By Christian Fuchs, Angela Wells, and Jacquelyn Pavilon
To expand and strengthen education programs for refugees and the displaced in more than 45 countries around the world, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has initiated the Mercy in Motion campaign. Launched the same day as the Jubilee Year of Mercy initiated by Pope Francis, the $35 million campaign is both a commitment to the Year of Mercy and to refugees. Each of the U.S. Jesuit provinces have been asked to assist with the campaign to generate awareness and financial support for refugees.
“Nearly 60 million people worldwide have been forced to flee their homes, constantly moving. But for people living in motion, those who cannot take possessions can bring knowledge and change their world,” said Fr. Thomas Smolich, SJ, international director of JRS and former president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.
Pope Francis has long urged Catholics to welcome refugees, saying the world is currently suffering from a “globalization of indifference,” ignoring those who cry out for mercy. As a precursor to the Year of Mercy and to commemorate the 35th anniversary of the founding of JRS by Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, Pope Francis welcomed refugees, staff, and friends of JRS to an audience at the Vatican on November 14, 2015, to formally commission and pledge support for the JRS Global Education Initiative.
||Mercy in Motion One of several JRS pre-school programs at Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp. Such classes give refugee children a head start and keep them safe while their families work to meet daily needs.
(Christian Fuchs — Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)