If you have just joined CAPSA, welcome to our Alliance and our regular monthly bulletin that aims to keep you informed on issues, events and initiatives across Australia.
We believe that together we CAN make a difference to Australia's harsh policies towards asylum seekers: starting with small acts of kindness and hospitality in our own communities and building a collective national voice for compassion, as Pope Francis has urged.
Migrant and Refugee Sunday: 30 August 2015
"Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognised in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches."
Australia's peak health professional bodies are voicing collective concern about "appalling secrecy provisions" in the Australian Border Force Act 2015 which threaten jail for up to two years for health and medical professionals who disclose information about the conditions in immigration Detention Centres. Read more.
Call your local MP to say that medical professionals should be free to voice concerns about the health of asylum seekers.
Also let Labor MPs know that you want more compassion in asylum seeker policies ahead of the 2015 ALP National Conference being held in Melbourne from 24-26 July.
Refugee Week 2015 "You are not illegal immigrants, you are not unauthorised arrivals. You are welcome!"
Corinne Grant and many others delivered inspiring speeches at the Refugee Advocacy Network's World Refugee Day rally in Melbourne. It was heartening to see celebrations and protests held across Australia during Refugee Week 2015 to welcome those who have sought refuge on our shores and to work for more compassionate policies from our government.
Please share your favourite photos and stories from your events, so we can share more widely on Facebook or Twitter.
Asylum Seeker Parish Support Program
Thirty-five parishes from the Melbourne Archdiocese were represented at Catholic Social Services' recent Welcome The Asylum Seeker Parish Support Program, which talked about the many ways that Catholic communities can support asylum seekers in their midst, from teaching English to providing housing.
Here are some of the comments that were shared amongst the group:
"Supporting asylum seekers in parishes to speak English is important, but friendship and support are even more so."
"We were pleasantly surprised at the level of support for the asylum seeker family who moved into the parish house. We always have more people wanting to help with things than we actually need."
"Commitment to asylum seekers in the parish may need to be long and deep. One parishioner has been supporting a family for 12 years through complex trauma."
Watch this space for notice of future events and let us know if your parish or diocese hosts similar forums.
CAPSA also caught up after the event with one of the main speakers, Sr Brigid Arthur: see her Q&A about why we need to build a Catholic coalition for change in asylum seeker policies.
"I invite you all to ask forgiveness for the persons and the institutions who close the door to these people who are seeking a family, who are seeking to be protected. These brothers and sisters of ours are seeking refuge far from their lands, they are seeking a home where they can live without fear." 17 June, 2015
Out in the schools and parishes
Don't miss this stunning silent protestby students from St. Joseph's College in Echuca, Victoria.