Posts Tagged ‘JRS’

Assistant International Director of JRS Reflects Upon Serving Where Needs Are Greatest

Jesuit Father Ken Gavin, Assistant International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), reflects on the many ways the Jesuits are serving where the need is greatest around the globe.

Interviewed by Jeremy Langford, Director of Communications for the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits, Fr. Gavin also shares some of his own journey as a Jesuit and Pope Francis’ call to solidarity with the poor.

This interview took place at JRS headquarters in Rome on April 23, 2013. For more information on Jesuit Refugee Service, please visit www.jrsusa.org.

Jesuit Father Sean Carroll Calls For Immigration Reform at Congressional Hearing

At a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, Jesuit Father Sean Carroll, executive director of the Kino Border Initiative (KBI), testified about a new report that’s shedding light on disturbing cases of family separation caused by current U.S. immigration policy.

The report, “Documented Failures: the Consequences of Immigration Policy on the U.S.-Mexico Border,” commissioned by the Jesuit Conference of the United States, Jesuit Refugee Service/USA and KBI examines the experiences of migrant women, men and children deported from the United States to cities along Mexico’s northern border.

As the executive director of KBI, a bi-national humanitarian ministry of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Carroll works to aid deported migrants who pass through the KBI’s Aid Center and through Nazareth House, KBI’s shelter for migrant women and children.

At an ad hoc hearing convened by Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, U.S. representative for Arizona’s 3rd congressional district, Fr. Carroll testified, “At the U.S./Mexico border, we are witnesses to what many don’t see or refuse to acknowledge: the physical, psychological and emotional destruction caused by current U.S. immigration policies in the lives of Mexican and Central American men, women and children looking to be reunited with their family members who live in the United States.

“This report, supported by our experience and service on the border, confirms the disastrous effects of current U.S. immigration policies on families, whether through the process of deportation or because of mixed immigration status. We can and must do better.”

Following the hearing, Fr. Carroll attended the Rally for Citizenship on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol with thousands of immigrants and activists seeking to urge Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Fr. Carroll said that he thinks this is an incredibly hopeful time for immigration reform as “we are doing our best to ensure that this reform is just and humane.”

Jesuit Answers the Call in Haiti

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Jesuit Father Bill Johnson was in the Dominican Republic when the earthquake struck Haiti on January 12. Fr. Johnson is the director for pastoral care at the Institute of Latin American Concern (ILAC) of Creighton University located just outside of Santiago. ILAC is a Catholic, Ignatian-inspired, collaborative health care and educational organization offering service-learning and immersion experience opportunities in dental, medical, nursing, pharmacy, law, physical therapy and occupational therapy for undergraduate and high school students, and also to faculty-led groups, medical/surgical teams and other colleges in the rural Dominican Republic.

When the call went out for help in the days after the earthquake, Johnson answered it by offering his services as a translator and as a helper to the Creighton medical team assembled to come to Haiti to provide emergency medical care to the wounded and critically injured.

Jesuit Fr. Bill Johnson (center) poses with Jim Jalovec (left) and John Ward (right) in front of Javolec's helicopter as they deliver supplies during relief efforts in Haiti.

Jesuit Fr. Bill Johnson (center) poses with Jim Jalovec (right) and John Ward (left) in front of Jalovec's helicopter as they deliver supplies during relief efforts in Haiti.

Johnson experienced another tragedy in the days that followed the earthquake when his good friend, Jim Jalovec, was killed while providing help during the Haiti relief efforts. Jalovec had phoned Johnson immediately after the earthquake in Haiti to offer the services of his helicopter in the relief efforts. Good Samaritan Hospital in Jimaní, Dominican Republic, where Johnson and Creighton University’s medical teams were working, invited Jalovec and his pilot, John Ward, to come and fly doctors and medicine into Haiti. Three days into their rescue efforts, they died when their helicopter hit a mountain on the foggy night of Feb. 4. Johnson presided at Jalovec’s funeral in Chicago and Ward’s in Ft. Myers, Fla.

