News
Accompaniment and Love put Mercy in Motion

Coinciding with the Jubilee Year of Mercy this year, Jesuit Refugee Service has launched the Mercy in Motion campaign to support the JRS Global Education Initiative, a worldwide effort by Jesuit Refugee Service to expand educational programs to refugees and forcibly displaced persons. The goal of the initiative is to double the number of people served in its educational projects to more than 220,000 by the year 2020.

Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr. Thomas Smolich S.J. notes that refugees “sometimes spend many years in camps, sometimes they’re able to go back home, sometimes they wind up being resettled in countries near and far. What they can always take with them is an education, it’s an intangible skill, an intangible asset which allows them to make a better life and a better contribution wherever they might wind up.”

Mercy in Motion reflects the words of Pope Francis: “mercy is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality… We are called to look beyond, to focus on the heart to see how much generosity everyone is capable of.” 

“Accompaniment is being present to people and really trying to understand their hearts,” said JRS Cambodia Country Director Sr. Denise Coghlan, RSM. “Deep down it’s understanding each person that we meet as a person of dignity. The JRS message is really about creating communities of love.”

For 35 years, JRS has focused on education as a means to build peace and foster the development of more resilient and cohesive societies. During an audience last November with refugees and JRS staff, Pope Francis said “to give a child a seat at school is the finest gift you can give.” 

Inspired by the Pope’s mandate, JRS teams in cities and refugee camps around the world will strengthen and expand existing educational programs and make sure the potential of thousands of refugee children and young adults is not wasted.

“As Pope Francis has spoken about the Year of Mercy, what I draw from it is asking us to extend the hand of the Church to those most in need. That’s what JRS is fundamentally all about,” said Fr. Smolich.

“For me accompaniment is about … being with refugees at different stages of their journey,” said JRS Malta Country Director Dr. Katrine Camilleri. “People imagine that the refugee’s journey finishes the moment they reach the place they apply for asylum … but in actual fact it’s the beginning of a new phase in their journey.”

“Accompaniment really is the core of JRS,” said JRS Uganda Country Director Fr. Kevin White. “It’s hard work, but it’s rewarding work, because we have the ability to be present to lives being transformed.”

“We really believe education is something which transforms people and communities, said Fr. Smolich. “An educated person brings a different something, a different ability, a different set of skills wherever he or she ultimately winds up.”

JRS views education as a life-saving intervention. Even during emergencies when most agencies are focused on the provision of humanitarian assistance, JRS is also organizing educational and recreational activities as a tool of trauma healing and promoting psychosocial wellbeing. It is a way of bringing a sense of normality to the lives of children and youth. The lasting impact of education nurtures individual growth and empowerment and promotes long-term, durable solutions to communities in conflict. 

Listen to an interview with Jesuit Refugee Service International Director Fr. Thomas Smolich S.J., JRS Cambodia Director Sr. Denise Coghlan RSM, JRS Uganda Director Fr. Kevin White S.J. and JRS Malta Director Dr. Katrine Camilleri. 





Recent News

May 27, 2020 - Now more than ever, we invoke God to wipe away the darkness of anxiety, allowing us to be guided by the light of Christ and to trust in God’s promise of new life. Over the last few months, our Jesuit provinces have been in a place we don’t often find ourselves, a place that saw our schools closed, parishes empty, and the halls of our retreat centers giving new meaning to the word “silent.”

May 13, 2020 - Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ, president of Regis High School recently asked one of the school’s alumni, Dr. Anthony Fauci, class of ’58, to record a video for the Jesuit graduates of 2020.

May 12, 2020 - Susan Baber has been named the Associate Provincial Assistant for Secondary Education for the new USA East Jesuit Province. The new province will come into being on July 31, Susan will assume this new role in August.

Fr. Dennis E. McNally, SJ, beloved painter and professor of fine arts at Saint Joseph’s University, dies at 76.

May 5, 2020 - Let us pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church.

May 1 marks the annual Religious Brothers Day, when we celebrate our Jesuit Brothers who go wherever they are needed and do whatever needs to be done.

Fr. Edward C. Dougherty, SJ, beloved teacher and minister who spent a decade in Africa, dies at 79.

view all news

Search news

Publications

JESUITS Magazine: Winter 2020

JESUITS Magazine: Spring/Summer 2019

JESUITS Magazine: Fall/Winter 2018



Jesuit Center for Spiritual Growth
The Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Penn., is a place of natural beauty, welcoming quiet and spiritual sustenance for those who seek peace within.