Bishop of Brentwood Alan Williams called on people to “open their hearts but also look to do something practical and tangible for refugees.”
Delivering the homily at the 12th
migrant mass being celebrated at St Anthony of Padua in Forest Gate, East
London, Bishop Williams described child migrants as the most vulnerable group.
He called for refugees to be welcomed as a
gift to parishes.
The bishop also recalled how helping
refugees is not always a popular activity. He illustrated the point with a
story about a charity he was involved with in central London, which was given a
cash contribution by a bank, on the condition that the gift was anonymous.
There were prayers calling for legislators
to enact “new policies that do justice for our country and those who would
There was also a call for those “who fan
the flames of fear and discrimination against the undocumented maybe touched
with divine compassion.”
A joint collaboration between the diocese
of Westminster, Southwark and Brentwood, it was the first time in the 12 years
of the migrant mass that the celebration had been held in the Brentwood
More than 1500 people crammed into St
Anthony of Padua Church, with banners representing the Keralan Catholic Chaplaincy,
the Goan Chaplaincy UK and the Slovak Catholic Association forming part of the
Community organization Citizens UK contributed to the celebration, telling how they have helped settle 1,000 unaccompanied child refugees over the past year under the Dubs Amendment. The day before Citizens UK had brought three young Syrian orphans to live with their grandparents in Winchester.
If you have a spare room and are interested in hosting a refugee see: http://www.refugeesathome.org
Read about Citizens UK refugee resettlement programme here: http://www.citizensuk.org/save_lives_by_helping_resettle_refugees