Tag Archive: human rights


migrant refugee sunday 2013Homily for Mass – Migrant and Refugee Sunday

(Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Park Ridge: 8am;  Saint Catherine’s Church, Jimboomba: 5.30pm)

25 August 2013

The annual migrant and refugee week comes at a time when this topic is fresh in our minds.  Hardly a day goes by that there is not something in the press about it.  Because of this bombardment with emotive presentations from various quarters it’s probably become a difficult issue to have a sensible and rational conversation about.  Even the very mention of it probably causes some people to tune out.  The fact that the issue has been politicized and is now a vote-winning tool doesn’t help the situation either.

In looking through the message that Pope Benedict wrote for this occasion, and also the message from Bishop Hanna who is the Australian Bishops’ delegate for migrants and refugees, I think there are some points that we, as Catholics, should be able to take on board.

One is that Australia is a country that has been built up by migration.  The presence of peoples from a variety of homelands is something that really is part of our national identity.  We don’t need to look any further than in the Church.  I’ve said it often over the years, but we owe a huge debt of gratitude to the Irish, including the priests and religious sisters, and also the laity, who did so much for the Church in Australia in earlier days.  Fifty years ago it would have been hard to find a church in Australia that didn’t have a statue of Saint Patrick!  Today, the baton has been passed on from the Irish.  But still, today, in most parishes, if you were to take out all the migrants there wouldn’t be many people left sitting in the pews!

So as we look at our experience of migration to our county, I think we can agree with these words of Benedict XVI: “Migrants and refugees can experience, along with difficulties, new, welcoming relationships which enable them to enrich their new countries with their professional skills, their social and cultural heritage and, not infrequently, their witness of faith, which can bring new energy and life to communities of ancient Christian tradition, and invite others to encounter Christ and to come to know the Church.” (1, p. 6)

It’s good if we can keep all that in mind as we face our present situation.  It is to be acknowledged that there are various rights that are coming into conflict and that need to be addressed in various ways.  The first is the right to migrate.  This was affirmed in the document of the Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, at paragraph 65: the right to migrate is numbered among the fundamental human rights, allowing persons to settle wherever they consider best for the realization of their abilities, aspirations and plans.  Benedict XVI recalls as well that an even more fundamental right than the right to migrate is the right to remain in one’s homeland.  Blessed John Paul II stated, “It is a basic human right to live in one’s own country.  However this right becomes effective only if the factors that urge people eo emigrate are constantly kept under control.”  Pope Benedict acknowledged that “Today in fact we can see that many migrations are the result of economic instability, the lack of essential goods, natural disasters, wars and social unrest.  … migration then becomes an ordeal undertaken for the sake of survival …”

To these two rights is also added the right of every state to regulate migration, and to enact policies dictated by the general requirements of the common good, albeit always in safeguarding respect for the dignity of each human person (Benedict XVI).  One service that Christian people can offer is to help facilitate a rational dialogue on how these different rights can be respected.

A Christian response to this issue will necessarily focus on the human dimension of migrants and refugees.  Bishop Hanna suggests that it is the duty of the Catholic community to shift the level of the discussion on migrants and refugees away from debate about perceived economic liabilities and national security, to points which focus on the ethical dimension: focusing on the good of the person and one’s inalienable rights.  We should reflect on how we can be agents of faith and hope for migrants and refugees.  He urges individuals, parishes, ethnic chaplaincies and other Catholic agencies to initiate programs of awareness aimed at making the causes of migration known.

At the crux of it, we need the compassion and empathy to try to place ourselves in the shoes of another.  Today let’s pray for wisdom and guidance as we face this issue in our land.  Let’s pray that we as Christians can make a positive contribution to the discourse on this topic.  Above all may we be people of hope and faith, trusting in the Lord who helps us overcome obstacles and difficulties, recognizing that all of us are on a journey – a pilgrimage of faith and hope – to our heavenly homeland.  Let’s pray that we will be good fellow-travellers to everyone else on this journey with us.

