The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum is this week holding a National Week of Prayer and Action to engage the Australian Catholic community in solidarity with people seeking asylum.
This year’s theme, “Freedom to Live”, comes from Pope Francis’ forthcoming message for World Day of Migrants and Refugees on September 24, titled “Free to choose whether to migrate or stay”, in which the Pope calls for a shared commitment to eliminating the causes of forced migration.
“In whatever place we decide to build our future, in the country of our birth or elsewhere, the important thing is that there always be a community ready to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate everyone, without distinctions and without excluding anyone,” Pope Francis said.
CAPSA, co-convened by Jesuit Social Services and Jesuit Refugee Service Australia, recognises the support and advocacy undertaken by individuals, schools, parishes and Catholic organisations across education, health, refugee and social services towards fair and humane treatment for people seeking asylum in Australia.
Co-chairs Julie Edwards (Jesuit Social Services), and Tamara Domicelj (JRS Australia) said the National Week of Prayer and Action will focus on what we can all do to create a community where people seeking asylum have the freedom to live.
“National Week of Prayer and Action is an invitation to and celebration of solidarity. Together, we will face the challenges and barriers to living freely and flourishing in the community that people who seek safety in Australia face, and take meaningful steps through prayer, reflection, advocacy and action towards a more compassionate and welcoming society,” Ms Domicelj said.
Ms Edwards said the Pope’s message is a timely reminder of the social and political causes of forced migration – including global conflict, economic instability, and environmental destruction.
“We invite the Australian Catholic community to stand in solidarity with people seeking asylum by learning more about the causes of forced migration, reflecting, and taking further action.”