees from Iraq and the Middle East thanks to the work done by such Catholic agencies as the Archdioces of Toronto. He said that the Church is seen as a parther in this work of welcoming refugees. Canada has welcomed over a million refugees since World War II. Each year 100,000 refugees are settled throughout the world out of a total of a million and a half primarily by twenty developped countries. While the preference is to have people return to a stabilized country, Canada accepts 10,000 to 12,000 refugees who cannot return to their home country because of grave risk. Of these three to four thousand come to Canada through private sponsorship.
I am very pleased and proud that people and parishes in our Archdiocese have been part of this private sponsorship. The great advantage of private sponsorship is the personal care that is give to these people whose lives have been disrupted or shattered. This is a care that government sponsored refugees are not always able to receive. In private sponsorship, the refugees are met at the airport, taken to their home, helped to buy clothing and made sure that they have the necessities of life.
3800 refugees from Iraq have been settled in Canada, most of them are Catholics driven from their homes and country because of their Christian faith. It is especially important for the Church to look at ways to help bring these people to settlement in Canada. There are more people seeking settlement in Canada than the government is able to receive and process. Thus the urgent need for private sponsorship.
The Archdiocese of Regina took part in the National Conference on Refugee Sponsorship through its director of the diocese's Social Justice Office, Bert Pitzel.


Seen here from left to right: Carl Hétu, National Secretary for CNEWA Canada; Gilbert Iyamuremye, Director of the Office of Refugees for the Diocese of London, and Martin Mark, Office fo Refugeews for the archdiocese of Toronto.
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7 comments:

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baah said...

may the almighty God help u for ur support as this is whay he ask's from a true christain.

abdirisack said...

Hello! Dear sir or madam

I have got your address from google.com, I am resettlement needed and refugee in KENYA that’s why am trying to contact you.
Am young boy from wars effected area in Somalia, I lost my family there and I have nothing here in Kenya and life is not good because I don’t have any relatives here and there is no one can help me.

Am a refugee under UNHCR. This organization was assisting me to get a refugee Document but nothing about my life, a need assistant plz as to get resettlement.

Wish u will help me soon.

abdirisack said...

this is my e-mail u can contact me if u are willing to sponsor me, thanks

Julius said...

Dear Sir/Madam,

My name is Oluwafemi Omotayo Julius, and I am currently seeking asylum in Hong Kong from Nigeria, my native country. Unfortunately my sudden decision to leave my country due to my circumstances there allowed me enough time only to secure a visa to enter Hong Kong, but here I found myself in limbo, not having any legal status nor being allowed to provide for my own living. Here people seeking asylum before UNHCR are not allowed to work or meaningfully contribute in any way to social life. Instead we are forced to live on limited assistance from charities, churches and some government organizations, something that makes me feel like a burden in this place, with no hope for the future.


I saw your website and I'm glad there are people like you who care and worry for people like me. I'm writing because I would like to ask you more information about your sponsorship program. I would appreciate if you could provide me with some information about eligibility and the whole process. I'm a hard worker and all I want is to go back to a normal life, like the one I used to have before. In case I am eligible and you decide to help me, I'm more than willing to pay back any money you would spend for me. I only need someone to help me have a chance in my present life.


Thank you for your attention. I look forward to your reply.


God Bless.

Respectfully yours,
Oluwafemi Omotayo Julius

mjofemi2002@yahoo.com
+852-92077192

Rodriguez said...

May the Amighty God continue suppoting u in this service.
My name is Rodrigue Mangomindja and I am a refugee in Zimbabwe.
I lost my family and every thing with the war in DRC.
Right now I have nothing with me in Zimbamwe.
The UNHCR is not helping us to live again because beside the monthly food, there is nothing elese they can do fo us.
I need to study and finish my university but there is no way I can do that because I don't have a sponsorship.

I need you to help me in any way and help me to live again.

MAy our God protect you by the intercession of our virgin Mary.

Yours faithfully
Rodrigue Mangomindja
tel: 00263733194627
mirodchrist@gmail.com

Rodriguez said...

May the Amighty God continue suppoting u in this service.
My name is Rodrigue Mangomindja and I am a refugee in Zimbabwe.
I lost my family and every thing with the war in DRC.
Right now I have nothing with me in Zimbamwe.
The UNHCR is not helping us to live again because beside the monthly food, there is nothing elese they can do fo us.
I need to study and finish my university but there is no way I can do that because I don't have a sponsorship.

I need you to help me in any way and help me to live again.

MAy our God protect you by the intercession of our virgin Mary.

Yours faithfully
Rodrigue Mangomindja
tel: 00263733194627
mirodchrist@gmail.com