Social Justice

James Conway SJ
Only as a Jesuit, could I dared have hoped to have been given so many incredible opportunities to see and experience life in all of its diversity.I write this piece on the tenth anniversary of my ordination. Such milestones punctuate our lives. They help us to pause and look back over the paths we've trodden. I entered the Jesuit novitiate when I was 31 years old and so brought with me a fair amount of lived experience. The thread, or one of them, which connects my life 'before' and...
One human family and refugees welcome banners
As the days really shorten and darken in the nations of Britain and of the northern hemisphere, the monthly Universal Intention of the Holy Father, commended to the church though his Prayer Network, keeps us mindful of the awful suffering of refugees, many of whom have come to these nations to escape persecution and violence. We are invited, through prayer and reflection, to grow in compassion for all displaced people, most of whom experience great need and pain. We have a powerful reminder of...
In this month of September, we get ready to say goodbye to summer for another year. Some of us have to get used to going back to work after a summer break or,to get ready to go back to school or to begin a new course of studies, perhaps in a new place. We need to keep in mind that summer holidays and the possibility of studying are among the opportunities unavailable to many people for whom life is a struggle that has to continue no matter what month or season it is.A disadvantaged family might...
Nine male prisoners mainly in their 20s and 30s, took part in a Week of Guided Prayer in Brixton Prison. One man was in segregation but was able to have a fruitful retreat thanks to daily visits from the chaplain for spiritual direction. The participants were dedicated and attended each day.God was definitely at work before and during the retreat and will continue to be now it has finished. We had initially planned for four Jesuit priests to help as spiritual guides but three of them had to...
Boat in a storm by Jean-Pierre Brungs
Prayer is an important part of life for many of the residents of the detention centre that Fr Harry Elias visits. He shares one reflection which offers them solace and hope.I am ever amazed at the strong faith I find in the detainees that I visit, at least in those with whom I speak and those who come to church. A great number of them are Pentecostals from Africa and often their sole reading is the bible. I am thankful for this common ground between us, as I can capture their attention quite...
Polling Station by Elliott Stallion on unsplash.com
About 20 years ago, there was a terrible famine in East Africa. I’m sure that anyone over 30 will remember it. When television pictures were shown around the world of thousands of sick and starving men, women and children crowded into refugee camps, there was a global public outcry that, in this day and age, the rest of the world could permit over a million people to starve to death. Many people said: “somebody should do something.” A very few said: “I must do something...
A farmer on his farm, ploughing
Here in the northern hemisphere, spring arrives around now yet many of us feel anything but spring-like, despite the fact that the Lord is risen indeed and that plant-life in our gardens, city squares and window-sills is burgeoning, even blooming. There just seems too much to sadden, even terrify us, too many reasons to repudiate hope. It feels that our days are darker, not brighter. But the new life is springing; “now the green blade riseth”, as we can sing. We can learn much from...
image found and saved from www.mcgilldaily.com
In today’s gospel the people of his home town turn against Jesus, and try to do away with him by pushing him over the brow of the steep hill that there town is built on. No-one has ever tried to push me over the brow of a cliff! Don't get me wrong - most of the time I'm very grateful for that; but I do sometimes wonder why not. I’ve been, for the best part of forty years, a Jesuit, a very public follower of Jesus. But no-one, in all that time, has ever attacked me for this in the way they...
'The only world we have': Earth from space
Today, as Tim Peake (the first official UK Astronaut to go into space) spends his first full day on the International Space Station, I find myself pondering and marvelling at the limitlessness of human capacity. Admittedly, I even got a little emotional thinking about the bravery and childlike wonder of humanity, which at its very core, pursues the understanding of our world and beyond.With this in mind, I think back to Saturday night as I was enjoying a (somewhat) well deserved (vegetarian)...
Pope Francis opens the Holy Door at Bangui Cathedral, L'Osservatore Romano
The Catholic Church throughout the world formally begins the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy today, 8 December, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Pope Francis invites the whole Church to refashion itself as a place not of judgment or condemnation but of pardon and merciful love. “Perhaps we have long since forgotten how to show and live the way of mercy,” Pope Francis wrote in the document Misericordiae Vultus (The Face of Mercy) in which he announced the Jubilee Year. He...

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