A solidarity expressed beyond the Holy Land

The Order acts in the local dioceses to support Christians from the Middle East

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New Zealand_refugees1 A convivial moment organized in honour of the Iraqi refugees supported by the Order of the Holy Sepulchre received by Msgr. Steve Lowe, bishop of Hamilton.

The Magistral Delegation of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New Zealand has taken part in a successful project to resettle a Chaldean Catholic refugee family in New Zealand.

The project was initiated by two members of the Order, Pat and Suzie McCarthy who have led several pilgrimages to the Holy Land. Their desire to help Iraqi refugees arose from meetings in Jordan with refugees who had fled ISIS militants.

Back in New Zealand, the McCarthys made contact with the Iraqi Chaldean Catholic Community of St. Addai in Auckland, whose pastor, Fr. Douglas Al- Bazi, had been imprisoned and tortured by ISIS. After a series of meetings a partnership was formed between the Magistral Delegation of the Order in New Zealand and the St. Addai Community to explore options for refugee resettlement.

With the backing of the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference, the partnership was placed under the leadership of Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand, the local affiliate of Caritas Internationalis.

A benefactor was attracted by the humanitarian nature of the project and provided the necessary guarantee of funding. Funding required the name of an organisation, not an individual and the benefactor allowed his funding to be in the name of the Order (New Zeland). Funding was also guaranteed by various groups within the Chaldean Catholic community.

At the beginning of 2018 there was a flurry of communications with contacts of the McCarthys and Fr. Al-Bazi in Jordan and Lebanon to find an Iraqi Chaldean Catholic family who met the New Zealand Government criteria and who wished to resettle in New Zealand. Several families contacted did not meet the criteria.

Just before the deadline, a refugee family was chosen – husband, wife and four-year-old daughter, with another child on the way. The family was welcomed to New Zealand at the end of May 2018 and is now established in a fully-furnished, newly-built home in the city of Hamilton. The second child, a boy, was born in August.

The family is receiving support from the local Chaldean Catholic community and the Catholic Diocese of Hamilton. They also have all the social and financial benefits of New Zealand residents. The McCarthys keep in regular touch with the family and report on their progress to the members of the Magistral Delegation.

(maggio 2019)