Catholics across Australia are being invited to participate in a special Refugee Week prayer service, which will be streamed online on the evening of Monday 20 June.

The prayer service is being jointly hosted by the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office (ACMRO) and the Office for Justice, Ecology and Peace (OJEP)—both agencies of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The theme for Refugee Week 2022 is healing. As the Refugee Council of Australia explains, ‘healing can occur through storytelling, through community and also through realisation of our intrinsic interconnectedness as individuals.’

According to ACMRO Director Fr Khalid Marogi:

The online prayer service will engage these elements by gathering the Catholic community, telling stories through the medium of video and praying together as sisters and brothers in Christ.

Bishop Vincent Long OFMConv, Chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, will lead the online prayer service. The service will be recorded and the video made available for further use.

A number of resources have been created to mark Refugee Week in a Catholic context, including prayers, an explanation of Church teaching on refugees and asylum-seekers, and details about the Church’s advocacy in this area.

Videos featuring the stories of people on different sides of the asylum-seeker journey—one who sought asylum and one who advocates for and welcomes asylum-seekers—have also been prepared.

‘They help us to get behind the headlines to understand the human experiences that are often masked by fear-driven policy debates,’ OJEP Director Sandie Cornish says. ‘Both stories are stories of faith and family.’