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Parishioners hand out "I Stand with Refugees and Migrants" pins at the launch of the "Share the Journey" campaign event they held.

Baltimore, MD, 16 January, 2018 - St. Ignatius Parish in Baltimore, MD has taken many actions to respond to Pope Francis's call to welcome, protect, promote, and integrate refugees and migrants. Here are six of them they've shared: 

1. Share the Journey campaign launch - At masses one weekend in October, the St. Ignatius family launched its “Share the Journey” campaign to support immigrants and refugees. The church displayed a banner designating the parish a welcoming home for immigrants and refugees and “I Stand With Immigrants & Refugees” pins were distributed. These symbols are a tangible way of showing support for our brothers and sisters. 

2. Refugee Family Mentoring - With help from JRS friend and partner, International Rescue Committee, more than 25 St Ignatius parishioners attended an informational and training session and over 80% of the attendees committed to mentoring two refugee families over a 6 month period. 

3. Panel discussion with Soccer Without Borders and Tarihih Justice Center - Two terrific local organizations in Baltimore that work directly with immigrants and refugees held a panel discussion to inform parishioners of opportunities to volunteer with them and be of assistance to immigrant and refugee families. 

4. Dinner with two recently resettled Syrian families -  Over 40 individuals broke bread with two Syrian families. They were able to hear first-hand the horrors that the families escaped in Syria, the difficulties encountered in the refugee camps and their appreciation of now being able to begin their lives again in safety. Attendees made free will donations which were given to the families that prepared the food (many also collected business cards for future catering needs). We also had a letter that attendees could sign onto requesting the protection of US funding allocated to humanitarian aid for refugees. 

5. Pro bono lawyer information and wine tasting - In collaboration with Esperanza center, a local resource center for immigrants in Baltimore, lawyers interested in learning more about doing pro bono work were treated to 6 wines and some appetizers as they heard about the rewarding experience of helping individuals successfully navigate the complicated immigration system. 

6. Advocacy training and advocacy outreach with JRS and Ignatian Solidarity Network - Parishioners and interested individuals were exposed to the various forms of advocacy and presentations were made detailing the pros and cons of each as well as the best way to be effective when conducting legislative visits. Some parishioners also participated in advocacy outreach with JRS/USA and ISN focusing on legislature impacting immigrants and refugees.

Do any of these six things sound like something you, your community, school, parish could do or participate in? Contact JRS/USA outreach or Click here to learn more about how you can #Do1Thing

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