Migrant Center Offers Social Justice Events

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province

NEW YORK – The Migrant Center of the Church of St. Francis of Assisi on West 31st Street has rolled out an exhilarating lineup of 18 short films and feature-length fiction films – as well as documentaries, animated films and films produced and directed by young artists – as part of the  2018 Indie & Foreign Film Festival, which runs from Oct. 15 to 19.

Screenings start daily at 6 p.m. in the Province’s San Damiano Hall at 127 West 31st Street, with each evening featuring a selection of short films, a feature-length film, presentations on specific migration and human rights issues, and filmmaker appearances with an opportunity for questions and answers.

In addition to this annual film festival, is a second social justice program is  scheduled for this month, when the Migrant Center, in conjunction with the Metro New York Catholic Climate Movement, will host a day-long conference on Oct. 27 titled “Care for Creation: Hearing Earth’s Cry and Responding With Love.”

A group of guest speakers will lead a program that promises to inspire, engage, and share insightful information and ideas. The conference will also be held at San Damiano Hall.

Film Festival
“Five years ago, when we opened the Migrant Center at the Church of St. Francis, we saw the need to raise people’s awareness and keep immigration on their radar,” said Julian Jagudilla, OFM, director of the Migrant Center.

Julian singled out three films in this year’s festival as “outstanding.” They are Estrellita, a short animated fiction film that tells the story of a young girl who lives in a fantasy of her surroundings, which suddenly comes crumbling down when her father is detained; Language of Ball, a short fiction film portraying New York’s unique multiple immigrant identities, and What Will People Say, a feature length narrative “that’s already receiving buzz among independent film fanatics.”

The suggested donation for four nights of screening is $25. An awards reception is scheduled for the fifth night and is a separate cost. For more details and information about the Indie & Foreign Film Festival screenings, go to the event’s website.

Conference on Environment
Friars and partners-in-ministry from St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Holy Name of Jesus-St. Gregory the Great Parish on the Upper West Side, as well as representatives from other parishes in the metropolitan area and from organizations such as Pax Christi Metro New York and Religious Organizations Along the River are participating in the Oct. 27 conference.

“This program is bringing together experts in the field of sustainability,” said Russ Testa, director of the HNP Office for Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation. “Given the stark reminder of the threat from climate change in the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,  it is imperative that all people of faith gain tools to work toward a solution.”

Tickets for the conference are priced at $40, which includes a light breakfast and lunch, can be purchased via the following website. Because seating is limited, registration should be made by Oct. 20. Information about the conference, which runs from 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., is available by phone at 212-877-3111 and by email at mnyccm@gmail.com.

Resources about immigration, the environment and other social justice issues can be found on the Justice and Peace page of the HNP website.

— Jocelyn Thomas is communications director of Holy Name Province.

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