WILLYANS PRADO RAPOZO, SCJ shared his experience of Canada Immigration and Citizenship at a recent meeting of the North American Migration Committee in Toronto.
Will, a member of the Brazil Sao Paulo Province, arrived in Canada in October 2012 and was granted a Religious Workers Visa. In June 2013, the Congregation was entrusted with the care of St. Thomas More and Our Lady of Rosary Parishes. Will was appointed the associate pastor. In January 2015, Will was appointed pastor of St. Thomas More and administrator of Our Lady of Rosary Parish. Attending the 2016 World Youth Day with a group of 12 youth from St. Thomas More Parish, he experienced difficulties re-entering Canada and had to return to Brazil to submit a new application, which was granted one month later. In January 2018, Will was granted approval to begin a Masters of Theology at Regis College, Toronto. To do so, he began the process of changing his immigration status from Religious Worker to Student. He was assured, both by Regis College and by Canadian immigration authorities, that there would be no problem. Simultaneously, Will also applied to be a permanent resident of Canada. In July 2018, he received notification that his application for a Student Visa had been denied. He still waits with hope that his application to be a permanent resident will be accepted. In the interim, he is no longer accepted as a student at Regis College and their next acceptance date for his program will be September 2019. Disappointment tinged with exasperation, both on Will’s part and on the part of the members of the Toronto community, has led us to a deeper understanding of what newcomers to Canada experience as they too encounter barriers. Will felt that his experience has led him to risk to engage in more compassionate encounter(s).