Fr. Patxi Alvarez, SJ, former Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology for the Jesuits in Rome, talks about five processes through which Jesuits and colleagues promote justice in our world today:
- Accompaniment – We are called to accompany Jesus at the margins, walking with those who are suffering, vulnerable, and excluded. Our desire is to be in solidarity, to build kinship, to become friends with people living in poverty.
- Service – Our Gospel call demands that we respond to the needs we encounter daily through service, meeting these immediate needs. But we know that our response must go further.
- Research – We need research that inspires new possibilities, generates alternative ways of doing things, helps us to think and act differently. Our research must be grounded in the realities of the world we encounter, carried out from the perspective of those in poverty, for the sake of bettering their lives.
- Awareness raising – The purpose of awareness raising is to analyze and examine the most pressing justice issues of our time, bringing in voices of marginalized and impoverished people whenever possible. We seek to build bridges as we work towards reconciliation. Education for justice is a prerequisite to developing structural responses.
- Transforming structures (advocacy) – If we want to respond to global issues, advocacy is required, which needs preparation, deep research, and the credibility that only stems from being close to the victims of our world.
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“To have papers in this country is extremely hard — or impossible,” says Gustavo Angeles. In his work at the Jesuit ministry Sacred Heart Center in Richmond, Virginia, he meets dozens of people living without documentation — often because they don’t know how to navigate the U.S. immigration system.