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Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support
On Saturday 23 March 2019, Catholic Social Services Victoria is hosting a parish forum on the topic, Helping our Refugee Families and Friends at the Cardinal Knox Centre, East Melbourne, 9.30am-1pm. This follows the very successful parish forum on the same topic held in August in 2018, focussing on how parishes can transform their desire to help asylum seekers and refugees into practical action. Book your place here
All are welcome to the Palm Sunday prayer, reflection and march to show support for those who seek asylum on Sunday 14 April. The day commences at 1pm with prayer and reflection with the Melbourne Catholic community in East Melbourne, followed by the pilgrim walk to State Library at 1.30pm. Then at 2pm, there is a public walk for refugees.
Download flyer, here.
"It is surely time now to reject the reasoning behind the restoration of Christmas Island as a threadbare security blanket sodden with the tears of the innocent. Let the sick come to Australia and be treated with respect." Fr Andy Hamilton SJ writes in Eureka Street about the Medevac Bill and Prime Minister Scott Morrison's intention to reopen Christmas Island for refugees and asylum seekers who need medical treatment.
The last four children living in Australia’s asylum-seeker processing centre on Nauru have been flown to the United States for resettlement. The children left the island country with their families on Wednesday afternoon, 27 February 2019. This is welcome news, however, there is still more work to be done. Another 265 refugees have been assessed but rejected by the US under its extreme vetting policy. At the moment, 394 asylum-seekers remain on Nauru and 580 on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS) Australia has worked with more than 50 children, women, and men who have been medically evacuated from Manus Island and Nauru over the last few years. JRS has seen first hand how sick people had become on the islands. A significant number of people on Nauru and Manus Island still languish on the islands with severe physical and mental illnesses that could have been treated, or cured with access to necessary care, and facilities.

Australia’s bishops have implored politicians on both sides to end the “intolerable situation” for asylum-seekers on Nauru and Manus Island. In a statement issued on 18 December, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference president Archbishop Mark Coleridge said “enough is enough” and it was time to find these people a home.
Catholic Social Services Victoria's Advent/ Christmas edition of Catholic Parishes Supporting the Community is out now. As we reflect on the meaning of Christmas, we encourage parishioners and parish communities to look at the ways they can support some of the most vulnerable members of our community - refugees and asylum seekers. There are also news items related to events that have assisted parishioners to deepen their knowledge and understanding of family and domestic violence. From all of the team at Catholic Social Services Victoria, we wish you all a safe and happy Christmas and holiday season.
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!"

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