For the fourth year, CJI hosted its Youth 4 Others (Y4O) Social Justice Day. On 26 April 2016, more than 80 students and teachers from Catholic schools across the Greater Toronto Area gathered to focus on how to answer Pedro Arrupe’s call to be “men and women for others” by being youth for and with others. This year’s Y4O theme was centred on the relationship between mercy and justice.
The day began with St. Michael’s College Campus Ministry, who led the group in an opening prayer, performed spoken word and led the participants in icebreaker activities. Following this, keynote speaker Fr Daniel Syauswa SJ, a Jesuit priest and ecologist from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), talked about Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ and how ecology, mercy and justice are all intertwined.
Following the keynote address, the students attended workshops led by Jesuits and lay people who shared their experiences from around the world. Fr Syauswa continued the conversation on ecology, mercy and justice while also drawing from his experiences in the DRC; Roshan Kiro spoke about the work of CJI’s Jesuit partners in Darjeeling; and Dolly Ducepec spoke about unequal access to education in the Philippines. Concerning mercy and justice in Canada, Tara Muldoon from the Forgiveness Project spoke about the idea of restorative justice; Shannon Neufeldt from KAIROS spoke about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and how we can move from reconciliation to “reconciliACTION”; and Isabel Perez-Doherty shared her experiences in working for justice with Jesuit partners in Latin America and Spain and examined with students how they can act for change in their communities.
One of the educators who attended the day commented that the students “were very inspired by the connection between learning/spirituality and social justice action,” and participants found that the day allowed them to become “more aware of injustices around the world.”
Thank you to all the schools who participated, and to St. Michael’s College Campus Ministry for hosting us and being part of our day!