Big hearts needed for Refugee & Migrant Sunday

Refugee and Migrant Sunday is a celebration of the contribution and dignity of people who arrive as refugees and migrants. It is celebrated by the Churches together on or around the last Sunday of August each year. The Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office has released its Refugee and Migrant kit in time for this year’s Refugee and Migrant – Sunday August 30, 2015.

Refugee Sunday is a day for big hearts. It takes a big heart to keep looking at the television screen when it shows desperate women and children dying on boats or turned away at borders. Not to turn away, when you are helpless to alleviate a child’s suffering, whether it is your own child or a stranger’s child, takes a lot of love. It is easier to turn away. Especially if it is your homeland from which refugees are being turned away.

But Refugee Sunday reminds us that people fleeing persecution can’t go away. They have nowhere to go. So for a day we keep in our hearts the people fleeing from Iraq and Syria, from Yemen and Libya, from the Congo and so many other lands. And we keep in our hearts especially the people who are wasting away on Nauru and Manus Island and waiting in Australia.

After Refugee Sunday we can continue to hold them in our hearts. We can keep them in our prayers. We can visit them in Australia. We can stand up for them when they are abused. We can encourage more Australians to have big hearts. We can be part of an alliance to enlarge hearts and to make space in our country for people who seek protection.

The Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA) welcomes everyone to join so that together we can turn more hearts and minds to compassion and build a collective voice for change.

Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