D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Services is a diocesan ministry dedicated to facilitating protection and resettlement for refugees and assisting them with integration and settlement. D.O.O.R.S. is a grass roots organization where we believe that the worth and dignity of all people must be respected and valued, regardless of religion, race, culture, language, beliefs, class and/or status.
The Diocesan Office of Refugee Services, D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Centre Inc., is a Community Centre established by the Catholic Church of Thunder Bay which, through networking with local, national and international organizations, serves and empowers those who have lived a refugee experience by providing the assistance they need - material, spiritual and emotional - to adapt to a new culture while not abandoning their own.
Board of Directors:
Romano Taddeo, Chairperson
Denis Legros, Director
Maureen Ahokas, Director
Patrick Klug, Director
Marilou Adams, Director
Carol Bruni, Director
Adele Henry, Director
Administrative Assistant: Giovannina (Joanne) Ruberto
Office Hours Tuesdays and Thursdays 9am – 3pm.
Refugee Sponsorship Coordinators:
(807) 343-9313, Fax: (807) 343-9114
Catholic Pastoral Centre, 1222 Reaume Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario,
(807) 343-9313, Fax: (807) 343-9114
D.O.O.R.S. to New Life, Box 10400, Thunder Bay ON, P7B 6T8.
Located at Thunder Bay Multicultural Association, 17 N. Court St. Thunder Bay, ON P7A 4T4
Newcomer's Settlement Program Worker, Beverly Knutson
(807) 345-0551, Fax: (807) 345-0173
NEWCOMERS’ SETTLEMENT PROGRAM
Beverly Knutson (see contact information above)
Monday: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday: No office hours
Friday: 1 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
The Newcomer Settlement Program provides walk-in information and referral services to refugees and newcomers. Settlement workers provide newcomer refugee and immigrant families with basic settlement, orientation, and information services. Second migration families are also assisted.
Some of the types of services and support provided:
REFUGEE SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM
In the Diocese of Thunder Bay, we have welcomed and supported refugees for more than 25 years through our sponsorship programs and our outreach ministry at D.O.O.R.S. To New Life.
Any parish or group of individuals may sponsor a refugee family. The commitment to support the refugees financially and with friendship during their first year in Canada is an opportunity to make a deeply personal and tangible difference in the lives of refugees who have faced persecution and violence and cannot return to their home country. Many refugees have been left in refugee camps for several years or longer, many of them giving birth to children while in the camps. These children have never known another life. Women and children in these camps are especially vulnerable to ongoing violence and desperate poverty.
The Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator located at the Pastoral Centre assists parishes and other refugee sponsorship groups with information, planning, training and the application process. D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Services will work with the parish and sponsors to assist the newcomers after they arrive.
This is our opportunity to reach out in solidarity to the persecuted. It is also a time to celebrate and affirm the courage and determination of people who are rebuilding a life for themselves and their children and enriching us all as they join their lives with ours.
Where people of different origins are welcomed, God is revealed:
“I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
Contact: - Coordinators, Catholic Pastoral Centre (807) 343-9313,
The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops issued a pastoral letter on the Immigration and Protection of Refugees in January 2006. In their conclusion, they wrote:
“Migrants and refugees are a reminder that all of us before God are ‘aliens and transients.’ Their presence among us is a source of mutual enrichment for humanity as well as an encouragement toward dialogue and unity. Moreover, their presence is a sign of the Risen Christ. When people of different origins are welcomed, God is revealed.”
January 2014 - Pope Francis: "What does it mean for the Church, for us, today, to be disciples of Jesus the Lamb of God? It means replacing malice with innocence, force with love, pride with humility, prestige with service. We Christians have to do a good job.
"Being disciples of the Lamb means not living as if we were a 'besieged citadel,' but as a city set on a mountain, open, welcoming and supportive."
Taken from Pope Francis' message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2014): "While it is true that migrations often reveal failures and shortcomings on the part of States and the international community, they also point to the aspirations of humanity to enjoy a unity marked by respect for differences, by attitudes of acceptance and hospitality which enable an equitable sharing of the world's goods, and by the protection and the advancement of the dignity and centrality of each human being."
