He was praying in a certain place, and after he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.” He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone indebted to us. And do not bring us to the time of trial.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Jesuit Refugee Service teaches so that refugees may become self-reliant and independent, able to support themselves and their families, able to return home and rebuild their communities, or to integrate into new communities if they are resettled. Importantly, education provides a sense of stability, dignity and hope both for refugee children and for their families.
A higher education program in Chad’s Djabal camp for Darfuri refugees enables refugees to take university level courses with teachers from Jesuit universities in the U.S. “The program has inspired me to think of life differently,” one young man told me. “When I left college — I studied a year and a half in Sudan — I thought I was done studying. I had lost hope in everything and was depressed. But I feel as if this opportunity has saved my life. I realize that life has many opportunities in store, not only for me but for the betterment of humanity.”
—Christian Fuchs serves as Communications Director for Jesuit Refugee Service/USA.
Jesus, our Lord and Brother, listen to our humble prayer:
Here we are, your friends, your brothers and sisters, travelling companions of your refugees. We remember today another of your friends, who spent his life seeking your face: your servant Pedro Arrupe, ‘a FIRE that kindled many fires.’ It was he who taught us that you love to hide yourself precisely in those places where humanity’s incredible and most spontaneous beauty is denied.
True humanity and the essence of his truth are not on sale in our city centers, but in poor neighborhoods abandoned in their misery, in refugee camps, in corners of the world where people suffer and are oppressed or excluded. This is where we can meet you and rediscover our own hearts. It is when we come to the edge, to the border of what is human, that we discover the center, your center and our center.
Your paths are not our paths; your ways of acting are not like ours. Jesus, our brother and friend, open the eyes of our hearts, so that we may learn to look for you where you really are, waiting and calling for our attention. May we never pass by without giving you the smile you need, may we never pass by as if you didn’t exist, or were invisible in the fine streets of our city. May we never come to believe that you have less right than we do to live and enjoy. May we rediscover in you, foreigner, immigrant, refugee, anyone who is somehow ‘different,’ the humanity we are always on the verge of losing.
Like many of the refugees, our brothers and sisters, you had to leave your hometown in order to be born, to leave your country to survive, to hide yourself to elude the hostile scrutiny of the authorities, to suffer total abandonment on the cross. All around us, we meet hundreds of our brothers and sisters who have faced and are still facing such experiences. They can help us to understand you and to see your face anew, this time with African, Slavonic, Asian features, different from our own. Guide us, Jesus of ‘unattractive appearance,’ so that we will not lose this great opportunity of meeting you and of changing our hearts at last.
Jesus our brother, change our way of looking at and feeling about our neighbors. May we not just say “What a pity,” “How terrible,” when we hear their stories. May we see you in these stories and feel in our hearts “Jesus lived like this.” We are not meeting marginalized people, but you, and in this meeting help us to be reborn with a new humanity. Amen.
—Adolfo Nicolás S.J., 30th Father General of the Society of Jesus