Grounded by our belief in Jesus Christ and Catholic teaching, Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program has been welcoming people to our Diocese since 1974. Chances are ... you know someone we helped. In response to the flood of misinformation spreading through social media and the high volume of inquiries we've received in the past few days, we've put together a list of FAQs concerning Syrian refugees in Louisiana and the refugee process. Check back for future developments.
You can help. Please share our message. Read the message from the Diocese of Baton Rouge and the Archbishop of New Orleans’ message about the Catholic Church’s role in resettlement. Get the real facts about the resettlement process from a reliable source. Open your heart and answer Jesus' biblical call to welcome the stranger.
How many refugees, and specifically Syrians, are in the Baton Rouge area?
A State Department web site reveals 15 total refugees, of all nationalities, have resettled in Louisiana in the month of October, since the Federal government announced it would resettle 10,000 Syrians throughout the nation.
None, 0, of these 15 are from Syria. Most are from Asia.
Currently there are no Syrians scheduled for resettlement in the Diocese of Baton Rouge through March of 2016.
Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge resettled one, 1, Syrian last year, and that person subsequently moved out of Louisiana and their case transferred to another agency. Federal officials track these cases, not CCDBR, and these relocations are routine.
By Richard Meek, The Catholic Commentator, published 10/30/2015
Heartbreaking pictures of tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war ravaged Syria continues to touch the public’s conscience daily. Perhaps no image is more horrific than that of a 3-year-old boy who drowned and his body washed up on shore near a Turkish resort.
As the refugee crisis continues to escalate, Corina Salazar looks on with a heightened sense of awareness. As director of Refugee and Immigration Services for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge, she fully understands the faces she sees in media reports from across the globe may be the same people she will greet as they step off a plane in Baton Rouge to settle into a new life.
In fact, Salazar said she is surprised her agency has yet to be contacted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding potential acceptance of refugees.
To help sponsored refugee children seeking protection in the United States, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) has established the Louisiana Esperanza Project and received initial pledges of $310,000 over the next four years.
“The children at our border are some of the most vulnerable children on our continent,” said Winifred Reilly, who with her husband Kevin Reilly, Jr. helped kickoff the project with a challenge grant. “Their parents have the same hopes and dreams as we all have for our own.”
The project follows a statement by the Louisiana Conference of Catholic Bishops issued earlier this month in which the Bishops urged protection of these vulnerable children and respect for their families.
Catholic Charities encourages #End45 photo upload to bring attention to 45 million currently living in poverty in the U.S.
Baton Rouge, LA (September 11, 2015) – Forty-five million people – or 1 in 7 – are living in poverty in the Unites States today. In the Greater Baton Rouge Metropolitan area, it’s 1 in 5. For too many just one misfortune or one missed paycheck changes an individual or family’s life, causing them to fall below the poverty line. Today, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Catholic Charities USA (CCUSA) are launching #End45 – Raise a Hand to End Poverty in America, a national initiative to help shine a spotlight on the issue and the millions of others in need or struggling to make ends meet.
Timed to coincide with Pope Francis’ visit to the United States in late September and to align with his commitment to helping the poor, #End45 – Raise a Hand to End Poverty in America encourages individuals to show support for the cause by taking a picture of their hand with “#End45” written on the palm and posting it to their social media channels using the hashtag #End45. Uploads showcasing hands across America in support of those in need can be viewed at CatholicCharitiesUSA.org/End45.
Baton Rouge, La—On July 28, 2015, Bishop Robert W. Muench officially launched the expansion of a transitional housing program that helps homeless men successfully re-enter their communities after being released from prison. Bishop Robert Muench blessed 8 new apartments at Catholic Charities Joseph Homes, doubling the capacity of the program to now house 15 men. Bishop Muench was joined by Mayor Kip Holden, Councilperson Tara Wicker, and others who contributed to the expansion in a blessing/ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new apartments were funded by the City of Baton Rouge Office of Community Development and The Huey & Angelina Wilson Foundation. Some of the furniture was donated by the LSU Phi Mu Sorority.