Food for Thought Friday: Catholic Relief Services Releases Video Featuring Refugees

Food for Thought Friday: On June 20, the world celebrated World Refugee Day in honor and commemoration of the 65 million refugees and displaced persons around the world. As a way of making sure those whom we celebrated were actually heard, Catholic Relief Services released a video, featuring the question “What will you be doing in 17 years?” 17 years is the average amount of time a refugee will wait to be permanently resettled. Watch the video here!

How does your campus support refugees? Let us know! 

Food for Thought Friday: Catholic Relief Services Releases Video Featuring Refugees

Food For Thought Friday: Where will you be doing in 17 years? That’s the question that Catholic Relief Services asked ordinary people in the United States, as well as refugees from around the world. 17 years is the average amount of time it takes for refugees and displaced persons to be permanently resettled. Watch the video and hear from refugees themselves where they hope to be in 17 years.

Lampedusa USA to Host Facebook Prayer Vigil

Lampedusa, a small island off the coast of Italy, has become known as thousands of migrants arrive there on their way to Europe. Tragically, many do not make it to the island’s shores alive.

As a way of expressing his solidarity with and concern for migrants traveling to Europe, Pope Francis visited Lampedusa on July 8, 2013. It was during this visit that he coined the phrase ‘globalization of indifference,’ referring to the phenomenon that leads to and compounds migrant crises such as the one the world is currently experiencing.

Lampedusa USA is a Catholic organization created in response to Pope Francis’s call for all to welcome refugees and migrants to the best of their abilities. On July 8, 2016, the organization will be hosting a Facebook prayer vigil to commemorate the Holy Father’s visit to the island and to continue praying for the world’s migrants and refugees.

All are welcome to participate in the vigil, including individuals, congregations, organizations, and colleges or universities. We hope you will join us in prayer for the world’s migrants.

June 20 is World Refugee Day

The world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since World War II. Around the world there are over 50 million refugees and displaced individuals, 12 million of whom were forced from their homes by the war in Syria. These circumstances demand our attention and action.

In commemoration of World Refugee Day on June 20, Bridging Refugee Youth and Children’s Services (BRYCS), a division of USCCB’s Migration and Refugee Services (MRS), will host two unique events:

  1. Film screening of Refugee Kids, a documentary that tells the story of refugee children participating in a summer program in New York City.  The screening will take place on June 17 at 2:00 p.m. at Catholic University of America Gowan Auditorium.  Brief discussion of the film will follow.
  2. Locally resettled refugees will share their stories over food and drinks at Busboys & Poets Brookland on June 20 from 6:00-8:00 p.m.

More details on the events are available here. For those who cannot make the events, we hope you will join us in prayer for the world’s refugees on June 20.

University of Scranton is ‘In Solidarity with Syria’

Although a recent ACCU Peace and Justice blog post featured three Catholic colleges and universities’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis, many other Catholic colleges have been working to assist refugees and advocate on their behalf.

The University of Scranton has been strongly committed to aiding refugees abroad and in the U.S., advocating for peace and for greater acceptance of refugees into the U.S., and educating its students about the crisis and inspiring them to act.  The campus initiative In Solidarity with Syria seeks to combine advocacy and educational efforts.

President Kevin Quinn, SJ, wrote an editorial urging compassion for refugees in the Scranton Times-Tribune last fall.  He also wrote a letter to federal elected officials urging the U.S. government to address the refugee crisis.  He noted that the University was exploring how to help Syrian students interested in further education in the United States, as well as how to help refugee families that settle in the local community.

University alumni have also been extensively involved in the efforts to assist refugees. For example, Bill Canny ’77, H’07, as the executive director of Migration and Refugee Services at USCCB, has been working with DOS and the local Catholic Social Services to work towards doubling the 100,000 refugee ceiling that the government has set for 2017.

Another alumna, Elena Habersky ’13, has lived in Amman, Jordan, where she started teaching English as a Fulbright scholar and is now the program and administrative manager of Collateral Repair Project, a nongovernmental organization that helps refugees. Read about her experiences in her article “Bearing Witness: Stories from the Holy Land,” featured in America Magazine.

Finally, the university has been working hard to educate students on campus about the refugee crisis. Led by Anitra McShea, Ph.D., the vice provost for student formation and campus life, In Solidarity with Syria has taken off in various directions. The initiative has brought to the university activities such as The Refugee Simulation, in which participants walk through five stations that simulate the typical refugee experience. Students are then encouraged to learn about and work with refugees in the local community.

The University has also encouraged deeper academic and informal discussions on the refugee crisis and has implored its students, staff, and faculty to, as Dr. McShea puts it, “utilize [their] gifts, talents and collective resources (intellectual, fiscal) to serve those marginalized and persecuted in our global community.”

How has your college or university responded to the Syrian refugee crisis? Let us know! 

Marygrove College Calls on President Obama to Resolve the Refugee Crisis of Children Fleeing Violence in Central America

In the first-of-its-kind statement by a U.S. college president since this crisis began, Dr. David J. Fike, the president of Marygrove College, stated that Marygrove College is committing college resources to provide education, shelter and other assistance to the refugees. About this crisis and the College’s decision, Dr. Fike says, “Jesus does not call upon us to respond to our fellow human being’ needs from a position of fear and selfishness. And, fundamentally, I believe the Marygrove community views our response not as something being taken from us but as an opportunity to offer leadership that lifts up this country’s most cherished values and an opportunity to experience the joy and love of serving those in need.” Read more on Marygrove’s Refugee Crisis webpage.