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Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Jesuits focus on refugees at Arrupe centenary events
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¬†The British Jesuits, along with several hundred of their co-workers, will be celebrating the life of Father Pedro Arrupe next month ≠ 100 years after his birth. A series of events is planned for Saturday, 10 November, at Sacred Heart Church in Wimbledon, south west London. A significant number of them will be focussing on refugees and asylum seekers, and the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which Father Arrupe established in 1980. The afternoon celebration will start at 3pm in the parish hall and will include a powerful exhibition of photographs by Isabelle Merminot, describing the life of asylum seekers in Detention Centres in the UK; a performance by the Acholi Gospel Choir at 4.15pm; and an opportunity to hear directly about the reality of life as an asylum seeker or as a refugee in the UK (5pm). After the 6.30pm Mass in Sacred Heart Church, at which the principal celebrant will be the British Jesuit Provincial, Fr Michael Holman SJ, there will be a buffet supper in Sacred Heart Parish Hall, and a performance of "Asylum Monologues". These monologues about life as an asylum seeker in the UK have been scripted by award-winning playwright and Artistic Director of iceandfire Theatre Company, Sonja Linden, and present the moving first-hand accounts of three asylum seekers living in the UK. Tickets for the evening events (£15 per person) must be bought in advance for catering purposes. Pedro Arrupe was born on 14 November 1907 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1927. He was elected Superior General in 1965, a position he held until he was forced to step down in 1983, following a severe stroke. His Generalship coincided with the mass exodus of refugees from communist-controlled Vietnam in the 1970s, following the Vietnam War. On 14 November 1980, Father Arrupe wrote: "Struck and shocked by the plight of thousands of boat people and refugees, I felt it my duty to send cable messages to some 20 Major Superiors around the world. Sharing my distress with them, I asked what they in their countries and in the universal Society (of Jesus) could do to bring at least some relief to such a tragic situation " The result was the setting up of the Jesuit Refugee Service, which continues to help millions of refugees, displaced people and asylum seekers in more than 50 countries around the world today. The Arrupe Centenary events on 10 November 2007 are being organised jointly by JRS-UK and Jesuit Missions, with the support of Sacred Heart Parish in Edge Hill, Wimbledon. For more information, contact Source: Jesuit Refugee Service
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