Staff report from the Florida Catholic Newspaper – September 28, 2017

A family of four from Syria arrived in Central Florida during the last week of September. As refugees, they have left everything familiar behind to begin a new life in Orlando. In the midst of an overwhelming and emotional time, the family has been welcomed with joy and helped on every step on their journey.

Days prior to their arrival, Catholic Charities of Central Florida and a team of volunteers worked to set up furniture, stock the kitchen and bathroom with essentials supplies, and make beds, complete with teddy bears and coloring books for the young children. In the days, weeks, and months ahead, Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement team will walk with the family, providing cultural orientation, English literacy classes, job training, and other needed case management. Parishioners from local parishes will volunteer as tutors and help the family celebrate their first American holidays. This loving welcome is repeated for each of the 55-60 new refugee families served by Catholic Charities each year.

Just as Catholic Charities of Central Florida shares the journey with refugees arriving in Central Florida, Pope Francis calls on the global Church to do the same. On Sept. 27 Pope Francis launched, “Share the Journey,” a global campaign in support of migrants and refugees. Sponsored internationally by Caritas Internationalis and in the U.S. by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the Share the Journey campaign aims to engage the Church and others who care about migrants and refugees, around the world and in the United States. Through education and advocacy, the campaign seeks to affect personal feelings and opinions as well as public policy. It is a call to prayer, to reflection and to action.

The campaign asks the faithful throughout the U.S. to show their compassion and to Share the Journey with the millions of people across the globe who are fleeing poverty, oppression, war and disaster. Just as Jesus journeyed to share the Gospel of love and sacrificed for others, Catholics in the U.S. are being called to share the physical and emotional journey with migrants and refugees by extending the hand of dignity, love and support.

In the U.S., the launch of the campaign is followed by a Week of Prayer and Action (October 7–13) when parishes, schools, universities and other institutions and individuals across the country will join in prayer, education and sharing of information about migrants and refugees to support them locally and around the world. Visit www.sharejourney.org for more information on the campaign.