SHARE THE JOURNEY: Ideas for Faith Leaders for the Week of Prayer and Action

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The Caritas Internationalis “Share the Journey” Migration Campaign kicked off on September 27, 2017. On August 23rd, USCCB, CRS and Catholic Charities USA held a webinar to discuss the Share the Journey migration campaign. By following this link, you can view the webinar.

On September 27, 2017, Pope Francis launched a global campaign to support migrants and refugees around the world. In collaboration with the annual celebration of Respect Life Month in October, the bishops in the U.S. are asking Catholics around the country to help kick off the campaign by taking part in a week of prayer and action for migrants and refugees from October 7-13.

Catholic leaders across parishes, schools, and universities can animate their communities to participate in the week of prayer and action:

At Masses (October 7–8)

  • Distribute prayer and commitment sheets (in English and Spanish) in the pews, and say the prayer together at the end of Mass.
  • Use the “Share the Journey” parish toolkit (with resources in English and Spanish) to:
    • Pray for migrants and refugees in the Prayer of the Faithful.
    • Highlight our commitment to our brothers and sisters who have fled their homes, placing it within the context of our commitment to protecting all human life during the homily.
    • Mention the campaign from the pulpit and include an announcement in your bulletin.
  • Ask a representative from a local Catholic Charities office (immigration legal services or refugee resettlement) to say a few words at the end of Mass.

The September 27, 2017 launch of the Share the Journey Campaign during the Pope’s weekly audience. The two-year campaign of action and awareness-raising will promote the strengthening of relationships between migrants, refugees and communities. Photo courtesy of Caritas/Stefano Strata

In Schools and Religious Education

On Campus

Sean Callahan, president and CEO of CRS, making friends with the local children of Uganda’s Bidi Bidi, one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. Photo by Hugh Rutherford for CRS

And at Community-Wide Events

Rally your community to contact your elected officials.

During the Week of Prayer and Action, parishioners can speak out in support of migrants and refugees by contacting the Administration and Congress and letting them know that as a person of faith, you care about refugees and insist that our nation welcome these vulnerable families to our shores.

Join an organization in your community that is advocating for and with immigrants.

Check out action alerts about national and global legislation concerning refugees and immigrants from Catholic Charities USAJustice for Immigrants (USCCB) and Catholics Confront Global Poverty (from the USCCB and CRS). Create personalized postcards or letters for people to sign during the week of prayer and action. Schedule a meeting with the offices of your Congressional members in advance of the week of prayer and action and hand deliver these letters or postcards at the meeting. Here are some tips for how to get started.

Host a community-wide prayer for migrants and refugees.

Invite people to participate in communal prayer like a prayer vigil, rosaryposadas, Holy Hour, or Stations of the Cross for the intention of migrants and refugees. Consider incorporating a walk into these prayer options to symbolize migrants and refugees on the move, with whom we share this earthly pilgrimage. See how one diocese engaged Catholics in prayer for migrants.

Provide opportunities for people to get to know migrants and refugees.

Host a potluck gathering including members from your community and migrants and refugees. Organize a speaking event or school assembly in your community. Contact your local Catholic CharitiesCLINIC affiliate or another local agency, such as PCMRT Ethnic and People on the Move Communities serving migrants and refugees to identify people who would be comfortable meeting and sharing their stories. If you can’t arrange an in-person gathering, encourage members of your community to get to know migrants and refugees by reading their stories.

Rasammal Nithyakumar (top right) and her husband Arumugam left Sri Lanka toward the end of the conflict in 2006, having been forced to flee when fighters wanted to conscript their sons, ages 10 & 12 at the time. Although they returned in 2013, they still live in a tin shack as they were not prioritized for a housing grant, which prioritizes female-headed households. Photo by Jennifer Hardy/CRS

Help people put themselves in our brothers’ and sisters’ shoes.

Hold a simulation experience that helps people explore why migrants and refugees feel forced to leave their homes using this exercise from CRS, a guide from the Catholic Charities of Louisville, or the Refugees Seeking Safety tool from Cabrini University.

Organize local community service.

Contact your local Catholic CharitiesCLINIC affiliate or another local agency serving migrants or refugees to help determine the needs. Then, organize a day of service or a collection of the necessary items. Assistance is often needed in tutoring, language skills development, shelter, basic resource allocation, legal services, tutoring, job training, and transportation, and companionship. Even children can serve by collecting items or designing welcome cards for migrants and refugee families who are arriving in your community. If not already involved, your parish can also become part of the local Parishes Organized to Welcome Refugees Program, to organize ongoing program of welcome and support for newly arriving refugees. Contact USCCB Migration and Refugees for more information at [email protected].

Offer a public sign that your community is in solidarity with migrants and refugees.

Consider a symbolic gesture to help create awareness, such as pitching a tent on the parish lawn with a sign about standing in solidarity during the week of prayer and action. Display posters or pictures in the gathering space with stories and ways to help.

Encourage education.

Challenge your community to learn about the issue. Invite classes and groups that are already meeting in your community throughout the week to spend some time learning about why people leave their home countries, common myths about the issue, and what the Church teaches about it.

Facilitate a USCCB training on Building Intercultural Competence for Minister (BICM) through the Subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees and Travelers to empower seminarians, religious and lay leaders to serve migrants and refugees in the United States.


Copyright 2017 Catholic Relief Services

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Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. We are the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of Caritas International and the National Catholic Development Conference. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus and Pinterest.

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