“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

– John 1:5

Dear Friend,

I asked Gerardo, a young journalist working with the Jesuit-run Radio Progreso in Honduras, why he continued to do his work despite the death threats he has received. He answered, “because we need to be light in the darkness.”


Mother and child in South Sudan. Photo: Sergi Cámara/Entreculturas.

Gerardo’s words and life bear witness to John’s Gospel on Christmas day: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

Gerardo knows what these words mean in Honduras. It is a call to defend the rights of people whose most basic human rights are violated; to stand in solidarity with land defenders fighting to protect their life-giving resources. It means to amplify the voices of poor and marginalized people, even at the cost of one’s life. Berta Caceres, a renowned environmental activist and Indigenous leader, was murdered in 2016 for doing just that. People like Gerardo and Berta shine a light so darkness in Honduras can be overcome.

There is much darkness in our lives today, in a world made bleaker by COVID-19. The pandemic has exposed deep divisions in our society, revealing inequalities and injustices that affect young people more severely. Over 11 million girls worldwide, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America, risk never to return to school after the pandemic-enforced school closures. Violence, poverty and early marriage are some of the factors that prevent them from going back. The long term implications of this loss of human potential are immeasurable.

As we prepare for Christmas, let us ask ourselves what it means for us to be a beacon of light. Unless we are willing to follow Jesus and work for justice for those who are hungry, thirsty, in prison or poor and marginalized, the darkness will overcome us.

This Christmas, we have the opportunity to be a light in the darkness by supporting CJI and one of its many projects worldwide which are fighting darkness. Here we focus on four examples of Jesuit projects which shine light in the darkness:

  • Moran Memorial School in Nepal shines a light by ensuring access to quality education for poor children in the tea estates and those living in surrounding villages. Their parents are their light by ensuring that they get an education and help break the cycle of poverty.
  • Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in South Sudan shines a light by providing education to forcibly displaced children who would otherwise never have an opportunity to go to school. Angelina Ayen Majak calls herself “a woman of courage” and has pursued her education “to inspire and empower other youth.” In so doing, she shines a light in the darkness.
  • The Jesuits in Haiti are rebuilding lives and homes after an earthquake hit the country on August 14. They wrote their challenge is to “transform this tragedy into an opportunity for human and socio- economic development for the people who are poor and feel abandoned.” By so doing they can be a light that conquers darkness.
  • Radio Progreso-ERIC (Reflection, Research and Communications Team) in Honduras brings light to the darkness through the courageous work of team members like Gerardo, and the thousands of community leaders who risk their lives to defend their rights and those of their communities.

This Christmas, will you help their light shine in the darkness by supporting CJI’s work and our many projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America? Will you walk alongside people who experience poverty, exclusion, and injustice? Will you help defend their human rights, give them access to education, and protect the environment?

Jesus brings light to those who walk and live in darkness. With your generous support you too are shining a light.

With gratitude, I wish you and your family a blessed Christmas!


Jenny Cafiso
Executive Director

Banner photo: Students from St Mark’s Primary School in Maban, South Sudan listen to radio classes by Radio Miraya with instruction from JRS staff. Credit: JRS South Sudan.


28 November 2021

“He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble His way.”
– Psalm 25:9


Ms Bhojkala Paudel teaches science to students at Manthri chowk, Nepal. Photo: Moran Memorial School.

Moran Memorial School shines light in the darkness by serving children from a neighbouring tea estate and those who live in surrounding villages – children on the margins of society. Life for these children can be challenging. They often lack basic necessities: housing, sanitation, clothing, food and healthcare. Thanks to the education they receive, young people are starting to break out of the cycle of poverty, isolation and dependency, receiving the knowledge, skills and confi dence that encourage them to look for other means of employment.


5 December 2020

“And this is my prayer, that your love may overflow more and more with knowledge and full insight.”
– Philippians 1:9


Flora teaches girls in Bunj School, Maban, South Sudan. Photo: JRS South Sudan.

The Education Program of JRS South Sudan operates in six schools in the city of Yambio and Maban county. The project provides education, as well as meals and other essential items in a safe environment, to 1,300 children suffering from the effects of war and forced displacement. They who have lost everything – a home, their possession, often their family, and their childhood, find light and hope in a school community.


12 December 2020

“...Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise.”
– Luke 3:11


Haiti Earthquake 2021. Photo: Doblas Savien SJ.

A magnitude 7.2 earthquake hit Haiti last August 14, the latest in a series of calamities to hit the country in recent years. Thousands died, and close to 30,000 families were rendered homeless. Our local partners, the Jesuits of Haiti, bring light and hope to the people of Haiti by focusing on the reconstruction of homes for the homeless, and helping people rebuild their lives. They support families and communities in Sud and Grand’Anse, the two regions most affected by the earthquake and recent tropical storm Grace.


19 December 2020

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord”
– Luke 1:45


Migrants’ caravan from Honduras is stopped at the Guatemalan border last October 2020. Photo: Radio Progreso-ERIC.

Radio Progreso-ERIC (Reflection, Research and Communications Team) shines light in the darkness by defending the human rights of people who are persecuted and are victims of widespread poverty, inequality and corruption in Honduras. It promotes economic, social and political alternatives which benefit the marginalized communities they accompany. They strive for social change which benefit those who are most excluded.

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