“How difficult it is to stay at home for those who live in tiny, ramshackle dwellings, or for the homeless. How difficult it is for migrants, those who are deprived of freedom, and those in rehabilitation from an addiction.”
Pope Francis, 2020 Easter message
I hope that you and your loved ones are healthy and safe amid the current global pandemic.
We are all experiencing grief, hope and solidarity. Some of us have lost loved ones to COVID-19; others are struggling with our health; and many face serious economic hardship. Yet, as a testament to the resiliency of people, we are also witnessing many acts of self-sacrifice and generosity among essential workers and neighbours. We are redefining the meaning of community.
I am very grateful to each of you for being part of our CJI community and for your continued generosity. COVID-19 has affected us all, but especially those who live in the margins of society anywhere in the world. The experience of people in Africa, Asia and Latin America is compounded by daunting challenges: physical distancing in crowded slums and refugee camps; washing hands regularly when water is scarce; a weak healthcare system.
Our Jesuit partners have not wavered in their support of poor and marginalized people affected by this pandemic. We ask that you do not waver in yours. Please donate to CJI to support their efforts.
In the Global South, our Jesuit partner organizations and their staff show quiet heroism in protecting those most at risk. In South Sudan, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has closed schools but is engaged in a campaign to combat misinformation and to support prevention measures. The Xavier Jesuit School in Cambodia worries whether their school will ever open again due to financial uncertainty caused by this crisis. In Lebanon, JRS continues psychosocial support for refugees by using cellphones and WhatsApp. In India, St Alphonsus Social and Agricultural Centre (SASAC) has adopted families within their community to address issues of food insecurity brought about by the lockdown.
Our partners have shared with us their stories of courage, hope and faith amidst adversity. Now we share them with you on our website: From the margins: the impact of COVID-19 in the Global South. As part of this effort to hear their stories, we also organized a series of webinars on Hope in solidarity. The first webinar with Fr. Nawras Samour SJ from Syria was held last May 5. The second webinar on the Amazon was held last June 25 with Fr Alfredo Ferro SJ of the Jesuit Service for the Pan-Amazon Region and Anitalia Pijachi, a Uitota Indigenous community leader. The last webinar on India was held on September 2 with Fr Pascal Xalxo SJ of the Human Life Development and Research Centre and Babita Biswakarma of Hayden Hall. To view the recordings of these webinar, please click here.
The pandemic has made clear that the world is truly interconnected and we are only as resilient as the most excluded and marginalized among us. I have been touched deeply by the messages of concern and well wishes for CJI and all Canadians from our international partners. It is a time when the words “love your neighbor as yourself” assume a whole new meaning. We are truly all in this together.
Please support CJI and our partners in the Global South with a generous donation so that they can provide medical equipment, hygiene items, basic foodstuffs, online educational programs, teaching materials for home, support for vulnerable families.
Your generosity offers hope to those most in need. As we navigate a new world of shared fears, grief and hope, let us stand in solidarity in facing this crisis.
In solidarity and with gratitude,
Canadian Jesuits International