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January 18: World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Sisters Mary Mettler CSJ and Rita Marie McLean CSJ share their thoughts and a prayer for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees.

Jan. 18 is the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, dedicated to raising awareness for newcomers. Sisters Mary Mettler and Rita Marie McLean are two of the many women and men religious who participate in this Becoming Neighbours ministry which offers newcomers guidance, spiritual support and practical assistance.

Sister Mary Mettler, a Prayer Partner, described how Becoming Neighbours helps newcomers adjust to Canada: "There was the sense that once immigrants have been through the system, they're just left on their own. The Becoming Neighbours ministry is a way to continue to welcome them.

"A lot of the Sisters who've been Companions have helped the families in many ways. The hope is that as newcomers become comfortable, that they know that they have friends they can call on, and that they learn how to deal with shopping and school and taxes. And then, eventually, they might welcome somebody else."

Sister Mary Mettler spoke of the benefits of her involvement with Becoming Neighbours: "It's expanded my awareness of our immigration system; how long it takes, how stressful it is, how great it is that they have a Companion who can walk with them."

Sister Rita Marie McLean, also a Prayer Partner, described her wishes for newcomers: "I hope that they would get a sense of what it is to be a Canadian; that we're a warm, hospitable and welcoming people. We hope they will have a good introduction to the country."

The prayer made by Prayer Partners appears here courtesy of Sister Rita:

Prayer of Solidarity
by Ellen Leonard CSJ and Stephanie Sinkewicz CSJ

Gracious and loving God,
we praise you.
We ask Your blessing
on the people of our city.

We pray especially for
those of us who are newcomers.

We come from many different countries
and religious traditions.

Bless the Becoming Neighbours Ministry.

Today, we pray especially for...

Help us, most gracious God,
to recognize one another as neighbour.

Amen.

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