Becoming Neighbours’ AGM: Help in Living in a New Culture
The eighth Annual General Meeting of Becoming Neighbours had everything: prayer, a panel, music, presentations, reports on programs, mingling together and celebrating the collaboration of members of women and men religious congregations and their associates as they respond to the unmet needs of immigrants and refugees. This is a ministry to which the Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto and their associates are committed and are actively involved. The AGM was held on September 10 at Loretto College in Toronto.
“There are now 142 companions who commit themselves to accompany an immigrant or refugee by helping the newcomer develop the skills necessary for living in a new culture,” said Fr. Peter McKenna, SCJ, Ministry director. “Some of the marks of being a companion include: being with newcomers as they struggle to find their way, celebrating small successes, being a voice for the voiceless and helping folks to become ‘unstuck.’
“As well, there are 279 prayer partners who present to God the hopes and needs of the newcomers. This is one of the most “precious” and vital aspects of the ministry of Becoming Neighbours.”
Fr. Peter reported on efforts to encourage organizations to respond collectively to develop just, compassionate and comprehensive immigration policies. This has resulted in:
- Submissions from the perspective of refugees and immigrants to the United Nations 2013 Universal Periodic Review;
- A response to the Archdiocese of Toronto Pastoral Plan;
- An education package to the Bishops attending the Oct. 2012 CCCB Plenary with speaker CIC Minister Jason Kenney;
- As well, in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Becoming Neighbours is supporting the Migrant Mother Storytelling Project and engaged in a collaborative response of religious congregations to human trafficking.
Johana Coronado and Evanne Hunter IBVM were recipients of the Annual Margaret Myatt CSJ Recognition Award honouring individuals who made long-standing contributions to the ministry of Becoming Neighbours.
Johana Coronado and Sister Evanne Hunter IBVM
Angelica Lopez, Sister Margaret Myatt, Mukti Suvedi and Johana Coronado gather at the Becoming Neighours AGM on September 10.
For other articles on Becoming Neighbours, see:
- Walking with Newcomers
- Becoming Neighbours: Annual Margaret Myatt CSJ Recognition Award
- Presence, Prayer and Solidarity with Newcomers