Welcome to our December 2019-January 2020 edition of Act Justly! Firstly we would like to introduce the newest member of the JPO team—Julie. Julie has an extensive history in journalism and social justice and we are delighted to welcome her on board.
We begin this edition with two reflections (one from our very own Fr Peter Smith and one from Carolina Gottardo, director of Jesuit Refugee Service) from the Catholic delegation that visited the men of Manus Island in Port Moresby in November 2019. Our next article continues the story of trying to assist people seeking asylum to live with more dignity by announcing that Sydney Catholic Early Childhood Services (SCECS) will make place available in each of their long day care centres for a child from a family seeking asylum to have education and care.
We also give you a brief summary of the second annual Sydney Street Feast to mark the World Day of the Poor. The Sydney Street Feast was a lot larger than last year and we are very grateful to our enthusiastic team of volunteers who helped us serve others on the day—we could not have done it without you!
We also draw your attention to Red Wednesday which has grown to include several new dioceses in Australia and particularly highlights the plight of persecuted Christians around the world—an issue that is too often ignored in the public spotlight. As we approach Christmas, we should always bear in mind that Christ was a child refugee who also had to flee persecution. In the spirit of Christmas you may also want to consider contributing to the Jesuit Refugee Service Advent Appeal.
Our December edition would not be complete without some ideas on ethical Christmas shopping, or more accurately, on Christmas giving, in recognition of the fact that Christ made a gift of himself to humanity at Christmas. We have written about this before but this year it is particularly worth considering the Buy Regional campaign to support our drought-stricken regional communities.
We finish off with an excerpt from an address by Pope Francis at the Meeting for Peace on his recent trip to Hiroshima Japan where at the site of one of the world’s worst injustices, he exhorts us all to continually work for peace and justice. This exhortation is particularly timely in the lead up to the birth of the Prince of Peace and the World Day of Peace on 1 January 2020.
We wish you all a holy and peaceful Christmas season and a blessed year for 2020.
—Blessings, JPO Team