was a year of great welcome and support by Melbourne parishes for asylum
seekers and refugees.
Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support
Program (the Welcome Program) works mainly with parishes in the Archdiocese
of Melbourne to support their work with asylum seekers and refugees. The program focuses on providing practical
support to asylum seekers and refugees, but this inevitably leads to advocacy
held three Parish Forums on Saturday 18 March in East Melbourne, Tuesday 11
July at Moonee Ponds, and the evening of 11 October, 2017, also at East
Melbourne, with keynote speakers including Sr Brigid Arthur, Phil Glendenning
AM, Paris Aristotle AM and former refugees.
100 people attended the three forums.
The forums update parishioners on the current needs of asylum seekers,
and suggest ways in which parishes might help. Parish leaders with first hand
experience led excellent practical sessions at the forums. A Letter Writing session will be held for
staff and friends at Cardinal Knox Centre on 5 December 2017, to generate
letters to MPs on asylum seeker support issues.
with the program, a group of leaders from Catholic agencies providing support
for asylum seekers and refugees meets regularly to share expert advice and
information and discuss areas for action.
The agencies are:-
Asylum Seeker Support Program
Cabrini Health Australia
Rice Community and Refugee Services
Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office
Sisters of Service
Vincent de Paul Society, Victoria
St Vincent’s Health, Australia
2017 the group authorised letters to the Minister for Immigration and Border
Control on standards of supervision applying to detainees, a Submission to the
2017-18 Humanitarian Review Program, a letter to the Minister requesting a
further special intake of Syrian refugees to respond to the Syrian crisis, and
thanks to the Premier of Victoria for his government’s support for medical
transferees, amongst other activities.
maintain our Asylum Seeker webpage on
the Catholic Social Services website. This
contains reference information for parishes - including such items as ‘What
can parishes do to assist asylum seekers and refugees?’ – as well as asylum
seeker news. We also send quarterly newsletter updates to those who have
attended our forums over the past four years, and other contacts.
are currently reviewing the Welcome Program to ensure it will continue to meet
its objectives in 2018, drawing on the assistance of experienced parishioners
and agencies with well established supports for asylum seekers and refugees.
thank everyone who supported the Welcome Program in 2017, and look forward to
working with parishes, asylum seekers and refugees in 2018.
suggestions for how our program can best help parishes support asylum seekers
would be most welcome - contact Lucia Brick on firstname.lastname@example.org.