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Migration: Conference promoted by German (ZdK) and Austrian (KaÖ) lay Catholics, “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”

German and Austrian (KaÖ) lay Catholics decided to jointly organise a conference about migration and integration issues, which will take place in Autumn in Carinthia, Austria, called “I was a stranger and you welcomed me”. Gerda Schaffelhofer, president of the Austrian Catholic Action (KaÖ), and Thomas Sternberg, president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), met in Vienna yesterday to discuss the challenges that migration and integration pose to the Church in Europe. Hence the decision to arrange a joint event, to which they will invite people who are experts or working in some way or other all over Europe and in the refugees’ native countries. The purpose of the meeting, as explained by the presidents, will be “to encourage and give a chance to the many initiatives of lay Christians who, in the spirit of the Gospel, make surprising efforts to welcome the refugees, to network and share their views”. Discussions will deal with finding a way to coordinate aids to people in Syria and in the neighbouring countries, and the strategies required to create integration, because “on a global level we need to do more, help each other and get along better than we have done so far”. The leaders of the German-speaking lay people also criticise the current migratory policy: “Closing the frontiers and deciding the numbers is neither responsible nor ethical”.

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