Welcoming Afghan Refugees

Our parish, Basilica of St. Mary, Minneapolis, was an early and enthusiastic volunteer to host new arrivals from Afghanistan last Fall.  Donna and her husband Rich were among those who volunteered to welcome the new members of the community.  Donna’s photo and comments follow.   Basilica has long been ‘on the court’ on this issue.  Here is a commentary in recent months: Janice Andersen An ever wider we.

Jan. 22, 2022 Lake Harriet, Minneapolis (kites in background)

from Donna: I wanted to share a picture of the Afghan family and some friends.  We continue to be amazed by their sense of hospitality each time we go there.  The kids are all in school and the dad got a job as a cultural advisor.  I think with 8 children he is always worried about the future and I know there had to be a lot of trauma for them on this journey.  

We invited the family to a kite festival on Lake Harriet.  Because it was so cold,  the Dad said his wife and baby would not be going, so he told us about 7 of them would join us.  When three of us from the Basilica arrived at their house with vehicles we ended up with 15. Cousins and friends all wanted to go.  We had read that kites are a big deal in Afghanistan so what you see in the sky is a kite.  I did feel bad for all of them because it was so very cold.  

The biggest thing any of us can do is call our senators and congressmen. The tens of thousands of Afghans arriving in the U.S. need a pathway to real and lasting safety. Most Afghans are arriving with humanitarian parole, which only temporarily allows people fleeing danger to remain in the U.S.  To ensure that Afghans find real, lasting safety in the U.S., Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghan humanitarian parolees to seek legal permanent residence in the U.S.   They are such good people.  He told us last night that their family came to America with nothing.  Now he said ‘we are safe so even though we have little we give thanks’.  In their faith he said they always are thankful for everything and then God will give them more. 

We feel like we are the lucky ones to be helping.
Traveling sculpture on immigrants and immigration at Basilica of St. Mary August 1, 2021.
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