Walking with refugees 

By David Buckley and Zoe Grant, 20 June 2021
Iranian asylum seeker Patrick (centre), his wife Alison and their (then) baby son Xavier, with Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, at the launch of the Diocesan Journey in 2017. Sacred Heart Parish Blackheath assisted Patrick in his successful appeal to the Immigration Assessment Authority to obtain a Safe Haven Enterprise Visa. Image: Supplied.


Parishioners in the Diocese of Parramatta have always shown compassion, love and welcome to refugees and people seeking protection. Following an invitation by Bishop Vincent OFM Conv, Bishop of Parramatta, a group formed in 2017: the Diocesan Journey … Walking with Refugees and People Seeking Protection 

Related story: The Diocesan Food Drive: a simple way to support refugees

Related story: Aussie Christmas ‘miracle’ for Iraqi refugees

To date, parishes and individuals have: 

  • Provided emergency accommodation in underutilised houses; 
  • Provided resources to Diocesan schools about refugees. 

 Here’s how you, your school or parish can get involved too: 

Support Refugee Week 2021 June 20 to 26 – an Aussie tradition dating back 35 years.  

Find an event to support at refugeeweek.org.au or plan your own. 

Sign up your parish to the Diocesan Food Drive Roster to help provide desperately-needed food supplies to the 1300 people the House of Welcome and Jesuit Refugee Service feed each week. 

Host a ‘Table Talk’ in your parish. Table Talks are an opportunity for people seeking asylum to share their story, to hear from an expert on current policies and to explore questions in a safe and respectful environment. Find out more from zoe.grant@jrs.org.au. 

Invite a refugee to your Church community. CatholicCare Western Sydney and the Blue Mountains is piloting Church communities hosting refugee individuals and families. Find out more from Celia: (02) 8843 2550; celia.vagg@ccss.org.au 

 Watch and share resources to better understand the issues at parracatholic.org/socialjustice. 

 Campaign for more support for refugees in the Cumberland and Blacktown local government areas. Contact zoe.grant@jrs.org.au for more information. 

 Participate in your parish activities for Migrant and Refugee Sunday on 26 September 2021. Resources can be found here.    

 Join us as we walk in solidarity with people seeking protection. Contact Sebastian, the Peace, Justice and Ecology Coordinator in the Diocese of Parramatta at Sebastian.Salaske-Lentern@parracatholic.org 


David Buckley and Zoe Grant are members of Walking with Refugees and People Seeking Protection in the Diocese of Parramatta.  


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