On Monday, October 2, Notre-Dames-des-Victoires Parish opened the doors of its vacant rectory to provide safe housing to asylum seekers. The initiative, called "The Bridge", involves the entire Archdiocese with the support of Archbishop Christian Lépine.
Pope Francis, in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2018, invites us to welcome, protect, promote and integrate migrants and refugees.
It is through concrete action that the Archdiocese of Montreal has chosen to respond to this appeal, namely by opening this home for asylum seekers.
We are already taking in families from Sudan, Guinea, Eritrea, and Haiti. We provide them with a stable home for one month, during which they can live in a family environment, where they feel at home; we share common spaces and experience life's moments together, despite our different origins, cultures and religions.
Asylum seekers are very vulnerable. They need safety and protection. Their lives are in danger, and the process of being accepted as a refugee can take months. During part of this time, we give them a safe place that is in keeping with the respect for their dignity, regardless of their migration status.
We help them fulfill themselves as persons in every aspect, from the freedom of occupation and religious practice to finding a home and work.
We foster the culture of encounter between them and the host society. Contact with the volunteers enables opportunities for intercultural exchange to facilitate integration, familiarization with the neighbourhood, learning the language, the speedy integration of children, and more.
An approach that leads us to building bridges instead of walls...
Many thanks to our bishops, to the parishes of the Archdiocese, to the religious communities, to Catholic Action Montreal and to all volunteers that are involved in various ways in this initiative. We also thank the Notre-Dame-des-Victoires Parish and our new Episcopal Vicar to the Cultural and Ritual Communities, Msgr. Pierre Blanchard, for his support.
And to Arthur, who has kindly accepted the responsibility of managing this home, we extend a huge thank you!
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