In our action plan of the year as the Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees in the Catholic Archdiocese of Johannesburg, we dedicated the months of September and October 2022 to the celebration of the 108th World Day of Migrants and Refugees as well as the 6th World Day of the Poor. We visited parishes within the Archdiocese where most of the migrants and refugees are located. Although it is true that migrants and refugees are now present almost everywhere, parishes such as St. Monica, Daveyton, St. Josephine Bakhita, Zandspruit, St. Rose of Lima, Botleng, Sts. Peter and Paul, Tarlton, St. Francis of Assisi, Yeoville, and St. Lewis Bertrand, Payneville have a significant number. Other celebrations were also organised in partnership with Bienvenu Shelter, home for refugee women and children. We also celebrated these feasts with our migrant and refugee students who are learning English and Isizulu languages at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Johannesburg. Many other activities such as youth dance, choir performances, and some games were organised throughout these celebrations. These activities helped local communities, migrants, and refugees to connect and learn how to work together as one team and integrate.
Despite their different cultural backgrounds, parishioners welcomed the team of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees and prepared well the celebrations, which were filled with African flairs to symbolise the unity of the African continent. This year was very special and, in every parish where the celebration took place, parishioners were thrilled to hear about the canonisation of Blessed John Baptist Scalabrini by Pope Francis on the 9th of October, the Patron Saint of migrants and refugees after Saint Bakhita. More than 2500 people participated in these celebrations. After every celebration, the community members shared a meal together provided by the Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees.
Sister Marizete Garbin, MSCS
Head of Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees