Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Jesuit Refugee Service Director Reflects on Accompanying the Most Vulnerable

The Kakuma Refugee Camp on the Kenyan border of southern Sudan was founded in 1991 for approximately 25,000 former child soldiers from Sudan, often known as the “lost boys.” Within this city of refugees sits the Safe Haven, an initiative of the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Currently beyond capacity, the Safe Haven serves a vulnerable population – unaccompanied women and children, many of whom are victims of sexual and gender-based violence. Jesuit Refugee Service/USA director Jesuit Father Michael Evans, visited this work in March 2010, reflecting on his visit and experiences for Jesuit Refugee Service’s Voices.

“The camp is now bursting with 85,000 refugees living there, and a Kakuma II is being planned — and the JRS extended team has grown to sixteen. Along with continued pastoral care, dozens of trauma counselors have been trained over the years. However, the new work now includes a safe house for vulnerable women and children; the care of refugees with physical, mental, and emotional challenges; and outreach to those who cannot make it to the JRS Centers.”

Safe Haven in Kakuma from Jesuit Refugee Service | USA on Vimeo.

To read Father Evans’ full reflection, click here. Or to learn more about Jesuit Refugee Service, please visit their website.

U.S. Jesuit on New Jesuit High School in Tanzania

Jesuit Father Martin ConnellShare

Jesuit Father Martin Connell, of the Chicago-Detroit Province, is currently visiting the United States to discuss the Jesuits’ successful efforts in opening a new high school in Tanzania.

Fr. Connell left his faculty position in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount University in March 2009 to help open St. Peter Claver High School in Dodoma, Tanzania. The Jesuit boarding school opened in January 2011 with Connell as headmaster, and it currently serves 140 boys and girls in their first year of secondary school.

“We’re here because it’s a poor region that’s been underserved by education,” said Connell.

Connell’s primary mission is to help Tanzanians “build capacity” by establishing a strong educational system. He said the notion of building capacity is a fundamental value of the democratic way of life.

“St. Peter Claver High School will cultivate these democratic ideals, which in fact dovetail with Jesuit values,” Connell said. “Students will be encouraged to build their capacity as individuals, always with an eye to how this positively affects their fellow citizens to the greater glory of God.”

For more information on Connell and his U.S. visit, go to the Chicago-Detroit Province website.

Jesuits in Eastern Africa – St. Peter Claver High School from Midwest Jesuits on Vimeo.

Jesuit Middle East Expert on Egypt’s Revolution

Jesuit Father Drew ChristiansenShare

Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, editor-in-chief of America magazine and former director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace, said that the success of a nonviolent revolution in Egypt is one of “multiple signs of spring in the North African winter.”

Fr. Christiansen, an expert on the Middle East, was keynote speaker at the Diocese of Arlington’s annual peace symposium on Feb. 12.

“I think it’s wonderful that Egypt was a nonviolent revolution. It was so unexpected. For 18 days in a country of 80 million people, how do you get that to happen?” Christiansen asked. “Those that preached that nonviolence wasn’t to be found in the Muslim world have been proved wrong again.”

As for what’s next for Egypt, he said it will be a waiting game, with the hope that the country will end up with a responsible democratic government.

Christiansen also focused his talk on religious freedom in other Middle Eastern countries and the role the United States is playing and has played. For more on Christiansen’s talk, visit Catholic News Service.

Jesuit Middle East Expert on Egypt's Revolution

Jesuit Father Drew ChristiansenShare

Jesuit Father Drew Christiansen, editor-in-chief of America magazine and former director of the U.S. bishops’ Office of International Justice and Peace, said that the success of a nonviolent revolution in Egypt is one of “multiple signs of spring in the North African winter.”

Fr. Christiansen, an expert on the Middle East, was keynote speaker at the Diocese of Arlington’s annual peace symposium on Feb. 12.

“I think it’s wonderful that Egypt was a nonviolent revolution. It was so unexpected. For 18 days in a country of 80 million people, how do you get that to happen?” Christiansen asked. “Those that preached that nonviolence wasn’t to be found in the Muslim world have been proved wrong again.”

As for what’s next for Egypt, he said it will be a waiting game, with the hope that the country will end up with a responsible democratic government.

Christiansen also focused his talk on religious freedom in other Middle Eastern countries and the role the United States is playing and has played. For more on Christiansen’s talk, visit Catholic News Service.

Jesuit Says Zambia Must Not Let Elections be Marred by Violence

Jesuit Father Peter HenriotShare

U.S.-born Jesuit Father Peter Henriot, who has served for 20 years in Zambia, said the country must not permit its 2011 elections to be marred by political violence, as happened in other African countries.

Fr. Henriot, outgoing director of the Jesuit Center for Theological Reflection in Lusaka, said Zambians must ensure that their general elections are held freely and transparently, which includes ensuring fairness in the period leading up to the election.

“That means the media should cover all political parties,” said Henriot, who recently returned to the U.S. and is scheduled to go to Malawi later this year. “Secondly, those civic authorities, the police and election officials must also treat all parties equally.”

Henriot dismissed the notion by some people that the Catholic Church was too involved in political matters.

“Politics is life. Jesus was a strong politician, too, because he talked life. What is wrong is to be partisan,” he said.

More of Henriot’s thoughts on the subject are available from Catholic News Service.