On Saturday, January 27 at 4:00 p.m., Bishop Richard J. Malone will celebrate an Asylum Seekers and Refugee Awareness Mass at St. Francis of Assisi Parish in Athol Springs. It will mark the fifth anniversary of Buffalo Peace House. A reception will follow in the Parish Social Center with a meet and greet with the bishop as well as residents and alumni of the Buffalo Peace House. Tours of the house will also be available.
Since opening its doors in 2013, Buffalo Peace House has
provided safe shelter for hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees from 20
different countries. The non-profit in Hamburg was created in the former
convent at St. Francis of Assisi Parish. There are currently
18 people being offered temporary housing there as the asylum process can often
take several months.
According to the United Nations, an asylum seeker is a
person who claims that they are refugee, however that claim has not been
proven. When asylum seekers leave their home country to seek sanctuary in
another country, they must apply for asylum. Asylum grants them the right to be
recognized as a refugee, and makes them eligible to receive both legal and
material assistance. An asylum seeker must be able to show that their fear of
persecution in their home country is well-founded.