On Tuesday 8th March on the Feast of St Bakhita, patron saint of human trafficking survivors, Caritas Plymouth held an online event for an hour of prayer, reflection and discussion to reflect on the challenges facing migrants, refugees and those affected by modern slavery. We were joined by Sophie Cartwright from JRS and Brigid McEleney-Smith from the Sidmouth Companions, a community sponsorship group.  

Canon John Deeny VG introduced the event, explaining the significance of St. Bakhita, her resilience in faith, despite slavery. He reminded us that Jesus encouraged us to reach out to the stranger: “In welcoming others, we welcome Him.” 

Sophie Cartwright described the challenges of the current asylum system in the UK and how difficult life is for refugees arriving here.  Sophie also explained the current system and expressed concerns about new legislation which would make applying for asylum more difficult. JRS and SVP have produced a guide with suggestions for action. 

Brigid McEleney-Smith shared her experiences of community sponsorship and welcoming a Syrian family. Brigid went through the steps needed to start community sponsorship,  the challenges and joys. If you or your parish are interested in community sponsorship, please visit Caritas Plymouth’s step by step guide and look at the RESET website here