Provide guidance to Faith Communities as to how offering resettlement to Canada as a durable of last resort to refugees stranded in endangered places. Duties include but are not limited to assessing sponsorship requests, assisting with the application process for permanent residence in Canada, aiding with sponsored refugees’ settlement and integration in the community, advocating for refugees’ protection and assistance at local, regional, national and international levels through educational presentations and participation to fora.
Continued to respond to the plight of the neediest refugee populations with focus on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq that drove millions of Iraqis mostly persecuted because of their Christian beliefs into exile in Syria and Jordan mainly. Other troubled countries our Faith communities sponsored from include Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo whose nationals are spread in the Eastern Africa. The city and the Parishes in Windsor and London area to some degree are a perfect reflection of the work that has been done in terms of giving chance to our brothers and sisters in Christ to start over their life in a safe country. Those that are involved in the Private Sponsorship for refugees program of the Diocese often perceive the reward from sponsoring refugees as the joy of giving life to some one who was meant to die or the joy of giving birth as well stated in John16:21, “A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world”.
Our Good New Stories
One of our recent best stories is the arrival of a family of four Iraqi sponsored refugees from Syria by a group of Faith Communities in London i.e. St.Michael’s Parish, the congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Peter’s Seminary, St. Joseph Chaldean Church and the Holy Family church under the “Visa Office Referred” category. The sponsored refugee family arrived in London on November 29, 2011, enjoyed Christmas and the New Year with their sponsors and they are quickly and successfully integrating the London community. What is a Visa Office Referred Refugee (family)? Why a group effort?
You will not know about the Visa office referred refugees’ category through Medias. If you currently read newspapers or watch television with interest in Canada’s immigration system, you feel proud of our country and the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program as a vital expression of Canadian values. You will also be delighted at learning that Canada has been promoting the resettlement of Iraqi refugees to Canada through the government-assisted and private sponsorship programs. And that is true because Canadians sponsor refugees just because they care.
While the category of government-assisted is taken care by the Government funds and the care of privately sponsored refugees is shared between relatives & friends in Canada, and the sponsoring Faith community, “Visa Office Referred” is the category of refugees who have been identified by the United Nations and our Government as persons in need of Canada’s protection although the Government is not able to fit them in the quota of Government-assisted refugees and who have no relatives or friends in Canada who are able to support them for the sponsorship period of 12 months. This definite gap in the overseas refugee system is the actual aim of the remarkable group effort of St. Michael’s Parish, the congregation of Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Peter’s Seminary, St. Joseph Chaldean Church and the Holy Family church. Nevertheless to say, this is the category that requires full sponsorship from the sponsor(s). As one priest said, “Yes, we have financial challenges. But we have to be church first”.
Another good new story is just around the corner as the fruit of another group effort is on the way in Windsor and Comber area. Our Lady of the Atonement Parish, Corpus Christi Parish, Visitation Parish and St. Anne Parish are in the process of sponsoring an Iraqi refugee family as well!