“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace.

– Isaiah 52:7

Dear Friend,

Reflecting on the prophet Isaiah’s words, I cannot help but think of the significance of mountains to Jesus, whose birth we will soon celebrate. Jesus often went up to the mountains to pray in solitude. He taught on the mountains; he preached about how faith, however small, can move mountains. There were other significant moments in Jesus’ life up in the mountains, including his death and ascension into heaven.

Isaiah paints a striking image of Jesus walking on the mountains to deliver a message of peace. How wonderful to hear these words of hope and deliverance on the day of Christ’s birth, and even more so as our world continues to suffer from drawn-out wars and conflicts — not only in Russia and Ukraine, Israel and Palestine, but also less known ones such as the conflict in Sudan — as well as threats of war elsewhere.

The Scripture passage made me think of our fragile Earth, which this year recorded the hottest month  and hottest day  in about 120,000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization. We are now in the era of “global boiling,” warn scientists. I think about our Jesuit partners who help address the impact of climate change, especially on vulnerable populations in the Global South.

The imagery of mountains took me back to the India and Nepal trip that I undertook in spring with my colleague, Juan Emilio Hernandez, CJI International Programs Coordinator, to visit our dedicated Jesuit partners. On our way to visit CJI-supported projects, we marveled at God’s creation when we got a glimpse of the majestic Everest in Nepal.

Isaiah’s words gain greater resonance as I reflect on the meaning of Christmas in today’s world. In addition to conflicts across the globe, we are grappling with rising inflation, food insecurity, violation of human rights, historic levels of global human displacement and humanitarian need, all of which are amplified by the lingering global pandemic. With Covid-19 erasing more than four years of hard-won gains in eradicating poverty, the UN estimates that 574 million people will continue to live in poverty by 2030. Poverty deprives people of their human rights, including the right to education, with women and girls bearing a disproportionate burden of its impacts.

Addressing these global challenges requires us to move mountains — together. The message of peace that Jesus brings is a challenge for us to deepen our faith and put it into action.

With an abiding faith in God and support from generous Canadians like you, our Jesuit partners are scaling mountains of challenges  and bringing a message of hope.

Small-scale farmers learn organic agriculture at Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre in Zambia. Photo: Eric Clayton/JCCU

In Zambia, small-scale farmers learn organic farming practices that protect the land and improve their livelihood at the Jesuit-run Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre. Br Paul Desmarais SJ, who introduced organic farming at Kasisi where he served for decades, and who died this year, often expressed his belief that, “our faith is intimately linked to justice; social justice has to include justice for the environment.”

The Jesuit Migration Network offers solidarity and support for thousands of people fleeing armed conflict, persecution, hunger, and political crises in Central America, and other parts of the world. Many migrants pass through the Darien Gap, a stretch of treacherous mountains and jungles between Colombia and Panama, where they are at the mercy of criminal gangs and other dangers.

Thousands of poor and marginalized people in Matigara, India, continue to receive free medical treatment, especially for leprosy and tuberculosis, at Jesu Ashram, the health care facility of the Jesuits of Darjeeling. The program also makes transformative change possible via a three-year course on nursing for women from poor families.

Addressing South Sudan’s high illiteracy rate (more than 70%) is a Sisyphean task, but the Jesuits of Eastern Africa Province believe that even small steps can push the needle. It has established the Mazzolari Teachers Training College to equip instructors with more skills so they can teach better.

This Christmas, we thank you for helping us and our partners move mountains with your unwavering support.

We wish you a blessed Christmas.

Jenny Cafiso
Executive Director

Banner photo: Mother and child from one of the communities served by CJI partner, Lok Manch. By Juan Emilio Hernandez/CJI 

Donate now to the 2023 CJI Christmas Appeal



3 December 2023

“And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”
– Mark 13:37


Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre teaches organic farming, which produces healthier crops that benefit farmers and their communities.  Photo:  Eric Clayton/JCCU

God’s gift of land yields a good harvest at KATC, a Jesuit-run farmer training institute that has served thousands of small-scale farmers in Zambia. The centre has taught organic farming practices since 1990, the year Br Paul Desmarais SJ, a Canadian Jesuit who became its director for decades, introduced it. Kasisi also offers agricultural training, non-formal learning activities, research, and marketing support to local farmers. It recently launched a new diploma program on organic agriculture. Organic farming has helped farmers feed their families better and allowed them to adapt to and address climate change. At Kasisi, trainees, about 30% of them women, learn about traditional agriculture knowledge and innovative technologies that promote food security and care for the Earth.


10 December 2023

“We wait for new heavens and a new earth, where righteousness is at home.” 
– 2 Peter 3:13


Thousands of migrants and refugees receive humanitarian relief and accompaniment from Jesuit Migration Network.. Photo: RJM

As conflict, violence, human rights violations, persecution, and economic and political crises continue to force thousands of people to flee Nicaragua, Guatemala, and El Salvador, the Jesuit Migration Network works relentlessly to provide humanitarian relief and accompaniment to migrants. In recent years, Central American migrants have been joined by more than 130,000 others who crossed from South America through the Darien Gap in Panama: people from Haiti, Cuba, Venezuela, and parts of Asia and Africa, including children and adolescents. The network offers them food, medication, shelter and refuge, psychological and spiritual support, and legal advice.


17 December 2023

“He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him.” 
– John 1:7


Poor and marginalized people receive medical care at Jesu Ashram, a Jesuit health care facility in Matigara, India. Photo: Jenny Cafiso

Jesu Ashram continues to offer hope and healing to thousands of poor and marginalized people in Matigara, India, who avail of its free medical treatment, especially for leprosy and tuberculosis. This health care facility of the Jesuit Province of Darjeeling has a 300-bed capacity for general, tuberculosis and leprosy patients. It runs an outpatient clinic where thousands have received medical care over the years. Jesu Ashram also offers a three-year course on nursing for women from poor families who have completed their high school education.


24 December 2023

“For nothing will be impossible with God.” 
– Luke 1:37


Young women train to become teachers in a school run by Jesuits and the Diocese of Rumbek in Cuiebet, South Sudan. Photo: Jesuits of Eastern Africa Province

The Jesuits of Eastern Africa Province (AOR) helps to address illiteracy in South Sudan through the Mazzolari Teachers Training College. More than 70% of South Sudan’s population above the age of 15 is illiterate, and majority of them are women, according to UNESCO. The school offers a part-time pre-service program and a two-year full-time in-service certificate for teachers who have completed high school or are teaching primary schools without qualifications. Young women and girls, many of whom are still pushed into forced marriages, are especially encouraged to become the leaders who will guide the next generation to a brighter future.