Photo: CJI.

The events of 2021 leave us with a choice: either drown in our own egoism or open ourselves to new relationships based on solidarity and on the care of our planet. This is one of the key messages Fr Ismael Moreno SJ from Honduras gave us during CJI’s webinar on Solidarity in a COVID-19 World in November 2021. He urges us to get close to people on the margins because among those who have been wounded and oppressed, we find hope – a hope rooted in the vision of solidarity of the Good Samaritan. The words of Fr Melo, as he is affectionately known, hold the key to understanding 2021 and for harboring hope for 2022.

In the past year, COVID-19 continued to affect the whole world, particularly those who live on the margins of society. Extreme weather events caused thousands of deaths, made tens of thousands homeless and destroyed people’s livelihoods. These “natural” disasters are by no means restricted to poorer countries. Last November, British Colombia was hit by a massive storm that dumped a month’s worth of rain in two days.

Caring for our common home has taken on more urgency. There was hope that at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) last November, the global community would effectively address the issue of a warming planet. Yet, as Sylvia Miclat writes in the opening article, “Political forces had the upper hand in the decisions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” The voices of youth, Indigenous people and marginalized groups were not heard, yet they are the ones who will bear the brunt of climate change.

If we are guided by the vision of the Good Samaritan and work towards the greater good, 2022 could be the beginning of a new world order. As Fr Melo said, it is a solidarity that does not only treat wounds, but recognizes the dignity of each human being, ensures a just distribution of resources, respects human rights and cares for the Earth.

This edition reviews the work of CJI and of our Jesuit partners in 2021. In these varied initiatives, we sow the seeds of a new future through solidarity with the most vulnerable people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. In Zambia, Kasisi Agricultural Training Centre promotes agroecology as a just and sustainable way of farming. In India, Lok Manch builds climate-resilient communities through education, safeguarding resources and providing livelihood to vulnerable people.

The success of these projects relies on the support given by all of you. For that, I am deeply grateful. As Sylvia Miclat says, “a hope that is deepened by faith and the resilience and creativity of the human spirit can uplift and strengthen, especially when the voices are many and move in solidarity.” That is our challenge and our hope for 2022.