Transfiguration Catholic Church’s 5th Annual
REFUGEE WELCOMING WEEKEND
March 13 & 14, 2021
Help us support the current efforts of
Catholic Charities Atlanta!
The Holy Family was once a refugee family that resettled in a new country due to persecution in their original birthplace. Today, we as Catholics have an opportunity to practice our Faith, “Welcome the Stranger”, and assist other families with similar needs who are fleeing their homeland due to war, religious or political persecution and coming to the Atlanta Area.
This year is Transfiguration’s FIFTH year in supporting Catholic Charities Atlanta (CCA). CCA has expanded its needs not only to include family bedding, bathroom, and kitchen household items; but also materials associated with children daycare and afterschool care activities. Children materials would include pens, pencils, erasers, backpacks, glue sticks, sharpeners, kids’ socks and diapers and more. For parents, perhaps you can involve your kids personally in this activity. Specific items and sizes can be found by clicking on the needs button below.
To those of you who have contributed to past years, many thanks are offered, and a heart filled request to participate once again in the 2021 Refugee Welcoming Weekend. To those of you who have not yet become involved in this outreach; we ask you to prayerfully consider 2021 as your year to become involved. This outreach fits nicely into the Christian Lenten Season for you and your family. If you have questions about refugees vetting process or other similar issues; please click on the buttons of interest to you found below.
We are looking for volunteers to help with the Refugee Weekend at Transfiguration!
Click Here to signup.
Donations will be collected at Transfiguration before each Mass on March 13 & 14.
More information will be provided as we get closer due to COVID guidelines. Your safety and the safety of our volunteers is our highest concern.
Make this Refugee Welcoming Weekend one of your Lenten commitments.
Please visit USCCB’s Justice for Immigrants website for a wealth of information.
We are on family Under God.
1. What are the specific needs requested by Catholic Charities of Atlanta
Click here to view a list of specific needed items.
2. Who are Refugees? How are Refugees different than other immigrants coming into our country? What is Catholic Teaching on Welcoming Refugees?
Refugees are individuals who have fled their countries of origin and meet the United Nations’ criteria of having a “well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.” Refugees today remain uprooted for an average of 17 years. In 2019, more than 1.44 million refugees were in urgent need of resettlement – only about 4.5% were resettled.
Georgia is one of the top ten destinations for refugees resettled in the USA. In the last 20 years, over 50,000 refugees have come to call Georgia home.
In FY 2019, 115 refugees from countries such as Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Eritrea, and Afghanistan and others were resettled by Catholic Charities Atlanta. Over 18 staff members in CCA, fluent in 13 different languages, provided services to meet the specific needs of each family and start them on a road to independence.
How are refugees different? There are many different groups of immigrants: asylum seekers; student migrants on VISA’s; adult migrants on work VISA’s; day work migrants who cross our southern border every day for a job in the USA only to cross the border again at night to go back home; and undocumented immigrants who cross the border without papers or vetting. Considering all these immigrants, refugees are the most vetted by both the USA and the United Nations and take the longest time before being allowed to enter the country. According to the United Nations the average time is 10-15 years. Refugees entered the country through airports and not by foot across any of the borders of the USA.
There has been a long history of Catholic Teaching on Welcoming Refugees. Please consider looking at the following video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwlyTiJpV7Y
Refugees entered the country through airports and not by foot across any of the borders of the USA.
3. What is the “Share the Journey” Campaign started by Pope Francis?
Pope Francis began the global campaign, “Share the Journey”, on September 27, 2017 to support our brothers and sisters who have fled their homes to seek a decent and safe life for their families.
The Holy Father is calling us to inspire friends and loved ones by shaping conversations and actions to answer the Gospel call to love one’s neighbor. This act of compassion and support toward refugees in the metro Atlanta area is one way that Parishioners at Transfiguration Catholic Church are “Sharing the Journey” with those in need.
4. What do the Catholic Charities Atlanta Resettlement Services provide?
Catholic Charities Atlanta provides Refugee Resettlement Services to refugee families arriving in the Atlanta area. The extensive resettlement services are designed to aid refugees to achieve economic and social self- sufficiency in their first months in the United States. 96% of CCA clients are self-sufficient within 6 months of arrival. CCA also provides needed support services in the areas of employment, home management, crisis intervention, afterschool and daycare services, financial literacy and medical assistance to refugees who have been living in the United States for less than five years.
CCA continue to provide after school programming to thirty refugees students at Indian Creek Elementary School, a mentoring program for refugee teens ages 12-17, and a program to support unaccompanied minors. In these efforts school supplies continue to be needed for the children.
With the support that CCA receive from the community, our work offers mercy, treats all with dignity, and helps those we serve transform their lives toward a bright, successful future.
The following is a video short video showing kids at afterschool. ASP Video Clip
The following is a video of kids asking refugee kids how it is living without a home: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctCaKH-2Wm8
5. What is the Screening Process for Refugees coming into the United States?
Unlike other immigrants into the United States the screening process starts with a designation from a United Nations Sub-Group. The prospective Refugee must demonstrate that he/she/family are subject to persecution in their homeland due to political or religious bias or exposed to life threats due to active war before being designated a refugee.
To determine resettlement eligibility, the US conducts vigorous vetting process, taking approximately 2 years to complete.
There is also a short video produced by NPR about the Screening Process. Click Here to see that video.
6. What is the current political environment and how is that affecting CCA’s ability to resettle refugees?
Catholic Charities Atlanta served 61 new arrivals in FY2020; but saw the need among refugees that had been resettled previously increase greatly because of the pandemic. We also saw this trend among those served through other CCA refugee services programs. While this number is low in comparison to years’ past, the program continues to be vital to those who are fleeing persecution and war around the world. In Federal Fiscal Year 2020, the President of the United States set the refugee admissions ceiling at 18,000 refugee arrivals. This is the lowest number admissions ceiling since the Refugee Act of 1980 was passed by Congress. CCA’s projected number of new arrivals for the next fiscal year is 90, although we expect this number to increase as President Elect Joe Biden has indicated that he will raise the refugee admissions ceiling to 125,000 in 2021.
The refugee program is built around welcoming those who have fled persecution to a new home, and a new life, in America. Despite the reduction in new families arriving, Catholic Charities Atlanta remains dedicated to serving all who arrive as well as those families and individuals who are already here to the highest standards. We continue to need donations of household items, furniture, and other basic living essentials for those we serve. This need will certainly increase as the number of new arrivals increases next year. We also continue to provide after school programming to twenty-six refugee students at Indian Creek Elementary School, a mentoring program for refugee teens ages 12-17, and programs to support unaccompanied minors. This program has been especially helpful in facilitating the transition to virtual learning. School supplies continue to be needed for these children and for others served in our refugee program. With the support that we receive from the community, our work offers mercy, treats all with dignity, and helps those we serve transform their lives toward a bright, successful future.
7. Are there opportunities to volunteer your personal time to assist the Catholic Charities Atlanta resettling of Refugees?
Our dedicated volunteers help make these opportunities happen. Here are ways to get involved:
- Become a Family Literacy Volunteer and help a recently arrived refugee family learn English and adjust to their new life in Atlanta
- Be a “Strong Back for Refugees” volunteer and help us move
furniture into apartments for arriving families
- Volunteer with our afterschool program at Indian Creek Elementary School
- Talk to us about internships for college students
- Help a refugee prepare for their first job by becoming a “Job Coach”
For more information, please call Kim Longshore at 678-222-3964 or email email@example.com.