To love our neighbour as ourselves is the theme for Mission Month 2015. This mission is being lived out daily by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) that is present at the pressure points of the refugee crisis. It is providing humanitarian relief to refugees in Italy and Macedonia and intensifying efforts in Greece and Hungry.
When Hungary completed its barbed wire fence along its border with Serbia, people traveling through the Balkans began arriving in Croatia. JRS had set up there in preparation at the reception centre near Zagreb to provide assistance when the first group of forced migrants arrived.
The mission to accompany, to advocate and to serve displaced persons has an enduring relevance to the current refugee crisis in Europe and demands a coordinated response on two fronts: meeting the immediate humanitarian need of thousands of refugees and addressing the structural causes of the crisis.
In Ireland, national efforts will be coordinated by the Irish Jesuit Missions. Students and teachers in Jesuit secondary schools are planning fundraising and awareness raising initiatives.
On the Hungarian-Serbian border an old lady empathises with refugees
Fr John Dardis SJ, President of the Conference of European Jesuit Provincials, has called for concrete actions in response to the crisis, including advocating for a policy that is humane, in solidarity and open.
JRS Europe is calling on the President of the European Union, Donald Tusk, to lead Member States in the creation of safe and legal pathways to protection for refugees affected by the crisis. It calls for urgent political measures to save lives now before the onset of the cold winter months.
JRS in Ireland is developing a policy response, based on evidence: “Sharing Responsibility, Saving Lives: JRS Ireland Response to the European Refugee Crisis”. It will analyse the structural causes of the crisis and help to inform where the greatest needs lie, how those needs can be best served and from where resources can be mobilised to respond.
On the journey into Europe, refugees take a rest
Being informed is part of our mission
Being informed on the current refugee crisis is part of the call to mission to love our neighbour as ourselves. The Irish Jesuit Missions has produced a range of articles and resources to help our understanding of our neighbours’ plight.
Here are some to keep you going:
About the refugee crisis: reading selection
Jesuits tell their experiences to accompany, to serve and to advocate
In honour of World Refugee Day
Compiled by IJM, 8th October 2015