Bishop Paul McAleenan: Address Overcrowding and Poor Conditions at Manston

Photo: Bishop Paul McAleenan speaking with refugees on a visit to Dover earlier this year (Mazur/

Source: RCDOW

As reports of overcrowding and poor conditions at Manston migrant centre in Kent emerged, Bishop Paul McAleenan, Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees for the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has called for this ‘worrying’ situation to be addressed ‘as a matter of urgency’. In his statement, he writes:

‘Above all we need to remember that migrants and refugees in Manston, like all others who have found their way here are human beings, made in the image of God. Regardless of how or why people have made the journey here, they must be treated with respect and dignity.

‘Reports of people being held in overcrowded and unsafe conditions are worrying and must be addressed as a matter of urgency. It is also imperative that everyone refrains from inflammatory language that undermines people’s humanity and creates tensions between communities.

‘As well as the right to migrate, Catholic social teaching also speaks of the right not to migrate. Often this is overlooked. Our politicians recognising the global phenomenon of migration must work with others in the international community to help create conditions that will eliminate the conflict, poverty and suffering that forces people to leave their own homelands in the first place and undertake dangerous journeys in search of a better life.’

Report from ‘To Accompany Refugees’, Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum, 17th September 2022

Watch Bishop Paul McAleenan’s Summary of the ‘To Accompany Refugees’ Forum meeting

On Saturday, 17th September people from around the Diocese of Westminster joined Bishop Nicholas Hudson and Bishop Paul McAleenan for the Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum on Zoom.

The theme of the forum was ‘To Accompany Refugees’, and took place on the weekend proceeding World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

The forum was chaired by Bishop Nicholas Hudson who underlined that this was an opportunity to explore what the response in the ecclesial community in Westminster has been.

The session was opened in prayer by Barbara Kentish. Barbara adopted a prayer that she uses at the Justice and Peace Vigils that she organises outside of the Home Office. During the forum there were presentations from the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Compassionate Communities, Newman Catholic College and St Bartholemew’s Church in St Albans.

Watch the Speaker Presentations

Megan Knowles, Communications and Development Manager for JRS UK, spoke about the experience of accompanying refugees in an increasingly hostile world. She spoke about the primary work of JRS being accompaniment, and specifically the accompaniment of people experiencing destitution as a result of being given no recourse to public funds. This looks like ‘being with, rather than doing for’. She spoke about how people at this point in the asylum system are in a ‘legal-limbo’, isolated with significantly reduced access to healthcare during a prolonged and anxiety inducing time. JRS supports in a variety of ways, including having a hosting scheme, a pantry and befriending.

Pattie Gercke is the Development Worker for Compassionate Communities, which is the social action arm of the Diocese of London. Pattie presented from the ecumenical perspective and how churches in the Diocese of London are engaged in the welcome of people seeking sanctuary. Ecumenism was a strong theme of the forum. Pattie shared that church response looked like practical support such as access to work, ESOL provision, hosting, education, healthcare, digital access, provision of food, clothing as well as legal and rights-based support. The value, however, of non-material forms of support was highlighted; for instance the importance of relationship, sitting, sharing space, listening and providing spaces of welcome. Further, it was highlighted that churches are repositories of social capital and that this social capital can be used to support integration. The importance of enabling a wider audience to hear the stories and theologies of people in the asylum system was discussed.

The forum then heard from Danny Coyle who presented the school experience, specifically the transformation of Newman Catholic College in Brent when they became a school of sanctuary. There had been an immediate positive effect of welcoming and integration sanctuary seeking pupils and their parents in the school. They developed a unique and bespoke curriculum to meet the needs of those coming from overseas from conflict zones. There was a particular focus on language which enables pupils to unlock other parts of the curriculum, which pupils were keen to embrace. The academic needs of pupils are placed alongside their emotional needs, and pupils are entered onto different pathways. The school has a Refugee Coordinator. Support of Caritas Westminster for the school’s annual Syria Summer Camp, where pupils take part in varied and enriching activities. These camps have gone from strength to strength with volunteers from a sanctuary seeking background being involved. The key takeaway was that if correct structures are put in place, refugee students and their families can flourish.

