Responding to a continuing need to welcome strangers fleeing the perils of their homeland, as Jesus urged us to do “…I was a stranger and you welcomed me” (Mathew 25:35), our parish community might collaborate with four other local Catholic parishes to work with Samaritas to co-sponsor a refugee family as early as August. As a group, we are now called the North Oakland Catholic Parishes (NOCP) Refugee Resettlement Mission. Samaritas is the largest refugee resettlement agency in the state of Michigan and the fourth largest in the nation.
Refugee relief has been a focus of charitable outreach by Samaritas and other service agencies for years in response to crises worldwide. All of them rely upon assurances by multiple federal security-focused agencies (Homeland Security, FBI, etc.) that refugees coming to the U.S. undergo more rigorous multi-level screening than any immigrants have ever experienced. This security focus contrasts significantly with the approach of many other countries.
Refugee families’ urgent needs are broad and include Finances; Clothing, household items, food; Communications; Hospitality and Social Adjustments; and Transportation needs. NOCP is carefully coordinating with Samaritas to respond to those needs by organizing the efforts of contributing parish community members to address them. Contributions might be in the form of direct involvement and interaction with the family, acting as a conduit to arrange for services, or perhaps through financial contribution.
In mid-June, NOCP parishes will be distributing an interest survey to parish community members to determine the range of resources we can offer to the Samaritas program. Especially for contributors who will be offering direct interactive assistance to the sponsored family, Samaritas will be conducting an important training evening that will include an orientation to help prepare our volunteers for their participation. It will cover such items as Samaritas policy and procedures, background check info, and a time for us to ask our questions. This will take place at the St. John Fisher Parish Activities Center at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 21.
If you have any thoughts/ideas that would help with the project, or questions regarding it, please feel free to contact the NOCP Joint Committee representative/alternate for your parish: St. Mary of the Hills/ Bill Hill firstname.lastname@example.org or Sr. Grace Keane email@example.com].
Please keep our Refugee Resettlement Mission in your prayer!