Jesuit Social Services was one of many organisations who joined the Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Asylum Seekers in Melbourne.
The colourful march displayed many banners. Towering over them was a life size cut-out image of Pope Francis displaying his own appeal for refugees. Mark Crohan, of Jesuit Social Services was the man behind the face. The Jesuit Social Services banner was nearby, as was that of the Catholic Alliance for People Seeking Asylum (CAPSA). This new organisation gathers Catholic Institutions and individuals to build a collective Catholic voice to change the Australian treatment of asylum seekers. Its members include the Australian Catholic University, Catholic Health Australia and Caritas. It will provide a platform for sharing resources, ideas and inspiration, and for encouraging and inviting more people to join in support.
Johanna Burns, from Jesuit Social Services, the convenor of CAPSA, explained, ‘As people come together in supporting asylum seekers, their activities will grow and become more effective. Anything each of us does, by collecting food to share with asylum seekers, offering friendship and comfort, helping with housing, or speaking up for them, will help make a more caring society’.
The fifteen thousand people spread along Swanston Street, the masses of banners and flags, the easy conversations and information shared, and the lively music all gave great energy.
CAPSA hopes to harness that energy among Catholics to seek a humane welcome for people who are persecuted in their own lands. For more information: www.capsa.org.au