‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me’ Matthew 25:35

Pope Francis calls on us to WELCOME, PROTECT, PROMOTE and INTEGRATE people fleeing from conflict and persecution.

Caritas Diocese of Plymouth explored how we can support people seeking asylum and refugees in the UK at an online event for Refugee Week on Thursday 13th June.

Bishop Paul McAleenan, the Bishop’s Conference Lead Bishop for Refugees and Migrants, led the prayers and spoke about the importance of the church as a family, particularly for those fleeing their own countries. We heard from some inspiring speakers including a refugee, who was sustained through the process by her faith and the warmth of her parish welcome, and from people whose work really makes a positive difference to people forced to seek asylum in the UK. We are very grateful to our speakers: Sally Che, Carly Whyborn, Judith Williams and Suvi Rehell, and to Bishop Paul McAleenan for his reflections and for leading our opening and closing prayers.

The talks were recorded and the video explores some of the ways we can open our hearts, heed Pope Francis’ call to WELCOME, PROTECT, PROMOTE and INTEGRATE, and be the difference: https://youtu.be/v_w3tCFHqdM

The Diocese of Plymouth is home, often for uncertain periods of time, to many hundreds of people forced to flee conflict and persecution seeking asylum in this country. They are housed in multi-occupancy houses, or in temporary hotels or on the Bibby Stockholm barge, and some are street homeless. The Diocese is also home to many people with refugee status, who live, work and contribute in our communities.

Refugee Week this year takes place from 17-23 June with activities taking place locally and nationally. World Refugee Day on 20th June is an international day designated by the United Nations to focus global attention on the plight of those fleeing conflict or persecution and to honour refugees around the globe. It celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. The theme of Refugee Week 2024 is Our Home.

We recommend watching Pope Francis’ two-minute video on his prayer intention for June for those fleeing their own countries:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kr6QfCqvbg

If you would like to investigate hosting opportunities with Refugees at Home, please see: https://refugeesathome.org/get-involved/id-like-to-host/

For more information about Befriending and volunteering at Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support in Plymouth, please see:

For information about volunteering with Refugee Support Devon in Exeter, please see:

Details of Refugee Week activities in your local area can be found at: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/events/list/