Each of us has a migration story

The Catholic Bishops of New Zealand have set aside a week in September for Social Justice Week. In 2016 it runs from 11-17 September.

In 2015 the number of persons living in a country other than where they were born reached 244 million for the world as a whole, a 41 per cent increase compared to 2000.

New Zealand is experiencing record numbers of people wanting to settle here.

So it is no surprise then that this year the theme  for Social Justice week this year is: We all have a migration story: Fostering a culture of encounter.

During Social Justice week people are being asked to take time to reflect on their own migration journey and consider how they can foster a culture of encounter in our own life and in the life of the parish.

In their recent statement on refugees and migrants  the bishops of New Zealand remind people that:

“We each have a migration story; a story of how our ancestors, or we ourselves, came to this land.”

“Maori trace their ancestry or whakapapa to the waka upon which their ancestors arrived in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

“As Catholics we trace the migration story of our Church in Aotearoa New Zealand through the arrival in the 1820s of Catholic settlers, followed by Bishop Pompallier and the Society of Mary who arrived from France in 1838, landing first in Hokianga where they were welcomed by the tangata whenua, the people of the land.”

The bishops say the lack of connection to the local community can often contribute to a migrant’s vulnerability to exploitation and difficulty in finding work.

“As newcomers join our communities, we have an opportunity to meet and encounter each other – on the one hand, to extend welcome and friendship and on the other.”

“To discover and celebrate the gifts that people from migrant and refugee backgrounds bring to our parishes, schools, farms and other workplaces.”

In From Strangers to Family:  4 students at St Peter’s College in Palmerston North talk about their experience

Click here for Caritas Aotearoa’s Resources for Schools

Click her to get Caritas Aotearoa’s  Resources for Parishes

Events planned for Social Justice week include a seminar in Wellington, a public forum in Palmerston North, and Social Justice Mayoral Forum in Auckland. Click here for details


Additional reading

News category: New Zealand.

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