108th WORLD DAY OF MIGRANTS AND REFUGEESTuesday, August 30, 2022
“BUILDING THE FUTURE WITH MIGRANTS AND REFUGEES”
On September 25th, the Church will mark the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees. It is an occasion to express our concern for the many vulnerable people on the move, to pray for them as they face many challenges, and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers.
The theme announced by His Holiness Pope Francis for this year’s event is “Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees”. In his message, Pope Francis reminds us that “the arrival of Catholic migrants and refugees can energize the ecclesial life of the communities that welcome them”. Click here to see Pope Francis’ entire message.
Refugee Sponsorship in Canada
The Catholic Church in Canada has participated in Canada’s Private Sponsorship of Refugees (PSR) Program since its inception in 1979, resettling tens of thousands of refugees who were forced to flee their home countries because of war, violence or persecution. Since 1979, private sponsors have resettled over 350,000 refugees to Canada. This is a remarkable accomplishment for Canadians.
Eighteen Catholic organizations (Dioceses, Religious congregations, and other groups) across Canada currently work as Sponsorship Agreement Holders (SAHs). As a SAH, they are allowed to name the refugees that they wish to sponsor. Once Immigration Canada approves the refugee sponsorship application, SAHs work with parishioners and parish communities to welcome, journey and support their sponsored refugee families. Each SAH commits to financially supporting their refugee family for a period of one year, which can be a significant financial commitment.
Our Situation Today
It is estimated that there are currently over 89 million people who have been forced from their homes, of which over 36 million have fled their homelands. This terrible situation is made even worse in recent months with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, forcing millions of Ukrainians to flee their home country. The Canadian Government has responded by creating a special program for Ukrainians displaced by war. Over 496,000 Ukrainian nationals have already applied to travel to Canada under a special visitor visa program. Over 74,000 have already arrived in Canada. Those without family links in Canada experience difficulty in securing a place to live. Thankfully, many groups are involved in addressing their plight.
As Pope Francis has said, “In turbulent times we are to re-commit to the journey of building the kingdom”.
Click here for a series of pastoral suggestions from the Catholic Refugee Sponsors’ Council (CRSC), as well as a resource list which includes bulletin announcements and prayers of the faithful.