Go tell everyone!

The newly formed Outreach and Advocacy (O&A) core team jumped right into an event-filled September, organising exhibitions in two parishes on consecutive weekends to commemorate World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR). Edmund Lim who co-chairs the O&A subcommittee with Tricia Kat, reflects on the sub comm’s goal – to spread the word and inspire others to embrace the mission and vision of JRS.

During a mid-year review of our JRS programmes, the Outreach and Advocacy subcommittee was borne from the recognition that the easing of restrictions would enable more outreach opportunities. Our team wants to conscientise individuals, corporates, organisations, and communities about the plight of refugees and the migrants, so that, together, we have the power to build a more inclusive society; leaving no one behind. This echoes Pope Francis’ message for WDMR 2022, ‘Building the Future with Migrants and Refugees’.

“God’s plan is essentially inclusive and gives priority to those living on the existential peripheries. Among them are many migrants and refugees, displaced persons, and victims of trafficking. The Kingdom of God is to be built with them, for without them it would not be the Kingdom that God wants. The inclusion of those most vulnerable is the necessary condition for full citizenship in God’s Kingdom”
 ~ Pope Francis, WDMR 2022

One of the first events organized by the O&A sub-committee was a special exhibition to commemorate WDMR at two parishes over the 17th/18th and 24th/25th September weekends. On those two weekends, JRS volunteers engaged in parish outreach at the Church of Divine Mercy and Church of St Ignatius. Our volunteers shared about JRS, its programmes and activities. 

The ‘travelling’ exhibition aimed to enhance parishioners’ awareness of how conflicts, climate disasters and other challenges fuel displacements around the world. It also showcased the designs, thoughts and ‘voices’ of several refugee students from our JRS digital education and internship programmes. In addition, parishioners were invited to write their prayers for the refugees and asylum seekers. The prayers on post-it-notes were then displayed.

It was a meaningful time of engagement and outreach; and the collaboration extended beyond the two weekends. We had a parishioner from Church of Divine Mercy conducting a photography workshop for our JRS migrant outreach programme while members of the Green Ministry movement from Church of St Ignatius and JRS co-organized a tree planting event – toiling hand in hand (literally) to plant fifty saplings. (Read all about the activities in this newsletter!)

The O&A subcommittee is looking forward to more collaborations in the next few months. A team of volunteers will continue their visits to PERCH convalescence home, as well as accompany Kumpulan ACTS staff when they run their mobile outreach clinics. In November, JRS will be collaborating with students from Hai Sing Catholic School to engage with refugee children and youth in the region. We really hope more will step forward to partner us in our JRS activities this quarter and next year.

We recall our Lord’s teaching in the Gospel of Matthew 25:40, “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me’.” May our Heavenly Father bless all of us this fourth quarter of 2022 and may we be blessings to others as we live out the JRS mission!