Alessandra Santopadre, co-ordinator of the Refugee Sponsorship Program, provides a testimonial of the diocesan experience.
Already five months have passed since our Archbishop launched an appeal concerning the crisis in Syria, where many people are made victims of war and prosecution.
Today, as the person in charge of the Archdiocese of Montreal's sponsorship program, I feel it is my duty to thank everyone.
Thank you to the 35 parishes that contacted me and that decided to contribute in various ways to helping the Syrian refugees.
Thank you to the 15 parishes in the Archdiocese that committed to concretely sponsoring one or several families. I witnessed immeasurable generosity and reception on behalf of numerous parish priests and communities.
Everywhere I went, I met people who responded earnestly, generously, with an open heart, a sympathetic ear, and in the spirit of sharing, by forming groups aimed at assisting the refugees upon their arrival, promoting awareness, organizing special collections as well as drives for gathering clothing, furniture, and food...
Through our sponsorship program, we are currently working on 200 cases. I had the opportunity to meet many families, learn about countless lives, and hear a multitude of stories. All these people belong to the Archdiocese and are an integral part of the life we share. They enrich each and every one of our lives.
At times my work is quite technical; assisting people in filling out forms, explaining the concrete steps and phases of sponsorship, etc. But I discovered that for every application I present to the government, a life is saved. Together, we are saving actual lives, and are thus witnessing the true face of the Church here in Montreal, a Church that is pursuing the mission of Christ, a Church that welcomes its brothers who are suffering and hurting, who in their land are unwanted and persecuted. It is God whom I am welcoming and saving.
The appeal made by our Archbishop, Most Reverend Lépine, allowed us to raise $140,000, which we used to help 37 families. There is $40,000 left in the special refugee fund; however, many families are still waiting for sponsorship and financial assistance. Your generosity is always appreciated.
Assistant to the Director of the Office of Cultural and Ritual Communities
514 925 4300 ext. 295
To make a donation:
CACRM - Supplemental Fund - Refugees
2000 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC, H3H 1G4