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Sunday, December 11, 2016
Catholic groups hold day of solidarity with refugees
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¬†Four Catholic groups working with refugees are joining forces for a Day of Solidarity tomorrow, ahead of World Migration Day on December 3. The Bishops' Office for Refugee Policy, the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Catholic Association for Racial Justice and the National Catholic Refugee Forum will stage talks, workshops and worship for refugees and those who work with them. It will be held from 10am tomorrow (Saturday, November 29) at St Vincent's Centre, in central London, with speakers including Naboth Muchopa, of the Methodist Church's Racial Justice Desk, and Yori Abraham who works at the Legal Centre for Women. A spokesperson for the Office for Refugee Policy said: "World Migration Day is a special day in the Catholic Church, celebrated worldwide in the first week of Advent. In England and Wales, parishes and dioceses are requested to hold a Special Day of Prayer and Reflection on December 3. This year, the Office for Refugee Policy, in conjunction with other Catholic organisations, is holding a special event of solidarity with refugees that will feature talks, workshops, biblical reflection and opportunities for networking and the exchange of views and experiences. "The Government's proposed legislation and the widespread sentiments hostile to refugees and asylum-seekers offer serious challenges to the Church's ministry with refugees. This event intends to draw on the inspiration of past work in this field to help us face the future in solidarity with refugees. "As Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue has recently written, 'Jesus had a particular concern of the poor, the weak and the outcast. In his life and death he identified with them in a profound way. Jesus and his family were forced to flee, becoming refugees in Egypt. The quality of our welcome for refugees will be a measure of our fidelity to Jesus. Let us show that our Church is a place where refugees and migrants will feel welcome and are not treated as aliens and strangers.'" As well as refugees, there will be representatives from agencies that support refugees, church groups and drop-in centres. Louise Zanrť, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (UK), said anyone interested in refugee issues is very welcome to attend the day. "Too many refugees and asylum seekers are victims of discrimination and prejudice. This Day of Solidarity with Refugees is our way of demonstrating our support and concern for them. But it's also important for us to listen to their experiences and offer practical help and advice," she said. During the workshops, participants will consider what changes to asylum legislation are expected over the coming months, as well as tips for engaging with the media. Columban priest, Fr Frank Regan, will help provide the spiritual content of the day. The Day of Solidarity with Refugees will be held at St Vincent's Centre in Carlisle Place, Victoria, London SW1, from 10am to 4pm.
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