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Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support
During this time of Advent and Christmas, we are reminded of the story of Joseph and Mary who desperately sought shelter for themselves and the impending birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ. In the same way, there are many people today who urgently need our assistance by way of shelter, work or financial aid. Refugees and asylum seekers are among our most vulnerable community members. When they knock on our door, are our hearts and minds open? Are we responding with love and generosity? There is an immediate need! If you can help by way of financial aid, housing or provision of work, please contact Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project or Vinnies Victoria.
Amnesty report warning on Manus Island A new report from Refugee Council of Australia, in collaboration with Amnesty International blames the Australian government for cuts in health services and continued threats to the safety of the undocumented immigrants on Manus island in Papua New Guinea. The report, Until When: The Forgotten Men of Manus Island tells the story of the men who have been sent by Australia to Manus Island and what has happened to them after they were forcibly removed from the ‘regional processing centre’ on Manus one year ago. 
In his keynote speech and book chapter titled Catholic Social Services as Agents of Hearing, Healing and Hope, Phil Glendenning, President of the Australian Refugee Council shares a moving poem penned by a young Iranian asylum seeker who spent a number of years in mandatory detention after arriving in Australia by boat and challenges everyone "to start blowing on those clay whistles and go and change history!"
Social Policy Connections invites parish and church groups to a free public forum with Sr Brigid Arthur csb of Brigidine Asylum Seekers Project speaking on the topic, 'Refugees and their traumatised chidlren - a tale of smoke and mirrors'. The forum will be held on Wednesday 5 December, Study Centre at Theological Union, 34 Bedford Street, Box Hill, 7.30pm-9pm.

A message from Amnesty International.
The photograph is of two-year-old George (name changed). He was born in an open-air prison on Nauru and he’s spent his entire life there. George is just one of the 117 children our government is imprisoning on Nauru. Medical workers say that some of the children are now so traumatised by their family’s prolonged imprisonment, they may die if they are not released from their island prison. We rarely hear the names behind the numbers thanks to our government’s restrictions on reporting about offshore detention.

At this time of change in Australian politics, it’s time to change our approach to refugees and people seeking asylum.

This was a call from more than 60 people from 20 Melbourne Catholic parishes on Saturday 25 August.  They were gathered for the 14th Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support forum

A joint initiative between the Australian Catholic University, Melbourne campus, and the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, the Annual Bishop Joseph Grech Memorial Colloquium on Ethics and Migration provides an opportunity for prominent members in the Church and public figures to discuss current topics in migration. 
 
As part of our Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support Program, Catholic Social Services Victoria is hosting a forum for parishes, 'Helping our Refugee Families and Friends' on Saturday 25 August, at the Cardinal Knox Centre, 383 Albert Street, East Melbourne, from 9.30am - 1.00pm. For more information, contact Adrian Foley: adrian.foley@css.org.au
 
There is a great article in The Colac Herald by Ruby Manson about local priest, Father Michael O'Toole, and the valued contribution, role and achievements of the community's African migrants. Read the full article here.
Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers made the news in The New York Times.

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