Did you know that Maryknoll missioners accompany migrants all over the world? Fr. Mike Bassano works in a United Nations camp in South Sudan where many people are displaced by war.
He helps the 28,000 people in the camp by giving encouragement and support as they are faced with difficulties like hunger.
A Missionary For ‘Dangerous And Desperate’ Locales
Get DYN’s Educator Guide for Middle School and K – 5
Students will be able to:
EXPLAIN and give examples of why people leave their homes and seek refuge in new lands.
UNDERSTAND ways our faith calls us to respond in love to the current realities of migration.
DEVELOP A PLAN that illustrates how one can support migrants in the communities where the students live.
APPLY what has been learned by doing presentations, skits or projects.
Emmanuel-God With Us
Loving God, during this Advent Season, help us to:
Be with the migrant who is fleeing violence to seek safety in a new land.
Be with the refugee who hungers for enough to eat in an overcrowded camp.
Be with the teenager leaving home to work in a factory for unjust wages.
Be with those receiving so many people who are in search of safety, food, and opportunity.
Be with us so we may open our hearts and respond to others in love and compassion.
READ: the Faith Perspective article as a class/group.
DISCUSS: Around the world, the majority of refugees, migrants, and asylum seekers are compelled to leave their homes out of a sense of desperation. They are seeking safety, food, shelter, work, and peace. Based on the Faith Perspective article, Why do you think Sr. Lelia visits the detention center? Have you or someone you know left their homeland? What were the reasons? What was the experience like?
READ: Neighbor Focus article.
DISCUSS WITH A PARTNER  : Recall or draw a picture of a time when you sacrificed something for someone you care about. Tell the story to your partner. What motivated you? Consider: were you driven by love to make this sacrifice? Imagine that you were Rosa or Yaneth or someone you know of and were forced by a situation to migrate as Fr. Joyalito describes. What do you imagine would be most difficult for you? What would you have to leave behind? How has God shown love and sacrifice to the world? To you? “How might God be driving you to respond in love to immigrants in your community? Is God asking you to sacrifice something out of love for them?”
EXTENSION : What do you think it means to be a missionary disciple? CREATE a “Help Wanted” ad for someone your age whose job is to respond to the needs of migrants in a Christian way. What personal qualities are needed for the job? What are the hours? Where will this job be done? What are the benefits? AS A CLASS share your ads. Make a list of the ways young people can respond. Is there one response you would like to do as a group or an individual? Do it!
Once a week Maryknoll Sister Lelia Mattingly passes through the security checkpoint of the U.S. Immigration Detention Center in El Paso to visit Rosa, a 63-year-old grandmother from Honduras.
Rosa raised her granddaughter, Yaneth, in a loving home in Honduras. When Yaneth turned 15, Rosa became very fearful for her granddaughter’s safety because a gang leader came looking for her and wanted to force Yaneth to be his wife. Both the lives of Rosa and Yaneth were threatened if she refused the marriage. Frightened and seeing no other option, Rosa sold everything she could in order to have the funds to start the long journey to the United States. It took almost a month of traveling by foot and on hot, overcrowded buses, risking being robbed–or worse–on the journey. When the two reached the U.S. Border, they presented themselves and asked for asylum.
During this Advent Season, Sr. Lelia is reminded of Pope Francis’ words, “Every stranger who knocks at our door is an opportunity for an encounter with Jesus Christ.”
Imagine that you see an ad that says “Help Wanted”- jobs in factories, construction, households, and fishing boats. Hours: 12-15 hours a day; must leave your home country; working conditions-poor; pay below minimum wage.
Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers have answered ads like this in order to find work in Taiwan, many of them young adults, coming from places where they cannot find employment. They pay thousands of dollars to people called “brokers” to help them get these often dangerous and difficult jobs.
Maryknoll Father Joyalito Tajonera, who works to help migrants like these in Taiwan explains, “People are not running away from country or family. They are being forced by economics; because of their love for family, they are being forced by the situation to go out and find jobs to support their family.” Read more about Fr. Joyalito’s ministry at DiscoverYourNeighbor.org.
READ ONE OF THE FOLLOWING:
Old Testament: Exodus 3:7-10 Exodus 23:9
Life of Jesus: Matthew 2:13-23
Christian Living: Hebrews 13:1-3
REFLECT: What does this passage say about how to treat someone who is a stranger or foreigner? How might you apply this passage in your life, the life of your school, or the life of your community?
SHARE WITH A PARTNER: Who in your life has shown you love? How did they show you this love?
SHARE AS LARGE GROUP: On large paper make two columns and label the first Who and the second How.
Invite partners to share. Record responses. What have we learned about love from this exercise?
DEVELOP AN ACTION PLAN
Divide the class/group into four groups Welcome, Protect, Promote, Integrate. Provide each group an explanation of one action step to accompany migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers (use the info from What Does the Church Say or find printouts on DiscoverYourNeighbor.org).
INSTRUCT each group to find a news story about migration and
DEVELOP A PLAN which could be used to accompany the people in the story.
- Welcome: Invite guest speakers, such as refugees to tell their stories or immigration lawyers to learn more about immigration laws.
- Protect: Develop ideas of how to help create safe places for kids to be treated with kindness.
- Promote: Form a group to host a reading group for children learning English.
- Integrate: Create ideas of how to include migrants and refugees in your school and church communities.
PRESENT: Have each group present their topic and plan to the class. Encourage them to be creative in their presentations. DISCUSS as a group if you would like to CHOOSE one of these plans to IMPLEMENT together.