Sunday January 14, 2018 is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.
The following is a story of the journey that was taken by St. Joseph Calasanctius Parish in North Battleford, SK in bringing a refugee family to North Battleford. My hope is that this information will help other parishes to consider sponsoring a refugee family. If your parish is has sponsored a refugee/family or in the midst of a sponsorship project and would like to share their story, please do not hesitate to contact Louis Hradecki at 306-922-4747-ext 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Some support has been given to the St. Joseph Calasanctius Parish through the generous donations that have been sent to Bishop Thévenot M.Afr. ‘s Diocesan Refugee Fund. The fund is used for parishes that are requesting some support in their sponsorship process. Please consider supporting the Refugee Fund. Donation can be sent to the Diocese with a memo stating “Donation to Refugee fund”. Thank you for your generous support.
A special thank you to Sharon Huard and the St. Joseph Refugee Sponsorship Committee for sharing their story. Thank you to the Ghadi family for allowing us to publish an insight into their lives.
St. Joseph Calasanctius Parish
REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP EXPERIENCE
Report has been prepared by Sharon Huard on behalf of the St. Joseph Calasanctius Refugee Sponsorship Committee.
When was the project first initiated?
Our Social Justice Committee had been discussing the possibility of refugee sponsorship for a long period of time beginning early 2015. October 2015, we sought out Fr. Anthony’s approval of the idea. With his support and blessing, we did a lot of background information gathering and developed a rough timeline to present to our Parish Pastoral Council January 17, 2016 for approval and support (although our committee would spearhead the project, it really was a parish commitment and required full co-operation and support).
Sponsorship agreement with?
Our parish decided to partner with Roman Catholic Dioceses of Saskatoon who is a Sponsorship
Agreement Holder (SAH) and worked closely with Christine Zyla, coordinator of diocesan Office of
What were the first steps to start the project?
* Present a rough budget & timeline to Parish Pastoral Council for support & approval
* Presentation to Parish Finance Council, CWL & Knights of Columbus
* Inform the parish of the initiative through presentation & bulletin insert and seek active volunteers to
* With Social Justice as umbrella, formed 4 sub-committees (Communications, Fundraising, Housing,
and Supports) with guidelines and responsibilities for each
* Meeting with volunteers to organize each sub-committee and distribute guidelines/responsibilities to
* Refugee Sponsorship workshop for volunteers and parishioners
* ensuring the family has all necessary support (housing & utilities, furnishings,
clothing, initial food stocking, grocery shopping, medical access,
government applications & forms, school enrollment, language classes,
transportation, job acquisition and financial support for 1 year)
* $30,000 - $35,000 in cash or kind (1 year expenses)
* fundraising accounting, receipts & management in place
* submitting all necessary forms in a timely manner
* picking family up from airport and getting them settled in
* introduction to parishioners
* keeping parishioners and Bishop Thévenot M.Afr. informed
* Social Justice Committee (6)
* Sub committees (30 including Social Justice members on each committee)
How was the family chosen?
* candidates were presented by the Diocese of Saskatoon Migration office
* parish preferences considered i.e. single, family, Christian, etc.
* parish has the right to refuse applicants presented
* the more specific the input, the longer it could take to find suitable candidates
* special needs refugees would require more intensive support
* our family of 6 came originally came from Syria but were in a Jordan refugee
camp at time of application
* $30,000 - $35,000 in cash or kind (did not feel this was sufficient so set our
goal at $45,000 - $50,000)
* ½ in place by time of application
* flights are repayable by refugees so may want to budget to help with this
- special collection Sundays
- auto debit donations
- household furniture, appliances, bedding, etc. donations
- quilt raffle
* goal was reached quite quickly as parishioners were most receptive and supportive (approximately 6
* Parish obligations
- ensuring the family has all necessary support (housing & utilities, furnishings, clothing, initial
food stocking, grocery shopping, medical access, government applications & forms,
opening bank account, school enrollment, language classes, transportation, job acquisition
and financial support for 1 year)
* day to day assistance requires a group of about 4 - 5 people who take turns in the beginning but as
the family settles in, they don’t require daily attention
* there are a number of parishioners of their own accord, who visit them regularly to help make them
feel welcome and at home
About the refugees
* family consisting of Dad, Mom, 2 girls, 2 boys
* children range in age 5 - 14
* arrived July 2017
* our parish
- has been amazing in its support & generosity
- we have strengthened friendships
- more commitment and involvement
- appreciation of our Canadian luxuries, conveniences and peace
- to be able to assist even one family in crisis has widened our hearts,
given us hope and joy
* family adaptation
- speak fairly good English but both parents are taking English speaking classes
- the children are all enrolled in school, making new friends and learning Canadian
- employment has been secured
- participate in Sunday mass and gatherings
- learning Canadian monetary value in shopping experiences
- Dad has his driver’s license and the family has a suitable vehicle
- they love to have company visit
* Communication is vitally important with councils, parishioners and committees
* Suggested sponsorship budget may need adjustment considering family size, community housing
costs, if intention is to help with repaying flight loan, in kind donations, etc.
* Concisely keeping records of the whole sponsorship process for future reference (would suggest 2
copies - 1 for parish; one for sponsorship committee)
Ghadi Family Update
The Ghadi family are settling in nicely to our community. Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Ghadi family had to move from their original residence in Killdeer and are now living at 2021 - 96th Street. This house is not only in excellent condition and much appreciated by the family but has the added bonus of being in a picturesque location that is close to schools, church and the Co-op Mall. Thanks to your generous contributions in cash and kind, the Housing Committee was able to fully furnish and equip both the house and yard.
The children are all enrolled in school: Qamar (grade 1), Mohammed (grade 6), and Hala (grade 7) at Holy Family School and Ahmed (grade 9) at John Paul II. Hosni and Muna are both taking English classes at the college. Hosni has his driver’s license and they have purchased a vehicle suitable for their family. Hosni is currently recovering from surgery but anxious to find employment.
The family are most grateful for all our support. Visitors are always welcome to their home. Please continue to pray for the family.