Working Group on Refugees

For more information, please contact Sr. Mary Kerber  651-429-7771 option 1.

(Posted 4/6/2022)

Who Is My Neighbor? St. Mary’s Parish Welcomes Refugees

As our parish prepares to choose and train mentors for Afghan refugees, you may want to learn more by listening to a recent broadcast by NPR, “Meeting the Challenge of a New Life in America”. This broadcast exposes us to the situation of Afghan refugees in the US, how the organization welcome. US is assisting and some thoughts on the 100,000 Ukrainians that the US is open to receiving.

(Posted 4/4/2022)

Who Is My Neighbor?  St. Mary’s Parish Welcomes Refugees

This week’s book recommendation:  Fratelli Tutti by Pope Francis.  You will find many reviews and commentaries online.  Here’s one:

(Posted 3/30/2022)

Who Is My Neighbor?  St. Mary’s Parish Welcomes Refugees

The International Institute of Minnesota ( is a leader in local resettlement.  At this website you will learn about the Afghan Adjustment Act, legislation moving its way through Congress.  The Afghans torn from their homes in 2021 are currently under Temporary Protected Status, which does not allow them to proceed through channels that will end in citizenship.  Passing legislation that would protect these evacuees is critical because obtaining asylum may be difficult or out of reach for many of them.  Find out more and call your legislators.

This week’s book recommendation: Somewhere In the Unknown World by Kao Kalia Yang, the stories of thirteen refugees who now live in Minnesota. You can read a review here. 

Please note: if you missed the LSS Zoom session on March 31 that gave information on becoming a mentor for refugees, please contact Sr. Mary Kerber and she will be able to send you a private link of the recording.  Contact Sr. Mary Kerber at with questions.

(Posted 3/28/2022)

Who Is My Neighbor? St. Mary’s Parish Welcomes Refugees

This week check out the Center for Migration Studies of New York (   This resource gathers news on migration throughout the world and brings it to you in one newsletter, delivered weekly.  Stories and reports from a variety of news sources are included as well as the latest from the USCCB.

Our book recommendation this week: After the Last Border, by Jessica Gandeau.  You can find a review of this memoir of two refugee women and their journey to safety HERE.

(Posted 3/16/2022)

St. Mary of the Lake and the Refugee Crisis

We have all seen the images of families fleeing for safety in these past months, most recently from Ukraine, but also from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Ethiopia, and other places around the globe.  Minnesota has been and continues to be a safe haven for people whose lives have been disrupted through no fault of their own.

In response to the concern of parishioners regarding the plight of refugees from Afghanistan, the Justice, Peace, and Outreach Committee (JPOC) has begun the work to stand in solidarity with these brothers and sisters whose lives have been uprooted.  Upon extensive research into the many organizations who help in this important work, our refugee working group has recommended Lutheran Social Services (LSS) and its Circle of Welcome.  This program began several years ago and has many families and congregations who will attest to its effectiveness in bringing people together in friendship and support.

At the moment, LSS has settled all the families assigned to them from Afghanistan who have fled their country.  However, there are still Afghans who are either single or married without children who also need support and are waiting for us to assist them in finding their way as they navigate this new way of life.

What do we need to do?  First, we will say “yes” to the invitation from LSS to become a partner in refugee work.  Second, we need to find 4-6 people who will act as mentors to our new friends for a 90-day period. Third, we will need more support to supply things like household goods, gift cards, linens, and anything else needed.  Fourth, we will need people who can make a run to the airport, spend time helping people to learn and speak English, perhaps assist in opening a bank account. Fifth, we will need $1,225.00 per person for rent support.  Finally, and always, we need to pray for peace and for the specific needs of our sisters and brothers throughout the world whose lives are in such disarray.

Want to learn more?  The weekends of March 19-20 and 26-27 following each of the Masses, there will be a member of the Refugee Working Group to answer your questions as best we can. Emily Bingham from LSS will host an information session March 31 at 7 PM. Join via Zoom link here.  Check the bulletin, Constant Contact, and the website.

Please contact Sr. Mary for more information, mkerber@stmaryswbl-org or  651-429-7771 option 1.