Catholic Charities’ Refugee Resettlement Program and a host of organizations will join together in hosting the 5th Annual Multi-Cultural Celebration on July 22, at Christ the King Catholic Church, 742 Arlington Road in Jacksonville. The festival begins with Mass at 11:00 a.m.

Volunteers serve food during a multicultural event at Blessed Trinity Parish in Jacksonville. (Photo credit: St. Augustine Catholic/Woody Huband)

The festival will showcase the many cultures that make up the Diocese of St Augustine. There will entertainment, international food tastings and opportunities to engage with and encounter “your neighbors.”

Adults and children are welcome. The entrance donation to the festival is $5.00 per adult, and food tasting is $1.00/each.

Coming together as One Family is so important – especially this year with the current immigration crisis in this country. This year we have seen the lowest level of Refugees entering this country in the history of the Refugee Resettlement Program. Current arrival figures for the entire United States as of June 22 are at 15,788. We expect 20,000 entrants by the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 31, 2018.

“This number of entrants is by far the lowest since the advent of modern US refugee policies in 1980 and marks a drop of more than 60 percent from the 2017 fiscal year at this time. The expected tally also would come to less than half the maximum number of refugees the Trump administration agreed to resettle in the United States this year, after slashing the cap to 45,000.

Our nation is divided on refugee and immigration issues, but our Catholic faith is clear. “To encounter another person is to experience the grace of the living God.” Pope Francis has spoken of a ‘culture of encounter’ as a common goal of the Share the Journey Campaign encouraging people to be fearless in the ways they look beyond themselves to the needs of others. “Faith is an encounter with Jesus, and we must do what Jesus does: encounter others,” he said.

Anyone wishing to donate funds to the event can call or email Sara Maley at (904) 354-4846, ext. 268, or email SMaley@ccbjax.org or Michelle Karolak MKarolak@ccbjax.org.