God of mercy, help me to remember:
My ancestors came across the seas!
Help me keep in my mind
Those who came long ago
And those who now come to our shores.
As I face you in prayer, God of Compassion,
I remember my country’s words:
Send them back or Stop the boats.
Then I fear, not your anger
But the steady gaze of boundless love
and unlimited compassion
That impel me to hear Jesus’s command:
Love one another, as I have loved you.
Or Pope Francis’s call to open our hearts
To a universal communion
Which excludes nothing and no one.
Daring to step into such relationship, I pray
For those forced to leave family,
home and all they hold dear;
May they find safe passage and helping hands.
I pray for an end to the wars and oppression
that forced them to leave;
I pray that those who welcome them
are blessed in abundance.
And with deep humility
and a heart hungry for justice,
I pray that we Australians, citizens and leaders,
Open our eyes, our minds and our hearts
That we may see, understand and welcome
our brothers and sisters.
May our change of heart penetrate to our beginnings
As strangers in this land.
May we allow those we displaced
—the First People of this land—to welcome us.
Then knowing, in humility, what it is to be welcomed,
We will know how to welcome
the strangers who come to our shores.
This we ask in the name of Jesus your Son,
In whom we are no longer strangers.
(The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council)