Hospitality is the key says Pope Francis
07 September 2015
Brussels, 7 September 2015 – Pope Francis Sunday issued a strong appeal to the entire European Church to take in refugee families as part of the build-up to the upcoming Jubilee year of Mercy. His message was backed up by John Dardis head of the Jesuits in Europe, who called for renewed activism and efforts to show hospitality to refugees in Europe. JRS Europe together with national JRS offices and partners across the continent is putting hospitality at the heart of all its actions in the coming months.
Pope Francis has long called for refugees to be welcomed and respected. In his first year as a Pope in 2013 he visited JRS Italy in Rome, meeting and speaking with refugees in the soup kitchen. In November 2014 in an address to the European Parliament in Strasbourg, he called on European policymakers to ensure that the Mediterranean did not become a ‘vast graveyard’ of those seeking safety.
On Sunday, he made his most direct call for hospitality to date: “May every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe take in one family.” He added that the two parishes in the Vatican itself would each welcome a refugee family.
“Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing death by war and by hunger, and who are on a path toward a hope for life, the Gospel calls us to be neighbours to the smallest and most abandoned, to give them concrete hope,” Francis said. It’s not enough to say “Have courage, hang in there.”
Head of the Jesuits in Europe, John Dardis SJ, called on JRS and its network to fulfil the Pope’s message of hospitality.
“We have all seen the terrible images in the last number of days about refugees dying as they try to reach safety in Europe,” says Dardis. Comparing the current refugee crisis to that of the Second World War, Dardis says that “our values of solidarity and hospitality are needed now more than ever.”
Looking at recent civil society initiatives, JRS Europe is more than ever convinced of the value of hospitality. As Adolfo Nicolas SJ, superior general of the Jesuits said at the 34th anniversary of JRS: “Opening one’s door to the displaced is not only a Christian value, but a human one that recognises the claim that all of us have to be welcomed, not because we are members of a specific family, race or faith community, but simply because we are human beings who deserve welcome and respect.”
“JRS Europe together with national JRS offices and partners has already begun to facilitate and co-ordinate a number of community-building projects. Besides accommodation projects we will also roll out a series of awareness raising activities and continue our targeted advocacy with belief and determination,” says JRS Europe director Jean-Marie Carrière.
In response to the immediate need to receive and help refugees, JRS offices have received an upsurge of offers and inquiries. To find out how best to support our work on refugees, here is a current list with links of where we are active:
JRS United Kingdom
JRS South East Europe (Croatia, Macedonia, Kosovo) – website under construction, please contact the communications officer: firstname.lastname@example.org
In Spain: Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes
All of us have to be welcomed, not because we are members of a specific family, race or faith community, but simply because we are human beings who deserve respect.