The goal of the Child Safeguarding workshop was to get a deeper understanding of safeguarding issues; to reflect on our role and responsibilities; as well as to develop skills and strategies for the implementation of policies and procedures to ensure the protection of people in our care. The sessions were facilitated by Emer Kerrigan, of the Irish Jesuit Mission office and CS coordinator for the XN, and Brian Cranmer, CS advisor of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). The group benefitted from the invaluable presence of Fr Kyara Corbinian SJ, AOR development director and Fr Augostine Ekeno SJ, Parish Priest of St. Teresa’s Reconciliation Parish in Rumbek and Director of Multi-educational and Agricultural Jesuit Institute (MAJIS) in South Sudan. The workshop was a dynamic and pedagogical experience that allowed participants to build better knowledge and skills on how to identify child abuse and, more importantly, how to work together to prevent it. It created a respectful and safe environment where participants exchanged ideas, experiences and concerns about the implementation of the policies.
Following the workshop, directors and some programs staff met to discuss issues of common concern to the members of the network with the objective of strengthening our cooperation. Fr Kyara Corbinian SJ and Fr Augostine Ekeno SJ gave a presentation about the emergency response in South Sudan, which has been made possible thanks in part to support from the Xavier Network. Emer Kerrigan from the Irish Jesuit Missions helped the group assess our progress in implementing the CS commitments made in the previous meeting. Maria del Mar Magallón, director of Alboan and Pablo Funes, international programs coordinator of Entreculturas gave a summary of the XN common projects: the Panamazon Initiative and Fe y Alegria Africa. Fr Tom Smolich SJ, JRS International Director joined the meeting via Zoom for a Q&A session on the proposal to strengthen JRS country offices. Pablo Funes from Entreculturas gave an update about the XN emergency projects in Philippines, Nepal, Venezuela and Mozambique/Zimbabwe.
The group also heard from Fr Jorge Serrano SJ, Assistant Treasurer for Development Resources, who gave a update on the current state of development work following an international meeting held in Rome last May. Fr Peter Rozic SJ, Social Apostolate Delegate of the Conference of European Provincials, shared information about the 50 Jubilee of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat to be celebrated in Rome. We also reviewed the progress of the different XN working groups (programs, advocacy, volunteers and advocacy) and the XN involvement in other international groups such as GIAN Justice in Mining and FACSI.
In a separate session, the directors, following a communal discernment process, they reflected through spiritual conversation on the common vision guiding the Xavier Network, the ways in which God is calling the network to walk with people who are excluded and how we can respond more to the needs we see.
It was a rich exchange which affirmed the way in which this network has grown in depth and has become an important space not only for common action, but for reflection and visioning on how to live our shared mission of justice and solidarity.
This article was originally published on the Jesuits in Europe website.