The Mary Ward Centre was host to the presentation by Fr. Tom Smolich SJ, the Director of Jesuit Relief Services (JRS) on April 12, 2016. Fr. Smolich spoke about the global crisis and the challenges facing the people around the world who are forced to move from their homeland. He provided some statistics, indicating that there are approximately 4 million people in Syria who have been forced to move within Syria and another 4 million who have left Syria. He also mentioned the refugees from Darfur who have moved to Chad and have been in camps for over 15 years.
In Canada the Canadian Jesuits International (CJI) carries out the work of JRS. The CJI has projects and missions in Mexico, Jamaica, India and elsewhere. JRS held an international meeting in Rome to formally establish their “Mercy in Motion” campaign which is inspired by this Holy Year of Mercy as proclaimed by Pope Francis. The goal is to educate more than 100,000 new students in the next five years.
The focus on education is vital. Fr. Tom reminded the group that education transforms communities, builds human dignity and creates safe spaces. His main inspiration for the work is that we cannot become what we need to be by staying where we are.