Refugee Ministry

Lincoln Park Old Town (LPOT) Catholic Parishes

The parishes of St. Josaphat, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Vincent de Paul, Immaculate Conception St. Joseph and St. Michael in Old Town have joined together in supporting the newly arrived refugees in our community. This collaborative Lincoln Park Old Town parish grouping is known as LPOT (Lincoln Park Old Town) Catholic Parishes. 
May 11, 2023 - LPOT Update
Early in 2022, Lincoln Park Old Town (LPOT) parishes formed a refugee ministry and began working with Exodus World Service to assist in the resettlement of refugees in Chicago. The LPOT parishes include St. Josaphat, St. Teresa Avila, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Michael and Immaculate Conception/St. Joseph. Over the past year, the parishioners of the member parishes have responded generously.
During our first year, LPOT helped to settle two refugee families in their first apartments, a family of eight from Afghanistan in April and a family of four from Myanmar in November. LPOT parishioners donated household goods to complete a “Welcome to America Pack'' for each family, delivered and then physically set up their apartments. In addition, each apartment was well-stocked with food staples along with ethnic foods specific to their cultures.
LPOT was a sponsor of and participated in the annual Exodus Run/Walk for Refugee Kids in September raising funds for trained mentors to provide academic support and encouragement to refugee children this school year.
In November, St. Josaphat collected and delivered a Welcome Baby Care Pack to a Syrian refugee family with limited resources to prepare for their newborn.
Eight refugee families were provided support through the Exodus New Neighbor and New Neighbor for Youth programs. Committed teams of two, met with the families weekly for a minimum of three months to assist them as they adjusted to their new lives in America and/or were mentor/tutors to their children. St. Josaphat parishioners, Jean Bystedt, Cathy Dixon and Dave Dixon, supported families through the New Neighbor program this year.
We look forward to growing the refugee ministry in the coming year in response to the growing need in our community. LPOT is planning to hold a gathering at St. Teresa Avila in the coming weeks to share information on how you can get involved. We would love to have you join us.

Please contact Judy Lovero at [email protected] if you have questions or would like further information.

Exodus World Service

Exodus World Service mobilizes the Christian community to welcome and befriend refugees. A volunteer can make a profound difference in the life of a refugee. The Exodus New Neighbor Program helps to ease the loneliness and isolation that many refugees experience when moving to a new country. If you are interested in becoming a New Neighbor, please follow the steps below: 
  1. Sign up to be placed in a New Neighbor program. This will put you in contact with our Program Team who will get you started on a short application and background check, facilitate your match, and check in with you throughout your volunteering. 
  2. Register for our virtual Engaging with Refugees: Cross-Cultural Training. This training is required for all of our New Neighbor volunteers and is a great way to connect with others passionate about refugee ministry! 
  3. Feel free to reach out to Exodus' Mobilization Manager, Carissa Zaffiro, at [email protected] or (513) 264-0440 with any questions as you discern next steps.
Exodus World Service continues to look for volunteers to act as New Neighbors for refugee families and refugee youth. Information about these programs can be found on their website

World Refugee Day: June 20

June 20th is an international day designated by the United Nations to honor refugees around the globe. World Refugee Day celebrates the strength and courage of people who have been forced to flee their home country to escape conflict or persecution. It is an occasion to build empathy and understanding for those who have fled their countries with so little, and to recognize their resilience in rebuilding their lives. You can read more on the World Refugee Day website.
For more information about our Refugee Ministry, contact Judy Lovero at [email protected]
Learn more about the  organizations that our Refugee Ministry supports:
God of grace,
Watch over all refugees - embrace them in the pain of their partings.
Into their fear and loss, send love.
Open our eyes that we might see you in them.
Open our hearts that they may see You in us.
Open our arms that we might welcome refugees to new homes.
As you stretched out your arms and invited everyone home.
~Exodus World Service
Matthew 25:35-40:
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me. I was ill and you comforted me, in prison and you came to visit me. Then the just will ask him: Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we visit you when you were ill or in prison? And the king will answer them: I assure you, as often as you did it for one of these least brothers of mine, you did it for me.