In his welcoming address to pastoral care agents gathered at Lumko Institute and Conference Centre for a five-days workshop on migration, the Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC) Liaison Bishop for Migrants and Refugees Office, Bishop Joseph Mary Kizito reiterated the call to “have a pastoral department in all dioceses”, to address the challenges faced by migrants and refugees in the host country.
“We call upon each diocese to have a pastoral department in all dioceses, to be able to care, and address challenges faced by migrants and refugees”, said Bishop Kizito.
He went on to call on Parish Pastoral Committees (PPC) “to create a space for migrants and refugees to make them part of the community”, and to “create special moments to pray for peace in the world during our Week of community Prayers with other Churches.”
Bishop Kizito encouraged pastoral care agents to make use of the SACBC migration “booklets” to equip them with the necessary skills to respond to the needs of migrants and refugees.
From March 27 to 31, pastoral care agents from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe gathered at Lumko Institute and Conference Centre for a five-day workshop on migration. In his address Bishop Kizito also highlighted “epicollect”, a data collection research program between the SACBC and the University of Pretoria to address statelessness and undocumented migrants.
“We are dealing with the undocumented children in SA to see that they get proper documents. These will open up doors for them to live in peace and be of some use to themselves and the communities in which they live”, he said.
He added, “We need to know the actuary number of people living in our communities. The SACBC has made the undocumented children and the stateless a priority. We need to have accurate information, by making use of epicollect application, we can know the needs and the reality of the migrants and the refugees. Epicollect can be an ongoing program to be used, in our offices.”