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A Statement on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees will be launched today by the President of the Australian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Francis P. Carroll, at 1pm at Favier House in Canberra today.

The Statement was approved by the Bishops’ Conference in May 2000.  The majority of members of the Bishops’ Conference’s Central Commission will be in attendance today to witness the official launch.

The document entitled, “Statement on the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees” aims to present principles that motivate the Church’s response to the challenge presented by the arrival and presence in Australia of many migrants and refugees.

“The Catholic Church is heavily involved at the coal face regarding migrant and refugee issues in Australia,” said Archbishop Francis P. Carroll.  “We have people visiting and assisting people awaiting refugee status applications in detention centres, we have parish and diocesan networks established to assist migrants and refugees settle into Australian society, we also have specially assigned Migrant chaplains – our hands-on involvement is extensive.”

“As Bishops one of our roles is as teachers of the Catholic Faithful,” he said.  “This document aims to offer guidance to all people, especially Catholics, in their care for and support of migrant and refugee people.”

“We cannot forget that behind all the facts and figures on migration that bombard us through the media there are human faces that need caring for,” said Archbishop Carroll.  “These people have chosen to call Australia home – it is our duty to help them settle in.”

A copy of the statement is available by contacting the Australian Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office on (02)  6201 9848.  It will also be available on the ACBC web-site following the launch at http://www.catholic.org.au

Media are invited to attend.  Second Floor, Favier House, 1 Ballumbir Street, Braddon at 1pm today.

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