BY Ian Dunn | September 18 2015 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Scottish Church is open to refugees

— Many of our parishioners hail from families with a history of fleeing conflict and poverty, hierarchy says — Paisley answers Bishop Keenan’s call by setting up a refugee welcome group

Scotland’s bishops are responding decisively to the refugees crisis in Europe, collectively and individually, as Europe tightens its borders this week to the flood of mainly displaced Syrians.

In a letter on behalf of the bishops, Archbishop Philip Tartaglia tells First Minister Nicola Sturgeon the Catholic Church will do all it can to assist the Scottish Government in welcoming refugees and the Scottish Church has already taken concrete steps to help refugees. Bishop John Keenan of Paisley has set up a refugee welcome group in Paisley and Archbishop Leo Cushley of St Andrews and Edinburgh has offered to put up refugees in his own home.

Archbishop Tartaglia, president of the Bishops’ Conference tells the First Minister that the Scottish Church stands ready to answer Pope Francis’ call for ‘every Catholic parish community in Europe to offer support to refugee families currently fleeing to our continent from the Middle East.’

“Many of our parishioners hail from families with a history of fleeing conflict and poverty in the 19th and 20th centuries to find a new home in Scotland,” he writes in his letter.

“In the days since, the UK Government has unveiled its plan to accept up to 20,000 refugees from Syria over the next five years and I note that your government is fully committed to cooperating with the UK authorities in whatever action needs to be taken to help alleviate this humanitarian crisis.”

Bishop Keenan chaired a meeting at the curial offices in Paisley on Monday of politicians from the SNP, Labour and the Conservative parties, representatives from Inverclyde, East Renfrewshire and Renfrewshire councils and localChristian leaders (above.) Participants at the event, which the bishops called, all pledged to do all they could to help refugees in a new group under the name Renfrewshire Refugee Support.

Renfrewshire Council has agreed to administrate the new group Renfrewshire Refugee Support.

Archbishop Cushley of St Andrews and said at the weekend that he personally would take in refugees.

“Many Scots Catholics—myself included—hail from families that once fled oppression and poverty in all sorts of places in the 19th and 20th century, to find a new home in this country,” he said last weekend. “And, as a visible example of our willingness to help, I too would be happy to give a home to somebody fleeing war or oppression.”

On the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, September 15, a Mass took place in Our Lady of Good Aid Cathedral in Motherwell to pray for refugees throughout the world. Those who attended were invited to pray for all refugees and to plead to the Lord to help us find a solution to the crisis.





—This story ran in full in the September 18 edition print of the SCO, available in parishes.


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