New York City Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the Archbishop of NY, will welcome two refugee families to the celebration of Christmas Midnight Mass at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.
The first family consists of two brothers, now aged 19 and 17, from El Salvador, who came to the United States last year to escape gang violence and unremitting persecution of their immediate family, which involved robberies and death threats. The two young men joined two older brothers who had earlier come to this country to live.
The second family is a Muslim family from the Ivory Coast, consisting of a husband and wife, and their three children. The father fled to this country to escape the death squads that were targeting political dissidents, and was granted asylum in 2010. The family was reunited in 2012, after he was able to save enough money to pay air fare and afford a large enough apartment for them to live in.
Each year Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York assists over 1,000 refugees and victims of violence and abuse who have made a home in New York to find work, learn English, and resettle into their new communities and schools. Over the past years, Catholic Charities has also responded to the needs of tens of thousands of unaccompanied children who have fled abuse and violence in Central America to reunify with families by assisting them with legal representation and supportive services for their daily needs.