Hospitality and peace: Lombardi's priorities

A colloquium will take place in Rome tomorrow to commemorate the 34th anniversary of the foundation of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, Director of the Holy See's Press Office, will discuss the challenges of the reception of refugees with Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, in an event co-organised by JRS International and Centro Astalli entitled Hospitality on the frontiers.

The colloquium will be an opportunity to explore the concept of refugee reception, borders and asylum. The meeting, which coincides with International Children's Day, will provide an opportunity to discuss the education of refugee minors, one of the principal areas of intervention of the Jesuit Refugee Service worldwide. It will be introduced by Fathers Peter Balleis SJ, JRS International Director, and Fr Camillo Ripamonti SJ, Director of Centro Astalli, the JRS centre for refugees in Rome. Also taking part will be Tareq Al Jabr, a Syrian refugee living in Italy and Fr Mourad Abu Seif SJ, a Jesuit from Aleppo, who will speak of the war tearing apart Syria and its people.

Use communication for peace

Last week, Fr Lombardi - who is also director of the Vatican Television Centre and Radio and is Pope Francis’ spokesman - was awarded an honorary doctorate in Sciences of Social Communication by the Salesian Pontifical University. The honour was awarded to Fr Lombardi “for his constant and continuous service in the work of evangelisation and the spread of the Christian message and [for being] the voice of the Pope in the world.” 

In the course of his lecture marking the 25th anniversary of the university’s faculty, Fr Lombardi stressed the importance of speaking of peace, continually and stubbornly, recalling: "How many times in recent years have the popes patiently and consistently led to talk of peace, sometimes passionately pounding his fist on the window sill as John Paul II did, sometimes earnestly, sometimes hoping against hope? " You need to "use communication for peace,” he continued, “ to proclaim (no matter how difficult or complex), to accompany and support the peacemakers of all kinds, to teach peace, to pass it in the attitudes of newspapers, through the tone of voice, through attitudes of dialogue or images, depending on the medium you use. "