Tomorrow we mark World Day of Migrants and Refugees and this year's theme, “Forced like Jesus Christ to flee”, focuses on the pastoral care of internally displaced people who have fled their home to find safety within their own country. The Australian Jesuits' next Provincial, Fr Quyen Vu SJ, has a personal understanding of and compassionate empathy for the displaced, the rejected, and the impoverished:
"I think my life journey has been helping and working with the refugee and the poor and the lost and the weak. Why is that? Maybe because of my background being a refugee myself. I know what it's like to be a refugee, I know what it's like to be dependent on God and even my journey as a boat person escaping from Vietnam, facing death, I know what it's like to put your trust and faith in God.
...Service is very important to me and servant leadership, serving others, everyone has a cross and I believe that my task is to help them lighten [the load of] their cross so that we are all in this journey together to help one another and to move forward."
Since its beginnings over 150 years ago, the Richmond Catholic Parish and its schools have been welcoming and serving migrants and refugees from places such as Ireland, England, Italy, Malta, Poland, Greece, Vietnam, South Sudan and countless other countries around the world. Whether newly-arrived or here for generations, their faith, resilience and commitment forms the vibrant core of our parish family.