These groups need more aid to continue their valuable and life-saving work, he emphasized.
Anastasia Brown, director of resettlement services for the U.S. bishops' Migration and Refugee Services, also spoke on the conference call. She stressed the high number of vulnerable women and children and the severe medical needs of many of the refugees.
"In many instances, people we saw had been shot coming across the borders," she said.
Efforts to offer support must focus not only on refugees in camps, but also on those in urban areas and the surrounding rural areas, she explained, and those giving aid must realize that "this is not a short term situation."
Kevin Appleby, director of the bishops' office of Migration Policy and Public Affairs, outlined policy recommendations to respond to the refugee crisis.
More international support for refugees will be needed as the conflict in Syria continues and intensifies, he said, citing local concerns that the conflict could be long-lasting.
The United States needs to "show leadership" in offering aid and also "encourage our allies to provide support," he added.
Appleby recommended that the U.S. urge nearby countries to protect religious minorities and Iraqi refugees fleeing Syria, aware of the special concerns that these groups have.
"Vulnerable African refugees in Cairo who are unable to integrate and remain at risk of harassment and attack should be considered for resettlement," he stated. The U.S. government, Appleby advised, should also work with the Egyptian government to stop the kidnapping and trafficking of Eritrean refugees in the Sinai peninsula.
"As a proclaimed leader in anti-trafficking efforts around the world, the U.S. needs to step up to the plate and halt this horrific practice," he said.