Praying with Refugees

Confronted by the conflict, slaughter, and seemingly endless anguish in so many other places in our world, we wonder how God can allow such things to happen. The Old Testament describes how the people of Israel suffered war, violence, famine, persecution, and exile, and how they tried to find the presence of the loving God of the covenant in all those harsh realities.

This section of the website offers readers an opportunity to reflect and pray on the good and evil which happens. As we meet and work with refugees who have confronted evil and suffering, it is important to remind them and ourselves as well to keep in touch with God, the source of all good and love. This is the only way to withstand evil.



Praying with Refugees in Thailand: hope in a foreign land
06 June 2014
Bangkok, 6 June 2014 – Bright light was filtering through the rainbow paned glass in the Jesuit chapel as the Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific staff from the Philippines, Indonesia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand all gathered around Amber*, a small baby in the arms of her parents, Sheeba* and Dawood*, from Pakistan.
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Praying with Refugees in Cambodia: return requires constant trust and forgiveness
01 September 2013
Siem Reap, 1 September 2013 — When the landscape of home is a constant reminder of terrible injustice, how do you forgive and move forward, with neighbours who were once your jailers?
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Praying with refugees in Nairobi
01 December 2012
(Nairobi) December 1, 2012 — Urban refugees in Nairobi live on the margins of society, not legally allowed to work, and struggling in an already over-crowded city. Fleeing violence, political instability and drought, refugees end up living in economically-deprived areas, desperate to find a place to call home, searching for hospitality in an unfamiliar country.
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Praying with Refugees in Australia
01 November 2012
(Sydney) November 1, 2012 — The Jesuit Refugee Service office in Sydney is located in an inner city Jesuit parish. For many refugees a visa is the beginning of a new struggle, not the end. Psychological trauma and loss can be completely debilitating to even the strongest of personalities.
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Praying with Refugees in the Philippines
01 October 2012
(Guindulungan, Philippines) October 1, 2012 — The southern Philippines has been ravaged by political violence since 2008. Jesuit Refugee Service supports internally displaced persons in their journey to become self-sufficient, and manages programs to strengthen peace building between communities in Guindulungan and Datu Piang municipalities.
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Praying with Refugees in Jordan
01 September 2012
(Amman, Jordan) September 1, 2012 – Iraqis have been seeking refuge in Jordan for decades, coming here to escape years of repeated wars, internal strife and economic hardship. Despite a slightly more stable situation in their home country, Iraqis from diverse religious and ethnic backgrounds continue to arrive, seeking safety and the chance to build a more dignified life for themselves and their families.
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Praying with Refugees in Uganda
01 August 2012
(Boston) August 1, 2012 — As we traveled toward Morobi in northern Uganda, Lodu informed me that Flabius, the head catechist in the village, had lost a daughter. But it was a much deeper tragedy. This good man had lost not only his daughter—and his wife a few years ago—but seven children to war and disease over time.
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Praying with Refugees in the United Kingdom
01 July 2012
(London) July 1, 2012 — Visiting the detention centres near Heathrow airport outside of London, Jesuit Refugee Service staff and volunteers accompany failed asylum seekers, in a pastoral capacity, striving to enhance their dignity and strengthen their resolve to remain strong in the face of much uncertainty.
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Praying with Refugees in the Dominican Republic
01 June 2012
(Tierra Nueva, Dominican Republic) June 1, 2012 — The Haitian immigrants in Tierra Nueva are among the most economically marginalized people in the Dominican Republic. Their resources are limited even further by authorities who abuse their power in demanding bribes. More recently, the security of their neighborhoods has been threatened by an unsettling wave of violence.
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Praying with Refugees in Sri Lanka
01 May 2012
(Vavuniya) May 1, 2012 — Sri Lanka concluded its war on May 18, 2009. It is estimated that more than 300,000 were forcibly displaced, having lost almost everything during the conflict, and between 40,000 –140,000 were killed in the final phase of the war alone.
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Praying with Refugees in India
01 April 2012
(Washington, D.C.) April 1, 2012 — The Chin people in Mizoram State, India, live in a protracted, urban refugee situation and face daunting problems related to protection, livelihood, health, and education. While many have been there for years, new arrivals continue, including many youth who are fleeing forced conscription by the Burmese military.
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Praying with Refugees in Cambodia
01 March 2012
(Phnom Penh) March 1, 2012 — Before Mohammed fled Burma, he was often stopped by the authorities on his way to school and sent to work in military camps. There he was made to cook, clean and carry heavy building materials, and he was punished when his captors were unhappy with his work.
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Praying with Refugees: the spirit of accompaniment
01 December 2011
(Geneva) December 1, 2011 — The mission of Jesuit Refugee Service is to accompany, serve and plead the cause of refugees and forcibly displaced persons. Accompaniment, I have learned, is by its very nature reciprocal. It cannot be done alone and it cannot be done in a unilateral fashion.
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Praying with Ahmadiyya Muslim refugees
01 November 2011
(Bangkok) November 1, 2011 — Ahmadiyya Muslim refugees were forced to flee Pakistan due to religious persecution. August was a particularly challenging and happy month as this year it marked Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting. During Ramadan, they are not allowed to eat or drink during sunlight hours, a challenge in the Cambodian heat.
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Praying with Refugees from Somalia
01 October 2011
(Nairobi) October 1, 2011 – Since the beginning of the drought and hunger crisis in the Horn of Africa in July, tens of thousands of refugees have fled Somalia, most of them into Kenya and Ethiopia. They march for days or even weeks. Some do not survive the journey; others lose family members on the way or have to leave them behind.
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Praying with Refugees in Syria
01 September 2011
(Aleppo, Syria) September 1, 2011 — Since the beginning of this year, the situation in a number of Arab countries has changed considerably — caused in great part by popular political movements. This has not only led to changes in the political regimes or bloody confrontations, but has also created much forced displacement of peoples.
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Praying with Refugees: the opportunity of education
01 August 2011
(Washington, D.C.) August 1, 2011 — Refugees don’t leave their countries simply because things are difficult, they leave because their lives are in danger and the situation is hopeless. They are driven by hope to seek new opportunities, not just for themselves, but, for their children.
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Praying with Refugees: hope for Haiti
01 July 2011
Washington DC, July 1, 2011 — The earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010 caused much heartache, pain, and death. But, also present among the rubble was hope. For every story of hope there seemed to be one of heartbreak; every act of courage and progress teetered on the edge of frustration and hopelessness.
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Fleeing From Home: Trapped in Detention
01 October 2010
Praying with Refugees, October 2010. Human suffering, especially inflicted by people, saps our faith and our belief in a merciful and compassionate God and maybe even in the ultimate goodness of humanity. Confronted by human suffering, it is quite easy to ask: where is God in all this? It can also kindle within us a profound and powerful sense of empathy.
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Urban Refugees: Making Visible Refugees Hidden in Plain Sight
15 June 2010
This brief couplet of unknown origin captures in a few words the distinct charisms of four saints and founders of religious communities in the Church—the Cistercians, the Benedictines, the Franciscans and the Jesuits. Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), placed much focus on the plight of the poor in the great cities of his time.
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