By Paul Dobbyn
BRISBANE Archbishop Mark Coleridge, in a message delivered in St Stephen’s Cathedral on World Refugee Day, said caring for people like refugees and asylum seekers is “the surest way to see the face and hear the voice of the real God”.
More than 500 people gathered in the cathedral on June 20 for the prayer service titled A Movement of the Heart.
Catholics and Christians of many other denominations and refugees and asylum seekers of other religions were brought together for the service.
A young Tamil asylum seeker also spoke of his escape from persecution in Sri Lanka and of the pain of separation from his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Brisbane Archdiocesan Catholic Justice and Peace Commission executive officer Peter Arndt said a common theme throughout the prayer service was “the hope that a desire for compassionate and just treatment of asylum seekers would spread throughout the Australian community”.
He said Archbishop Coleridge had delivered a strong message on Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers.
“The message from the archbishop, who was unable to attend the service, was read at the beginning of the gathering,” he said.
“Archbishop Coleridge reminded those gathered for prayer of the recent Australian Bishops’ statement on the treatment of asylum seekers.
“His message said: ‘the surest way to see the face and hear the voice of the real God is to see the faces and hear the voices of those who suffer, people like refugees and asylum-seekers whom no-one wants’.
“The archbishop also spoke of the need for prayer and action which must go together for Christians to respond effectively to the plight of refugees and asylum seekers in the community.”