Refugees & Migrants

Prayer for Refugees and Migrants and People Who Aid Them
 

iStock_000051454120_SmallO God, you gave us the example of the Holy Family. Mary and Joseph fled from Bethlehem to protect the life of their newborn son, Jesus. Together they found refuge and a new life in Egypt.

Today, we pray for people around the world who are fleeing poverty, persecution, violence, and war in their homelands. Like Mary and Joseph, may refugees and migrants have confidence that you never abandon them. Keep hope alive in their hearts and help them find peace, security, and a new home in a new land.

Banish our fear and open our hearts so we may welcome refugees and migrants with joy, compassion, and generosity as we would welcome the Holy Family. Through all that we say and all that we do, may we give witness to your love for refugees and migrants.

After the joys and trials of this world, may we be one with you and the Holy Family forever.  Amen.



Update from Vienna, Austria  10/12/2015

Fr. Albert Pongo, SVD

Our work with the refugees continues. There are still refugees arriving to the Vienna central station but they are not so many as before. 

We are hosting 14 refugees from Afghanistan in our parish. They are 6 children, 1 old woman (around 90 years old) and 7 men and women. They will stay with us in the parish about 10 more days. They will have an interview at the court and from the court they might be transfer to their new apartment.
 
We have made our cellar a home for the refugees, about 15 refugees can stay here and we have made a bath for them too.


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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria
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Divine Word Missionaries work with refugees and migrants in Austria

Parishioners United in Giving Aid

Daisuke Narui SVD

There were so many refugees sitting on the floor and on benches or waiting outside the Vienna Central Station. Most of the refugees arriving at the Vienna station do not remain in Austria, but travel on to Germany or other countries farther north. The Parish of the Divine Word, which is located near the station, has been helping the refugees. When I visited Vienna on September 14, I saw the flood of refugees and witnessed the activities of the parishioners.

A parishioner told me, “I read an article on Facebook which said that there is a center for refugees set up beside the main gate of Vienna Central Station.” He visited the center on September 5 and found that tents were needed. The parish immediately provided two big tents.

The parishioners, led by Father Matthias Felber SVD, considered other ways to help. They formed a volunteer team to welcome the refugees. Parishioners responded generously with donations of mats, blankets, food, clothes, and toiletries. Team members prepare and serve hot food or distribute clothes. Nurses on the team care for the sick. The parishioners set up accommodations for sixty to seventy people in the parish hall and in other rooms so that refugees can stay overnight. The volunteer team manages the accommodations and gives first consideration to women and children since they are the most vulnerable.

Father Hans Ettl SVD, with his big smile, always accompanies people arriving and leaving the parish hall, and Father Albert Kodjo Pongo SVD opened the bathroom in the rectory for bathing since it is the only bathroom in the parish hall building.

I said to a volunteer in the parish hall, “Your work is so impressive!” She immediately replied, “This is nothing special. Of course we do all we can.”