Dear Faculty, Students and Staff:
Pope Francis’ highly anticipated visit this past weekend to Philadelphia did not disappoint. It was a weekend filled with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and passionate speeches from the Pontiff. As I reflect on the significance of the weekend and the powerful messages shared, particularly those about immigrants and refugees, I feel inspired and compelled to take action.
As an institution that was founded to educate immigrant children, this is a cause that is inherently tied to our history as a University. And as a community, we have demonstrated our strong commitment to serving the greater good and helping those less fortunate. In one of his messages, Pope Francis called us to continue this important work and share the responsibility to help those most vulnerable. Simply stating, “What about you? What are you going to do?”, Pope Francis called each of us to do our part to help those less fortunate. It is with this plea in mind that I encourage everyone in the Villanova community to take action and do our part to help the world’s refugees.
I am delighted that some of this work has already begun at Villanova. The Law School’s Clinic for Asylum, Refugee and Emigrant Services (CARES) has been providing free legal services and counseling to refugees fleeing persecution for the last 15 years. Also, several offices on campus are at work planning a larger response to the refugee crisis and offering opportunities to become more engaged in this issue (more information will be forthcoming from the Office of Mission and Ministry). More immediately, several student organizations will be collecting funds for emergency assistance for refugees starting today, September 29. They will be accepting donations through next Sunday, October 4, when a special collection will be taken up at each of the community masses.
One of our University partners, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), is actively responding the crisis overseas and in the Middle East. Their website details ways that you can take action now. To donate to CRS’ relief efforts, visit their website or call 877-435-7277. You can also mail your donation to:
Catholic Relief Services
Make checks payable to Catholic Relief Services and in the memo line, write "Migrant Crisis – Villanova University.”
As a community and as individuals, we are incredibly fortunate. We have so many resources at our disposal and share a strong sense of responsibility to ignite change in the world around us. I encourage each of you to become knowledgeable about the refugee crisis and find out how you can get involved. Whether it’s through prayer, financial support or a number of other ways, Villanovans can make a difference.