Celebration to mark Jesuit Refugee Services anniversary

 The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in the UK will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of the organisation on 19 November with Mass at St Ignatius, Stamford Hill. The celebrant and preacher will be the British Jesuits' Provincial, Fr Michael Holman, and music will be provided by the Eastern Area Singers under Bernadette Farrell. JRS was set up in 1980 by Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, then General of the Society of Jesus, as a spiritual and practical response to the plight of refugees at that time. Given the increased incidence of forced displacement in the 1980s and 1990s, this work continues and remains a commitment of the Society. In addition to providing practical help and support to refugees and asylum-seekers in this country, JRS-UK also lobbies on their behalf and regularly contributes to government proposals on immigration. It is currently urging supporters to write to their MPs over an Early Day Motion on refugee status and the right to remain in the UK, as part of the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Bill 2005.JRS works in more than 50 countries around the world. Over 500 workers contribute to its work, the majority working on a voluntary basis. These include about 100 Jesuits (priests, brothers and scholastics), 85 religious from other congregations and more than 300 lay people. The 25th Anniversary Mass on Saturday, 19 November, will start at 2pm and be followed by refreshments in the St Ignatius Church Hall. Choir rehearsals for that Mass are: Monday 14 November 7.30pm at St Aloysius, Somerstown and Saturday 19 November 12.30pm at St Ignatius, Stamford Hill.

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