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At our most recent forum on parish support for asylum seekers, Catholic social services reiterated its support for the Victorian Government’s assistance for asylum seekers who have been cut off from Federal Government benefits. Catholic agencies and parishes, together with many others, are already providing substantial accommodation, material aid, mental and physical health, legal and other support to this group, and to many other asylum seekers and refugees in similar circumstances. Our agencies and parishes warmly welcome this Victorian Government initiative and are keen to keep contributing themselves.
The Catholic Church in Melbourne, along with the Vatican, sends an annual greeting to Hindus on the occasion of the festival of Diwali. This message offers warmest greetings and the blessings of prosperity and success on the occasion of Diwali, and looks forward to the Catholic and Hindu communities ‘doing more together in the future for the common good of our society’. May the celebration of Diwali be a time of joy for us all.
We are in the midst of national Anti-Poverty Week (15-21 October). It aims to strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia. As part of Anti-Poverty Week, there are a number of events being hosted in Melbourne by Catholic Social Services Victoria, and our Member organisations, which aim to engage us more deeply with the challenge of poverty and our call to respond.
 
Increased education and awareness, and a united voice from churches are just some of the things that are needed to help shift public opinion and policy in supporting refugees and asylum seekers. More than 20 people gathered at the Cardinal Knox Centre in East Melbourne on 11 October to discuss how Catholic parishes can strengthen the support provided to refugees and asylum seekers living in the community.

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