The St. Ignatius Refugee Committee started in 1979, the same year that Canada's Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program began.
At the time, parishioners and then pastor Fr. Robert Foliot, S.J., were responding to the crisis of the Vietnamese boat people and sponsored several families. In the early 1980s refugees from Central and South America began arriving, prompting a Spanish-speaking mass which continues today.
During the '80s, the committee sponsored mainly refugees from El Salvador and Guatemala, and today they fill requests from people around the world.
For several years, St. Ignatius was the only Archdiocese representative of Winnipeg Constituent Group on the Sponsorship Agreement Holder Committee.
The committee has seen many ups and downs in its 37-year history, and recently has been blessed in a few ways. In 2015, Pope Francis made a passionate plea of mercy for all to open our hearts and homes to the millions of refugees from around the world. This resulted in the revitalization of our parish refugee committee. A partnership was formed with four other Winnipeg parishes — Holy Rosary Parish, St. Paul’s High School, St. Paul’s College and St. Gianna Parish — to sponsor Syrian refugee families and help them integrate into our community. Together we've raised funds and sponsored a Syrian refugee family.
Over the years, financial contributions, personal involvement, and donations of furniture and household goods has allowed the committee to continue their work assisting those seeking refuge and to resettle in Canada.
Thank you to all those who have made this possible through their monetary donations, as well as the generousity of time, energy and compassion.