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1. ACMRO Migrant Resource Kit 2013  Date added: 20/08/2013  (http://www.catholic.org.au/index.php?option=com_docman&Itemid=355)

Standing up for the unborn

On Saturday afternoon we had the Rally for Life in Brisbane, a chance for pro-life people from many different sectors of the city and beyond to come together and give public witness to the sanctity of human life, and especially the pre-born child.

The pro-life cause works on many fronts.  We try to raise awareness of what abortion is, and help people see the truth.  We work to assist women (and their partners, families) who are facing unexpected and perhaps unwanted pregnancies, with counselling and practical assistance including crisis accomodation.  We work to help bring healing to women who have had an abortion through programmes like Rachel’s Vineyard.  We work to support pro-life politicians who will help to ensure that our laws give voice to the dignity of human life in all its stages.

Having seen the devastating and long lasting effects of abortion on women (and also men, which may not be as obvious) for myself is one of the reasons I take an active part in this work.  I want to do what I can to prevent babies being killed, but also to spare people the emotional trauma that abortion brings.  Abortion is not the only option, and there are people here to help and support those facing difficulty because of pregnancy.

A few photos from Saturday:

Various pro-life organisations had a tent:

IMG_0071

Brendan and Judy Wong spoke about the upcoming 40 Days for Life that will occur during Lent, in the lead up to Easter:

IMG_0074

At the end of the afternoon:

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More photos here.

Perhaps in future years we might have a march through the city streets as more people come on board to speak up for the unborn.

rally for lifeThe Brisbane RALLY FOR LIFE is tomorrow – Saturday 2 February, at Queen’s Park, Brisbane CBD.

Pre-rally entertainment starts at 1:15pm (Roby Curtis and Band) with the main event starting at 2:00pm. Estimated finish time is 4:00pm.

Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/485984291443192/

http://www.rallyforlife.com.au/

See you there!

Some details of the Brisbane Rally for Life as previously posted …

We look forward to your support at the first event on the prolife calendar – the RALLY FOR LIFE is being held at 2pm on Saturday 2nd February 2013 at the usual venue of Queen’s Park, cnrs William, Elizabeth & George Sts, Brisbane city.  Please send these details to your Contacts and post them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

 The rousing Roby Curtis band will start off the event with some great numbers at 1pm.

 You will need to bring:

-chair/rug

-umbrella (it can be hot!)

-water

-DONATION (please – we need to keep this Rally as an annual event)

 

Rally speakers are:

Geoffrey Bullock – well-known champion of the prolife movement, Geoffrey works tirelessly for Family Voice Australia and will be speaking on the sanctity of life.

Anthony Banfield – a young man who lost his first two children to abortion and speaks of the impact this has had on his life.  (Men are often overlooked in the abortion scenario.)

Veronica Hayes – a vibrant well-spoken young woman speaking to inspire youth to get active in the pro-life issues.

 Can you:

-help on the day by inflating and tying balloons?

-be a marshall at the event?

-drop equipment etc back to the Cherish Life office immediately after the Rally?

-be an official donation collector at the event?

If yes, please contact Teresa in the Cherish Life office either via email or phone – teresa@cherishlife.org.au or Ph 3871 2445, as soon as possible.

 Hoping to see you all at the Rally For Life 2013,

 Teresa Martin

Some details of the Brisbane Rally for Life for this year …

We look forward to your support at the first event on the prolife calendar – the RALLY FOR LIFE is being held at 2pm on Saturday 2nd February 2013 at the usual venue of Queen’s Park, cnrs William, Elizabeth & George Sts, Brisbane city.  Please send these details to your Contacts and post them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

 The rousing Roby Curtis band will start off the event with some great numbers at 1pm.

 You will need to bring:

-chair/rug

-umbrella (it can be hot!)

-water

-DONATION (please – we need to keep this Rally as an annual event)

 

Rally speakers are:

Geoffrey Bullock – well-known champion of the prolife movement, Geoffrey works tirelessly for Family Voice Australia and will be speaking on the sanctity of life.

