During the 2019 Plenary Assembly, members of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) resolved to establish offices for migrants and refugees at Diocesan and Parish levels.
The establishment of the migrants and refugees’ offices in the Dioceses and Parishes of the SACBC member countries of Botswana, Eswatini and South Africa is aimed at providing pastoral, social and spiritual care for the people on the move.
On August 6, the SACBC Coordinator for Migrants and Refugees, Sr. Maria de Lurdes Lodi Rissini, facilitated a one-day workshop on migration in Kroonstad Diocese.
In the August 10 interview with ACI Africa, Bishop Holiday said the workshop “was very good, very informative”, adding that the workshop participants “were encouraged to carry out this mission of the Church with regards to migrants and refugees”.
Credit: Sr. Maria Rissini
The South African Bishop who has been at the helm of Kroonstad Diocese since 2011 regretted the plight of migrants and refugees in South Africa.
“As it has been very apparent in the news in our country, and of course in our Dioceses,” he said, migrants and refugees have been through “real injustices”.
The experiences of injustices include how refugees and migrants “have been really discriminated against, how they have been abused, and how their businesses in the townships have been destroyed or vandalized by the local people,” Bishop Holiday told ACI Africa August 10.
The 70-year-old South African Bishop bemoaned the plight of migrants and refugees in his Episcopal See, saying, “It’s a reality in the Diocese, these sporadic attacks are widespread, and it’s of great concern to all of us, that people who come to this part of the country to find some employment, to find a place of safety, have to be treated in this way, in such an unjust way.”
“These migrants and refugees are coming here looking for a place of safety for their family and their children, or a place to earn a living to support their families, and yet they are treated in such a degrading way,” Bishop Holiday lamented.