Celebrate World Day of Migrants and Refugees Helping a Couple in Need

The Church has been celebrating the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (WDMR) annually on the last Sunday of September since 1914. It is always an occasion to express concern for different vulnerable people on the move; to pray for them as they face many challenges; and to increase awareness about the opportunities that migration offers. This year, as many seek asylum from political pressures and protection following natural disasters, Pope Francis provides the theme Towards an Ever Wider “We,” in order to indicate a clear horizon for our common journey in this world. In his 2021 WDMR Message, the Holy Father appeals for us “to journey together towards an ever wider “we,” for the sake of renewing the human family, building together a future of justice and peace, and ensuring that no one is left behind.”

In partnership with Love INC, several Sacred Heart parishioners have already embodied the Pope’s Message, but require extra assistance in their active service to a young couple who immigrated to Tampa from Haiti in late July.

Lesly and Valesca Joseph, both of whom are dentists, university fellows, and affordable health care activists in their native Haiti, have been living in Tampa following recent political upheaval. Love INC has assembled a network of host families to provide housing on a rotational basis, as the pair, here on a Temporary Protective Status, set out on a path toward work and academic visas. Lesly is currently pursuing his second master’s degree online as a Global Public Health fellow with the University of California at Berkeley. The couple are also expecting their first child in December.

Lesly and Valesca Joseph

The Josephs need a long-term housing solution and legal representation in their pursuit of a path toward citizenship. It is Love INC’s goal, by December 1st, to secure stable housing for the Josephs’, so they no longer need to move between host families on that rotational basis.

If you, a loved one, a neighbor, etc. have or are aware of any affordable vacancies to provide this growing family a chance to settle here in Tampa, or can provide legal assistance, please contact Mike Doyle via email or at (813)-466-9166. If you are unable to aid with these needs, but want to help the Josephs through this difficult transition in another fashion, Mike would love to hear from you.