Christ calls us to ‘move beyond ourselves’
CHRIST is calling Australians “to move beyond ourselves, and express solidarity to our fellow brothers and sisters” who are migrants and refugees among us, says Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen, himself a refugee.
Bishop Long made the comment in promoting the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
“Migrants and refugees need our special attention and care, as they are our brothers and sisters,” Bishop Long, who is the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference’s Delegate for Migrants and Refugees, said.
In reference to this year’s theme, Bishop Long quoted Pope Francis saying “the Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance and solidarity”.
“This is an important opportunity for solidarity, to welcome persecuted peoples into our own home, Australia,” Bishop Long said.
He drew particular attention to the on-going conflict in the Middle East and “the issues closer to home faced by asylum seekers”.
“As a refugee myself, along with several members of my family seeking shelter and security, Australia has always been generous,” he said.
“It is now again the time to show the same kind of generosity that was shown to the Vietnamese refugees 40 years ago, to our Middle Eastern brethren as well as those in our Asia-Pacific region seeking asylum.
“Migrants in our communities often go through challenges and difficulties that are unseen.
“Simple things, which many of us either growing up or living in Australia for a long time, often forget or simply don’t notice, can be a challenge for new migrants.
“Things such as language, culture or customs can bring about hardship and anxiety.
“It is precisely here, in these everyday situations, that Christ is calling us to move beyond ourselves, and express solidarity to our fellow brothers and sisters – to lend a helping hand, just saying hello or even just a simple smile.
“This is the beginning of encounter.
“From here, we can move together in solidarity.
“Many of us may never change the world, but let us not forget that we can change the world around us.”
The Church in Australia dedicated August to creating awareness of migration, culminating with the celebration of the 101st World Day of Migrants and Refugees today (August 30).
Archbishop Mark Coleridge is celebrating Brisbane archdiocese’s annual Multicultural Mass in St Stephen’s Cathedral, Brisbane, today (August 30) at 2.30pm.
Solidarity: Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen is urging Australians to show solidarity for migrants and refugees.