To commemorate the commencement of the Year of Mercy and as part of the Dahlgren Chapel Sacred Lecture Series at Georgetown University, Fr. David Hollenbach, SJ, delivered a lecture "A Spirituality of Accompaniment" on December 8 to an audience of students, faculty, friends and benefactors of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
In conjunction with the Church's Year of Mercy, JRS is embarking on an ambitious campaign for a Global Education Initiative to increase educational programs for refugees around the world. With the JRS mission "to accompany, serve and advocate" as his reference point, Fr. Hollenbach incorporated Pope Francis' message of mercy into his remarks. He reminded the audience that mercy is a "profound expression" of Christian faith and the "more universal one's love the more divine it is." He expounded on the concept of mercy saying that it is another word for compassion, friendship and accompaniment. He fielded thoughtful questions from the audience, reflecting on the political rhetoric in America about immigration, and gave suggestions on how to serve, accompany and advocate in our own country.
In the Mass that followed, Fr. Leo O'Donovan, SJ, and Fr. Kevin O'Brien, SJ, celebrated along with Fr. Joe Lingan, SJ, and Fr. Gregory Schenden, SJ, to a full house. Fr. O'Donovan, GU's president emeritus, delivered the homily, also referring to the mission and might of the Jesuit Refugee Service. He recited stories of refugees and encouraged suggested ways to help refugees find a home, "for they belong to us and we to them." He posed the question, "Is there any better answer to terrorism than education?" He was warmly welcomed back to his alma mater by students at the reception that followed.