In partnership with the Catholic Parliamentary Liaison Office, the Migrant and Refugee Office of the South African Catholic Bishop’s Conference, and Lawyers for Human Rights, SIHMA organized and is currently attending a training course on Migration for Pastoral Care Agents and Volunteers. This event was designed for pastoral agents like priests, religious leaders, and lay volunteers who work at the border of South Africa and Zimbabwe with the goal of connecting the teachings of the Catholic Church related to human mobility with the issue of migration in South Africa. Other objectives include forging a more cooperative connection between religious and secular organizations in protecting the rights of migrants and providing training for religious workers in assisting different migrant communities.

From July 21 to July 24, each attendee will have the opportunity to learn from the many experts on the schedule as they present on a wide range of topics related to some aspect of migration. Each day begins at 7:15 with a holy mass led by Father Patrick which is followed by a series of thought-provoking talks. On Monday, for example, the schedule included “Understanding International Migration in South Africa,” “Human Trafficking and Smuggling,” “Migration in the Bible,” and “The Teaching of the Church on Migration.” The relationship between the church’s approach to migration and the political realities of migrants was an important theme in many of the lectures. July 23 and 24 have equally interesting and education talks on the agenda, sure to contribute unique perspectives to the conversation and provoke meaningful discussions.

SIHMA’s contributions were extensive and essential to the success of the training course. After having organized the content and management of the event, Father Filippo Ferraro is now at the Bongani Parish Centre in Hazyview (Mpumalanga) attending it as a representative of SIHMA. Today, Father Filippo will also be presenting his own talk on the “Theology of Migration,” a topic which he engages in frequently as the executive director of SIHMA, a Missionary of St. Charles, and a scholar in this field with a degree in Pastoral Theology of Migration. As SIHMA dedicates itself to educating institutions and individuals on migration politics, policies, and ethics, the training course intends to develop the capabilities and knowledge of leaders in the field so that they can better understand how to engage with the topic of human mobility.

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