Catholic Charities prepares to receive Syrian refugees

A Syrian refugee woman cries as she carries her baby through the mud to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia near the Greek village of Idomeni Sept. 10. Most of the people flooding into Europe are refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries who have a legal right to seek asylum, the United Nations said Sept. 9. (CNS photo/Yannis Behrakis, Reuters)
A Syrian refugee woman cries as she carries her baby through the mud to cross the border from Greece into Macedonia near the Greek village of Idomeni Sept. 10. Most of the people flooding into Europe are refugees fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries who have a legal right to seek asylum, the United Nations said Sept. 9. (CNS photo/Yannis Behrakis, Reuters)

There are more than 4 million Syrian refugees fleeing the Syrian war into surrounding countries, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Many have gone from an educated, middle class society to Third-World situations living in flimsy plastic tent camps without water or sanitation.

Images of them crowding into boats and walking along roadways and railways throughout Europe have poured across media channels. Soon, some of them will be headed to Phoenix via Catholic Charities Community Services’ Refugee Resettlement Program.

“We are expecting to resettle approximately 600 refugees here in Phoenix this upcoming year, with Syrians being a strong number within that total,” said Joanne Morales, director of refugee programs at Catholic Charities.

The U.S. expects to admit up to 70,000 refugees from various countries this year. The nation’s president sets the number annually.

Catholic Charities staff prepared for the influx by attending a Syrian cultural training, where members of the local Syrian community trained staff on culture, history and language. Morales said staff is also working with local Syrians to identify needs and anticipate challenges.



7 things you can do to help (Catholic Relief Services)

A prayer for refugees (Catholic Relief Services)


Catholic Charities will provide a welcoming and supportive network to help Syrian refugees gain independence and become productive members of their new community. Resettlement efforts focus on ensuring refugees attain economic self-sufficiency through the provision of comprehensive case management services and work readiness trainings.

The community has a role to play too. Donating gently used household furnishings and goods will help new arrivals set up apartments, Morales said. Employment resources are also crucial.

As refugees are legally authorized to work, Valley employers are encouraged to consider employing capable candidates. Benefits for the employer include reduced hiring costs, pre-screening of applicants, vocational training as needed, and ongoing support services by job developers during employment.

Personal interaction is also key.

“Many refugees have left family and friends behind, so having a chance to have community support is essential,” Morales said, “Volunteers are able to assist refugees with employment coaching, English language conversation, life skills such as how to grocery shop, use the post office, [and navigate] U.S. laws [and] school system.”

For more than 30 years, Catholic Charities has resettled more than 1,000 refugees each year from Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Haiti and Cuba. The Phoenix ministry is among nearly 100 Catholic Charities agencies nationwide alongside hundreds of parishes that assist refugees who come into the country each year, said Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Tens of thousands of people from Syria and other countries are “fleeing into Europe in search of protection,” he said, adding that images of those “escaping desperate” circumstances “have captured the world’s attention and sympathy.”

The archbishop called on the U.S. government “to assist more robustly the nations of Europe and the Middle East in protecting and supporting these refugees and in helping to end this horrific conflict, so refugees may return home in safety.”

The Obama administration announced that it was planning to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees in the coming fiscal year. However, an AP story said they are “already in the pipeline” waiting to be admitted to the U.S. and are not part of the flood of people currently entering Eastern Europe to make their way to other countries.

“In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, Mary and Joseph flee the terror of Herod,” Archbishop Kurtz said in his statement. “They are the archetype of every refugee family. Let us pray that the Holy Family watches over the thousands of refugee families in Europe and beyond at this time.”

Catholic News Service contributed to this story.


    The United States is deep in debt and going bankrupt trying to be the savior of the world!
    Jesus is our Savior no politician or government.

    Beside the issue of terrorist posing as refugees, we simply can not afford the cost of the worlds refugees!

    ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Pray that you either accept the truth of what I said or come up with a rational counter argument!

  3. I was been giving $200/mo to Catholic Charities for a number of years but stopped sometime this summer after I learned that you are supporting the relocation of Islamic families to the US and receiving government compensation for this. I’m sure you can find the records from my address or email that support that claim. I should have notified you at the time, but what happened in Paris, and has been happening all over Europe, inspired me to alert you to that fact and the fact that I will encourage others to stop giving to Catholic Charities until you stop this madness. There’s plenty non-Muslims you can support who are not a threat to our peace.

