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World Day of Migrants and Refugees
September 24 @ 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Pope Francis’ theme for this year’s World Day of Migrants and Refugees is ‘Free to choose whether to migrate or to stay’. In his message for the day, the Pope says eliminating the causes of forced migration needs a “commitment on the part of all” and also “we are called to show maximum respect for the dignity of each migrant (in) a community ready to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate everyone.”
For a decade Australia hasn’t heeded the Pope’s message to ‘welcome and protect’ refugees who came by boat. There have been recent improvements, but there is still more to do. Of urgent concern are:
- about 15,000 people who are not ‘free to stay’ safely in Australia, as they live in destitution, unable to work but denied a financial safety net; and
- the people still held in PNG, whom the Australian Government has abandoned in unsafe conditions, with many not ‘free to leave’ there for a safe country.
In the official Australian booklet for the Day, Archbishop Prowse suggests we reflect on our understanding of refugees and migrants, drawing on the flight of Jesus and his family into Egypt. Vinnies calls on Catholics to use the information in this booklet to pray for all migrants and refugees on 24 September.
As well, Vinnies calls for action to help the vulnerable people in our community and those in PNG for whom Australia still bears responsibility.