26th Sunday in Ordinary time – 27th September 2015

Refugee Response: Diocese of Salford

I am writing to share with you the plans of the Diocese of Salford in response to the ‘refugee crisis’ and the call for action from Pope Francis. Bishop John Arnold has asked Caritas Diocese of Salford to take up this work.

To coordinate our response, we will work closely with the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales and others at both national and local level. This response will need to be diocesan-wide and I will be inviting every parish and school to get behind the initiative we have named as Refugee Response.

Our response is planned in three phases:

Phase 1  

We are setting up a webpage for information with donation opportunity – how to help; channelling donations to front line work with refugees; listing the sort of practical items we might need to collect and identifying the hubs in the Diocese from where these items can be delivered to; building a register of people and organisations with transferable skills who we can call upon for assistance.

Phase 2

We will work with parishes and schools, the charities that specialise in work with refugees and asylum seekers, linking Refugee Response to the voluntary and statutory sectors, local authorities and government. In particular there is a national and international Catholic network that we are part of through Caritas Social Action Network (CSAN) and Cafod in London linking to our European Caritas family through Caritas Europe. We will also direct people to website information, petitions, and advocacy & campaign groups.

Phase 3

We will build a register of people, homes and properties that can be places of welcome offering a room, a house or a building that can be used to house refugees and be places of welcome, hospitality or sanctuary. We will also plan for the longer term as we already have thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and people with no recourse to public funds or entitlements in our midst and we will be welcoming more including refugees fleeing the trauma of war in Syria. There are long-term needs to be planned and resourced working in partnership with the Catholic community and all people of good will.  Most importantly, we will also be encouraging prayer for social justice in this forthcoming Year of Mercy.

If you would like to find out more about the Refugee Response in Salford Diocese please visit our website at http://www.caritassalford.org.uk/refugee-response
or email refugee@caritassalford.org.uk

Mark Wiggin, CEO Caritas Diocese of Salford

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