  4. People are very upset the Church has lied to them. There is not one woman or child in the pictures of the refugees that just entered New Orleans, not one. What has just happened in Paris will soon happen here. France officials have reported a Syrian refugee’s passport found on at least one gunman responsible for the bloodshed yesterday. We realize now why the Pope came to the United States. The Church has received grants from Obama to process these people through Catholic Charities and disperse them all over the United States. The number is reported at being 250,000, but this is the same number Germany was told and then received 1.5 million. Germany is in a state of panic.

    Please check your state on this list that was just reported. This is where the Syrians are being processed or so they claim. No one is safe now. I will not be giving any funds to the Catholic Living Stones pledge. Stop calling my house. I refuse to fund terrorists.

    This is the truth they hid from us:

    This is the list of agencies all over the country they also hid from us:

    I will now take myself and my family back to the Latin Mass and pre-Vatican II Church. I will not be a member of this insanity. Islam is a religion of the devil. Anyone who says otherwise, has NOT read the Bible. God help you. You’re going to need it for the evil you have wrought upon us. There was no reason to bring them here. You did it anyway and jeopardized the safety of our own children and I’m speaking out. As a cradle-Catholic myself, I tell you that you had no right and to do it while lying is anathema.

  5. I’m so fed up with the modern catholic church! It’s only the memory of my wonderful late father that keeps me a member of this Marxist racket masquerading as a church!

  6. I was just wondering if Bishop Olmsted was planning to make any statement in regards to the refugees. For the record though, to Phillip Vierling: The US regularly budgets, in advance, for approximately 70,000 refugees each year. This funding is not taken away from other parts of the budget. Your GOP Congress does that – they regularly vote against increasing assistance to Vets and the poor in favor of defense spending. The Dept of State does a very thorough vetting of each refugee, taking anywhere from 18-48 months. Since 9/11 over 780,000 refugees have been resettled here, including many Muslims, and none have been involved in terrorist activities.

  7. Sadly this article is misleading, The Syrian Refugees are in safe U.N. Camps they are many Economic Refugees who left Apartments in Turkey because they were told that Germany was offering great benefits.
    Senator Sessions has said that No Syrian Refugees can be Vetted, the FBI has said the same thing. So this Charity is knowingly bringing Syrians who could be Terrorists. In Sweden 97% of rapes by Strangers were done by Muslim men. Here in the U.S. 97% of Muslim Refugees are using some form of welfare. The cost for a family of 4 for 5 years is at minimum $257,481. This “Charity” makes thousands of dollars per head. So what’s so compassionate about taking people away from their homeland, when we could go their and care for 12 times the amount of people for the cost of one here. It’is a danger to our National Security, and a danger to our families. If Paris hasn’t taught us a lesson, then we are fools.

  8. Perhaps I missed it, but I didn’t see any mention of the Syrian or Iraqi CHRISTIAN refugees.
    Bringing Muslim refugees to this country sounds very Christian. Wouldn’t it be a more prudent plan to help them in their own homeland? Are you forgetting that religion is only one part of Islam? It is a Social/Political/Spiritual philosophy that does not couple with western civilization. It is a civilization in and of itself. This is why Muslim communities have not assimilated in Europe. Even though some have assimilated better here, it does not mean that most will. Once there is a large enough percentage in the local population, pressure is put on local gov’t. to cater to their “requirements.” Elected Muslim leaders facilitate the process. It has begun to take place in Michigan and in other areas where the Muslim population is growing. Before Islam took over, the Middle East was Christian. What happened to all those Christians? Do you think they just Peacefully moved away?
    I have just donated to the Nazarene Fund. (I couldn’t find a Catholic Charity that is dedicated to the Christian refugees from the Middle East). The first plane load of Christians has arrived in Slovakia. This
    is an atheist country, by the way, who has requested they be brought there. If you want to help, I suggest you check them out.

    • Why not support them in their own country? What gives you the realistic right to “sponsor” them and then stick America with the burden and bill?


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