The International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) expresses its urgent concern and deep solidarity with those whose lives have been so deeply affected by the earthquake that struck Central Italy in the early morning hours of 24 August 2016. ICMC member organizations and supporters who wish to assist people affected by this earthquake emergency in Central Italy can direct such aid to Caritas Italiana, which has been mandated by the bishops of Italy to coordinate this Church response to the victims of the earthquake.
Ahead of the Leaders’ Summit on the Global Refugee Crisis, to be held on 20 September at the margins of the upcoming United Nations General Assembly, a group of 41 nongovernmental organizations led by civil society alliance InterAction addressed a letter to US President Barack Obama asking him to lead the international community in the protection of uprooted people throughout the world.
Once again this year, the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference is organizing a Social Justice Week to reflect on Catholic social teachings relating to social justice in New Zealand revolving around the theme “We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter”. On this occasion, the faithful are called to share their migration journey and contribute to bolster a culture of solidarity and dialogue with others in their local parishes.
Last week, ICMC Secretary General Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo met with local donors and staff during his first official visit to ICMC’s office in Boston, in the United States. On the same occasion, he highlighted the strong bond the Catholic Church builds with refugees and migrants on a daily basis, especially through the worldwide network of Bishop Conferences who provide assistance to people at a local level.
Pope Francis recently expressed his support to the “Mediterranean: A Sea of Bridges” event, taking place in the Italian Diocese of Ugento-S. Maria di Leuca and gathering youth from all around Europe. Young people from the countries bordering the Mediterranean sea got together in the Italian town to draft the Charter of Leuca, a declaration aimed to promote a culture of hospitality and fraternity in the region.
Farid* and Amira* are a Syrian couple originally from Aleppo. Together with their seven children, they escaped the brutality of the Syrian war to find shelter in Jordan. The perilous journey took them through rural villages across the Syrian countryside before they were finally able to cross the Jordanian border on foot, during the night. They are currently living in Mafraq, in the north of the country.
The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society (CCIS) provides resettlement and integration to refugees in Alberta, Canada. In 2013, CCIS started sponsoring refugees from Syria and they have so far provided 75% of all sponsorship in the Alberta region. The CEO of the organization, Fariborz Birjandian, arrived in Canada as an Iranian Baha’i refugee in 1988. “Nobody plans to become a refugee, but once you become a refugee it’s a whole different world. You have to learn to function with the limited resources you may have.”
Msgr. Simon Ok Hyun-jin, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Korea’s Committee for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Foreign Residents, sent a message of mercy towards migrants and refugees on the occasion of the 102nd World Day of Migrants and Refugees. In the text, Msgr. Ok Hyun-jin addressed the refugees’ situation in South Korea where the number of asylum-seekers reached approximately 5,700 in 2015.
Masour*, 30 years old, lives in the Charsadda district, Pakistan, along with his older sister and his mother. Masour lost his father when he was a child, and his family has been living in one room after they left their grand-parents’ home. He abandoned his studies after 9th grade, starting to work immediately to earn for his family.
Rasha* and her family of seven have been living in a single room in the Douilaa area, Syria, for two years, since they fled their home in Quneitra city. The family left their home after Adnan*, the son who was 15 at the time, was shot on his way home from school. The young boy survived the incident, but he was paralyzed for many months as a result. Adnan has also been taking medication as he suffers from a lung embolism due to his injuries.