Coming to America: A Refugees Story

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Refugees are individuals who have fled their countries of origin and who meet the United Nations criteria of having a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, national�ity, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion. The 2009 World Refugee Survey estimates that there are close to fourteen million refugees and asylees in the world today. In the hope of helping these vulnerable populations, the USCCB has for decades been actively involved in refugee resettlement and strives to do what she can to help provide them a new life in the process.

Our series, Coming to America: A Refugees Story, will highlight the lives of refugees and asylees who now live in the United States and work here at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. In their own words they will highlight some of the dangers they faced, the obstacles they overcame, and the opportunities they were given (and helped to make for themselves) along the way.� The video here has an interview with Angelos Agok, now the MRS Planning and Placement Coordinator for Processing Operations.

Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice

Renewing Hope, Seeking Justice is the theme of the 2010 National Migration Week in the US Church, held January 3 – 9. The observance began over 25 years ago by the bishops to be a moment for Catholics to take stock of the wide diversity of the Church and the ministries serving them.Following the lead of Pope Benedict, who is focusing on �Minor Migrants and Refugees� for the 2010 World Day of Migrants and Refugees, we are focusing on migrant children as a sub-theme this year.

Included in this year�s new material is a poster, a prayer card, and a bulletin insert that focuses on children�s issues. Additionally, we are launching a National Migration Week Small Grants Program that will provide funding for small projects related to migrant or refugee children, which are launched by parishes, schools and local Catholic organizations. In coordination with The Catholic University of America, a new educational website will focus on the important role that the Catholic Church has played in the immigration debate throughout Twentieth Century America. Finally, we are highlighting a fantastic new curriculum that and which was created by Jesuit Refugee Services. We hope that both educational sites will be a great resource for teachers, directors of religious education and others interested in this issue.