A year of action from Jesuit schools
The 2018/2019 academic year has seen many Jesuit schools take action for Jesuit Missions in different ways.
Schools participating in Companions in Action, which was relaunched during this academic year, are forging new partnerships with St Aloysius’ Junior School and St Pauls’ Primary School in Musami, Zimbabwe. Wimbledon College is also starting a new partnership with Loyola Jesuit School, Kasungu Malawi.
We had sixteen teachers associated with Jesuit schools take part in this year’s London Marathon, including a team of six from Stonyhurst, who ran in memory of Fr Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ who was tragically murdered in South Sudan in November 2018. Registration is now open for next year’s London Marathon, apply today to be a part of the 2020 Jesuit Missions team.
Jesuit schools also supported Jesuit Missions 2018 Christmas Appeal for Guyana, and our Cyclone Idai emergency appeal in March. This work supports our partners in the Amazon region and those in East Africa affected by this year’s devastating storm.
Students at St Joseph’s, Hurst Green were inspired by a visit from the Jesuit Missions’ Wombles to write to local supermarkets to reduce their use of plastics. The response to their efforts has been encouraging and has included responses from local supermarkets and political leaders. On Monday 17 June the Mayor of the Ribble Valley visited the school to speak with the children about the issue.
Fr Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, President of Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, visited schools in England and Scotland. Looking at the theme of leadership, he suggested that all Christians are called to leadership and the service of justice. Joel Thompson SJ, Guyanese scholastic, also visited Jesuit schools during our Lenten speaker tour and spoke about his work with indigenous people in Guyana and how their close relationship with nature can help us understand our call to care for creation.
On the 26th June students from The Ursuline School, Wimbledon College and St Benedict’s College in Ealing joined Jesuit Missions to lobby their MP’s to take action on climate change. This was part of the climate lobby which saw over 10, 000 individuals from across the country take action. Students at St Joseph’s in Hurst Green also hand made a banner for us to use at the lobby while students at Stonyhurst took part in our The Time is Now video and sent postcards to their local MPs ahead of the lobby.
Looking forward, Jesuit Missions has organised a Companions in Action We are Change conference which is being held in September. Students from Jesuit and associate schools in the UK are invited to the conference to discuss the key social justice and environmental issues of today. The event will feature Fr Leonard Chiti SJ, the Jesuit Provincial of Zambia-Malawi and former Director of the Global Ignatian Solidarity Network. This will be a great opportunity for students to gain new skills helping young people to become voices for positive change in the world. It’s also a chance for students to meet with others from Jesuit schools.
In the 2019/2020 academic year we are also looking forward to expanding Companions in Action to new regions, including India.
A huge thank you to all of the Jesuit and associate schools for all their hard work and support of Jesuit Missions this year. We look forward to working with you all again next year.