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Vol. XXII, No. 2 February 5, 2018
FROM THE PROVINCES
ASIA PACIFIC: Thirty years of serving at the frontiers of humanity
Thirty years ago, a 74-year-old Spanish Jesuit priest had his first encounter with a community of persons affected by leprosy in China. Moved by the terrible situation of the leprosy-affected persons in Taikam Island in Guangdong Province, Fr Luis Ruiz SJ decided to work with local governments and church communities to change the conditions of leprosy patients in China. That was the beginning of Ricci Social Services, a social service network created to bring relief, dignity and social justice to the poor and marginalised people in mainland China and Macau. Read more...
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: We have to be on the side of the poor
The provincial superior of the Jesuit province of Central Africa, Fr. José Minaku, SJ, recently invited Jesuits of his province to be on the side of the poor. In a letter to all the members of the province on the eve of the 21 January demonstrations, called by lay Catholics, against the continued stay in power by President Joseph Kabila, Fr Minaku urged members of the province who were going to participate in the demonstrations to exercise caution. He noted, "Those whose conscience invites them to go for the march will first have to talk with their local superior to discern with him the behaviour to adopt. Scholastics will indicate in writing that they do so freely, knowing the possible consequences." Fr Minaku furthers advised Jesuits in the province to "Beware of manipulation, no matter where it comes from. The Lord Jesus did not make partisan politics: 'My kingdom is not of this world.' (Jn 18:36) But his unambiguous choice of Yahweh's 'anawim' party, the poor of Yahweh, had certain political implications and revolutionized the present world... He is our Model." The full letter is available here...
HAITI: International Jesuit solidarity in action
In 2016, the Society of Jesus in Haiti partnered with local communities affected by Hurricane Matthew. In response, the recently elected Father General Arturo Sosa called on the Jesuits worldwide to help mobilise resources to support the Jesuit response in Haiti. The Jesuits, in partnership with the local communities, are helping in constructing 75 housing units in some of the poorest communities. Read more...
UNITED KINGDOM: Refugee homelessness "a sign of the times" say JRS
Troubling patterns of street homelessness and vulnerability to abuse amongst destitute refugees have been uncovered by research from the Jesuit Refugee Service UK (JRS UK). The study finds that most of the destitute refugees attending the JRS UK Day Centre had slept rough at some point in the previous year, and one in five had been forced to spend more than a month on the streets. More worrying still was that a third of those with accommodation reported not feeling physically safe there. Read more...