By Jamie Rieger
The Calgary Catholic Immigration Society is reaching out to people in the Bow Island area, looking for sponsors for two or three Christian refugee families who have requested placement in a rural environment.
“Many are from small, rural communities. They have the skills needed and come from every walk of life. There are plumbers and every trade imaginable,” Fr. Fred Monk, adding that most have some fluency in English.
“This could be a wonderful opportunity for a cooperative sponsorship from all of our local church communities.”
From Jan. 1, 1987 to Feb. 25, 2016, the organization has sponsored 4,739 individuals, the majority from the following countries:
Monk recounted the organization’s first sponsored family from Kosovo a number of years ago.
“There were 10 family members, an extended family. We found them a house to rent and it was completely furnished within a day by volunteers,” said Monk. “The family walked in and just wept, they were so grateful.”
Monk noted that the Syrian refugee families are fleeing war and violence in their home countries.
“These are refugees, not terrorists. They are running from the terrorists,” he said.
The families would likely not be available for placement until sometime this summer.
“Anyone looking for a particular skill-set is welcome to send me a job description and I will pass it on to the Program Coordinator to see if there is a qualified person wanting to live in a rural setting.”
Fr. Monk can be contacted at 403-545-3023.
An immigration officer from the CCIS will be holding an information session at St. Michael’s Church on March 15 starting at 10:00 a.m.