Choosing to Act

Thousands of Syrian people have descended upon European countries attempting to flee the persecution, violence and poverty in their country. They hope to be welcomed and accepted by a host country. It is a treacherous journey as the world viewed the Image of Aylan Kurdi just three years old being washed ashore after his boat capsized. His mother and brother also drowned. This image of this lifeless body will be ever imprinted in our minds. It is a senseless tragedy.

A Turkish policeman carries Aylan's body from the beach (AP)

A Turkish policeman carries Aylan’s body from the beach (AP)

The UN recently stated that their humanitarian funds have been depleted, and our Pope is asking us to open our hearts and our homes to peoples affected by the situation in Syria.

Pope Francis’ announcement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy comes at a time when our world is in desperate need of healing, of prayer, of providing dignity to each person, regardless of race, country, customs, religion, etc. Hearts and minds need an overhaul of change in our world. Where is the compassion when thousands upon thousands of refugees are seeking safety and no one is there for them?  In addition to prayer we need to open our purses and give what we can to help offer them the basic necessities such as food, shelter, clothing and country to these people. Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. They are the official overseas relief and development agency of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Learn how you can help donate by visiting http://www.crs.org/  

The USCCB, United States Council of Catholic Bishops, recently began a video series on Catholic Social Teaching. Each week a new topic will be presented on their website http://www.usccb.org/

It is important that we understand the teachings of our Church on Catholic Social Teaching. Through understanding we can learn ways to be effective in our giving. CRS is simply one charity that is reputable in bringing support to people in need.

Care for God’s Creation
•  Call to Family, Community, Participation (Video posted August 31, 2015)
•  Life and Dignity of the Human Person
•  Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers
•  Solidarity
•  Option for the Poor and Vulnerable
•  Rights and Responsibilities

“Catholic Social Teaching is at the core of why and how CRS performs its mission to serve the poorest of the poor and people in need at times of emergency,” said Carolyn Woo, CEO and president of CRS. “These teachings are embedded in our identity as employees and servants of God.”

Pope Francis writes, “Mercy, the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life.” Bull of Indiction of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy.  Looking into the face and eyes of someone in need makes it personal, does it not? When it is personal we move ourselves into action. These are desperate times for many people and they need us to bring them hope.

Anne Frank in her diaries wrote, “No one ever went poor by giving.” How poignant for such a young girl to understand this truth.

The Syrian crisis is a situation that is going to be with us for a very long time to come. It will cost countries millions of dollars to support theses peoples. Australia, France, Germany, Great Britain, and Norway are some of the countries allowing refugees to enter into their countries. Let us pray for these countries leadership, for their volunteers and for the refugees seeking asylum with them.

We can all choose to act! Will you?

‘Whoever saves one life, saves the world entire’. Jerusalem Talmund

Below is a recap if you will of the last six months on the migrant crisis by The Telegraph.

Migrant crisis – the last six months, The Telegraph, UK

19 April, 2015

650 migrants feared dead

Around 650 migrants were feared drowned as a boat carrying 700 capsized in the waters of the Italian island of Lampedusa. Roughly 30 were saved.

3 May, 2015

10 dead in the Mediterranean

5,800 plucked from the Mediterranean in Italian and French operations. 10 found dead.

30 June, 2015

Cameron describes migrant “swarm”

David Cameron described the thousands of migrants in Calais and around the Channel Tunnel as a “swarm of people”. Earlier in the day, UKIP’s Nigel Farage had used the same term on ITV’s Good Morning.

June, 2015

Nine Calais deaths

Throughout the month, nine migrants died near the Channel Tunnel in separate incidents. French police said they had so far this year detained more than 18,000 migrants in and around Calais this year.

9 July, 2015

Rubber dinghy tragedy

12 migrants drowned when their rubber dinghy sank off Libya, with a further 500 being rescued.

July, 2015

110,000 migrants enter the EU

Nearly 110,000 migrants were tracked entering the EU by irregular means. Nearly 50,000 of them arrived through the Aegean Sea route, landing on Lesbos, Chios, Kos, and other islands.

20 August, 2015

Macedonia declares state of emergency

The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia declares a state of emergency, restricting its borders as roughly 2,000 refugees entered the country each day.

23 August, 2015

Thousands rescued from Mediterranean Sea

The Italian navy organized the rescue of 4,400 migrants in the waters off the Libyan coast. At this point it was thought that more than 2,300 had drowned in the Mediterranean Sea so far this year.

28 August, 2015

71 migrants found dead in Austria

200 bodies discovered off the coast of Zurawa – a port in western Libya which is a people-trafficking hub. The boat on which they’d been travelling was originally packed with 400 people when it began sinking. On the same day, Hungarian police arrested the driver of a van found abandoned on the side of an Austrian motorway filled with 71 dead migrants. A baby girl was among the dead.

31 August, 2015

Hungary completes razor-wire fence

Hungary finished building its razor-wire fence along the 175km border with Serbia. French Foreign Minister, Laurent Fabius describes the fence as “not fit for animals”.

2 September, 2015

Young migrants wash up on Turkish beach

A Turkish policeman carries Aylan’s body from the beach (AP)

The bodies of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi and his five-year-old brother Galip are found washed up on a beach near Bodrum, Turkey, having drowned. Images are widely reproduced across the European media.

6 September, 2015

George Osborne: Britain’s foreign aid budget will be used to help councils resettle refugees

Millions of pounds of Britain’s foreign aid budget will be used to help councils resettle refugees from camps in the UK, George Osborne revealed. He added that the £250million spent on refugees is “not nearly enough” and suggested using “additional money” from the GDP increase to increase aid for refugees.


 

“Choosing to Act” submitted by Jane Gottardi.

 

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