In memory of Jalovec, ILAC is selling “Show Your Goodness” t-shirts to help the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti. All profits will be sent to the Jesuit Refugee Service in Haiti to help children suffering from the earthquake. The shirts can be purchased by visiting the showyourgoodness.com website.

Johnson shared his reflections with nationaljesuitnews.com on his time helping at Good Samaritan hospital in the days following the earthquake. You can read his reflections and see his photos by clicking below.

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Jesuit Father General Visits Haiti

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Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolas, right, visits the JRS Haiti tent offices in Port au Prince with Jesuit Fr. Wismith Lazard of JRS Haiti, left. Between the two men are Jesuit Fr. Kawas Francois, in white shirt, and Jesuit Fr. Daniel Leblond. Fr. Francois is president of the Jesuit Interprovincial Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti and founding member of the National Committee for Reflection and Action, and Fr. LeBlond is the Provincial of French Canada. (Photo courtesy JRS/USA)

Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolas, right, visits the JRS Haiti tent offices in Port au Prince with Jesuit Fr. Wismith Lazard of JRS Haiti, left. Between the two men are Jesuit Fr. Kawas Francois, in white shirt, and Jesuit Fr. Daniel Leblond. Fr. Francois is president of the Jesuit Interprovincial Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti and founding member of the National Committee for Reflection and Action, and Fr. LeBlond is the Provincial of French Canada. (Photo courtesy JRS/USA)

Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolas visited the Haitian capital Thursday to see the work Jesuits have been doing to as they accompany and serve the people of Haiti in the aftermath of the devastating January 12 earthquake.

Fr. Nicolas, the leader of the Society of Jesus, visited the Jesuit novitiate in the Tabarre neighborhood of Port au Prince, where he met with staff of Jesuit Refugee Service Haiti and Fe y Alegria. Both organizations have set up offices in tents on the novitiate grounds, and staff and volunteers are also living in tents on the grounds.

For many years Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has had a grassroots presence in Haiti and has provided humanitarian assistance to displaced Haitians in both the Dominican Republic and along the Haitian border. In addition, JRS has responded to the needs of Haitians following successive natural disasters, a food crisis, and repeated hurricanes.

While continuing to maintain its presence along the Northeastern border, JRS Haiti is focusing its current relief efforts in the Port-au-Prince area, working in seven camps that serve the needs of more than 21,000 displaced people in and around the capital. After visiting with staff and holding Mass, Fr. Nicolas met with and thanked JRS staff at the Automeca camp for people displaced by the earthquake in Port au Prince.

Jesuit Refugee Service Working to Improve Camps, Provide Education in Haiti

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Two of the leading Jesuits involved in Haitian earthquake relief efforts visited Washington last week to meet with members of non-governmental organizations, Congressional staff and State Department personnel: Fr. Kawas Francois, S.J., president of the Jesuit Interprovincial Committee for the Reconstruction of Haiti and founding member of the National Committee for Reflection and Action and Fr. Wismith Lazard, S.J., director of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Haiti.

“The situation in Haiti is very difficult now. Before the earthquake, the situation was bad. Now, the situation is worse. We have a lot of unemployment, that’s a real problem. Many children can’t go to school, because so many schools collapsed in the earthquake-affected areas,” said Fr. Kawas Francois, S.J.

The Jesuit community in Haiti organized the National Committee for Reflection and Action (Cellule de Refexion et d’Action Nationale  – CRAN), composed of Jesuits and members of Haitian civil society who work together on an ongoing basis to accompany the Haitian people, their leaders, and the international community in their efforts to rebuild Haiti.

More than 80% of the population in the earthquake affected areas still live in camps. The situation is characterized by extremely high rates of unemployment and poor sanitation in the camps.

While continuing to maintain its presence along the Northeastern border, JRS Haiti is focusing its current relief efforts in the Port-au-Prince area, working in seven camps that serve the needs of more than 21,000 displaced people in and around the capital.

For more information on Jesuit Refugee Service’s work in Haiti, or how you can help, please visit: http://www.jrsusa.org