Catholic parishioners from around the Archdiocese who have helped refugees over the past six years will be thanked at a special celebration on Thursday 28 August.
The celebration, co-hosted by the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission and the Centre for Multicultural Pastoral Care, will be held at the Centre’s offices at 333 Given Terrace, Paddington, from 7.00 p.m.
The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that many Catholics responded to the Commission’s numerous appeals for help to convince successive Immigration Ministers to provide protection for a number of asylum seekers since 2002.
“We started in Advent in 2002 with a petition for compassionate treatment for Zahra Alawi and her family,” Mr Arndt said.
“Many Catholics from around the Archdiocese signed the petition and their support was instrumental in convincing Senator Amanda Vanstone to give protection to this family,” he said.
“Many Catholics also responded to our appeals for letters of support for a number of the Afghan boys who played with the Tigers Eleven Soccer Club,” he said.
“They also wrote letters of support for an Ethiopian woman, Kibre Kebede, who faced deportation in 2005,” he said.
“All of these refugees are safe from the persecution and violence they faced in their homeland because, in part, Catholics in Brisbane made the effort to support them,” he said.
“All of the people we supported are Australian citizens and are very grateful to the support they received from many good people in Brisbane,” he said.
“Some of them have agreed to come to our celebration and to talk about what has happened to them in the last few years,” he said.
“We encourage people who signed petitions, wrote letters of support and helped in other ways to come along and meet some of the people they helped,” he said.
Mr Arndt said that the celebration would also be an opportunity to explain what improvements are still needed in Australia’s refugee policy.
“We hope that Catholics will continue to respond to the Gospel’s call to welcome the stranger,” he said.
“The fundamental message we want to get across to Catholics is that defending and promoting the dignity of our fellow human beings is at the heart of the Gospel,” he said.
Those intending to attend are encouraged to RSVP to Alana on (07) 3336 9351 or email@example.com
For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476. NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.