migrant & refugee sunday 2020

Welcoming, protecting, promoting and integrating internally displaced persons

Migrant and Refugee Sunday, celebrated on 27 September, is a time when our Catholic Church throughout the world celebrates the resilience and contribution of migrants and refugees to our faith community and society. It is also a time to bring awareness to the issues that migrants and refugees face.

This year’s theme for His Holiness Pope Francis’ Message for 2020 World Day of Migrant and Refugee is: “Like Jesus Christ, Forced to Flee”. Like an icon of so many of the displaced, the recurring biblical image: The Flight into Egypt of Jesus, Mary and Joseph the Holy Family represents people 'on the move'.

Our Church stands alongside the fragilities and dangers of the millions attempting to find a dignified home in the world, especially during COVID-19.

Hear the stories of Bishop Vincent and other refugees on their journeys to Australia.

Faith, Hope and Charity Begins at Home

“In the faces of the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the sick, strangers and prisoners, we are called to see the face of Christ who pleads with us to help,”

Pope Francis

We are in a crisis within our Diocese, due to COVID–19. Thousands of people seeking asylum and on temporary visas have lost their jobs.  Many, with no access to JobKeeper, JobSeeker or ongoing financial assistance, face homelessness and destitution.

Migrants and refugees rely on Catholic ministries like CatholicCare Social Services, House of Welcome, Jesuit Refugee Service and Vinnies NSW for income, housing and food bank support.

Every week, House of Welcome and Jesuit Refugee Service need to provide 430 food bags to feed 1,100 men, women, and children. These two agencies alone have reported a 400% increase in need for emergency assistance and a 77% increase in requests for food bank items.

There are many people suffering deeply who need our help.  We cannot not leave them homeless, hungry, and sick.Protection from this virus for all of us, demands we all have access to the protection of a safe home, a safety net and Medicare.

Pray, Share, Act and Advocate

As Catholics are called to be in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need through prayer, sharing their stories and action. You can be part of Pope Francis’ call to share in order to grow and to assist our Catholic ministries today to support people in desperate need.


Please Pray for asylum seekers so that they will be welcomed and enjoy peace and happiness in Australia and around the world.

Prayer for Migrants and Refugees suggested by the example of Saint Joseph at the time he was forced to flee to Egypt to save the child Jesus...


Please Share a conversation with your faith community about and with people seeking asylum.

Participate in one of our Parish ‘Table Talks’ which build solidarity, find common ground in shared values, and build our capacity to stand with asylum seekers. Contact Patrice Moriarty on 8838 3413 or 0409 399 505  or

Act and Advocate

Asylum seekers and refugees often arrive in our communities with few resources other than their families, their life experiences, and the clothes they wear. Many are not eligible for income support while in Australia. They need our help to meet their immediate living requirements and to achieve a basic standard of living.

Sign the Petition

Please sign the Catholics for Refugees Petition calling our government to extend a safety net – financial support, Medicare, and adequate shelter – to everyone in need in our community, regardless of their visa status, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Other ways you can support migrants and refugees

Welcome new asylum seekers into your community

Ask if you can help in any way. They may have simple needs that you are not aware of, but could easily help with.

Provide hospitality support

Giving of our time and friendship helps welcome migrants and refugees so that they may feel valued as our friends and neighbours.

Limited English skills put migrants and refugees at a disadvantage in their ability to access the resources and services necessary for daily survival in Australia. They may have little knowledge of their local area and Australian customs, culture, and ways of doing things.

Help asylum seekers navigate our community services and resources, including Centrelink, hospitals, transport, schools, asylum seeker support services. Host or join a get–together in your neighbourhood of asylum seekers and refugees, to help alleviate isolation and share each other’s company.

They may have few, if any, family or trusted friends to give them advice and moral support.  The opportunity to develop conversational English skills and the support of trusted friends are fundamentally important to enable asylum seekers to rebuild their lives and integrate successfully into our community.

Provide material support

Contact agencies such as CatholicCare, Jesuit Refugee Services, House of Welcome, and Vinnies to find out what food and other items for everyday living may be helpful for migrant and refugee families, such as furniture, bedding and kitchenware. Donate to support or get a team together within your parish to deliver to families in need.

Provide partnership

Can your business help support our Catholic agencies fill their food banks or support their employment, housing, social support and welfare programs?

Sharing is an essential element of our community. The global COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that we are all in the same boat, that we must ‘go out into the deep’ and learn to share more from our hearts in order to grow and flourish together as a community, leaving no one behind.

