Published October 5, 2017
ATLANTA—Local Catholics are being encouraged to join in the Share the Journey initiative espoused by Pope Francis, which kicked off Sept. 27.
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory has invited the local Catholic community to join him and leaders of other faiths in welcoming migrants and refugees who have settled in the Atlanta area as part of Share the Journey. It is the start of the two-year campaign.
“We want to talk with them and accompany them and above all, to make sure they know how welcome they are in all of our lives,” said Archbishop Gregory in a recorded message.
The archbishop is hosting an event Oct. 11 in Clarkston, which Kat Doyle, director of archdiocesan Justice & Peace Ministries, called “the Ellis Island of the South” for its diversity in settling refugees.
The event comes in the middle of a week dedicated to prayer and action on behalf of immigrants, Doyle said. She said the goal is to encourage Catholics to befriend people who have left their homelands, to accompany them as they settle here and see their dignity and gifts.
The effort is organized in the United States by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Catholic Relief Services and Catholic Charities USA.
Share the Journey actions include raising the profile of immigrants and refugees, who flee persecution. As part of the program, parish leaders will regularly receive information to share with church members highlighting stories of people forced to leave their homes, she said.
Doyle said this lengthy project gives individuals and parishes an opportunity to explore the issue and consider how they can make an impact.
The initiative includes a social media campaign, where supporters are encouraged to share messages and photos of support. The hashtag is #sharejourney.
In early 2018, parishes will have an opportunity to show support for migrants and their issues by pitching a tent near their churches, along with providing resources to educate members about the issue.