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National Week for migrants and refugees to begin in Australia



Sydney, 17 August 2013: Migrants and refugees represent an ethical issue and not merely economic or national security: so writes the Australian Bishops' Conference in the message prepared in view of the National Week for migrants and refugees. The event, scheduled for August 19 to 25, has the theme "Migration: a pilgrimage of faith and hope," the same theme chosen by Pope Benedict XVI for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which was celebrated on 13th January this year.

"It is the duty of the Catholic community to raise the level of discussion of migrants and refugees, and away from debate merely economic or related to national security, to focus instead on the ethical dimension, to the good of person and his inalienable rights", read the message of the Church of Sydney, signed by Bishop Gerard Hanna, episcopal delegate to the Ministry of migration. "The respect due to migrants and refugees - the message continues - weighty" and it is for this reason that "individuals, parishes and Catholic institutions all must initiate awareness programs, so as to make known the causes of migration".

Reiterating the need for "an effective response" on the part of the authorities, both local and national, Bishop Hanna points out that "the Church must not forget the religious dimension of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, as it is essential in everyone's life." Not only that: "in many cases-show, the bishops - the migrants who arrive in the host countries come from Catholic communities and young people active and some of them, at home, were catechists."

For this reason, Bishop Hanna invites all to ensure that migrants "to share with the other faithful the riches of their faith". Looking at what motivates people to migrate - war, poverty, unemployment, famine, disease, oppression - the Australian Church gives two solutions: the first involves "the delegate responsibilities to governments and international organizations" and this results in "the need for greater cooperation between the countries of origin of migrants and the host countries." A collaboration, says Bishop Hanna, possible only if "the dignity of the human person, with the inalienable rights derived therefrom, is considered a non-negotiable priority value in both the places of origin of migrants in the countries that host them." Similarly, "the fundamental right to seek asylum should never be denied to people who fear for their lives, or they should be imprisoned."

The second solution presented by the Australian Bishops' Conference imply, however, a question at the heart of every believer: "What can I do?". In this way, the bishops explain, we can put you in the shoes of migrants and to better understand their difficulties, but also their hopes. "Reflect on migration seen as a pilgrimage - reads the message - it means to become aware that migrants and refugees leave their homes with faith and hope." And in this Year of Faith, concludes the Church in Australia, you have to pray that "faith and hope can inspire the Catholic communities to live together and in communion with the migrants."
Source: VR Sedoc




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