Phone: 216-696-6525

Toll Free: 1-800-869-6525

Address: 1404 East 9th Street, Cleveland, OH 44114

Why Catholic? Meet Bishop Edward C. Malesic
Offices Parish Life Immigrants, Refugees & People on the Move Parish Companion Program

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Parish Companion Program

“As Catholics we are called to take concrete measures to overcome the misunderstanding, ignorance, competition, and fear that stand in the way of genuinely welcoming the stranger in our midst and enjoying the communion that is our destiny as Children of God.” (USCCB, Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity)

The “Parish Companion Program” was designed to accompany parishioners who are in the final stages of immigration removal proceedings, or who are at risk of removal. The program helps to address relevant concerns for when an individual is removed from the United States.

When selecting who will be trained as a companion, a parish should consider the following criteria:

  • Companions need to be willing to ask questions, learn from the family seeking assistance, and hold this information in confidence.
  • Companions need to understand that there are a lot of factors that impact every case and each case is unique.
  • Companions need to be flexible, understanding, and willing to follow up.
  • Helpful characteristics of companions include: Confidence, tenaciousness, empathy, desire to learn, and available time.

Potential concerns and topics to be addressed with each family seeking assistance:

  • What does the family want help with? What support can the companion provide?
  • Where is this individual in the immigration process?
  • Has the individual engaged with a lawyer?
  • Does the family need someone to accompany him/her to immigration (ICE) appointments?
  • Are there children to be considered?
  • Does the individual own property or have bank accounts?
  • To what situation is the individual going when they are returned to their home country?
  • What support will be needed for family remaining in the United States?

Time commitment for companions:

  • Attend an all-day training, 6-8 hours in length.
  • Meet with the individual/family a few hours a week once you are connected.
  • Attend follow up meetings of trained companions to share experiences and learn from each other.

For more information, download the Parish Companion Program Handbook.

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