From Today’s Responsorial Psalm:
“In my anguish I called to the Lord; I cried to God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears.”
As we join Christian in lifting our voices to the Lord, where do we sense that the Lord has heard our call?
Christian met and was supported by the JRS Detention Outreach Team when he was detained in Colnbrook. JRS helped Christian to access his documents and offered a social visitor, who visited Christian each week.
“It was good the visitor, they really helped. They would call me and ask me how I was, and come to visit me. They would talk to me about anything I wanted to talk about. We’d talk for about 45 minutes, sometimes an hour.”
Forced from their communities and support networks, the uncertainty of detention leaves many feeling isolated and alone. Through his visitor, Christian was able to find a small sense of reassurance that helped him to keep moving forward.
“They always left saying, ‘don’t worry I’ll see you next week’. And they always did, it was very reassuring. I really looked forward to those visits – they kept me going, they brought my spirit back to me.
“Having someone to come and talk to me was freeing. It brought me back my strength.”
An Invitation to Action
As we have walked alongside Christian this week, he has shared with us the impact that detention has had on his life. Today we hear how a visitor helped Christian to begin to regain his spirit, to feel less isolated and give him a sense of freedom at a very difficult time.
Throughout Lent, we’re inviting you to make an extra effort to take simple actions to show refugees and people seeking asylum understanding and compassion.
Volunteer: Detention visitor groups can be a real support for those who find themselves in detention. Not only does it start to break down the sense of isolation but it assures those in detention that there is someone out there thinking about them – that they are not forgotten.
JRS UK accompanies the men who are detained in the Immigration Removal Centres near Heathrow. Get in touch if you’d like to know more about visiting with our detention outreach team.
If you live outside of London then there are a number of visitor groups around the country that you can support – The AVID directory is a great place to start.
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