Parishioner Sean Ryan has been recognised by the Queen for his work on resettling refugee families. Sean has been awarded an MBE

Congratulations to Sean Ryan, Caritas National Coordinator for Community Sponsorship, who has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the recently announced New Year Honours List for 2018. The Queen’s New Year Honours List recognises the achievements and service of extraordinary people across the United Kingdom.

Sean’s award is for services to refugee resettlement, initially as a volunteer parishioner, and recognises his outstanding achievement in helping to launch a ground-breaking community-led resettlement programme in the UK. As a parishioner at St Monica’s, Flixton, Sean helped co-design the government’s Community Sponsorship Scheme, working with the Home Office. Sean then led the 25-strong team from St Monica’s who welcomed the first Syrian family to be resettled by a grassroots community in the UK.

On learning of the award, Sean commented “I am amazed, blessed and humbled beyond words by this award, which I dedicate to the extraordinarily courageous and resilient refugees who have since arrived in the UK under the scheme. I am happy to accept this award on behalf of the many hundreds of Catholic parishioners now coming forward to share their love, skills, talents and experience in response to the call of Pope Francis, thereby helping to revitalise parishes around the country as places of mission for the common good”.

Community Sponsorship is a new and more effective way to welcome and resettle refugees. This ground-breaking scheme puts grassroots communities at the heart of a family’s journey to a new life in the UK.  The community assumes responsibility for a refugee family, from first arrival through to settled independence as part of their local community.

Sean’s national role involves galvanising, equipping and enabling Catholic Dioceses and parishes across the country to resettle refugee families from the conflict in Syria, welcoming them as friends, neighbours and valued members of their own communities.

Groups and parishioners interested in the Community Sponsorship Scheme can find out more by contacting Sean at or by calling 0161 817 2250.

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