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Bishop says world must move past indifference to solidarity with refugees


  • Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington speaks about the situation of the world's refugees June 19 at the National Press Club in Washington. The event, held a day before World Refugee Day, was hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)
  • Chiara Cardoletti-Carroll, deputy regional representative with the U.N. agency for refugees, speaks on a panel June 19 at the National Press Club in Washington. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services hosted the event a day before World Refugee Day. Also on the panel were Dr. Shahla Amiri, a medical doctor from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Msgr. Robert Vitillo, secretary-general of the International Catholic Migration Commission. (CNS photo/Jaclyn Lippelmann, Catholic Standard)
  • Jeremy Robbins of New American Economy speaks on a June 19 panel at the National Press club in Washington. The event, held a day before World Refugee Day, was hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services. Also on the panel were Igor Bobic, associate politics editor for the Huffington Post, and Pat Maloof, program director of Migration and Refugee Services for the Diocese of Arlington, Va. (CNS photo/Mark Priceman)
  • Members of a family from El Salvador stand in a buffet line June 20 during a Catholic Charities-hosted party for refugees on World Refugee Day in Amityville, N.Y. More than 100 refugees from Afghanistan, Colombia, El Salvador, Honduras and Pakistan resettled by Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, N.Y., attended the event. (CNS photo/Gregory A. Shemitz)

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WASHINGTON (CNS) -- It is important the world move from indifference about the plight of the world's refugees to solidarity with them, Auxiliary Bishop Mario E. Dorsonville of Washington said June 19.

He made the comments at the National Press Club during an event held a day ahead of World Refugee Day and hosted by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Migration and Refugee Services.

With 22.5 million refugees worldwide, Bishop Dorsonville noted, "the size and scope of the problem might beckon us to give up and question our work," but it is "important that we not throw our hands up in despair and retreat to the quiet of our homes ... and in doing so ignore the tragedy of the global displacement."

Bishop Dorsonville noted that refugees are made in the image of God, and are children, husbands, wives, young and old, rich and poor.

"Each one has a story to tell ... if they are only given the opportunity to do so," he told the government, church and nonprofit leaders gathered at the press club. "It is for the child who cries itself to sleep in the shadows of a refugee camp who we seek to bring justice ... who our advocacy, prayers and good intention intend to support."

By assisting just one refugee, "we can take confidence in the fact we have responded to Jesus' commandment to welcome the stranger, feed the hungry, and clothe the naked," Bishop Dorsonville added.

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