News & Events

Faith Leaders Take Cry for Justice for Refugees and Asylum Seekers To Canberra

A positive and somewhat unexpected outcome was the unanimous agreement to set up a taskforce comprising 5 parliamentarians and 5 from the faith group to propose to the leaders of the major parties an alternative to the current policy of ‘stop the boats’ and the cruel detention in Nauru and Manus Island. This will be set up in the coming weeks. The Leaders also made strong requests for the immediate release of children and their families from the detention centres.

Berneice Loch rsm (President of Catholic Religious Australia), welcomed participants; Anne Lane, pbvm, delivered the statement (see below) Rabbi Alon Meltzer (National Jewish Memorial Centre); and, Hafez Kassem (President of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils) spoke and the meeting was moderated by Paul Bongiorno.

It was co-hosted by Anna Burke MP (ALP), Russell Broadbent MP (Liberal), Cathy McGowan MP (Independent) and Senator Sarah Hanson -Young (Australian Greens).

October 15 2015
Media Release
Faith leaders hold urgent meeting to call on politicians to restore the human dignity of refugees and asylum seekers.

Today more than 50 Leaders representing diverse faith groups met with Members and Senators at Parliament House, Canberra, calling on them to restore Australia’s standing as a compassionate nation by winding back policies negatively impacting on people escaping violence, persecution and death.

As a positive step, the faith leaders asked all political parties and independents to join with them in establishing a task force to work together to change the political and public narrative regarding asylum seekers and refugees.

It is hoped the task force can build on the recent goodwill arising from the 12,000 Syrian refugee announcement and develop new policies for the thousands of other refugees including ending off-shore and mandatory detention, removing children from detention and abolishing temporary protection visas.

Sr Anne Lane PBVM, representing Catholic Religious Australia, said the faith leaders have asked all sides of politics to value the dignity of every human person.

“There have been many reputable reports which show that immigration detention causes significant psychological harm, particularly to children.


“”It is never right to use people as a means to an end. It is morally wrong to punish one group of human beings by locking them up on off-shore islands in order to deter other people from coming to Australia.

“We cannot allow such cruel policies to continue,” she said.

Sr Lane said it is time honesty was brought into this issue, with the whole mantra of ‘stopping the boats’ being just that, a mantra.

“Due to the lack of transparency, we don’t know if or what boats have been turned back and what has resulted from those actions. “It may simply mean stopping the boats in Australian waters, so that we can hold our heads high as vulnerable people die in other countries and situations to which we’ve returned them.

“Our nation’s response is in stark contrast to the way the people of Europe have rescued and welcomed tens of thousands who arrived by boat on their shores,” Sr Lane said.

Sr Lane said economically the current policy is also destructive. “In so far as we can estimate, the taxes of the Australian people are being squandered to the tune of more than $5 billion in implementing the current border protection policies.
“This money would be better spent assisting refugees to make a meaningful contribution to society, as well as supporting the UNHCR and working with other countries in our region to develop a humane and effective regional solution,” she said.
Sr Lane said for many years religious groups have put their resources at the service of refugees and asylum seekers by providing housing support, employment, food and clothing, education and counselling.

“We say to our parliamentarians, stop mandatory detention and let more people into our country and we will work with you to ensure these people are looked after and are able to become part of the Australian community,” Sr Lane said.

Today’s Parliament House forum was the initiative of Catholic Religious Australia (the peak council of Catholic religious congregations) with the support of other Christian denominations and other faiths.
Other speakers included Sr Berneice Loch rsm (President of Catholic Religious Australia); Rabbi Alon Meltzer (National Jewish Memorial Centre); and, Hafez Kassem (President of Australian Federation of Islamic Councils).
It was co-hosted by Anna Burke MP (ALP), Russell Broadbent MP (Liberal), Cathy McGowan MP (Independent) and Senator Janet Rice (Australian Greens).
For further information – John Rochester 0417 627 904.

World Refugee Day, 20 June 2018

'We will open our hearts to the cries of the poor...' (Chapter Statement)

The theme for Refugee Week (17-23 June 2018) #WithRefugees emphasises the need for the safety and rights of all refugees to be protected.

