He added that it is difficult “to see that brothers and sisters, human beings, can treat one another like this.”
Now that pastoral agents in his Diocese have received training on the care for migrants and refugees, the Local Ordinary of Kroonstad said, “we will see to it that they are cared for and respected.”
Bishop Holiday told ACI Africa that during the August 6 workshop, representatives from the Home Affairs and Education departments discussed with participants the rights of migrants and refugees, especially children’s “right to education and grants”.
Credit: Sr. Maria Rissini
He emphasized the need for people on the move to follow the appropriate processes to obtain “the right documentation”.
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“It's important that migrants and refugees go through the right processes when entering the country, that they have the right documentation,” Bishop Holiday said.
He added, “we are very happy to have these two Catholics working in the home affairs and education departments; we need such people on board as we carry out this pastoral care for migrants and refugees.”
“As a Church, we have spoken about the plight of migrants and refugees for a long time. Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has been a shining light, an example on the issue of migrants and refugees, hence the Bishops Conference has taken this up with a great urgency,” Bishop Holiday said in reference to SACBC decision to establish offices for migrants and refugees at Diocesan and Parish levels.
He continued, “In the last number of years, we've tried to put into action the care for migrants and refugees … We have appointed a Chaplain, and he has attended workshops run by the National Office under Sister Maria and has shared and informed us about this real concern of the church and together we looked at what can be done to sensitize the community about the plight and rights of migrants and refugees.”
Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.