His conclusion: "Dear migrants and refugees! Never lose the hope that you too are facing a more secure future, that on your journey you will encounter an outstretched hand, and that you can experience fraternal solidarity and the warmth of friendship! To all of you, and to those who have devoted their lives and their efforts to helping you, I give the assurance of my prayers and I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing."
Click HERE for the message from His Holiness Pope Francis for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (2014).
According to the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), the number of people forcibly displaced was more than 45 million worldwide as of the end of 2012, with over 35.8 million of these being of concern to the High Commissioner. In 2013 alone, over 2 million new refugees were forcibly displaced. This is the highest number in nearly 20 years.
Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
A partnership agreement is in place between D.O.O.R.S. To New Life Refugee Centre and Thunder Bay Multicultural Association (TBMA) in the administration of the Newcomers Settlement Program. The Newcomers Settlement Program Worker, Beverly Knutson, works out of TBMA at 17 N. Court St. www.tbma.ca
Bishop’s Diocesan Ministry Campaign ("Sharing the Challenges")
Bishop F. Colli, through the Bishop’s Diocesan Ministry Campaign, provides funding to D.O.O.R.S to assist refugees and needy immigrants with clothing, housing, government issues and friendship. Our office is located at the Catholic Pastoral Centre.
Sponsorship Agreement Holder
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Thunder Bay holds an agreement with the Government of Canada relating to the Sponsorship of Refugees under the Canadian Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program.
Westfort Foods and Thunder Bay Multicultural Association
Under this partnership, D.O.O.R.S., Westfort Foods and the Thunder Bay Multicultural Association distribute food hampers three times a year to our refugee families in Thunder Bay.
Any parish or group of individuals may sponsor a refugee family. The commitment to support the refugees financially and with friendship during their early years in Canada is an opportunity to make a personal and tangible difference in the lives of refugees who have faced persecution and violence and cannot return to their home country. Many refugees have been left in refugee camps for several years or longer, many of them giving birth to children while in the camps. These children have never known another life. Women and children in these camps are especially vulnerable to ongoing violence and desperate poverty.
In the past, parishes in our diocese, including Our Lady of Loretto, St. Dominic’s, St. Agnes, St. Margaret’s (all in Thunder Bay), and Notre Dame du Portage (Kenora) have sponsored refugees from many parts of the world. Some refugees have been referred by the United Nations as needing protection and resettlement due to civil war, where others have lived for many years in impoverished refugee camps in border countries (for example, Iraqi refugees living in Jordan or other nearby countries).
The Refugee Sponsorship Coordinator at the Pastoral Centre will assist refugee sponsorship groups with information, planning, training and the application process. D.O.O.R.S. to New Life will work with parish sponsors to assist the newcomers after they arrive.
Notre Dame du Portage (Kenora, ON)
On May 11, 2006, Samuel Demissie Woodajie, his wife Almaz Shibru Haile Mariam and their children Orion Samuel Demissie and Meron Samuel Demissie arrived in Kenora to begin a new life in Canada. The Refugee Committee, on behalf of Notre Dame Parish, had been working together for a couple of years in their search for a family who were in desperate need to leave their country. The Demissie family enjoys living in this community, the children have made friends and are thriving, and they are extremely grateful for everything that has been done for them.Other sponsoring parishes within our diocese include St. Margaret’s, St. Dominic’s and St. Agnes.
Canadian Council for Refugees
D.O.O.R.S. to New Life Refugee Services is a member of the Canadian Council for Refugees, the national umbrella coalition of organizations committed to the rights and protection of refugees in Canada and around the world and to the settlement of refugees and immigrants in Canada. www.ccrweb.ca
O.C.A.S.I. (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants)
D.O.O.R.S. is also affiliated with O.C.A.S.I. which was formed in 1978 to act as a collective voice for immigrant-serving agencies and to coordinate response to shared needs and concerns. O.C.A.S.I. is a registered charity governed by a volunteer board of directors. Its membership is comprised of more than 170 community-based organizations in Ontario. O.C.A.S.I. is an advocate for the immigrant serving sector and an expert on immigrant and refugee issues. www.ocasi.org/index.php
FUNDING AND SUPPORT
D.O.O.R.S. to New Life receives funding and support from the following agencies and would like to thank them for their continued support of immigrants and refugees:
Government and International Organizations