We CAN stand in solidarity

9 -23 June 2017: A week of school solidarity with people seeking asylum

After the success of CAPSA’s National Week of Prayer & Action in 2016, we are again inviting schools to participate in this important act of solidarity with refugees and people seeking asylum in 2017. The week provides an opportunity for school communities to meaningfully engage with the Catholic mission to ‘welcome the stranger’. We are called by Pope Francis and our Catholic leaders in Australia to welcome refugees and stand up to injustice. In addition, the week promotes the idea that Catholic schools do not support the current treatment of people seeking asylum. This is an important message for the broader Australian community.

Together, we can join for change, engage hearts and minds in our communities and stand in solidarity with those facing the harsh conditions of Australia’s refugee process.

We invite you to participate in 2017 by hosting a solidarity event for refugees and people seeking asylum at your school between 9-23 June. We have provided a wide window to suit the greatest number of schools, as well as coincide with Refugee Week from June 19 – 25.

This year we are focusing our energy on a campaign for family reunion for refugees, as presently thousands of people are waiting years before the possibility of seeing their families again. We are calling for a #FairGoForFamilies. You can read more about that here.

In 2016 we had over 120 schools and more than 12,000 student nationally participate in the week that was focused around the #BringThemHere campaign, calling for the closure of Manus Island and Nauru detention centres. This year we want the week to be even bigger. Check out our video from last year’s week of prayer and action:



From June 9-23 we will be working with Catholic schools across the country – primary, secondary, urban and rural, to host a action with staff, students, parents and wider school communities to express solidarity to people seeking asylum caught up in Australia’s harsh policy of cruelty and deterrence. This includes the more than 30,000 people stuck in limbo in the Australian community, the 2000 people stuck on Nauru and Manus Island, and the thousands of others affected by government policy in other parts of the world.

We are all responsible for what our government does in our name. We must let them know we want positive change.

Schools can be involved in three main ways in the week:

  • Host a Circle of Silence at lunchtime in the school yard – this is a vigil-type event where students and staff gather in a silent circle to recognise the injustice faced by many refugees and people seeking asylum

  • Organise a Detention4Detention at lunchtime – students give themselves a voluntary lunchtime detention in solidarity with those stuck in immigration detention

  • Arrange a Speaking Event or Forum– invite speakers along to give insight for students to what the refugee process is like in Australia. Consider combining this with a large school photo or a letter writing campaign

  • Coordinate your own activity and let us know in the registration form

We have created a number of resources to support you and your school to participate in this week of prayer and action:

Family Reunion Article

Fr Andy Hamilton outlines why families are particularly important for Catholic schools and why we should mobilise around the issue.

CAPSA Resource Pack

This pack includes links to factsheets, petitions, prayers, speakers, curriculum packs, books, stories & films – a great resource to have conversations in your school at every level.

2017 National Week of Prayer & Action – Key Messages
This is designed as a guide for participants in CAPSA’s National Week of Prayer & Action from June 9 -23, to use when speaking about the event to students, staff, parents, the wider community and the media. It is structured in sections based on the presumed key questions that may be asked in response to the action.

Educational Resources

A range of activities to get students thinking more deeply about refugee issues.

Lesson Plan – Preparation to Action

Use this lesson plan to prepare students for the action.

Mohsen’s Story & Najeeba’s Story

Stories to accompany the preparation lesson plan

Lesson Plan – Follow Up from Action

Use this lesson plan to debrief students from the action and provide a space for reflection.

Prayers of Solidarity

Prayers to say in solidarity with those seeking safety.

We Welcome Refugees poster

A poster you can print off and put up around your school and community.

#FairGoForFamilies poster

A poster you can print off and put up around your school and community.

Pope Francis on Lesbos

Prayers said to those living in limbo at Camp Moira.


A great list of films you can access or purchase.

Poems from refugees and people seeking asylum.

Beautiful passages and videos to share with students.

Sample Note to Parents

This a sample letter schools can use to explain to parents what the National Day of Prayer & Action is and why the school is participating.

Catholics & People Seeking Asylum

An overview of the central Catholic response to Australia’s immigration policies, compiled by Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ.

Basic Policy Overview

A basic outline of Australian policies affecting people seeking asylum, and CAPSA’s view of a more humane alternative.


Part of our work is to tell the story of this important week of prayer and action to the broader community. We will do this by creating videos, writing articles and engaging with media outlets to share what schools are doing. We of course will only engage with media where a school has given us explicit approval to do so – please indicate this in the registration form.

We want schools to know that we put the interests and needs of students before anything else. Engaging with media, of any sort, would only be pursued with complete support from schools. Our aim here is to promote positive conversations in the broader community about how we treat refugees and people seeking asylum as a community. CAPSA will provide extensive media support for all schools who are open to media engagement.