The international campaign continues until a global compact on refugees is signed later this year. UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Agency, is asking us all of us to help them send a clear message to governments that they must act with solidarity and shared responsibility by signing the #With Refugees Petition.

Join Sisters of Mercy and people across the globe on World Refugee Day in praying this prayer 'A Moment for Grace' composed by Catholic Relief Services USA.

God of our Wandering Ancestors,
Long have we known
That your heart is with the refugee:
That you were born into time
In a family of refugees
Fleeing violence in their homeland,
Who then gathered up their hungry child
And fled into alien country.

Their cry, your cry, resounds through the ages: “Will you let me in?”
Give us hearts that break open

When our brothers and sisters turn to us
          with that same cry.
Then surely all these things will follow:
     Ears will no longer turn deaf to their voices.
     Eyes will see a moment for grace instead of a threat.
    Tongues will not be silenced but will instead advocate.
And hands will reach out—
working for peace in their homeland,
working for justice in the lands where they seek safe haven.
Lord, protect all refugees in their travels.
May they find a friend in me
And so make me worthy
Of the refuge I have found in you.


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    Join Us and the Mercy World in 9 Days of Prayer & Reflection

    'We will enjoy and celebrate Earth’s beauty and bounty and her many species. We will honour our duty to love and care for her and add to her well-being wherever possible.'
    (Chapter Statement)

    To mark the third anniversary of the release by Pope Francis of his encyclical letter Laudato Si’, Sisters of Mercy across the globe have committed to 9 Days of Prayer and Reflection using the Prayer for our Earth. The 9 Days will commence on Monday, 18 June and conclude on Tuesday, 26 June.

    We, Sisters of Mercy of the Parramatta Congregation, are committed to protecting the rights of the natural world and to stemming the hurtful effects of climate change, pollution and the ‘throw away’ mentality, all of which concerns are addressed by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’.

    We invite you to join us and the Mercy world in both marking the anniversary in prayer and in reflecting on the ways in which you can act to respect and protect the rights of Earth and the Earth community.

    Some ways to become involved in living Laudato Si':

    • Take the Laudato Si' pledge here
    • Join Global Campaigns here
    • Sign up to the Global Catholic Climate Movement (GCCM) weekly blog digest here
    • Volunteer Opportunities are listed here

    Social Networks: June 2018 Prayer intention of Pope Francis

    We will encourage understanding and practice of our faith, informed by new knowledge and the interaction of science, theology and spirituality.(Chapter Statement)

    We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Social Networks

    That social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences.

    Text of the June 2018 video:

    'The Internet is a gift of God, but it is also a great responsibility.
    Communication technology, its places, its instruments have brought with it a lengthening of horizons, a widening, for so many people.
    It can offer immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity.
    May the digital network not be a place of alienation. May it be a concrete place, a place rich in humanity.
    Let us pray together that social networks may work towards that inclusiveness which respects others for their differences.'

    We invite you to post a prayer or reflection in our prayer space

    Addressing Plastic Pollution

    We will enjoy and celebrate Earth’s beauty and bounty and her many species. We will honour our duty to love and care for her and add to her well-being wherever possible.(Chapter Statement)

    This year, both World Environment Day (5 June) and World Oceans Day (8 June) invite and encourage us to reduce our plastic consumption for the sake of our natural places, our wildlife and our health. Plastic pollution on land and in the seas and oceans is now considered one of the great environmental challenges of our time. The facts are staggering:

    •  80% of all pollution in the ocean comes from people on land (United Nations)
    • Nearly 700 species, including endangered ones, are known to have been affected by ocean plastic (National Geographic)
    • 19 billion pounds of plastic waste ends up in our oceans each year (Science)
    •  Each cycle of a washing machine could release more than 700,000 microscopic plastic fibres into the environment (The Guardian)

    • This short video clip demonstrates the reliance people -us- have on plastic goods (01:58).

    This week (4-10 June), when the environmental focus is on plastic pollution, a simple ‘mantra’ we could each adopt is: Use less plastic and recycle the plastic you must use.
    The Clean Seas campaign offers us a number of tips & tricks we can each use to cut down on our plastic use. Visit the site here and consider taking the pledge

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