Tuesday August 16,



Written by Deborah Rankin for VMO
Wednesday December 16th,

Deuteronomy 10: 19 You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.

Canada is getting ready to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees to their new homeland in the not too distant future.

However, processing all of the refugees by the Trudeau Liberal Government's original timeline of early December won't happen because of the need for increased scrutiny in the aftermath of the Paris attacks, while many details about the Syrians' pending arrival still remain unclear. 

This isn't putting a damper though on the efforts of humanitarian aid organizations like the Scalabrini Centre for Refugees and Immigrants of Montreal - a Catholic centre, sponsored by the Scalabrini Missionaries, which helps settle and integrate new immigrants and refugees - to get things ready for the Syrian arrivals, as soon as possible. 

It's no secret that some individuals have expressed security concerns about Syrian refugees being used as a shield by terrorists to enter the country unlawfully, hence the extra precautions. However, Miguel Arevolo, General Manager for the Scalabrini Centre, is optimistic that a speedy and successful integration of Syrian refugees will ensue once they arrive in Montreal, whilst acknowledging, "We don't know for sure how many are coming."

He says that he and his staff of five full-time workers and 20-25 volunteers are nonetheless working overtime to get things ready for the refugees. Six Syrian refugees arrived as early as this past Saturday, while another 20 are expected to arrive in January or February of . 

Like other groups helping to settle state-sponsored refugees, the Scalabrini Centre is working with both the federal and provincial governments, as well as the City of Montreal. It is also partnering with local organizations to provide the necessary infrastructure to take refugees through a transition period of about 6-12 months before they are ready to strike out on their own. "We are working with Ahuntsic College to house the refugees in (student) residences once they get here," Arevolo says. 

Originally from El Salvador, Arevolo has been the director of operations for the Scalabrini Centre's outreach to immigrants and refugees for the last 15 years. So, he's no stranger to the pressures that go hand-in-glove with the process of helping newcomers adjust to a very different environment from the one that they left behind in their countries of origin. 

He says that employment is key to successful integration, as well as education. Language skills are very important too for new arrivals. With that in mind the Scalabrini Centre gives courses, not only in French and English - as might be expected - but, in Italian and Spanish, as well. For there are a many Italians and Latinos in the communities where new immigrants and refugees are most likely to settle.

Owing to lots of good-will capital, some financial help from government and private donors, and success from fund-raising bazaars, the centre runs a computer centre - where newcomers can hone their computer skills - a legal clinic, a donation centre, and a community shelter exclusively for homeless immigrant women. 

The Scalabrini Centre will also be donating furniture and clothing to family-sponsored refugees over the Christmas holidays. And, in keeping with the Christmas spirit, it will be sending out food baskets to the hundreds of immigrants from diverse cultural, religious, and linguistic backgrounds which the centre services year-round. 

For more information, to volunteer, or donate contact: 

Scalabrini Centre of Montreal 655 Sauriol Street East Montreal QC H2C 1T9. Telephone: (514) 387-4477. Fax: (514) 387-7733. E-Mail: info@ scalabrinimontreal.


Last Night at the Gayete


By Deborah Rankin

The Centaur Theatre's - season is drawing to a close with its final production of Last Night at the Gayety, a musical comedy by Bowser & Blue which runs until May 22nd.

Read more


I entrust you to the maternal care of our Mother who lives in the glory of God and is always by our side on our life’s journey.

by Pope Francis

Pillars Trust Fund

Paul Donovan walks the Camino Ignatiano

Follow former Loyola High School principal, Paul Donovan, as he walks the famous 700km Camino Ignatiano.



Read his blog


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Montreal, Qc.
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