Social Justice & Ecology

God, people and planning

Have you ever seen or walked into a fancy handbag boutique selling the likes of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Dolce and Gabbana? Even if we have never walked into one, we all know that these bags are pricey, high class, and beyond the reach of most people. What about bags branded “Rag2Riches”? You can find them in major shopping malls in the Philippines and in Anthropologie shops in Singapore, Malaysia and many countries in Europe.

The Planet Is Our Home

There is no institution so old that it has nothing left to learn – and the Catholic Church must commit to learning about and changing its practices in relation to ecological issues. This was the message from Colombian Jesuit Fr José Mesa, Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education at the Jesuit Curia in Rome and one of the keynote speakers at the JCAP Education Colloquium in Sydney.

The difference a boat can make

Rommel Villanueva is one of the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan, known as Yolanda in the Philippines.  A fisherman in Barangay Binudac in the island of Culion, his boat was destroyed by Haiyan, which was one of the strongest tropical storms ever recorded.  With no boat, Rommel, 29, was dependent on other boat owners if he wanted to fish and provide for his wife and two young children.  For months he had to look for space on a boat every day in order to fish, and if no boat owner would take him, then he was not able to fish that day.

Fr John Carroll SJ: Requiescat in pace

Fr John Carroll SJ, founder of the Institute on Church and Social Issues in the Philippines which was later renamed after him, died in the afternoon of July 17, 2014. He was 90 years old.

Syria: daily heroism witnessed by Caritas Switzerland

On June 19, Jesuit Refugee Service Syria was honoured with the 2014 Prix Caritas award in a ceremony in Lucerne, Switzerland. Nawras Sammour SJ, JRS Middle East North Africa Director, received the award on behalf of JRS Syria.

The award honours JRS for its "tireless and courageous commitment for the benefit of the persecuted and suffering people in Syria. For bearing witness in the form of humanitarian aid, standing by people in need irrespective of their religious and ethnic affiliations".

Accompanying People on the Move

On January 19, 2014 some 5,000 people took to the streets of Hong Kong and gathered outside the police headquarters to demand justice for Erwiana, an Indonesian maid abused by her Hong Kong employer. They were members of Indonesian and Filipino migrant worker unions as well as representatives of various human rights groups in the country.

Remembering Fr Frans Van der Lugt SJ, who was killed in Syria

On the morning of April 7, 2014, Dutch Jesuit Fr Frans Van der Lugt was beaten by armed men and killed with two bullets to the head in Syria. Fr Frans had worked in Syria since 1966 and, despite the dangers, insisted on remaining in the city of Homs in solidarity with the people who could not leave the city.  "I don't see Muslims or Christians,” he said a couple of months before his death. “I see, above all, human beings.”

Fr Frans worked hard to bring Syrians of different backgrounds together and encourage dialogue between them; his favourite word had been "forward."

JSS establishes international Jesuit prison network

Jesuit Social Services (JSS) in Australia has formed an International Jesuit Prison Network (IJPN) to facilitate collaboration and support among Jesuit organisations and individuals around the world who are working in prisons or with former prisoners.  Set up late last year, the network already has the support of all the Jesuit Conferences and various Jesuit organisations including Jesuit Networking, which has offered to assist in connecting interested people.

JRS Syria awarded 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Award

The 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Award has been granted to Jesuit Refugee Service Syria (JRS Syria) for its outstanding dedication in providing emergency relief to Syrians since the war began in 2012.  According to the latest UN statistics, more than 9 million Syrians are in dire need of humanitarian assistance, including 6,5 million internally displaced persons and 2,6 million refugees in neighbouring countries.

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