MYTILENE, Greece – Pope Francis' five-hour visit to Greece ended with him offering safe passage to Italy to 12 Syrian Muslims, half under the age of 18.

Published in International

MYTILENE, Greece – Although their speeches were punctuated with policy appeals, Pope Francis and Orthodox leaders focused their visit to the island of Lesbos on the faces, stories and drawings of refugees.

Published in International

OTTAWA – The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace has received $5.95 million in additional funding from the federal government’s Syria Emergency Relief Fund.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY – In a "humanitarian and ecumenical gesture," not a political one, Pope Francis is to join Orthodox leaders in personally meeting with hundreds of refugees and migrants stranded in Greece, the Vatican spokesman said.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY – Before St. John Paul II arrived in Greece in 2001 there were protests by Orthodox faithful and an all-night prayer vigil by Orthodox monks on Mount Athos, praying that the pope would not come.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis' trip to Lesbos, Greece, April 16 comes at a frightening and critical time for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants waiting and wondering where they will end up, said members of Catholic aid agencies.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY – Hundreds of Christian families are returning to Sadad, Syria, more than two years after their city was overrun by terrorists, a local official said.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis will celebrate the Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper with young refugees in Castelnuovo di Porto, north of Rome.

Published in Vatican

BEIRUT - The newly ordained bishop for the Syriac Catholic Church in Canada pledged to make his first priority the suffering and spiritual needs of beleaguered Syriacs seeking refuge in Canada.

Published in Canada

On their 37th day in Canada, the Peters family from Liberia found themselves surrounded by Goans, carrying gifts of bread and wine up to an Irish-Canadian cardinal.

Published in Canada

TORONTO - With doctors about to become "agents of death" when assisted suicide comes to Canada in three months, politicians and society should instead be focussed on bringing comfort to the dying, said Cardinal Thomas Collins.

Published in Canada

BEIRUT - When Syrian refugees arrive in Lebanon, help begins with a phone call to the U.N. refugee agency -- if they can get through.

Published in International

TORONTO - Doctors are extending efforts to regain full medical coverage for all refugees even as the federal government backed down on health insurance cuts to one class of refugees.

"Basically it leaves people sicker and dead," Dr. Katherine Rouleau, a family physician at Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital, told The Catholic Register just three days after cuts to the interim federal health program ceased coverage for medications, many diagnostic tests, prosthetics, vision care and dental care for most refugees. "That is not an option, so the fight will go on pretty fiercely."

Rouleau is one of hundreds of doctors who have protested the cuts under the banner of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care.

Published in Canada: Toronto-GTA

Christians aiding refugees is nothing new. Christians taking the Canadian government to court so refugees won’t be denied medication, artificial limbs or rehabilitative therapy is.

Hospitality House Refugee Ministry in Winnipeg has launched a lawsuit on behalf of the Anglican diocese of Rupert’s Land claiming breach of contract against Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Hospitality House is trying to block government plans to strip down its health insurance plan for refugees.

Cuts to the Interim Federal Healthcare Program for refugees take effect June 30.

Published in Canada

Vilmos Csikja, his wife Beata and their four children from Hungary are the kind of people Immigration Minister Jason Kenney calls “bogus refugees.”

They have been in Canada three years. Their application for refugee protection was denied by the Immigration and Refugee Board, an appeal to the federal court was unsuccessful, the IRB’s appeal division turned them down and the Federal Court has now declined to overturn that decision. Their last hope is an appeal to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Only about three per cent of Hungarian Roma refugee applications are successful at the IRB. Roma refugee cases have exploded over the last five years. In 2007 there were just 34. In 2011 there were almost 5,000. The Roma refugee boom coincides with two factors — the 2007 lifting of visa requirements for Hungary and increasing prominence of the extreme right wing Jobbik party in the Hungarian parliament.

Published in Features