The final presentation came from Teresa Clarke who is a parishioner at St Bartholemew’s Parish in St Albans who is directly involved in refugee accompaniment through the Church’s conversation group. Teresa shared how ecumenical work, as well as responsiveness to the needs of the asylum seekers that they are supporting has transformed the project. The group provides emotional and practical support to asylum seeking men at a local hotel and works with 10% of residents. The value of engagement with local MPs was underlined, with the group having strong connections with Daisy Cooper MP. The group is part of a network with other churches in the area providing support. The group hold forums to hold the hotel to account with regards to need for good food and appropriate clothing for the guests. Alongside this the group held a refugees Information Exchange where asylum seekers shared experiences and information, offering help and support. There is a significant challenge of transport, where the location of Noake hotel is a barrier to asylum seekers making connections in the city. This lead to an initiative whereby spare bikes were donated, and so far, the project has received 55 bikes which are fully serviced by a bike mechanic.  Herts County Council are offering Bike Ability training while the conversation group support as they gain confidence in these sessions.

After the presentations, attendees went into breakout rooms with each of the speakers to discuss questions relating to the topics that had been presented. These were:

What are the most effective ways to assist refugee and migrant groups, what are the challenges and what else can we do?

It was an opportunity for discussion before joining back with the main group to share experiences, observations and questions.

Plenary Feedback

  • How to balance being with and doing with. Context of the whole person. How to accompany people who have and are experiencing trauma.
  • Partner with expert services.
  • How to support people, especially women facing domestic violence.
  • Ecumenical working and that how could operate
  • Joined up working between churches, looking at modeling St Albans, not working elsewhere necessarily.
  • Working alongside interfaith groups
  • Joined up working
  • Campaigning and advocacy more difficult, fundamental systems change – HO not listening.
  • Range of needs for refugees and asylum seekers, different circumstances and needs.
  • Challenges because of the cost of living. Need of financial assistance, winter, facing difficulties.
  • Challenges getting churches to communicate.
  • What else can we do – sharing information, what is going on where.
  • Need for greater awareness of what is going on for asylum seekers.
  • Hard to balance the media portrayal of refugee help as a very hard thing;
  • How to keep people compassionate enough to help?
  • Keep learning from other people and always try to be flexible;
  • The best answer to the question is to share experiences.
  • How to stop the work of helping people from being overwhelming?
  • Think of how we speak about these matters language wise.

The Forum was summed up by Bishop Paul McAleenan, lead bishop for Migrant Issues, saying ‘Refugees are not statistics, but heart and flesh, human beings who must be helped.’

Westminster Caritas Refugees and Migrants Mailing List

Rosa Lewis, the Caritas Westminster Lead for Refugees and Migrants, convenes a quarterly meeting for everyone in the Diocese of Westminster concerned about refugees and migrants. To be added to her mailing list please email

Home Office Prayer Vigils

You are warmly invited to join Barbara Kentish (Westminster Justice & Peace), Br Johannes Maertens (London Catholic Worker) and others to participate at the vigils outside the Home Office or to pray along at home on the third Monday of every month, 12.30-1.30pm.

Next Vigil: Monday 17th October 2022, 12.30-1.30pm

Venue: Home Office, Marsham Street, SW1P 4DF

Contact:  or    

At the vigils we remember:

  • those who have died trying to reach the UK. 
  • victims of the war in Ukraine.
  • workers with asylum seekers in detention centres.
  • those supporting homeless migrants.
  • those struggling to inject welcome and humanity into our legislation.


Also reported on Independent Catholic News –

Together With Refugees – Fill the Skies with Hope campaign, 23rd September – 9th November 2022. Coalition action across the UK to end the Rwanda Deportations plan.

Bishop John Sherrington’s reflections on this year’s visit to Syria Summer Camp, hosted by Newman Catholic College

World Day of Migrants and Refugees – Sunday 25th September 2022

Photo: Mazur/

The World Day of Migrants and Refugees is celebrated in Catholic parishes on Sunday, 25th September 2022.

Sunday An International Mass to mark the day will be celebrated in Westminster Cathedral on 25th September at 5.30pm by Cardinal Vincent Nichols.

