Monday, November 01, 2010

A retreat with refugees.

The spiritual as well as material needs of nearly 16 million refugees throughout the world today could scarcely be greater. God is calling us through these helpless people. We should consider the chance of being able to assist them a privilege that will, in turn, bring great blessings to ourselves and our Society.

- Pedro Arrupe, S.J., "The Society of Jesus and the Refugee Problem," 14 November 1980.

The fourteeth day of this month is the thirtieth anniversary of the foundation of the Jesuit Refugee Service by Father General Pedro Arrupe. The global refugee crisis that Father Arrupe observed in 1980 has only grown more serious over the past thirty years; according to the most recent available UNHCR statistics, the number of forcibly displaced people in the world has risen to 43.3 million. Still guided by Father Arrupe's vision of the integration of pastoral care and practical assistance, JRS currently works with refugees and internally displaced persons in over fifty countries.

One of the ways in which JRS is marking its thirtieth anniversary this month is with an online retreat based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. This retreat offers an opportunity for daily prayer and reflection on the plight of refugees and migrants, combining meditations from the Exercises with reflections and stories offered by JRS staff members from around the world. Reflections for the first week of the retreat are already online, with content for the remaining weeks to be provided as the month goes on. Whether you are looking for a new way to pray or simply want to know more about the work that JRS is doing around the globe, I invite you to give the online retreat a look. AMDG.


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