By Caroline Smith
Jesus’ message of compassion and welcoming was brought to the forefront at the recent Palm Sunday Walk for Refugees, where nearly 1000 people came out to support people seeking asylum in Australia and around the world.
The annual event was held at St George’s Cathedral on Sunday 9 April and was organised by several Christian faith groups and various agencies including the Archdiocese of Perth’s Justice, Ecology and Development Office (JEDO).
Other Catholic supporters of the event included Caritas Australia, MercyCare, St Vincent de Paul Society, Catholic Mission, the Presentation Sisters of Western Australia and Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA).
The event began with speeches from Anglican Rector Rev Chris Bedding and Iranian refugee Arad Nik, who presented his poetry reflecting on experiences of fleeing his homeland.
Refugee voices were also represented through a letter written by Walid Zazai, an asylum seeker currently detained on Manus Island.
JEDO Director, Carol Mitchell said the Palm Sunday Walk was an important event in the agency’s calendar.
“It’s a time when we can walk in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who had to seek refuge, safety or asylum due to dire circumstances in their home country,” she said.
“It’s a time when we can give hope to those in detention on Manus Island and Nauru, to let them know they are not forgotten and that they matter to us.
“That we will continue to keep them in our minds, hearts and our actions.”
“In particular, opening people’s hearts to refugees and others in difficult circumstances was a way of connecting to the teachings of Jesus,” she added…
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