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Honouring the stories of migrants and refugees


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On August 27, our Archdiocese celebrated the rich diversity of the Catholic community at the annual Migrant and Refugee Sunday Mass in St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral and at a multicultural celebration in the adjacent St Aloysius’ College gymnasium. As always, it was a wonderfully colourful occasion with a variety of music, dance and cuisine from our migrant communities.

At this year’s event, Archbishop Wilson launched Journeys of Faith, a book produced by Catholic Communications and the Catholic Multicultural Office as part of an initiative to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World Day of Migrants and Refugees in 2014.

The book began with a series of articles published in this newspaper about migrants who had come from different parts of the world and made their homes in South Australia. Basia Gebski from the Multicultural Office was relentless in sourcing people from our migrant communities to ensure as many as possible were represented.

Some came from war-torn Europe, others from regions of conflict and oppression in Africa, Asia and South America. For myself and the two other journalists who wrote the stories – Rebecca DiGirolamo and Lindy McNamara – it was a great honour and privilege to listen to these people’s stories and share them with our readers.
At the start, all we had was a name, a country of origin and a phone number or email address.

We would make contact and meet the person in their home and suddenly this unfamiliar name turned into a very personal and moving story of their life – their parents, their upbringing, their homeland, their journey to a strange new land, learning English, finding work, tasting new food, making a new life…

For many, it was painful for them to remember their past and there were often tears. Their journeys were all very different – some involved walking thousands of kilometres to a refugee camp, others involved multiple countries of destination before their final arrival here. But these people all had one thing in common, their unshakeable faith in God.

With the strong backing of the Multicultural Office and Archbishop Wilson, we proceeded to put these people’s stories together in a book to honour their past and their rich contribution to the future of the Church in South Australia.

At the launch of the book, some of the participants (pictured above) were able to be present and it was wonderful to see them again. Sadly, two of the interviewees have died since their stories were written and our sincere condolences go to their family members, at least one of whom attended the launch. It makes it all the more rewarding that we were able to put their journey into words before it was too late.

The books are available for purchase at a cost of $20. Phone 8210 8117 or email to order your copy.


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