The Office for Social Justice has had to move quickly to adjust its operations in the light of COVID-19. Our staff are working remotely and limiting visits to the office, for their own safety and that of others. The best way to contact us is via email or by phoning 02 8306 3499. There may be delays in dispatching publications. As the public health advice unfolds we may even need to suspend dispatching publications for some time. Please visit our website and social media feeds to stay in touch as things develop. We thank you for your patience with us as we negotiate these changes. We know that not everything is working perfectly.
As Bishop Vincent Long says in his Pastoral Message, we need to be like St Joseph and be defenders of life. We can do this by following the official public health advice, and by caring for the most vulnerable and excluded at this time. It is not a time to look after ourselves only.
Paul Power of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) says: “it is clearer than ever before that the welfare of all of us is directly connected to how we treat the most vulnerable. COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate on the basis of background, citizenship or visa status. If anyone is left destitute, homeless, with no access to affordable medical help or unable to minimise the risk of catching the virus, all of us are at greater risk.” RCOA have identified five priorities for protecting people seeking asylum and refugees at this time. You can read about them here and join in their advocacy action.
In the meantime, the Jesuit Refugee Service is appealing for donations of money, essential food or hygiene items, and volunteers to help deliver assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. You can find out more here.
Many thousands of people have suddenly lost their jobs and livelihoods. Catholic social service organisations across the country such as CatholicCare and the St Vincent de Paul Society are doing their best to respond. Please check with such organisations in your area to see how you can help.
Keep an eye out for your neighbours who are elderly, ill, or living with physical or mental health challenges.
As Cardinal Turkson, President of the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development has said: “Let us think of our neighbour, the office colleague, the school friend, but above all of the doctors and nurses who risk contamination and infection to save those who are infected. These workers live and show us the meaning of the Paschal mystery: donation and service.” In his message concerning COVID-19, Cardinal Turkson stressed the need for social solidarity. We need to keep a physical distance at this time, while staying close in heart and mind – to practice physical distancing and social solidarity.
Our challenge is to make God’s love manifest in this time of COVID-19. Let us pray, trust in God, and take care of one another.
Publications and Research Officer
Office for Social Justice