By Natashya Fernandez
The Archdiocese of Perth has just appointed Deacon Gregory Lowe as the inaugural Director of the West Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (WACMRO) here in Perth.
In an interview with The eRecord, Deacon Lowe speaks about his new role and how he is looking forward to assisting migrants and refugees settle into their new life in the Archdiocese of Perth.
With over 17 years of experience working with migrants, refugees and asylum seekers at the New Arrivals Learning Centre at Aranmore Catholic College, Deacon Lowe said taking on the role of Director seemed like a natural progression.
“The more I thought about it, the more I felt that it was a wonderful opportunity. Going from a school and parish to the Archdiocese, I know I am in a better position to help more migrants and refugees.
“This new initiative of the Archbishop’s is exciting and together with the WACMRO Committee we are here to oversee the delivery of care and welcome in such a way that the person or family would feel safe and, importantly, would feel like they belong.
“According to the WACMRO Constitution, the Office is here to assist migrant and refugee persons into their new life here in the Archdiocese of Perth; work with the migrant chaplains to address any concerns in the various communities as well as raise awareness of the migrant and refugee experience,” he explained.
As the new Director, Deacon Lowe says that his role will vary from working with the newly arrived and emerging communities, the migrant chaplains and the various Catholic and non-Catholic support agencies in the metropolitan area.
“I think the multicultural nature of the Church is a huge blessing and in order to further flourish we need to become even better at cross-cultural dialogue.
“The theology of hospitality and the philosophical stance of listening to the other is most helpful in this regard,” Deacon Lowe said.
He also added that while the office will work closely with the migrant chaplains and their communities to foster a sense of identity, well-being and a deepening of the faith, the office will also aim to build capacity in all parishes to be able to welcome those who are new to the Archdiocese, especially those for whom English is their second or third language.
Working collaboratively with the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) in Canberra, Deacon Lowe said that ACMRO’s affiliation with Rome means that migration is very much at the forefront of the Holy Father’s thinking.
“In fact, Pope Francis has just released a 20- point plan on how the Church should relate to this issue of our time and ACMRO will start work on this in the near future and, in turn, this will help WACMRO to fulfil its own Mandate as given by our Archbishop,” he said.
Deacon Lowe said that he is waiting for the new Victoria Square office to open in January so that he can get started, and be out and about in the parishes.
“I look forward to working with the WACMRO team as we prepare for a busy 2018,” Deacon Lowe concluded.