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From tent to parish

· ​Refugees welcomed in Sweden, Belgium, England and Wales ·

Initiatives following Pope Francis' appeal at the Angelus on Sunday, 6 September, to welcome refugees into parishes, religious communities, monasteries and shrines, are increasing in Europe.

 In Sweden, Bishop Anders Arborelius of Stockholm invited all parishes — according to SIR — to designate a contact person for refugees. Those charged with this task must involve parishioners in assisting the refugees, act as a coordinator between the refugees and the Catholic families, and ensure that unaccompanied minors are taken care of and that language lessons are provided.

In Belgium, Auxiliary Bishop Jean Kockerols of Malines-Bruxelles isn't hiding that the current situation is difficult (“we were not ready to welcome so many people”, he said), but the network of solidarity is in full swing. Several migrants have been welcomed to a parish near Maximilien Park and other refugees have found a home in the Melkite Parish in Brussels.

In England and Wales Catholics are invited to respond to the refugee crisis with prayers and practical action: “Whether it's donating time, skills or money, you can make a valuable contribution to the humanitarian effort. Our response will be coordinated locally through the diocese”, the Bishops' Conference website reads. A list of diocesan coordinators is already available, along with telephone numbers and email addresses. 

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