As we approach the end of 2018-2019 pastoral year, the department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees through its Head of Department, Reverend Sister Marizete Garbin, Scalabrinian thought it is good for us to share a synopsis of our activities and work done this year as we touched the many lives of migrants, refugees and locals who came to our door seeking for various kinds of help. This report is shared with the spirit of awareness and exposing our pastoral work for parishes to be more involved in the pastoral care of the most vulnerable of our community. We are a department which is more in the ground, doing practical work touching lives than administration. However what we do needs to be documented for accountability purpose and archive. Here bellow dear brothers and sisters in Christ, a synopsis of what we achieved this year by the grace of God, the support of all our donors, the hard work of all our volunteers and parish representatives and the encouragement from our Archdiocesan Curia.
Attended and helped peoples
From January 2019 until October 2019, the Department of Pastoral Care attended 3501 persons from 8 nationalities: Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Burundi and Swaziland). The department provided assistance to all attended peoples with food, shoes, blankets, and toys for children, stationery, uniforms, school bags, school shoes for pupils and to assess legal documentation (orientation and transport to home affairs).
Empowering skills programmes
1) English Class
From January until October this year, 150 students graduated from Pastoral Care English Class taught at the Cathedral of Christ the King Hall.
In September 11, 2019, the Department of Pastoral Care started a new English Class at Vanderbijlpark- St Francis of Assisi. The class is composed now of 25 students.
English Class Graduation
2) First National Day of Prayer for Migrants and Refugees
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) introduced in its calendar to be celebrated every year, a National Day of Prayer for migrants and refugees. In the archdiocese of Johannesburg, this event was celebrated for the first time this year in June 30th with the initiative of Sister Marizete who now is the head of department, it involved all department stakeholders, donors and sponsors, parishes, other religious denominations and sister organisations in the field of migrants and refugees such as Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Consortium for Migrants in South Africa (CormSa), Bienvenu shelter, Migrants Help Desk and 3 to 6 organisation.
The first national day of prayer for migrants and refugees was celebrated in June 30th at the cathedral of Christ the King hall. The day started with mass and was followed with the performance of different cultural and musical groups of refugees and migrants. 572 peoples attended our social cultural programme in the big hall.
The department of Pastoral Care sent materials to celebrate the first national day of prayer to all parishes in the Archdiocese and had 5 interviews (French, English and Portuguese) at Radio Veritas to explain the pastoral care’s mission and to promote the first national day of prayer for migrants and refugees. 12 parishes confirmed that they celebrated on the 30th of June the first national day of prayer for migrants and refugees in their respective parishes. The department therefore takes this opportunity to thank parish priests of these 12 parishes for their support.
VISITS, WORKSHOPS AND CONFERENCES
Pastoral care visited the most known parishes where there are many migrants’ communities. This year, Pastoral Care visited St Francis of Assisi in Yeoville, St Patrick –La Rochelle in Rosettenville, St Maria Goretti-Riverlea in Langlaagte, St Joseph-Mayfair in Crown Mines, Holy Angels-Bez Valley, Cathedral of Christ the King, Holy Family in Turffontein, Good Shepherd in Soweto (Protea North) and Blessed Joseph Gerard in Orange Farm. The objective of those visits was to revive pastoral care in the parishes. Besides those visits to the parishes, the department of Pastoral Care visited migrants and refugees at hospitals and in their homes. The department also paid a visit to the families affected by xenophobic attacks in Jeppestown. At Good Shepherd parish in Soweto, the department of pastoral Care discovered an old man living alone in a toilet and the department arranged for him a descent place at Mother Theresa sisters centre in Bellevue.
Workshop and Conference
On 16th of April, the department of Pastoral Care organized and directed a retreat at Saint Patrick La Rochelle parish, entitled: Healing and Reconciliation in the community. On the 5th of May, Pastoral Care’s team had meeting after the mass with the representatives of all communities at Saint Joseph-Mayfair parish with the aim to reconcile the local community, refugees and migrants.
On 25th of May, the department had a workshop at the Cathedral’s boardroom with Parish pastoral care’s agents or representatives. The department welcomed 43 pastoral Care’s agents from 41 parishes. The topic of the workshop was: How to deal with xenophobia in our parishes. We had two speakers: Mrs Sheila Pires a journalist from Radio Veritas and Mr Jean-Pierre Misago, an academic from the University of the Witwatersrand and Fr. Jean-Marie Kuzituka Did’ho, Chancellor of the archdiocese was the moderator of the workshop.
On 28th of September, the department of Pastoral Care had its second workshop with its Parish Pastoral Care Agents on the theme of: The Rights of Migrants and Refugees in South Africa. The day started with a prayer led by Sr. Marizete Garbin, Head of Department of Pastoral Care for Migrants and Refugees. She reflected with us on the symbol of heart. Then Bienvenu Boleko introduced Lusungu Phiri from Lawyer of Human Rights as our main speaker. She explained to the attendees the rights of migrants and refugees in the host country. The workshop started at 09:30am and ended at 01:00pm. 30 parish pastoral care agents attended the workshop.
On the 3rd of October, the department of Pastoral Care’s team had a retreat with women refugees at Mother Assunta training and skills Centre in Bez Valley.
Every Friday morning, the department of Pastoral Care leads the Morning Prayer at Bienvenu Shelter with residents and staff and every last Friday of the month, the department of Pastoral Care’s team organises a formation workshop for the staff of Bienvenu Shelter in Bertrams.
The department would like to thank all those spiritually and materially involved in making its work reachable to our brothers and sisters in need. The department is looking forward to working with you in future to advance the work of evangelisation. Thank You!
Compiled by Sister Marizete Garbin, Mscs