Melbourne Catholics gather to support refugees on Palm Sunday

Monday 15 April 2019

Media and Communications Office

Parishioners from across the Melbourne Catholic community congregated for the Palm Sunday Prayer and Reflection for those Seeking Asylum at the Cardinal Knox Centre yesterday in support of refugees and asylum seekers.
 Image by: Ashoka Peiris T.H
The afternoon prayer and reflection also featured special guests Bishop Mark Edwards, Brenda Hubber from the Migrant Catholic Refugee Office and Josh Lourensz from the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA).
‘I want to acknowledge that what we’re doing is really human,’ said Bishop Edwards.

‘It’s also a big part of our Catholic life, right back to our Jewish roots. If you read the Old Testament, again and again, God reminds the Jewish people through his prophets that they have to look after the stranger because they themselves were strangers once. So we come together to support those who need care and need protection.’

During the prayer and reflection, prayers were offered for those seeking asylum, offering sentiments of welcome and support. This is offered in support of Pope Francis’s words, ‘whoever turns refugees away, forgets that Jesus was also one.’
The reflection was followed by a talk by Josh Lourensz from CAPSA who distributed hand-outs and encouraged those who attended to write or meet with their local MPs and organize a candidate forum. He offered some key tips on how to approach letters and meetings with MPs.
  Image by: Ashoka Peiris T.H

‘The way people, and especially leaders, talk about asylum seekers or refugees has been quite derogatory, and when our leadership talks in a dehumanizing way, this can trickle down throughout the community and become a part of our own subconscious,’ said Lourensz.

‘So there’s a lot of tricky conversations to have.’

The event was supported by a selection of Catholic organisations including Catholic Care, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne, Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office and Office to Justice and Peace.

  Image by: Ashoka Peiris T.H
The prayer and reflection was followed by the pilgrim walk to State Library, joining the wider Melbourne community in support of refugees at the annual Walk for Justice for Refugees.
 Images by: Ashoka Peiris T.H
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