Hello OLPH parishioners (& Refugee Committee members),
We are encouraged to report progress in the case of the Iraqi refugees who have been waiting for months in Amman for clearance to come to Toronto under the auspices of OLPH. They have now been interviewed by authorities and, after they receive health and security checks, we are optimistic that they may be approved for travel in the next few months. Given the unpredictable nature of the process, we have geared up activity.
Larry Pick, Co-chair, OLPH Refugee Committee
Archdiocese of Toronto - MEMO:
TO: All Parishes, Catholic Pastoral Centre & Satellite Office Staff
FROM: Fr. Ivan Camilleri, Moderator of the Curia
DATE: August 10, 2016
RE: Office for Refugees, Archdiocese of Toronto
In February, some important changegs were announced regarding the Office for Refugees to further enhance its capacity and advance its good work. I'm pleased to provide a progress report on the implementation of initiatives to help the office and the people it serves.
In April, the Office for Refugees relocated from Scarborough to 1220 Yonge St., right across from the Catholic Pastoral Centre. The new office space was officially opened and blessed by Cardinal Collins in June.
The office's technology has been improved with updated equipment and integrated into the archdiocese's computer and telephone systems. Additional staff were hired to manage the increased workload. The central location of the office has also improved access for clients and stakeholders. Most information sessions and seminars are now conducted at the conveniently located St. Peter's Parish Centre at Bloor and Bathurst streets.
Current projects include a new database, a revised volunteer recruitment provess, and enhanced internal provesses and policies.
Throughout, Dr. Martin Mark, Director, has continue to expand his efforts to raise awareness of the archdiocese's commitment to refugee resettlement, devoting more of his time to representing the archdiocese and advocating on behalf of the needs of refugees. Most recently, Dr. Mark appeared before a House of Commons committee in Ottawa to speak about the plight of refugees and displaced persons in the Middle East and Africa. We are very grateful for Dr. Mark's expertise and continued dedication to these issues.
As noted in February, John Ecker was appointed to serve as Interim Operatirions Director, leading the implementation of the above-noted major enhancemnts at the Office for Refugees. His work has been very successful and we very thankful of his excellent leadership during a hectic period of transition for the Office for Refugees. In the mcoming weeks, John will shift his full-time focus to the Family of Faith campaign and additional special projects for the archdiocese. Accordingly, we begin a recruitment process for his replacement, in the form of an Operations Manager.
Lastly, I would like to express the archdiocese's appreciation to all the staff, colunteers and parishioners who continue to demonstrate daily their commitment to the mandate of the Office for Refugees.
These two items were included in the June 26th paper bulletin as well as the June 26th e-Bulletin.
If you need a paper copy, please contact the Parish Admin Assistant, Theresa Daley at 416-489-1540, ext. 221.
Hello OLPH Refugee group volunteers,
Please see the attachment below - an update on one of our refugee families.
To be frank, we wish we were emailing you with different news but am pleased to know that this family will be safe, the kids will know education and their family will have a more stable life.
God bless you and yours,
Mia Toth & Jamie McGrath
Dear volunteers, OLPH Refugee Committee:
We need to inform you that one of our two families (the family of four, with two adults and two children) has been accepted for immigration and has moved to Australia from Amman.
We were given indications recently that this was imminent, but did not want to publicize it until the family's safe status was confirmed.
Bassam and Hala expressed their sincere gratitude for all the effort and care we have shown them. They had been receiving weekly phone calls from our interpreter, Bushra, outlining the Committee's progress and inquiring about their welfare. This seemed to be of significant help to the family.
They felt that they could no longer wait for approval by Canada at a time when Bassam was running out of money to support his family. There was little hope for either work or education for their children, while remaining in Amman.
They departed for their new home with gratitude for our offer of shelter said they will keep us in their thoughts and prayers and that they are very grateful.
We continue to stay in touch with our second family and are exerting our best efforts with both ORAT and the office of MP Chrystia Freeland for their eventual arrival.
OLPH Refugee Committee, Communications
Read More Read More
Many 2016 pictures have been posted in the "Picture Gallery" under the "Gallery" Top Nav menu. However, due to some technical issue, they were posted under the Year 2015. This has been resolved and the 2016 gallery is now updated on its own.
These include the following area:
- renovations in the church, including large scaffolding
- some Holy Week service
- Confirmation and First Communion
- OLPH School students & families.
If you find any captions to be incorrect or needs improvement, please contact the webmaster.
The following notice was received from the archdiocesan office today (May 5, 2016)
TO: All Parishes, Catholic Pastoral Centre
FROM: Bill Steinburg, Manager, Public Relations & Communications
RE: Disaster Relief – Fort McMurray Fires
As wildfires continue to ravage the area around Fort McMurray, Alta., the Archdiocese of Toronto is accepting contributions to help victims of this natural disaster.
The fires that were first reported on May 1 have grown to encompass more than 10,000 hectares, destroying more than 1,600 buildings and necessitating the evacuation of at least 90,000 people from the Fort McMurray area. Neighboring towns are also being threatened and evacuations continue. The situation is grave and still developing.
In an effort to support those people in Alberta who have been impacted by this disaster, the Archdiocese of Toronto is accepting funds that will be channeled through the Canadian Red Cross.
The Government of Canada has made an initial commitment to match individual contributions to the Red Cross to assist people who have been displaced. More information about that commitment will be forthcoming.
Those wishing to help may do so in the following ways:
• Online through the Archdiocese of Toronto website: www.archtoronto.org
• By phone through the Development Office – 416-934-3411
• Through the parish, making cheques payable to:
Name of Parish – Fort McMurray Fires – Disaster Relief
Please use the generic humanitarian relief envelopes sent to parishes for relief collections.
We offer our prayers for all those impacted by this tragedy. Thank you for your ongoing efforts to assist those in crisis. Read More
While there is no new development to report regarding the two refugee families, the OLPH Refugee Committee met with MP (University-Rosedale) Chrystia Freeland last week. Attached is the follow-up letter (PDF) sent to her and Immigration Minister John McCallum on April 8th,
At Fr. Jim's request, parishioner Prof. John Berkman gave a talk on "Physician-assisted Dying" as part of the homily at the April 2-3 weekend masses. Prof. Berkman teaches moral theology at Regis College in Toronto..
Date: Saturday April 16, 2015 – (2:30 - 4:30 pm).
Faith Connections invites young adults 18-39 to join us for Hike and Prayer adventures designed to nurture our spiritual lives while letting us explore interesting areas of our beautiful city of Toronto. More info at http://faithconnections.ca/toronto-hike-and-prayer Read More
March 7, 2016 - Refugee Update
Progress has been very slow in the advancement of our parish's sponsorship of two refugee families in Amman. Their status remains unchanged since they were registered with Immigration Canada last September -- still awaiting interviews. Our efforts withMP Chrystia Freeland's office so far have been unavailing, but we continue to seek her intervention.
Evidently the push to land Syrian refugees on the government's February deadline has set back the timetable for Iraqi families waiting in Amman. ISIS has not respected the border between Iraq and Syria, and our refugee families are victims of the same conflict. Meanwhile, Shelley Zucchi has continued to be in contact with our two families, trying to reassure them of our continued efforts to secure their passage to Canada. They look forward to arriving in Canada.
OLPH Co-chairResettlement Group (RG)Committee Read More