Take a day.
Every nation has its day. Independence Day, Bastille Day, Confederation Day. A day of founding, a day of liberation, a day of union. It is the day the citizens turn to each other and to the world, commemorating the day when they no longer were merely individuals, representing only themselves, but became part of a people. They tell the founding story — when they all became part of a nation, standing together, joined by a national purpose, defended by a nation’s laws, contributing to a society.
Every nation has its day. But for too many, there is no nation. And that is why we mark World Refugee Day. On June 20, a compassionate world, in a spirit of solidarity, has set aside a day even for the stateless. On that day, in a special way, we turn our prayers, our advocacy, our compassion, our eyes and ears to the world’s tens of million refugees. We speak their names, we share their stories, and we renew our commitment to securing safety, opportunity, and a future for all the world’s families. A home and a society they can be a part of.
Tools for World Refugee Day
At sharejourney.org, Catholic Charities and Catholic Relief Services have prepared a tool kit to help communities pray for, advocate for, support, and stand in solidarity with our refugee brothers and sisters. Here are just some of the ways you can mark the day in a meaningful way:
Engage your Elected Leaders and Advocate for Refugees
- Participate in the calls to action produced by the Justice for Immigrants Campaign, Catholics Confront Global Poverty, Share the Journey, and Catholic Charities USA to make your voice heard by your members of Congress.
- Use this World Refugee Day Advocacy Tool Kit.
- Read Pope Francis’ 2018 World Day of Migrants and Refugees Message
Become Active in Your Local Community and Parish
- Find your local Catholic Charities agency in the U.S. and volunteer or organize a collection to help refugees and migrants in your community.
- Use the “POWR from A to Z” resource collection from Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees (POWR). The USCCB and Migration Refugee Services launched the POWR program to intensify volunteer involvement in resettlement, at the parish level. POWR’s goal is to develop long-term, sustainable programs.
- Find out about what’s happening locally with The 2018 POWR Project Summary. The directory of projects and programs is organized by city.
- Train parish volunteers. These materials explain the pre- and post-arrival process to volunteers, donors and parish partners, as well as provide some concrete ideas how POWR teams can help. The document includes
- population-specific food supply lists,
- a home safety check list,
- Frequently Asked Questions for volunteers, and
- much more.
- Counter myths about refugees with facts. Use these talking points to provide your community with facts about refugees. This resource may be useful as you are making the case for refugees in your parishes and communities.
- Learn to welcome. The Parish Resettlement Ministry Manual provides everything you need to know to plan for and organize your parish to Welcome Refugees.
- Share a meal, host a Refugee Welcome Dinner. Refugees Welcome♥ is a dinner project where refugees and non-refugees break bread and break barriers. Anyone can host a dinner – organizations, businesses, individuals, groups of friends. All you need is an open heart and a big enough table.
- Introduce The Refugee Resettlement Curriculum in your K-12 school. The Refugee Resettlement Ministry Curriculum is a K-12 Catholic School curriculum developed at Catholic Charities of Jacksonville, which is designed to raise awareness for the refugee cause. It can easily be replicated elsewhere.
For most of us, we are a free people. We belong to a nation. We have planted a flag and found a welcome. For too many people, the search for that welcome continues. The story continues. On June 20, together with Pope Francis and partners around the world, that’s the story we are called to tell. That’s the journey we are called to share.
Copyright 2018 Catholic Relief Services