Sharing strengthens our faith in God and makes us feel like his children. It is not always a matter of sharing our material things, it is also about sharing our life experiences, our joys, a word of encouragement and our love for God. Everything that we can give will do good.

For information on the Diocese of Parramatta’s social justice initiatives and getting involved, please contact Patrice Moriarty, Social Justice Coordinator on 02 8838 3413 or

For information on donating to support migrants and refugees in our community, please contact Dianne Wigan, Head of Fundraising on 8838 34423 or

Pope Francis’ Message on the 106th World Day of Migrants and Refugees


In his 2020 Message for the 106 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, His Holiness Pope Francis focuses on the pastoral care of internally displaced persons who currently number over 41 million worldwide; and whose suffering has only been further exacerbated by COVID-19. This care emphasises and focuses on the following aspects named by Pope Francis for World Migrant and Refugee Day in 2018.

Welcoming: Increasing Safe and Legal Routes for Migrants and Refugees

Protecting: Defending the Rights and Dignity of Migrants and Refugees.

Promoting: Fostering the Integral Human Development of Migrants and Refugees.

Integrating: Greater Participation of Migrants and Refugees to Enrich Local Communities.

In his 2020 Message, the Holy Father added six couples of verbs to the four above. These are featured by a cause-effect relationship explained by some concrete actions in favour of internally displaced persons.

Pope Francis urges us to “know in order to understand”, going beyond the numbers and statistics connected to the phenomenon of internal displacement to discover the stories of these persons, to grasp their insecurity and vulnerability.

The Holy Father encourages us to “be close in order to serve”, overcoming fears and prejudices, that often expand distances and prevent us from coming together, showing compassion, and providing aid and assistance. Jesus gave us the greatest example of this when he washed the feet of his disciples: he took off his cloak, knelt, and dirtied his hands (cf. Jn 13:1-15)

Pope Francis invites us to “listen in order to reconcile”, in the awareness that only by listening humbly and carefully to the cry of the most vulnerable, shall we have the opportunity to reconcile with our neighbours, ourselves and God.

We must “share in order to grow”, says the Holy Father. This need has been fully confirmed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which showed how “[...] no one can be saved alone.” We must therefore learn to share what we have, without any exclusion, to grow together with the contribution of all.

This co-responsibility urges us to “be involved in order to promote”, sometimes the impulse to serve others prevents us from seeing their real riches. If we really want to promote those whom we assist, we must involve them and make them agents in their own redemption.

The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us of how essential co-responsibility is, and that only with the contribution of everyone – even groups so often underestimated – can we face this crisis. It is necessary to “cooperate in order to build”.

To preserve our common home and make it conform more and more to God’s original plan, we must commit ourselves to ensuring international cooperation, global solidarity and local commitment, leaving no one excluded.

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Displaced Persons in the Heart of Pope Francis, Bishop Vincent and our Church

Pope Francis has always highlighted the need for the Church to accompany those who are forcibly displaced “[...] by conflict, natural disaster, persecution or extreme poverty; and those who fall victim to human trafficking.”

In 2017, this led to the establishment of the Migrant & Refugee Section that is personally guided by the Holy Father. Its work supports the Catholic Church in its efforts to accompany these vulnerable groups at the local, regional, and international level.

Since August 2017 the Diocese of Parramatta, led by Bishop Vincent and the Social Justice Office in conjunction with the Sydney Alliance, Jesuit Refugee Service, House of Welcome, NSW Vinnies and CatholicCare Social Services, has been undertaking an Diocesan Journey: Walking with Refugees and People Seeking Protection. The journey responds to Bishop Vincent’s invitation to Catholic communities to respond to their plight of people seeking protection with understanding and compassion.

Our Vision is to empower Catholic communities reaching out and supporting asylum seekers and refugees in their parishes and in the broader community and to foster a humane asylum seeker policy in Australia, where asylum seekers and refugees are welcomed and helped to settle in our communities.

For information on the Diocese of Parramatta’s social justice initiatives and getting involved, please contact Patrice Moriarty, Social Justice Coordinator on 02 8838 3413 or

For information on donating to support migrants and refugees in our community, please contact Dianne Wigan, Head of Fundraising on 8838 34423 or

“This is not a time for forgetfulness. The crisis we are facing should not make us forget the many other crises that bring suffering to so many people.”

Pope Francis, Urbi et Orbi Message 12 April 2020

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