Archdiocese reaches out to staff to aid in Iraqi family's resettlement

  • January 13, 2011
Iraqi sponsorshipTORONTO - The process is underway for the archdiocese of Toronto to sponsor the Hermez family, Iraqi Christians currently residing in Lebanon, Fr. Edward Curtis told a group of about 30 people at the Catholic Pastoral Centre on Jan. 10.

“The archbishop is the one who is technically sponsoring them,” said Curtis. “He’s signed the papers himself. It’s all been sent to begin the process but no individual can sponsor a family, it always has to be done by a group according to immigration laws.”

The archdiocese is asking for help from its staff members in order to successfully integrate the family into Canadian society when they arrive. Curtis said the archdiocese is looking for financial support but also for those to help with aspects of the family’s daily living such as discussing budgeting with them, showing them how the TTC works and how to go about finding a job.

The family is made up of six members: parents Jamil and Eleshwa’a Jebro, sons Amer, 39, Muntaser, 29, Evel, 27, and daughter Rita, 23.

The ages of the family was intentional, said Curtis.

“Because we’re here as a pastoral centre and not a parish, we don’t really have the same resources to help settle the family,” he said. “We think by choosing a family that was a little older, it requires less of a financial liability for us because they will be on their feet quicker since they are all at ages where they are able to find employment.”

A tentative meeting is set for Feb. 9 to continue discussions on what different contributions workers can make to help the Hermez family.

Going forward, the archdiocese is hoping to set up a committee to work on a settlement plan for the family — what needs to be done to help the family once they arrive here, said Luciano Moro, community liaisons for the Office for Refugees Archdiocese of Toronto.

Average processing time for all the paperwork is between four and six months, but can take up to one year, Moro said.

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