Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) held two Youth 4 Others – Social Justice Days in November, 2019. The first session was held on November 21 at St. Bonaventure’s College in St John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the second one was held on November 26 at the Mount Mary Retreat Centre, in Ancaster, Ontario.
Building on the successes of our previous years, we invited students to come for this unique day of learning, reflection and solidarity around international social justice. Inspired by the words of Father Pedro Arrupe SJ, who called on us to be ‘men and women for others’, we welcomed youth in Canada who can be ‘Youth for Others’.
Our theme for both sessions was ‘JUST Communities’ and our main speaker was Father Arturo Estrada SJ, Director of the Jesuit Mission of Bachajón, Chiapas, Mexico. Fr Arturo shared with the students that “In Bachajón, we have made the Tseltal culture and peoples the center of our work. We have strived for decades to acculturate the Church…today, Tseltals can live their Catholic faith as part of their own culture, in a way that matches their understanding of the world and its peoples.” The Jesuits seek to accompany their “struggle for economic, cultural and political autonomy. We work with them to retrieve and preserve what they call slamalil qu’inal, or harmony, both in the individual and the community.”
Both days of learning, reflection and workshops, left students with an understanding of the inseparable link between faith and the promotion of justice. Both sessions also encouraged students to consider how they can be ‘youth for others’ and work for justice in solidarity with poor and marginalized people at home and in our global community.