18 July 2022
18 Jul 2022

Becoming Neighbours and the Synod

Journeying together, active listening, dialogue, interconnectedness with, richness of diversity and warm, concrete welcome to newcomers and their welcome to us is the moment that Becoming Neighbours is living: a synodal moment. The Dehonian experience in Canada.

by  Gustave N'dotoni Lulendo, scj & Peter McKenna, scj

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We promote and foster the integral development of the human person and of the community. Catholic Social Teaching (see, judge, act) moves us from a private conversion to journeying together in global action as brothers and sisters living in our “Common Home” and take care of it and of each other. Encouraging and strengthening relationships among people and among religious congregations leads us to promote cultural integration and enrichment while assisting refugees to become active and fully participating members of the community. Becoming Neighbours does this by matching refugees with a Canadian ‘friend’, hosting workshops, organizing support circles among Latina women, African women, and Arabic speaking women. We offer support for newcomers in whatever way they need; for example, being a resource for immigration questions, sharing opportunities for growth, offering a supply of gently used clothing, household items and necessities, accompanying refugees to court hearings and celebrating key moments of their lives. In addition, through the generosity of religious congregations, we can offer tuition for one course at an accredited institute and to respond to emergencies as they arise.

Participation and Mission

With others, Becoming Neighbours participates in gatherings of agencies and newcomers who support refugees as well as in workshops and meetings that help us to share our expertise and to learn new ways of ‘becoming neighbours’.

Our mission is based on the Gospel values of presence, prayer, solidarity, and Relationships/Friendships.

The road of the synod and the road of Becoming Neighbours is made by walking. The challenge is not to fall into the temptation of thinking that talking about synodality is the same as practicing it. We cannot study synodality without experiencing it. We are called to “welcome, protect, integrate and promote” (Pope Francis) our sisters and brothers and to create opportunities to work towards communion. We have much to receive and learn. Refugees, our neighbours, urge us to see the tragedy of prolonged uprootedness.  It is not a question of assimilation but rather a question of enrichment and a path toward transformation of all those others in the journey. It is only when the voice of refugees is at the table that Synod happens.

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