Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants

Published on 3rd Jun, 2019

Te Rā Karakia mō te Hunga Rerenga Rāhui me te Hunga Manene Sunday, 23 June 2019 | Rātapu, 23 o Hune 2019

Community, Solidarity, Encounter

Mosaic featuring Naritas. Image: Stefano Maria Girardi

Every year the New Zealand Catholic Bishops set aside a Day of Prayer for Refugees and Migrants on a Sunday close to World Refugee Day 20 June. This year the prayer day is Sunday 23 June – the Feast of Corpus Christi. It is an opportunity to pray for refugees and migrants everywhere and to connect with some of the challenges they face.

To help support parishes welcome former refugees and migrants into communities, Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has produced a set of materials on ‘community, solidarity and encounter’.

The resources also support Caritas Internationalis’ Share the Journey campaign ‘The future is made of us, let’s share the journey’. This campaign, launched in 2017, calls for action to create more inclusive communities, for example a shared meal with former refugees and migrants, a global solidarity walk, and exploring cultures through art.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand’s materials this year include a mosaic from Caritas Internationalis. It features Nasrin, 21, who works with Rohingya children as part of Caritas Bangladesh’s efforts to provide safe spaces. It also features hundreds of photos of migrants and refugees, world leaders, business leaders and Caritas staff. The message is that while we are all very different, we are part of one humanity.

The mosaic is inspired by Pope Francis’ surprise TED Talk in 2017, titled ‘The Future You’ in which he spoke about power, interaction and the future. He said, ‘…the future is, most of all, in the hands of those people who recognise the other as a YOU and themselves as part of an US. We all need each other’.


Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand has welcomed an evaluation report on Community Organisation Refugee Sponsorship, released 14 May, by MBIE.

The government approved the CORS programme as a pilot scheme in June 2016. It has been piloted since 2017–18 for admission for up to 25 refugees. Last year, four community organisations were approved as sponsors and welcomed six families of 24 people to New Zealand.

The Catholic community were successful applicants to be community sponsors. Caritas is the umbrella organisation for a partnership that includes the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem of NZ, the St Addai’s Chaldean community and the Babylon Chaldean Society of Hamilton.

Julianne Hickey, Caritas Director, said ‘the report shows the pilot has provided an opportunity for community organisations to actively support refugee settlement and build welcoming communities. There is a lot of interest in community sponsorship as a pathway to welcome refugees, especially after the success of similar schemes in Canada and the UK.

‘Caritas will be working with our partners, other community sponsors, MBIE and Immigration New Zealand to continue developing a CORS pathway that will welcome, promote, protect and integrate former refugees into our communities.’

Published in WelCom June 2019

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