The care for migrants and refugees was on top of the agenda at the 5th National Conference on Pastoral Care in a Multicultural Church and Society which took place on 19 and 20 July 2017. Photo: Supplied.The care for migrants and refugees was on top of the agenda at the 5th National Conference on Pastoral Care in a Multicultural Church and Society which took place on 19 and 20 July 2017.
Co-hosted by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) and the Australian Catholic University (ACU) Melbourne, the conference provided an opportunity for formation, renewal and forming new connections.
The two-day conference saw Migrant Chaplains, religious men and women working with migrant communities and lay leaders as well as priests and religious from overseas attend.
Keynote addresses for the conference were given by Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, Prefect of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, and Cardinal Orlando Beltran Quevedo Archbishop of Cotabato, Philippines.
Cardinal Turkson’s address titled, Pope Francis and the Dicastery for Promoting Human Development, focussed on his role within the Roman Curia which is a department to promote the care of vulnerable and marginalised people. The Ghanaian Cardinal also reflected on his work with Pope Francis. The Cardinal was also a part of a discussion forum, Integral Human Development in our Parishes.
Cardinal Quevedo’s address titled, Pastoral Models for the care of Migrants and Refugees in our Communities described the pastoral models of care for migrants and refugees in our communities. He also joined a panel discussion about the Pastoral Care in a multi-ethnic Church, one size fits all?
The theme for the conference was ‘Cast into the Deep’, which highlighted Pope Francis’ call to go out to the margins of society and ‘cast into the deep’ (Luke 5:4).
Director of ACMRO, Father Maurizio Pettena, said that the dignity of the human person is central to our work as a Church agency.
“I hope that this conference puts the pastoral care of migrants and refugees firmly on the political agenda here in Australia. The two-day event presented many opportunities for debate with key stakeholders about the best way forward on this issue.
“The Conference provided an opportunity for delegates to reflect on the vital issue about how we treat people moving between countries. It was of particular interest to overseas clergy, religious, migrant chaplains and those who work in the area of pastoral care within migrant communities,” Fr Pettena said.
New Director for WA Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (WACMRO) Deacon Gregory Lowe who attended the conference, said the words of Archbishop of Brisbane Mark Coleridge were true as the Church in Australia was undergoing an ‘Abrahamic journey’.
“While Cardinal Turkson’s overview on migration and the need to assist people in integrating their new life so that they can flourish despite being in a new culture was inspiring, Cardinal Orlando Quevedo’s address on ‘Pastoral Models for the Care of Migrants and Refugees in our Community’ highlighted some good points too.
“He highlighted an approach which worked well for dealing with the various issues that came up among the many Filipino communities around the world, notably the community working in the Middle East in countries like Kuwait. The strategy, similar to the ‘see – judge – act’ model made use of theological insights to inform possible solutions.
“I spoke with many people over the two days and sensed that the depth of concern and care that these leaders have for our migrant populations here in Australia is as tangible as it is real,” Deacon Lowe said.
The conference was launched with a multicultural Mass and the annual migrant and refugee parish kit were among the highlights during this two-day conference.