'Cast Into the Deep' Conference looks to pastoral support for world refugees
The Fifth National Conference of the Australian
Catholic Migrant and Education Office was held at the Melbourne campus of Australian Catholic
University, on 18 and 19 July. This year’s theme is 'Cast into the deep' focussed on the care of
migrants and refugees who are coming to Australia—an issue that is heavily
debated by the Australian public. The conference is responding to Pope
Francis’ call to go out to the margins of society and 'cast into the
deep' (Luke 5:4) and hosted Cardinals Turkson and
Quevedo and 130 bishops, priests, religious and lay people. The focus was on pastoral support for the
world’s refugees and migrants.
Turkson, head of the Dicastery (portfolio) for the
Promotion of Integral Human Development in the Vatican told how Pope Francis
has re-organised offices within the Vatican to better serve the worldwide
Church, combining portfolios for cultural heritage, human health, development
and migration into one dicastery. While Cardinal Turkson leads the group, Pope
Francis takes personal responsibility for migration and refugees. It was
interesting to hear how the Vatican is being re-organised by Pope Francis to serve
the world’s people, consistent with his Laudato Si vision of “integral human
Quevedo spoke of the vast movement of Filipino workers between the Philippines
and other countries, primarily to support families at home. He spoke of the pressures migration places on
individuals and families, and the work of migrant chaplains who support the
workers and their families at home and overseas.
discussed many aspects of support for migrants and refugees, with a general
emphasis on supporting Catholic migrant communities in Australia.
Conference was an eye-opener for the author of this article (of Irish descent) - to be in a large Church
gathering right here in Melbourne where Anglo/Celts were in the great
minority. Archbishop of Brishbane, Mark Coleridge, told
us we had better get used to this picture, because this is where the centre of
gravity in the Church is moving. The Conference
also illustrated how much work is done by migrant chaplains and others to
support new Catholic communities in Australia. Perhaps many of us are unaware of this?