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Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support
Do you intend to write letters to your MP on burning issues, but never translate it into action? Here’s your chance! Catholic Social Services Victoria's Welcome the Asylum Seeker Parish Support Program is hosting a lunchtime letter writing session on Tuesday, 5 December 2017 in East Melbourne.
"The policy of offshore detention has cost Australia dearly. But it has cost the detainees and their families even more. I appeal to the government and political leaders to act in accordance with our honourable tradition...including accepting New Zealand’s offer of resettlement and bringing the remaining detainees on Manus Island to Australia. – Bishop Vincent Long.
The asylum seeker LINC project is a community-driven initiative, which operates within the city of Port Phillip. LINC appeals to individuals and organisations that have a passion for social justice and lending a helping hand to assist vulnerable asylum seekers living in their community. 
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.
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.
Our latest Catholic Parishes Serving the Community newsletter contains news about local parishes serving in their community including St Dominic's East Camberwell and Holy Eucharist St Albans South; events of interest, in particular an upcoming evening forum to assist parishes in supporting asylum seekers, on 11 October; along with important in depth articles  that will assist the parish community to understand more deeply the issues of homeless and youth justice, and what role we can play in lessening their detrimental effects within the community.
 
Download the full newsletter, here.

Fifty four people seeking asylum have left Manus Island and Nauru for the US. We don’t know how many will be accepted into the US, but it is likely that many hundreds will be left behind in Manus and Nauru in danger, with no hope and no future. Come to hear and discuss how parishes and communities can support asylum seekers already in our midst, and change our political parties’ policies towards asylum seekers.

The Australian Refugee Action Collective is organising rallies and other protests around Australia on 8 October calling for the asylum seekers and refugees on Manus Island and Nauru to be brought immediately to Australia. 
The parish of St Dominic's East Camberwell has recently erected a large banner facing Riversdale Road, stating: 'St Dominic's Parish Welcomes Asylum Seekers'. The banner is 3.5m long and 75cm high, and was erected after support was given by the parish priest, Fr Peter Toan Nguyen OP, the Dominican Community who reside there, and the parish council.

Parishes play an important role in providing support to refugees and asylum seekers. It is a central call of the Gospel to welcome the stranger, and to love our neighbours as Jesus loved. In this light, parishioners are invited to our upcoming evening forum to learn how we can strengthen support provided by parishes on Wednesday 11 October, from 6pm - 8.30pm in the Cathedral Room of the Cardinal Knox Centre. The Forum will discuss practical ways in which you and your parish can make a difference. Please let as many people as possible know about this!

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