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Welcome Circles

March 7, 2024

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Watching the nightly news brings a keen awareness of the plight of our Ukrainian brothers and sisters. Currently, there is a backlog of thousands of Ukrainians waiting to be sponsored to come to the United States. Catholic Charites has reached out to our parish to see if our community would be part of a program called “Welcome Circle”. This is a new program being promoted by the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB) that asks parishes to form a core group of people to sponsor one family from Ukraine. This group of individuals would go through preliminary steps needed for the application to Catholic Charites and to the United States Government. Once the core group’s applications are accepted, then begins the work of securing all the basic necessities of the family. This is a two year commitment of the core group, as that is the amount of time that a family can stay in the US. All applicants seeking refuge in the United States have been vetted by the Unites States Government. The opportunity and need for sponsorship is here now!


St Joseph Parish already has four individuals committed to the two-year process, and we are seeking six more volunteers to complete our group. If you feel that you are being called to help with this endeavor, and are willing to make a two-year commitment, we would love to hear from you. There is a sign-up sheet in the Gathering Area for you to fill out if you are interested in learning more about becoming part of this core group. We have volunteers in the Gathering Area to answer questions. If you would like to learn more, there will be an informational meeting held on Thursday, March 30 at 6:30 pm in the Carpenter Room. This opportunity to ask questions and gain clarity could assist in your discerning if the Lord is calling you to be part of this very fulfilling opportunity.


In order to seek help from the entire parish community, we first need to start by building our core group of leaders to begin the process of our Welcome Circle. If you are not able to make the two-year commitment, know that there will be other ways in which we will seek your help in the near future. We encourage you to please spend some time in prayer, asking the Lord if this is a way that you are being called to do his work.

In response to the war in Ukraine, the US Government has created the Uniting for Ukraine (U4U) program. This pathway allows individual US residents to support displaced Ukrainians to come to the US and receive two years of humanitarian parole, which means they can live and work in the US for up to two years. St. Joseph Parish is looking to sponsor a family and needs a core group of six individuals that will dedicate efforts, personal skills, and resources to help the selected family. This is a two-year commitment, andthese are some ways on how you can help! Right now, we are looking for leaders to get us started, can you help? 


USCCB’s Department of Migration and Refugee Services is launching a new initiative to support Ukrainians -- Welcome Circles. Across the country, we hope to see Catholic parishes, other houses of worship, and local organizations meet the needs of displaced Ukrainians through collective action. Welcome Circles are groups of 5 or more adults who agree to financially support Ukrainians through the U4U program and to help them navigate their new community in the US.READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP? Donna Dugan at or 440-785-8051. 

Arrange housing for Ukrainian newcomers, provide furniture and essential items.

Assist newcomers in applying for public benefits like SNAP, TANF and Medicaid.

Make connections to access necessary healthcare.

Help adults find employment in their new community.

Enroll children in school, enroll interested adults in English classes.

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