BBQ & Appreciation
July 5, 2017
Please plan to attend the BBQ and Appreciation for Father Antony following the 10:00 am mass on Sunday July 9th.
New to Christ the King June 2017
July 1, 2017
New to Christ the King May 2017
May 28, 2017
Year One in Review – A Report on our Syrian Family Sponsorship
The hope for this sponsorship began in late 2015 when Christ the King responded with two initiatives to the crisis reports coming out of Syria. First, funds were raised through parish donations. These donations were matched by the federal government and sent to Development and Peace to support their work with Syrian refugees overseas. The second initiative was to sponsor a Syrian family. Soon after, St. Martin de Porres Parish suggested forming a partnership to sponsor a family together. Numerous meetings and fundraisers followed. Volunteers from both parishes stepped forward to form committees to prepare for the daunting task of sponsorship. Application to sponsor begins once sufficient financial support is secured. Committees were formed to develop a budget and manage financial concerns, search for accommodation, gather furniture and household goods, oversee medical needs, offer ESL support, communicate with Diocesan, local and federal officials, help with transportation and shopping and most importantly – befriend the family. Volunteers from both parishes and in the community worked diligently. After nearly a year of preparation, months of meetings and countless communications with local, federal and overseas helpers, our family finally arrived. On October 17, 2016, Khaled Alkhweled, his wife Ghazal Alarnaout and their two and one half year old son, Nawaf, descended the escalator at the Regina airport. They were met by a contingent from our parish as well as Khaled’s sister and her family who moved to Regina a year prior and a group of supporters from the Syrian community. The young family stayed with their relatives for the first week, allowing them time to reconnect and allowing us time to set up their apartment on Lockwood Road. Thanks to the generosity of many (including Storage Vault Canada Inc. who stored at no cost all the furniture collected) and the work of those responsible for gathering a household of goods and furniture, their apartment is now their happy and secure home.
The first month was quite overwhelming for the couple. Each day brought essential tasks: federal and provincial forms to complete, orientation to their finances and our banking system, learning about their home utilities, doing laundry, shopping, registration and language evaluation at Regina Open Door. Happily, November was a warm month which allowed us to shop for winter clothing. While the family had experienced winter cold and perhaps snow in Jordan, probably nothing had prepared them for the shock of -25◦C days.
Ghazal began school at the Adult Campus (RPSB) in November and Khaled started ESL at Regina Open Door on Dec. 1st. Daycare had to be found for little Nawaf who needed to adjust to another strange place where no one spoke his language. Both parents are now in school full time, taking the bus to school and progressing well. ESL support has been given to the family from the beginning by a dedicated team of ESL teachers who continue to offer lessons and instruction on weekends and some evenings. The family is eager to learn English, to be able to converse with their sponsors and to learn about the ways of their new country. They enjoyed our “Merry Christmas” with its bright lights, decorated trees and happy generous spirit.
In mid-December, Khaled’s uncle, aunt and three cousins arrived in Regina, sponsored by the Multi Faith Forum. The three families are happy to be reunited but are saddened by the absence of other family members still living as refugees in Lebanon.
There is much to be grateful for in this journey of sponsorship and so many people to thank for its success thus far, beginning with those who guided this sponsorship through the ups and downs of government bureaucracy; we owe much. Without their determination we would not have connected with this family.
Our translators have been invaluable helpers enabling communication to flow freely and friendship to develop. It is difficult to imagine how the family’s settlement would have preceded without the generous gift of their time each day.
To all of the volunteers who worked on the many different tasks which combined to give our family a warm welcome into their new home, confidence in their ability to conquer English language and to manage their own lives, faithful drivers who delivered them to school, friends who took in social events, who went shopping and the many other needs that have been looked after, we are grateful to each one of you.
From the outset, both parishes have generously helped this project in so many ways. Your encouragement and prayerful support have been invaluable. Khaled and Ghazal thank the parishes for their support and friendship and look forward to meeting all of you.