Tomorrow’s Gospel reading chronicles the Holy Family’s journey to Egypt after an angel told Joseph of Harod’s plan to kill young children. The Holy Family became refugees.
There are plenty of refugees around the world today. The Catholic Sun has pages of online articles about them.
Agencies such as Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Community Services make it their life’s work to support refugees whether in a camp or more permanently resettled in a foreign land. Secular media picked up on their plight in early September after a photo of a 3-year-old Syrian boy went viral when his body washed ashore.
While many of the headlines can be heartbreaking, there have been some that are heartwarming.
Arizona Horizon recently took a look at some of the refugees that Phoenix’s Catholic Charities Community Services is supporting through The Refuge, a social entrepreneur venture into the world of cafés and art. As the café’s name suggests, it supports local refugees.
Buffalo, New York
The Catholic Charities outreach in Buffalo recently graduated its third cohort of refugees from a Hospitality and Tourism Training Institute. Catholic Charities and Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management collaborated to develop the training. It includes classroom training, visits to local hotels and internship experiences. Originally constructed to span 10 weeks, the program has been condensed to an eight-week timeframe, allowing graduates to enter the workforce sooner.
Several graduates are already being interviewed by local hotels, including the Hyatt Regency Buffalo, Courtyard Buffalo, Hampton Inn and Suites and Buffalo Marriott HARBORCENTER, all partners of the institute. A Somalian father and son were among the latest graduates.
“As a Catholic and Vincentian university, we consider it our mission to work with the community and provide assistance wherever and whenever we can,” said Fr. James Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “By providing participants with the skills they’ve obtained during this program, the foundation has been set for them to pave a sustainable career path, thereby enhancing their lives and the community in the process.”
Exactly 37 refugees ages 19 to 55 have now completed the program. They came from countries such as Burma, Iraq, Somalia, Nepal, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Myanmar.
The next training session begins Jan. 25. Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, founded in 1968, was the first program in the world to offer a bachelor’s degree in tourism and has a long history of training individuals to succeed in the industry.