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Social Justice Sunday

posted Sep 25, 2015, 11:50 PM by Sean Donovan   [ updated Sep 25, 2015, 11:53 PM ]

This weekend Catholics recognise Social Justice Sunday.

As you may know the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference social justice statement, “For Those Who've Come Across the Seas“, is very timely for the current state of affairs.


The Pope has also called on Catholics (as well as Christians and all others) to take an active and direct role to help and settle migrants during the current influx to Europe. The Vatican only last week took in and settled a refugee family.


At the recent Macarthur Social Justice Network meeting the Bishops' social justice statement was discussed and the workshop came up with the following suggestions.



* TAKE IN AND TAKE ON - In response to the Government's decision to take in Syrian refugees, every faith community in Australia could offer to TAKE IN a refugee or refugee family and TAKE ON the responsibility of ensuring that they are settled into the community creating a welcoming atmosphere and support network that will make a smooth integration into our society. There are some 1,350 Catholic Parishes alone in Australia and probably similar numbers in other denominations. Every member of the Parish or Community could contribute $1 per week toward supporting the new arrivals while they get settled.


* STREAMLINE - The outcomes of migrant and refugee applications appear to defy common sense and seem to be random and capricious. While acknowledging that there are historical reasons that the present system has developed, the system needs to be revamped and refreshed to streamline the process and ensure that Australia gets the benefits of accepting new arrivals at the earliest possible time.


* INTEGRATE - Ensure that immigration processes are orderly and properly integrate people into the community with adequate support mechanisms. An ongoing development of the TAKE IN AND TAKE ON approach would make all communities responsible for the successful integration of new arrivals rather than leave this just to employed officials of the Government.


There have been similar calls from Government and other representatives for communities to take an active local role in this outreach for the expected 12,000 new arrivals from Syria.


At the next Macarthur Social Justice Network meeting on October 10 at 2:30pm the issue will be further explored focusing on the underworld of people exploiting others in distress. Sr Noelene Simmons will be speaking about the work of ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans).


Archbishop Coleridge has just established a fund in the Brisbane Archdiocese that people can donate toward refugee resettlement.


So the question is: How can we take up the challenge of a TAKE-IN and TAKE-ON approach within Parishes of our Wollongong Diocese with the co-ordinated support of agencies such as CatholicCare, SVdP, and the Catholic Education Office?


The web site for the Social Justice statement includes a 3-4 minute video that can be used  as well as other material.



Our second reading on last Sunday remains quite appropriate for our times.


Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves? You want something and you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force. Why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires.

- James 4:1-4:3



Sean Donovan