Monday – Home Office Vigil. Westminster Justice and Peace will again join London Catholic Worker and others outside the Home Office, 2 Marsham Street, London, SW1P 4DF, on Monday 26th September (postponed from 19th September, owing to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II) from 12.30-1.30pm for a vigil to remember all those who have died seeking sanctuary in Europe and to pray for justice for all migrants and refugees in the UK. All are welcome to join us.

Message from Bishop Paul McAleenan

Source: RCDOW

Bishop Paul McAleenan, Auxiliary Bishop in Westminster and Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, has recorded the following message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees:


Hello and greetings to everyone.

I am Bishop Paul McAleenan, the Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees at the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.

Every year, the Church throughout the world devotes a day to migrants and refugees. This year, 2022, the day will be celebrated on Sunday, 25 September. You may think that this day, WDMR, as it’s called, World Day of Migrants and Refugees, is in response to the coverage of new arrivals to our country and migration. In fact, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees has been held annually since 1914, an indication that displacement from one’s homeland has long been a feature of life for many people.

This day is an opportunity for Catholics throughout the world to remember and pray for those who are displaced through war, poverty and persecution, and also to raise awareness of the fact that migration offers opportunity to many people. It benefits many.

In 2020, Pope Francis, in his message, said, if we wish to promote those whom we wish to assist, then we must involve them and make them agents of their own redemption. In his message for this year, 2022, the Holy Father expands on those words by choosing the theme ‘Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees’.

In our parishes and in our neighbourhoods, we can see that migration is a reality. There are many people from other countries. Pope Francis appeals to us to adopt an attitude of welcome to those who live among us, reminding us that they can revitalise our communities and enliven celebrations in our parishes. Their presence is a witness to the Catholicity of God’s people. Without undermining or devaluing our own culture and values, we are asked to be open to the treasure and the variety of gifts that migrants and refugees bring to our communities.

It is edifying that many parishes are reaching out to migrants and refugees. I know of one group who, motivated by their faith and working ecumenically, invite migrants and refugees to English language conversation classes. That is an example of how Pope Francis’s call to build the future together is being lived out.

Two other events have taken place which portray the Church’s commitment to migrants and refugees. In March of this year, the Papal Nuncio, that is the Pope’s representative to Great Britain, visited Napier Barracks in Folkestone, where a number of people are housed. He spent time with them. He conveyed to them both the concern and the best wishes of Pope Francis. He returned at a later date to present a Papal Blessing personally signed by the Holy Father.

In October 2021, a 3.5-metre high puppet called Amal was welcomed in Westminster Cathedral to music and dance and a great atmosphere of prayer.

In cathedrals and parish halls and holding centres, the love of God has been extended to those who are marginalised, to those who are poor, and in need, and I thank everyone involved in this wonderful work.

We are also grateful to those who, using their professional expertise advocate the cause of migrants and refugees, in weighty matters and in smaller but essential ways.

The love of God has been extended and migrants and refugees are receiving a welcome from God’s people and encouragement, which is much needed. It is work that must increase and must continue.

I ask you to pray and to remember migrants, refugees, displaced persons: through war, persecution, climate change and all those on the move seeking a better life.

On Sunday, 25 September, the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, may God give us all of the grace to work
together with migrants and refugees to build a better future.


A prayer that we will build the future together with migrants and refugees…

Lord, make us bearers of hope,
so that where there is darkness, Your light may shine.
And where there is discouragement, confidence in the future may be reborn.

Lord, make us instruments of Your justice,
so that where there is exclusion, fraternity may flourish
and where there is greed, a spirit of sharing may grow.

Lord, make us builders of Your kingdom
together with migrants and refugees
and with all who dwell on the peripheries.

Lord, let us learn how beautiful it is
to live together as brothers and sisters.


Message from Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees 2022

Home Office Vigil postponed from Monday 19th to Monday 26th September, 12.30pm

Monday 19th September is a bank holiday for the funeral of the Queen. RIP.  There will be no workers in offices, reduced travel services (as on normal bank holidays perhaps), and many will be watching events on TV. It seems sensible therefore to hold our Vigil for migrants and asylum seekers on Monday 26th September at 12.30pm, outside the Home Office, 2 Marsham St, London SW1P 4DF. 

