On 8 December 2015, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) officially put “Mercy in Motion” as a concrete sign of its commitment to the Jubilee Year of Mercy. Mercy in Motion is an advocacy and fundraising campaign to expand and strengthen JRS’s education programs through its Global Education Initiative. The goal of this initiative is to provide educational services to 100,000 more refugees than they currently do by the year 2020. See JRS press release.
Earlier in the fall, from 7–9 October 2015, CJI director Jenny Cafiso participated in a JRS council meeting in Rome. High on the agenda was the Global Education Initiative and the funding of this initiative through the Mercy in Motion campaign. The goal is to raise US$35 million in recognition of JRS’s 35th anniversary this year.
More recently, on 14 November 2015, Mercy in Motion was given official support by Pope Francis at a private audience at the Vatican. In attendance at the audience were JRS council members, including Jenny Cafiso, JRS regional directors, major donors to the campaign, and a group of refugees, including Syrians for whom the pope had special words of comfort and solidarity.
In addition, Pope Francis had a message of encouragement for JRS. After noting that there are now almost 60 million refugees in the world, he continued:
Behind these statistics are people, each of them with a name, a face, a story, an inalienable dignity which is theirs as a child of God…. At present, you are active in ten different regions, with projects in forty-five countries, through which you provide services to refugees and peoples in internal migrations…. The decision to be present in areas of greatest need, in conflict and post-conflict zones, has brought you international recognition for your closeness to people and your ability to learn from this how better to serve….
The Jesuit Refugee Service works to offer hope and prospects to refugees, mainly through the educational services you provide, which reach large numbers of people and is of particular importance. Offering an education is about much more than dispensing concepts. It is something which provides refugees with the wherewithal to progress beyond survival, to keep alive the flame of hope, to believe in the future and to make plans.
Canadian Jesuits International supports the educational work of JRS among refugees in a number of countries around the world. If you would like to contribute, please visit our donation page.