An Account of Our Hope: a Christmas letter from our Director

16 December 2021

Related: JRS Europe

A reflection for the end of the year and best wishes for Christmas from our Director Alberto Ares SJ.

Dear friends,

We are approaching the last days of the year. A year which has been full of enthusiasm and exciting projects for JRS in Europe, but also a convulsive year which has deeply touched our lives, especially with the pandemic raging on.

Over the course of this year, we heard many stories of vulnerability that shape our daily work at JRS. God writes the history of salvation through his frailty, through human vulnerability. “I have heard the cry of my people, says the Lord.” (Ex. 3:7) Through his frailty, he sought us.

We are now approaching the beginning of a year yet to be built, which we all hope will be the start of a new phase where hospitality, solidarity, reconciliation and justice will be placed at the centre of our agenda. Hospitality invites us not to be afraid of the fragility that we experience in our world, because it is through our vulnerabilities that God is present to us. “By his wounds, you have been healed” (1Pt 2: 24). Through vulnerability, there is only dialogue between those who are wounded.

On these special days of meeting and celebration, we would like to especially thank you for all the support, work and affection that each of your organisations and communities shows in building a more welcoming, just, and caring society. As you all know, social inclusion, access to protection, and detention will be main elements of our mission over the coming years in the New Strategic Framework 2022-24.

Pope Francis invites us to walk together and to grow in fraternity and inclusion as a big family:

‘I also make this appeal to journey together towards an ever wider “we” to all men and women, for the sake of renewing the human family, building together a future of justice and peace, and ensuring that no one is left behind. Our societies will have a “colourful” future, enriched by diversity and by cultural exchanges. Consequently, we must even now learn to live together in harmony and peace.’ (WMRD, 2021)

With your support, JRS Europe aspires to become a seed of the Kingdom and good news, standing with all the people we accompany, serve and advocate for. May we all feel more moved in this new year to give “an account of our hope” (1 Pet. 3, 15), to walk together, because this way, everything becomes more bearable, as in weakness – with this Child born in swaddling clothes – we become stronger, because from Faith and the promotion of Justice we become authentic human beings, because in Love and in communion everything makes sense.

To all of you, merry Christmas and best wishes for the new year, with renewed gratitude for your commitment to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and others who are forcibly displaced.

Many blessings,

Alberto Ares, SJ