Refugee Week saw many events throughout the state showing support for refugees and highlighting some of their issues, as well as some of their skills. With the World Cup Soccer event in full-swing, it was natural for a soccer match to feature!
Glenorchy Parish Priest, Fr Lawrie Moate, organised an afternoon of activities for ten young asylum seekers from Vietnam. Some of these teenage boys have received letters from the Australian Government advising them of impending deportation back to Vietnam. They fear that they will be subjected to persecution due to their religious beliefs if they are forced to return. The Catholic Community is trying to offer them some normality and hope in the midst of their pain.
Fr Lawrie has taken the boys under his wing and they have become part of the community at St John’s Church in Glenorchy, so he was happy to provide some diversion and support for them in Refugee Week.
The afternoon began with a friendly, but hard fought game of soccer between the asylum seekers and a team from Guilford Young College (GYC). The referee was Fr Felix Ekeh who is the priest at Bridgewater- Brighton-Claremont parish and the Vietnamese boys’ team was supplemented by some players on holiday from the seminary. The rain didn’t deter their energy and high spirits, but GYC prevailed in the end.
After the soccer match, the local Vietnamese community gathered with the boys at St John’s Church for Reconciliation and Mass in their own language. Fr Peter Hoang came from Melbourne to preside. Frs Lawrie Moate and Shammi Perera joined him to con-celebrate the Mass.
To finish the special day, a feast of Australian and Vietnamese goodies was shared at the Presbytery.
The theme for this Refugee Week is “the restoring hope” and in reaching out in simple caring ways like this, the Catholic community is doing something to help those seeking asylum strengthen their hope in a brighter future.