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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.

           Amen

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    Gospel Leadership in Times of Chaos: the Hope of Pope Francis

    In the past year alone, communities around the world have been grappling with momentous socio-political change and uncertainty.

    Examples include the rise of fundamentalism, the growing violence and displacement of peoples in the Middle East, the election of numerous populist leaders such as Presidents Trump in the USA and Duterte in the Philippines, Britain’s historic vote to leave the European Union, whilst Nationalist parties across the EU achieve electoral success through promoting xenophobic policies of division.

    Pope Francis represents the hope of many people in these times of uncertainty: his message talks about belonging, dialogue, social justice, and mercy in a way that is both a challenge and inspiration for the world and the church.

    At this year’s eConference, prominent international and national speakers and panellists will reflect upon these turbulent times and discuss them in the context of Pope Francis’ unique style of leadership.

    The 13th Annual National eConference will be held on Thursday 10 August 2017 from 10:30am-2:45pm (AEST).

    The program, presenters' details and registered sites where you can participate - should you wish to do so with a group - can be found here on the organiser's website

    Fourth World Day Against Trafficking in Humans

    Sunday, 30 July 2017 is the fourth United Nations World Day against Trafficking in Humans, defined by the United Nations as 'a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex'. Mercy International Association (MIA) of which Sisters of Mercy Parramatta Congregation is a member is fully committed to working with the global network of all those dedicated to eradicating this heinous crime. The origin of Mercy's commitment to the victims of human trafficking can be traced to Catherine McAuley's outreach to distressed women.


    The International Labour Organisation (ILO) estimates that Almost 21 million people are victims of forced labour – 11.4 million women and girls and 9.5 million men and boys.

    Human trafficking is a crime fuelled by a number of factors including global poverty, inadequate education and opportunity, ethnic discrimination and societal gender inequity, and by the demand for cheap labour and cheap sex. It is a crime that transcends cultures, class and geography. Trafficking is linked to prostitution, drug use, homelessness and marginalisation. Migrant workers and indigenous people are particularly vulnerable to forced labour. As the 2017 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report illustrates, virtually every country in the world is affected by this crime, whether as an origin, transit or destination country for smuggled migrants by profit-seeking criminals.

    5 simple actions we can all take to address this issue:

    • Use ethical shopping guides so your purchases help ensure producers in the developing world receive fairer prices and better working conditions
    • Consult the Country Narratives section of the 2017 TIP Report to find out how well Australia is doing in its efforts to address the issue of human trafficking
    • Read the monthly Stop Trafficking Newsletter to educate yourself about this important social issue
    • Purchase FAIRTRADE, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ certified chocolate to ensures that no slave labour has been used in the chocolate’s production.
    • Pray for the release of victims of human trafficking and for their captors to have a change of heart.

    Those distant from the Christian faith: July 2017 Prayer Intention of Pope Francis

    We are all invited to join with Pope Francis and his worldwide prayer network in praying this month's intention: Those distant from the Christian faith.

    Text of July video:

    'Let us never forget that our joy is Jesus Christ - his faithful and inexhaustible love. When a Christian becomes sad, it means that he has distanced himself from Jesus. But then we must not leave him alone! We should offer him Christian hope - with our words, yes, but more with our testimony, with our freedom, with our joy.

    Let us pray that our brothers and sisters who have strayed from the faith, through our prayer and witness to the Gospel, may rediscover the beauty of the Christian life.'

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

    Invitation: Make Friends with People of Other Faiths.

    We will share with others,
    including people of different faiths
     and no religious faith,
    the joys and struggles of this spiritual journey.
    (Chapter Statement 2016)

    On 14 June 2017, twenty-two of the world’s most prominent religious leaders, including Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew and the Dalai Lama, made a joint statement encouraging people everywhere to make friends across religions. Friendship and getting to know one another are the antidotes to negativity and divisions in society, enhancing understanding and unity. 

               

    The video statement was compiled from a series of in-depth standardised interviews made exclusively for this purpose. These interviews can be found here

     Further information about this initiative and additional resources can be found here

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