UP Catholic 12 18 2015 E Edition Page 5

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC COMMENTARY December 18, 2015 5 APPRECIATION ISSUE January 15, 2016 If your organization, parish or business would like to place an advertisement of support for one of our women religious or seminarians in formation, please contact Deacon Steve for pricing. 1-866-452-5112 upc@new.rr.com FORMATION O n Dec. 25, people around the world will celebrate the birth of Jesus. Each year at this time, churches repeat the story of his parents, Mary and Joseph, as they were turned away in Bethlehem from the crowded inn and forced to take shelter in a stable. Once Jesus was born, Joseph received a warning in a dream to flee King Herod and travel to Egypt. The family of three managed to escape Herods mas- sacre, which targeted all boys aged two and younger in Bethlehem (Matthew 2). As they escaped persecution, the Holy Family became refugees. Sadly, they are neither the first nor the last to be dis- placed from their homes due to violence, war, or extreme conditions. Recent images and news stories have highlighted the refugee crisis that con- tinues in Europe as individuals flee Syria and the Middle East. Pope Francis ac- knowledged the magnitude of this crisis when he spoke before the U.S. Congress in September, recognizing that it pres- ents governments with difficult chal- lenges and decisions. At the same time, he encouraged Congress to view [the refugees] as persons, seeing their faces and listening to their stories, trying to respond as best we can to their situation. Viewing each refugee as a human person is a fitting message during this year-long Jubilee of Mercy, which began on Dec. 8, 2015. During the year, Catholics draw special attention to their call to be present in the world where people are hurting, showing compas- sion to those most in need. This year provides the opportunity to be visible witnesses of the experience of mercy, including to refugees. In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, however, Americans are reexamining how refugees are accepted into the coun- try and how that process might impact U.S. security. In November, Governor Rick Snyder paused Michigans request for additional refugee visas that was announced back in the fall, highlighting his priority to protect the safety of our residents. State leaders in Michigan and across the country have been in dialogue with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security regarding security and future resettlement efforts. In the meantime, refugee resettlement for those already approved to come to the United States continues, and the Catholic Church in Michigan, which has worked for decades to resettle refugees from war-torn coun- tries in politically difficult parts of the world, stands ready to assist and wel- come refugees in their resettlement efforts. While there is much harsh rhetoric in the discussion regarding the refugee crisis, it is important to return to Pope Fran- ciss message of mercy and ask whether society is truly seeing the human face of the crisis. Safety and security must be primary concerns. But efforts to promote peace in these areas terrorized by war and violence, as well as efforts to welcome the stranger as Jesus taught, should also be at the forefront of our minds. The United States does not have to focus on one or the other- it can and should focus on both. Those seeking to come to the United States as refugees are among the most scrutinized of all populations entering the country. Once the United Nations frants refugee status to an individual and refers them for resettlement in the United States, refugees face a vigorous vetting process that averages eighteen to twenty-four months. Refugees must un- dergo multiple background checks and ingerprint screenings, interviews and review from a number of agencies such as the Department of Homeland Securi- ty, the Department of State, the National Counterterrorism Center, and the FBI, and the completion of medical screen- ings and cultural orientation, among other aspects. According to the U.S. State Department, 2,159 Syrian refugees have entered the United States since October 2011 through this process. Nine voluntary organizations work with the government to handle refugee resettlement, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. These organizations provide a number of ser- vices that recognize the dignity of these refugees, including picking the refugees up from the airport, finding them safe and affordable housing, providing En- flish as a second language classes, and offering financial literacy and employ- ment services, among others. As the celebration of Christmas draws nearer and we are inspired by the model of the Holy Family, let us take the time to recognize the dignity in all those who are displaced this holiday season. Let us [see] their faces and [listen] to their stories, keeping in mind the need for love and mer- cy as they seek shelter and healing. The Word from Lansing is written by Michigan Catholic Conference (MCC) President and CEO Paul A. Long. MCC is the official public policy voice of the Catholic Church in this state. The refugee crisis has a human face THE WORD FROM LANSING Paul A. Long If you know of an incident of the sexual abuse of a minor by anyone in Church service including a member of the clergy, a religious, a lay employee or volunteer, we encourage you to come forward so that we can take action to protect others and help those who have been harmed to find healing. We are open to and respect your complaint; you are important. We want to make this process as safe as possible. Victims Assistance Coordinators bsf bwbjmbcmf up ifmq uiptf xip ibwf cffo ibsnfe uispvhi uif ejggjdvmu boe tpnfujnft qbjogvm qspdftt pg ifbmjoh boe ipqf How to begin the process ... Dbmm pof pg uif Wjdujnt Bttjtubodf Dppsejobupst Tufqifo Mzopuu bu Ejbof Uszbo bu or write: Wjdujnt Bttjtubodf Dppsejobups d p Dbuipmjd Tpdjbm Tfswjdft pg uif VQ Mvejohupo Tu Tvjuf Ftdbobcb NJ Qmfbtf nbsl uif mfuufs Qfstpobm boe Dpogjefoujbm boe joejdbuf jo zpvs mfuufs ipx zpv xjti up cf dpoubdufe cz qipof ps cz mfuufs Xf bmxbzt fodpvsbhf zpv up sfqpsu uif jodjefou up mpdbm djwjm bvuipsjujft The Diocese of Marquette reports all allegations to the appropriate civil authorities.

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