Anthony Banfield – a young man who lost his first two children to abortion and speaks of the impact this has had on his life.  (Men are often overlooked in the abortion scenario.)

Veronica Hayes – a vibrant well-spoken young woman speaking to inspire youth to get active in the pro-life issues.

 Can you:

-help on the day by inflating and tying balloons?

-be a marshall at the event?

-drop equipment etc back to the Cherish Life office immediately after the Rally?

-be an official donation collector at the event?

If yes, please contact Teresa in the Cherish Life office either via email or phone – teresa@cherishlife.org.au or Ph 3871 2445, as soon as possible.

 Hoping to see you all at the Rally For Life 2013,

 Teresa Martin

Brisbane Rally for Life 2013

love lifeDate claimer:

The date for the Rally for Life in Brisbane for 2013 has been set:

Saturday 2 February 2013 – 2pm

40 days for life brisbane 2013

The 40 Days for Life in Brisbane starts on Ash Wednesday!  Pray about becoming involved as part of your Lenten observance.

40DFLBrisbaneFlyer2013 Full A4

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/40DaysForLifeBrisbane/

Blog: http://40daysbrisbane.blogspot.ca/

http://www.40daysforlife.com/brisbane/

Day 23 of the 40 Days for Life

Many know the pain of abortion — including men.

After my talk, a man with passion in his face and tears in his eyes shook my hand and shared how his past sin of abortion is still deep in his heart.

Men can play a large role in an abortion. They can abandon women when they hear they’re pregnant. They can encourage, and many times pay for, the abortion.
Their mistakes are real, but so is their pain.

Other fathers are told they have no rights, no voice … and they can do nothing to stop an abortion. And that, too, can hurt deeply.

— Shawn Carney
Campaign Director
40 Days for Life

Today’s prayer intention: We pray for the strength to love those who do not love us.

http://40daysforlife.com/index.cfm

 

Defund Abortion Campaign 2012

As part of the Defund Abortion Campaign 2012 there will be mini rallies this coming Saturday October 13, 2012, at MPP constituency offices across Ontario, at 11.00am.

Annually, at least 30 million dollars of taxpayer money funds abortions in Ontario.

Do you think your tax money should be used to fund abortions?  If not, come out on Saturday and lend your support to this cause.

The rally closest to where I live will be in Ottawa South, at the office of the Premier, Dalton McGuinty, 1795 Kilborn Avenue.  See the Facebook event page here.

Click on the image to the left for more information.

Today’s prayer intention:  May God’s people awaken to the fact that we are our brothers’ keepers.

Father, help us to embrace the fact that we are our “brother’s keeper.” When, due to selfish motives, we try to cast off this responsibility please call to us to account. We would be pleasing to you and to our “brother.” Through the help and grace of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.

Devotional for today: http://40daysforlife.com/docs/fall2012day15print.pdf

http://40daysforlife.com/blog/?p=3444

I thought the following is worth sharing from a message I received today about Brisbane man Graham Preston, of Right to Life Australia, who is currently serving time in prison for the non-payment of fines.

The fines were incurred when he disobeyed a police direction to “move on” when blocking doorways at abortion mills in Brisbane.  Whether you agree with Graham’s method of doing what he feels called to do to prevent abortion, he has the courage of his convictions and that is admirable.  His protests are always peaceful and respectful of the dignity of the women who misguidedly think abortion will solve their problem. …

Graham may well be in lockup but he lives on ‘on the outside’ at Google maps!  Thanks to the Protect Life newsletter sent out by Liz Preston for alerting us to this.  If you go to this website https://maps.google.com/  and in the site’s Search box, type in Ballow Chambers, Spring Hill, Brisbane, then pull the little man image down onto the street, you can clearly see Graham standing outside the building with two placards – one of an unborn baby and the other one with the words “You were once an unborn baby”.  So praise God for modern technology.  Graham’s posters are now reaching a far wider audience than just the street on that day!  As far as I am aware, Google updates its images only every two years.

Please pray for Graham and his family.