More than 230 million children around the world live in areas affected by armed conflict. Although there is no accurate data on the total number of child soldiers, it is estimated that there are around 250,000. Child soldiers — some as young as 6 years old — are forced to fight and kill. They are also compelled to participate in espionage, support armed groups as informants, and engage in illicit activities such as drug production.
Prayer and supporting JRS and Entreculturas programs can help ensure that children do not spend their childhood on a battlefield. People are also encouraged to support Pope Francis' initiative by signing the related petition.
Below is The Pope's Video — a worldwide call to turn prayer into "concrete gestures" — from December 2016, in which the pope prays that the scandal of child soldiers may be eliminated.
May 16, 2017 — Luke Hansen did not even know what a Jesuit was until a game of darts in college, when he met a priest who encouraged him to apply to the Jesuit Volunteer Corps. Years later, Luke is preparing for ordination as a Jesuit priest after accompanying former Guantánamo Bay prisoners in Bermuda and serving all over the country.
April 19, 2017 — Above all else, Jesuits in the United States are known for their schools. But what holds those schools together is a distinctive spirituality named after the Society of Jesus' founder.