Catholic schools welcome refugees

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23 January 2017

Catholic schools welcome refugee students and their families to be part of their school and parish communities. Catholic schools celebrate their refugee students’ success, their social justice teams organise fundraising for refugee support organisations, students participate in art competitions that advocate for refugees, volunteer to tutor refugee students, and attend prayer services to support those in detention centres.

The new Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) video, ‘Catholic community says “You are Welcome”’, highlights the welcoming spirit in the Catholic community for refugees and features Catholic schools from the Archdiocese of Melbourne including Emmanuel College, Altona North; St Mary’s School, Williamstown; and Avila College, Mount Waverley.

Catholic schools make a difference in a variety of ways. Jim Sheedy, Principal St Mary’s School, Williamstown says, ‘We’re responding to the asylum seeker issue by raising awareness of the humanity of the issue not the politics with the students and the broader community’.

Mark Sciberras of Emmanuel College says, ‘At Emmanuel College we feel blessed to receive refugee students. Every year we have a refugee welcome dinner where we invite new members of the Australian community to the College and we celebrate our experiences and diversity’.

CASPA said ‘Making this video has reignited our belief that once we move beyond the politics of this issue, once we focus on the human dimension, we see compassion, care and a welcoming spirit’.