This has the advantage of being the day after the Vatican World Day of Refugees, whose theme is, ‘Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees.’ 

I I look forward to seeing you all, 

With good wishes, 

Barbara Kentish

Event Moved Online – Saturday 17th September 2022, 10.30am-1pm, ‘To Accompany Refugees’ Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum

 NB – Owing to the planned rail strikes on Saturday, 17th September 2022, this event has been moved online. Participants will be able to log-on from 10.15am and the meeting will start at 10.30am

All are invited to join Bishops Nicholas Hudson and Paul McAleenan to explore our Diocesan response to refugees. Guest speakers giving input and facilitating discussion will include:

Megan Knowles: Communications and Development Manager at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) – Megan manages a team of staff and volunteers responsible for raising awareness and amplifying the voices and experiences of refugees, which can lead to positive changes in their lives. Megan also leads on fundraising at JRS and her varied role takes her across the UK speaking to schools, parishes and communities about the work of JRS and the importance of welcoming refugees in our own communities.

Teresa Clarke: St Bartholomew’s Church, St Alban’s, Herts – There are 140 asylum seekers housed near St Alban’s and the ecumenical group of South St Alban’s Churches has been organising English conversation groups for some of them since January 2022. These groups have led to closer links with St Alban’s Cathedral and Greenwood United Reformed Church. They have developed networks with other organisations, such as the Jesuit Refugee Service, Herts Welcomes Refugees and the local MP’s office, and look forward to sharing their learning.

Invitation from Bishop Paul McAleenan ‘To Accompany Refugees’:

In his message for World Day of Migrants 2014 Pope Francis wrote, We ourselves need to see, and then to enable others to see, that migrants and refugees do not only represent a problem to be solved, but are brothers and sisters to be welcomed, respected and loved’.

Undeniably, the displacement of people due to war, poverty and persecution is a major problem. The victims are our brothers and sisters. It is our Christian duty to enable them find a home where their basic needs are met and an environment where they can flourish. A truly Christian approach towards refugees seeks not only to provide but also to communicate a welcome, to accompany them on their journey.

How are we to move ‘Towards a Better World’, the title of Pope Francis’ 2014 message? As those seeking shelter and sanctuary continue to arrive on our shores, Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum invites you to be part of the solution and To Accompany Refugees.

Bishop John Sherrington: Summer camp helps refugee children find a safe home

Bishop John Sherrington with children from this year’s summer camp

Source: Diocese of Westminster

On 1st August, Bishop John Sherrington visited the Syria Summer Camp, an educational, fun and therapeutic event for children from refugee backgrounds hosted by Newman Catholic College and supported by Caritas Westminster. Now in its sixth year, it was initiated in 2016 by Amanda Wooster as a summer activity for refugees who came from places such as Syria and Afghanistan. Bishop John shares his experience of the visit.

I was warmly welcomed by Inayat and Anisa. Inayat, a young man and student at Newman Catholic College, whose name means ‘bounty, kindness, favour’, enthusiastically introduced me to other groups of young people at the Syrian Summer Camp. Anisa, an older woman, known as Auntie, whose name means ‘pleasant companion’ was a quiet and comforting presence with us throughout the day. Sister Silvana from Caritas Westminster, a passionate and dedicated promoter of the summer camp, had organised the visit and accompanied us. 

We first met the young lionesses, younger children, being coached by a QPR woman trainer. Many had watched the Women’s Euro football final on Sunday evening and wanted to follow in the women’s footsteps. They were enthusiastic about football, if a little shy in our presence. The next group were waiting patiently to travel by train to London Zoo. The boys were keen to see the lions which were their favourite animal but were worried that the lions might be asleep and hidden in their lair. 

Inayat introduced us to a group of boys who were discussing the meaning of culture. With origins in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other countries, they talked about whether they had grown up in a city or a rural area, the meaning of flags, sport and the culture they had left behind. They said that London was a safe place for them and that was more important than many other things. Learning English to communicate was at the heart of this activity. Football crossed all boundaries. Sr Silvana spoke about women footballers being paid less than men and asked whether this was right? Most accepted the difference!

A further group of teenage boys and girls were exploring the meaning of their names. Each told me their meaning which was beautiful and very moving. I learnt that Fatima, daughter of the Prophet, was translated as ‘flower’.  They were painting a symbol of their names to express the meaning. Many included light and sun, though some were much darker. I was asked about the meaning of the white collar in my shirt. I explained that it is a sign of being a bishop or priest.

‘What does a ring mean,’ I asked? They spoke of marriage and love. I said a bishop’s ring is a sign of the love of Christ and his Church. Sr Silvana explained the meaning of her ring of consecration as a woman religious. We then discussed some common elements of Christianity and Islam, pilgrimage, prayer times, almsgiving and charity, but didn’t get into detail about our views of the person of Jesus Christ. We also learnt that Ramadan is a much harder fast than Lent! 

The final visit was to group of very young children exploring sound and movement with a patient teacher. They created a dance with rhythm and movement which they all thoroughly enjoyed although it was hard to work together. Fun was had by all.

Hospitality is central to Arabic culture and so we enjoyed the blessings of lunch together. Inayat presented me with his Afghani wristband and spoke of his hopes for A-Levels and the future. Anisa remained the motherly presence throughout the day.

Driving home from Harlesden made me think about the journeys they had made to be in a safe place in London. The helicopters whirring above Wembley on the day of the Women’s Euro final had clearly created anxiety for some of the young people and no doubt brought back terrible memories. Behind each face, a story and a family which is unknown to most of us. Yet each face revealed joy and friendship and appreciation of the work of the volunteers to help them over this period of the summer school.

Thank you to Newman Catholic College, Caritas, and all the volunteers trying to help these children and young people to find a safe home and some blessings.

Refugee Week Report 2022, 20th-26th June

Asylum Seeker Maimuna Jawo, speaking at the Stories of Welcome event Monday 20th June 2022

Stories of Welcome 20th June, 2022

This Refugee Week (20-26 June 2022), Caritas Westminster alongside the Anglican Dioceses of Westminster and Southwark wanted to share some ‘Stories of Welcome’ from communities across the London and east Surrey. Resources, including five videos, a booklet and an infographic were launched on World Refugee Day. Each account detailed demonstrates how simple a welcome can be, which is in contrast with the transformative power of the encounter that the welcome enables.  

The ecumenical launch event, held at The Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, opened with a prayer from the Bishop of Stepney, the Rt Revd Dr Joanne Grenfell Woolway. Those assembled heard key-note speeches from the Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster, the Rt Revd Paul McAleenan, Maimuna Jawo and the Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun.  

Read Rosa Lewis’ blog of the launch event here – Stories of Infinite Worth and Dignity

Bishop Paul’s Address

Watch the videos:

Revd Dr Sam Well’s Lecture, London Churches Refugee Fund 20th June, 2022

Click here for the link to Reverend Sam Well’s talk on ‘So Many Kinds of Wrong’ concerning the Rwandan refugee crisis (held Monday 20th June at 7.00pm, St Martins-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square.)

Westminster Social Justice and Peace Forum

Save the Date! The next Forum will be addressing contribution made by the Catholic Church to meet the needs of refugees and asylum seekers. All are welcome to join us.

Saturday, 17th September, 10am – 1pm
‘To Accompany Refugees’
St Aloysius Church Hall, 20 Phoenix Road, NW1 1TA

Hosted by Bishop Paul McAleenan and Bishop Nicholas Hudson

Register with Eventbrite

Join the TUC ‘We Demand Better’ Demo, Saturday 18th June, 10.30am, Central London

Stop the Rwanda plan – All Refugees Welcome

As members of the Together With Refugees coalition, Westminster Justice & Peace and Caritas Westminster invite you to join us at Saturday’s demonstration ‘We Demand Better’ organised by the TUC.

Coalition member, Care for Calais, along with Stand Up To Racism, are leading a refugee bloc in the TUC demo about the Cost-of-Living Crisis in London, on Saturday 18 June 2022.

When there are social problems in the UK refugees and migrants are often blamed. As the Cost of Living Crisis worsens the government is using racism as way to divide and rule people. We say #AllRefugeesWelcome – we won’t let racism divide us. We need unity in the face of the Cost of Living Crisis. The TUC’s demo offers a great opportunity to show solidarity and unity and promote the rights of refugees.  

Let us know if you would like to join us in the ‘Stop the Rwanda plan – All Refugees Welcome’ bloc by emailing Colette Joyce at or call 07593 434905.

Gather at 10.30am, Portland Place, London, W1B 1, United Kingdom

More event details

Refugee Week 20th-26th June 2022 – Theme ‘Healing’

Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival celebrating the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary. This annual event founded in 1998 is held every year around the UN World Refugee Day on 20th June and is a growing global movement.

It will involve a dynamic programme of arts, culture, sports, educational, media and creative campaigns. Refugee Week aims for UK refugees from different backgrounds to connect and share their experiences, perspectives and creative work. Hopefully this will encourage understanding of why people are displaced and the challenges they face when seeking safety. Refugee Week’s vision is for refugees and asylum seekers to be able to live safely within inclusive and resilient communities, where they can continue to make a valuable contribution.  This reflects our values that everyone has a right to be safe, and treated fairly with respect and kindness.

Refugee Week is an umbrella festival, and anyone can get involved by holding or joining an event or activity. The events will happen in a variety of spaces ranging from arts festivals, exhibitions and film screenings and museum tours to football tournaments, public talks and activities in schools.

Christian events in London include:

20th June, 12.30-1.30pm: Prayer Vigil outside the Home Office with Westminster Justice & Peace and London Catholic Worker to pray for migrants seeking safe passage to the UK. Contact Barbara Kentish (J & P) 

20th June, 7pm: London Churches Refugee Fund Annual Speaker Meeting. Revd Dr Sam Wells ‘So Many Kinds of Wrong: A Theological Response to the Rwanda Asylum Initiative‘ – St Martin-in-the-Fields, Trafalgar Square, WC2N 4JH. Further details  Email

20th June 2022, 6-8pm: Stories of Welcome. Farm Street Church (‘Arrupe Hall’), 114 Mount Street, London, W1K 3AH. Share and celebrate the stories of how our London churches and parishes are welcoming asylum seekers, migrants and refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, Ukraine, Hong Kong and so many other countries.

Speakers will include:

The Right Revd Paul McAleenan (Diocese of Westminster and Lead Bishop for Migrants and Refugees)

The Right Revd Joanne Grenfell (Bishop of Stepney, Diocese of London)

The Bishop of Southwark, The Rt Revd Christopher Chessun

This event is hosted jointly by the Compassionate Communities Team (Diocese of London), the Diocese of Southwark and Caritas Westminster.

Refugee Week Website

Click here for the Vatican Document: The Love of Christ Towards Migrants

Prayer for Refugee Week:

God creator of all,
For people who are displaced,
may they find a safe refuge.

For people who have lost control of their lives,
may they know a sure foundation.

For people who live in fear,
may they be given a strong fortress.

For people who are disillusioned,
may they have hope in a future.

Loving father in times of crisis, sorrow and uncertainty
we ask that you draw near.


Bishop Paul McAleenan on Rwanda Deportations: “Crime is defeated by confronting the perpetrators not by punishing victims”

Bishop Paul McAleenan

Source: Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales

The UK’s plans to forcibly deport to Rwanda some of those seeking refuge in our country is shamefully illustrative of what Pope Francis has called the ‘loss of that sense of responsibility for our brothers and sisters on which every civil society is based’.

The plan is presented as a humanitarian response to combat people trafficking and smuggling yet the result will compound the suffering of those who are already victims. Crime is defeated by confronting the perpetrators not by punishing victims. This scheme will increase the difficulties of those hoping for a new beginning, and it does nothing to address the problems which cause people to flee their homes.

Migration is a complex issue, but it is not resolved by delegating our roles and responsibilities to other countries. Our starting point should be the innate dignity of every person, created in the image and likeness of God. Our Christian faith demands that we respond generously to asylum seekers whose dignity must be protected and upheld.

Whether or not the flight to Rwanda takes off today we are now in a new situation. With greater force we insist that asylum seekers are not commodities for profit, nor are they problems to be rejected and deported by government. Instead we should be guided by the four verbs provided by Pope Francis in our approach to migrants and refugees, ‘Welcome, protect, promote and integrate’.

Bishop Paul McAleenan
Lead Bishop for Migration Issues