Refugees

“I would like to ask you all to see a ray of hope as well in the eyes and hearts of refugees and of those who have been forcibly displaced. A hope that is expressed in expectations for the future, in the desire for friendship, in the wish to participate in the host society also through learning the language, access to employment and the education of children. I admire the courage of those who hope to be able gradually to resume a normal life, waiting for joy and love to return to brighten their existence. We can and must all nourish this hope.”

Pope Francis, 2016

************* Important updates – most recent first ************************

January 6, 2017
Dear Parishioners,
It has been three weeks since the arrival of Reeta and Nihad and much has been accomplished. First of all, thank you to those who donated the carpets and the hair drier. If we are in need of any other items in the future, we will continue to request through the bulletin.
We have followed what is called a “Settlement Plan” under the guidance of the Office of Refugees for the Diocese of Hamilton. We have completed appointments/excursions in the following areas: Diocesan Office of Refugees, Office of Immigration Canada, Community Settlement, the Bank of Montreal, Medical appointments and tests, English as a Second Language Registration, Rogers Communication, grocery shopping, introduction to the local Catholic Chaldean Community (thank you to this wonderful community who celebrate Mass every Sunday afternoon in our parish), Library and even a visit to a local mall. It has been a busy time for them. It is very humbling to receive their deep appreciation and we extend this appreciation to all of you.
As yet, no complaints about this wintry weather; in fact, one day they noted how “very nice” was the snow on the trees.
Please continue to keep them in your prayers as they navigate their new lives in our community.

The Refugee Sponsorship Committee

December 13, 2016
On Tuesday morning, after a grueling 48 hour trek that took them from the refugee camp to Beirut by bus and then a flight to Cairo and on to Toronto, our sponsored refugee women are safe in their new home here in Kitchener. They have settled in well and were most certainly initiated to the cold winter climate this week! We now begin the busy period of time of initiating them to their new community through a number of settlement meetings as new Canadians. They are deeply grateful and as they stated, they are happy to be away from conflict.
While we tried to cover all areas of need through donations and purchases, we are in need of a few items. We ask in hopes of receiving what is needed as donations so that we may save whatever funds we can for their future. We could use an area carpet approximately 5′ by 7′ or 6′ by 8′ to keep the chill from the floor in the main living area. We could also use a hair blow drier to be sure they do not venture outdoors with damp hair. If you are able to assist with these items please call Tom or Mary at 519 742 5742. Again as always, we thank you for your continued support and generosity

Nov 27, 2016
We are waiting to hear officially of Reeta and Nahid’s imminent arrival to Canada. We have indications that they will be with us by the end of this year. We have attained an apartment nearby. The holding company of this unit has given us two weeks in November without cost and we are very grateful for this. Furniture and household items have been set up in the one bedroom apartment. We are not yet filling the cupboards with food products until we have official notice of their arrival. We wish to thank the many people who donated furniture and household items, as well as those who assisted in moving and assembling the furniture. We will inform the parish community of our guests’ arrival when we have official notification. Thank you for your patience and prayers

Oct 9, 2016
Thank you to all those parishioners who contributed so generously to the request for household provisions.
We are in the process of actively preparing for the arrival of Reeta and Nahid, which we hope will be in the next 4-6 weeks if all goes according to plan. Please keep them in your prayers as Syria is again involved in devastating attacks. We found out they are about 100 miles from Aleppo in a refugee camp.
We are also in the process of securing an apartment for them. There are a few things we are in need of; an apartment size microwave, two single bed frames, a comfy living room chair, a kitchen wall clock. These need not be new but in good condition. If you can contribute in this way, please contact 519 742 5742. Thank you again for your invaluable support.

Sept 11, 2016
From today’s bulletin: From today’s bulletin

April 3, 2016. A special bank account has been established for the Refugee Fund, in order that the generous gifts you have donated can be managed more easily.
We have submitted our application to the Diocese, in early March. It is currently being processed and we will need to be patient. Recent changes in the government’s involvement with refugee processing may delay the processing of our application, but we are confident the Spirit is guiding those in charge and the needs of the refugees will be soon be addressed. Please continue to pray for all refugees all around the world, and in particular, for the family that we will sponsor.

Wednesday February 24, 2016. The Knights of Columbus today donated $1,000 to our sponsorship effort. Thank you to Brian Schmalz and the Knights of Council 1504 for their generosity.
Click to see a photo and the press release.

Monday February 8, 2016. We now have raised sufficient funds to move to the next step – applying for a refugee family to sponsor. There is a bit of administrative work left to be done, but we hope to submit our application to the Diocese before theend of the month. While we wait for the application process to work, we are continuing with our preparations. We are creating sub-committees to address the many facets of this endeavor. Many of us have been to orientation, language and information-sharing sessions with various local groups, in helping us to prepare.
Feel free to contact any of the core committee if you would like to help out in any way.
Once again, we thank the people of this parish, your friends and our neighbourhood organizations for the amazing response and support we have received so far. With God’s blessings such as these, our sponsorship of a refugee family, who SO desperately need our help, is sure to be a great and successful experience for all.
May God bless you for your kindness and love.

Sunday January 31, 2016. Today we had our first special collection for our Refugee Sponsorship. What an amazing response!
From our parishioner’s generosity and the grace of God, we collected $17,017.00!!! This does not include donations pledged by some of our local organizations. We expect to be well over $20,000. This is an amazing start to our journey. Thank you to all who donated so generously. May God bless you for your kindness and love.

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In response to the global refugee crisis, particularly the the crisis in Syria, Blessed Sacrament parish is embarking on the journey of sponsorship of a Syrian refugee family, under the guidance of the Hamilton Diocese Refugee Sponsorship Ministry.

Included here are several documents and announcements that explain the refugee program and how it works. There are also several links to other sites that have more details about the Diocese and Government programs in which we will be involved.

More information will be forth-coming as the sponsorship program at Blessed Sacrament parish builds and grows into the realization of Jesus’ call to charity.

Click on these links to see what is happening in the region.

The Cord (WLU): First of three sponsored refugee families arrive in Kitchener-Waterloo – Jan 27, 2016
The Record: Kitchener sponsors ready to welcome Syrian refugees – Jan 11, 2016
CTV News: Workshops aims to prepare groups sponsoring Syrian refugees – Dec 5, 2015
CBC News: Who is sponsoring Syrian refugee families in Waterloo Region – Oct 19, 2015
Mennonite Central Committee
>Welcome Home

The internet is full of dozens of examples of the amazing response of the Waterloo Region to the refugee crisis.

Links to other websites:

Waterloo Region Welcomes Refugees
Refugee program in the Hamilton Diocese
Message of His Holiness Pope Francis
Kitchener Public Library has a wealth of information and resources available – FREE!
KW Muslim Social Services
CKW YMCA Immigrant Servcies

Click on the links below for copies of recent documents and announcements.

Refugee Sponsorhip letter to Parish
Refugee Bulletin Insert – Jan 24, 2016
RAP and the BVOR Program