Last Wednesday, the Goddard Room was packed to capacity with students, staff and local parishioners as we listened to a very engaging lecture from representatives of the Cardinal Hume Centre – “Asylum and the Criminal Bear”. We were reminded of the wonderful work which the Centre has engaged in for thirty years, helping the homeless young people, families in need and local disadvantaged people. We also heard how the Centre focuses on four areas, youth homelessness, housing advice, immigration advice and employment. One of their specialist in-house lawyers looked at the titles “refugees, migrants and asylum seekers” which have, unhelpfully, become blurred into one. We were given a useful insight into how the lawyers offer free legal advice on complex immigration matters, appeals to first and upper tier tribunal level and judicial review applications. All this is done for free, helping vulnerable clients who are suffering from poverty and homelessness due to their lack of status.
We all left with a much better understanding of what is happening in terms of complicated immigration matters and challenged by what we need to do to help others. In the words of Cardinal Basil Hume, the founder of the centre, “Each individual life, must be accorded full protection and respect. Each person matters. No human life is ever redundant. Sadly, for many, it seems that there is no sense of hope; yet behind each face is a personal story. These people are precious in the eyes of God and thus must be precious in ours”.
Fr Gerry Devlin, Chaplain