At Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Camden, we were horrified by the recent massacres in Paris and Beirut. We continue to pray for those mourning the loss of friends and family members and those who witnessed horrors that will leave them with enduring emotional and mental scars.
Even as we stand in solidarity with the people of these nations, victimized recently by these acts of senseless hatred, we are reminded that a similar pain is shared by those we serve through our refugee resettlement program. So many of these families, too, are the victims of violence. We echo Bishop Elizondo’s Statement as Chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration that these refugees are “extremely vulnerable families, women, and children who are fleeing for their lives. We cannot and should not blame them for the actions of a terrorist organization.” We too are disturbed by the calls for an end to the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the United States.
Refugee resettlement is administered by the federal government and refugees are certified by the State Department before they are placed with Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities provides food, shelter and other essential services to support the refugees once they have been assigned here. We have always notified the New Jersey Department of Human Services of the refugees we are assisting. The refugees who come to us seek to build new lives in peace, to support their families, and to contribute to the broader society. As a Catholic institution, our commitment to caring for those most in need extends to the victims of violence and persecution, both domestically and internationally. We see this as one of the foundations of lasting peace.