Finally, after months of waiting, refugees sponsored by the Archdiocese of Montreal are beginning to arrive.

The last few months have been trying for many Syrian families awaiting the arrival of parents or friends. The wait has not been easy, especially since every day has been spent in fear and uncertainty. Despite this, the expectant desire of a new life has kept hopes up, and around a month ago, Syrian families started arriving in the Montreal archdiocese, totalling to this date forty-seven people. Others will be arriving soon.

We are now entering a time of welcoming, a time for concrete action that leaves no room for fear or indifference.

I am a witness to the engagement of the priests and faithful of the parishes throughout the Montreal archdiocese, as they work daily towards making this gesture of welcome a reality. As Pope Francis said, all these people joined together are transcending "attitudes of defensiveness and fear, indifference and marginalization - all typical of a throwaway culture - [and are tending] towards attitudes based on a culture of encounter, the only culture capable of building a better, more just and fraternal world." (Pope Francis - Message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, 2014)

I am also a witness to the joy and relief of the families that are received, as the Beirouty family confirmed, "We would like to express our gratitude and our love for the members of St. Ignatius of Loyola Parish, who, with their prayers, their generous support, the establishment of our new home, and their continuous accompaniment since our arrival, have been introducing us to life in our new city."

The generosity of the members of the Archdiocese of Montreal continues to grow. Twenty-four parishes are concretely involved in welcoming one or several refugee families. We still have a list of ten families awaiting sponsorship, for they do not have the financial means to advance in their project of coming to live here. I am hopeful that the solution will soon present itself.

In the archdiocese, there are currently 250 active cases of people from various countries: Syrians, Afghans, Burundians, Eritreans, and Sudanese. 450 people waiting to begin a better life. Thank you!

Alessandra Santopadre
Assistant to the Director of the Office of Cultural and Ritual Communities

To make a donation: The Diocesan Office of the Économat (Refugee Sponsorship Program) - 2000 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, H3H 1G4 - Information: 514 931 7311.