A Letter of Congratulation to Bishop Vincent Long

MAY 16 2016


Dear Bishop Long,


On behalf of all the Catholics gathered in CAPSA we would like to say how delighted we are that you have been named Bishop of the Parramatta Diocese, and to offer you our prayers and support in your demanding new responsibility.


We are particularly delighted because you have been such a strong advocate for vulnerable people who seek protection in Australia but find themselves so harshly treated. Your own experience as asylum seeker and refugee has enabled you to speak to people held in detention and in the community as one of them, familiar with the injustices and threats that made them leave their own nations, with the terror of the journey, the agonies of waiting, and the life and possibility that welcome in Australia can create. You have given them great consolation.


You have also spoken simply, directly and uncompromisingly of the need for all of us Australians to find a better way. We know that your care for asylum seekers, commendation of them to the Catholic community and advocacy for them will be an important part of your ministry in the West of Sydney.


As your fellow Australians, too, we are also delighted with your recognition by the Catholic Church. You have said yourself how distressed you are that Muslim refugees and other people seeking protection have often been made into signs of exclusion in Australia. They will gain great heart from seeing one who fled his country to seek protection and came to Australia as a refugee included as teacher and leader in the Church of Parramatta.  You have been made a sign of a better way not only for the Catholic Church but for Australia.


If we can be of any help to you in your work with people who seek protection please do let us know. Additionally, we would welcome any suggestions you may have to make our own work through CAPSA more effective.


Bishop Long, we thank you for your support of people who seek protection, wish you well in your ministry in Parramatta, and assure you of our prayers,


With every best wish,


Julie Edwards (CEO, Jesuit Social Services)

On behalf of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum