Caritas Diocese of Salford is pleased to present a new initiative for refugees and asylum seekers across the Catholic Diocese of Salford, called Refugee Dine With Me. The project quite simply encourages and assists ordinary people to invite a local refugee family for a meal.
The idea came from parishioners in Our Lady of the Valley Parish in the Ribble Valley, who had been touched by the plight of refugees and were inspired to act by Pope Francis’ campaign for a humane response to the refugee crisis “As individuals, we can do so little, but we can at least make people who have been through so much feel welcome to our country, and what better way to do this than invite them to our homes for a meal”, said Kathryn Clay, one of the instigators.
Working with Revive UK, a Manchester based charity which supports refugees and asylum seekers, they set up a ‘pilot’ in the Clitheroe area of Lancashire. Now, with the backing of Caritas and the support of Bishop John Arnold, a ‘Toolkit’ has been developed to show how it can be done.
As Bishop John Arnold himself says: “It is a very simple but effective way of welcoming people into our parishes who have left their homes and families to seek refuge and safety amongst us. When people sit together to share a meal, especially people from different cultures and life experiences, there is an opportunity to share more than just food. They create what Pope Francis has called a ‘culture of encounter.’ In accepting to share a meal together, both host and guest are opening themselves to a very human encounter that breaks down barriers and builds new friendships.”
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For parishes and refugee support organisations interested in setting up their own dine with me, please feel free the download ‘The ‘Toolkit’, available through the link below, which contains information on how to go about it, with tips on what to do and answers to any concerns people may have.
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