WASHINGTON (June 11, 1999) -- The Kosovar refugees, the latest immigrant group to come to the United States, highlight national policies and attitudes toward immigration, a key topic at the National Catholic Gathering for Jubilee Justice, scheduled for July 15-18 in Los Angeles.
The United States accepts more than 800,000 immigrants and 100,000 refugees each year. The role of Catholics in welcoming these strangers and advocating and designing policies to address their needs will be discussed at several workshops during the conference.
Women make up the majority of refugees. The workshop called "Refugee Women and Social Transition" will examine their experience and discuss how services such as job training and child care can be tailored to meet their needs.
"Migration and Advocacy on the Behalf on the Newcomer" will explore immigration from the perspective of building the human family and suggest ways for effective advocacy on behalf of immigrants.
Two workshops will examine how people welcome strangers in their communities. "The Catholic Church and Welcoming the Newcomer" and "Cross-Cultural Orientation: Experiencing the Feeling" will teach participants how to learn about the culture and customs of immigrant groups and design effective services to meet their needs.
The Jubilee Justice Meeting is a time for Catholics from around the country to gather and recommit themselves to work for justice and peace. Other speakers at the meeting include death penalty activist Sister Helen Prejean; Nobel Peace Prize-winner Bishop Carlos Felipe Ximenes Belo of East Timor; McArthur Grantee Rev. J. Bryan Hehir; veteran actor Carroll O'Connor; and PBS and CNN commentator Mark Shields.
Workshops in English and Spanish will address more than 100 topics, including racism, the environment, health care, nonviolence, parish social ministry, liturgy and worship, debt forgiveness, sweatshops, the death penalty, euthanasia and other pro-life issues, and Catholic identity.
Co-chairs of the event, Annette Kane, executive director of the National Council of Catholic Women, and Rev. Robert Vitillo, executive director of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, note that the meeting is a response to Pope John Paul II's call for Catholics to prepare for the Jubilee Year 2000.
People seeking copies of the registration booklet can call (202) 541-3149. Information on the meeting also can be found at http://www.nccbuscc.org/jubileejustice.