أخبار ذات صلة
لحظة مضيئة – التنوير… عند الآباء اليسوعيّين

لحظة مضيئة – التنوير… عند الآباء اليسوعيّين

أعتز بكوني من ابناء مدرسة العائلة المقدسة (المعروفة في مصر باسم “الجزويت”). ورغم أنني لا أجد الوقت الكافي للتواصل معها إلا أن بداخلي شعور عميق بالعرفان للمدرسة وللأباء اليسوعيين (ترجمة جزويت) الذين أنشأوها وأداروها وعلموا بها أجيالا متعاقبة لما يقرب من مائة وخمسين عاما .. ولهذا أسعدني تلقي دعوة لزيارتها من يومين.

قراءة المزيد
Lancement des activités du 150e anniversaire de l’USJ et Signature du Pacte USJ-CI

Lancement des activités du 150e anniversaire de l’USJ et Signature du Pacte USJ-CI

Au cours d’une cérémonie qui a rassemblé plus de 700 personnes à l’amphithéâtre Pierre Y. AbouKhater au Campus des sciences humaines, l’Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth (USJ) a annoncé le 30 avril 2024 le lancement de deux grands événements : les activités de son 150e anniversaire, marquant ainsi un siècle et demi d’excellence académique, de contributions significatives à la société et d’engagement profond envers la francophonie et la signature d’un pacte pour la création de l’USJ-Côte d’Ivoire (USJ-CI), une opportunité d’éducation supérieure de qualité dans un esprit d’excellence et d’ouverture à tous.  

قراءة المزيد

Eight years ago today, on 6 August 2014, Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, hundreds of thousands of people in the Nineveh Plains of Iraq were forcibly driven away from their ancestral lands by the advancing self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS, or ISIS). Three days earlier, on 3 August 2014, ISIS unleashed a genocidal campaign on the Ezidis (Yazidis) in the Sinjar district of the same Ninewa governorate. More than 1,290 Ezidis were killed, over 6,000 were kidnapped, and more than 2,700 remain missing to date. I remember taking to prayer the people affected by these tragic events that were unfolding in northern Iraq as I was putting the final touches to my doctoral dissertation in Berkeley, California. I had no idea that just over one year later a request would be made for me to come to Iraq as country director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). That finally happened in February 2016. JRS Iraq had been established since 20 October 2014. Fr Tony Calleja SJ, then JRS MENA Assistant Regional Director, commuted between Beirut and Erbil and had put a team on the ground in Ankawa and, later, in Ozal City, Kasnazan. Two of the original team are among the core staff of JRS Iraq to date. At the time, millions of people were internally displaced, mostly in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), where JRS programmes first started. It was not before July 2019 that JRS could finally obtain legal recognition by the Government of Iraq (GoI), essential to implement interventions beyond the KRI, in federal Iraq. That said, JRS launched activities in Qaraqosh—the major Christian town in federal Iraq—in October 2017, only weeks after displaced persons from the town began to return in large numbers.

The Transfiguration has been key to my understanding of the mission of JRS and of the Society in Iraq. Over the past six and a half years, I have shared in the struggles and hopes of internally displaced persons and conflict-affected returnees through the ups-and-downs of the political and economic instability that still affects Iraq. My life has been greatly touched by the stories that people have shared with me, the profound anguish of traumatised survivors, the great suffering that many have been through, the remarkable resilience of people repeatedly battered by situations that came upon them due to the structural injustice of a destructive world (dis)order and regional and internal political rivalries.

As the only Jesuit in Iraq until very recently, I have been blessed to work with a diverse team of partners in mission, focused on being of service to vulnerable sisters and brothers. In the language of the universal apostolic preferences of the Society, “walking with the excluded” and “journeying with youth” define JRS programmes in Iraq. However imperfect our efforts may be, I have consistently understood every action, small or great, as an expression of the yearning in the Lord’s Prayer, “Your Kingdom come.”

Where are we today? In July 2017, the military campaign to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second city, from IS control was declared over. In December 2017, the Government of Iraq declared victory over IS. Whereas the post-2014 displacement in Iraq was largely due to the onset of the IS, the people of Iraq have experienced four decades of conflict since 1980. One could also go back to the self-serving decisions made by colonial powers in the beginning of the 20th century and further back to centuries of Ottoman occupation. As in the Contemplation on the Incarnation in the Spiritual Exercises, God chooses to enter human history in all its messiness. Almost five years have passed from the conclusion of the major military campaign to recover territory that had been occupied by IS. Currently, some 150 JRS colleagues—almost all Iraqi nationals—implement programmes serving internally displaced genocide survivors from Sinjar in Sharya, near Duhok, and mainly Christian returnees to Qaraqosh, in the Nineveh Plains of Ninewa. With a view to provide ongoing accompaniment, JRS is planning to launch a pilot programme in the Sinjar district.

Just before the Transfiguration event, Jesus had announced to his disciples that he would suffer greatly and be put to death. On the mountain, the transfigured Jesus shows them what will happen afterwards, the Resurrection.

From the outset, I considered the mission that I was given in Iraq to be the mission of the Society. As my term with JRS comes to an end, the question about the mission of the Society of Jesus in Iraq is no less prominent. Today, more than 40% of Iraq’s population of 41 million are under 15 years of age. Iraq is a young country. In prayer, I have asked repeatedly what options lie ahead for the children and youth of Iraq. The ‘reply’ that continues to come to me is: “At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is abundant but the laborers are few; so ask the master of the harvest to send out labourers for his harvest.’” (Matthew 9:36-38)

Joseph Cassar, SJ

Iraq, 6 August 2022

أخبار ذات صلة
لحظة مضيئة – التنوير… عند الآباء اليسوعيّين

لحظة مضيئة – التنوير… عند الآباء اليسوعيّين

أعتز بكوني من ابناء مدرسة العائلة المقدسة (المعروفة في مصر باسم “الجزويت”). ورغم أنني لا أجد الوقت الكافي للتواصل معها إلا أن بداخلي شعور عميق بالعرفان للمدرسة وللأباء اليسوعيين (ترجمة جزويت) الذين أنشأوها وأداروها وعلموا بها أجيالا متعاقبة لما يقرب من مائة وخمسين عاما .. ولهذا أسعدني تلقي دعوة لزيارتها من يومين.

قراءة المزيد
Lancement des activités du 150e anniversaire de l’USJ et Signature du Pacte USJ-CI

Lancement des activités du 150e anniversaire de l’USJ et Signature du Pacte USJ-CI

Au cours d’une cérémonie qui a rassemblé plus de 700 personnes à l’amphithéâtre Pierre Y. AbouKhater au Campus des sciences humaines, l’Université Saint-Joseph de Beyrouth (USJ) a annoncé le 30 avril 2024 le lancement de deux grands événements : les activités de son 150e anniversaire, marquant ainsi un siècle et demi d’excellence académique, de contributions significatives à la société et d’engagement profond envers la francophonie et la signature d’un pacte pour la création de l’USJ-Côte d’Ivoire (USJ-CI), une opportunité d’éducation supérieure de qualité dans un esprit d’excellence et d’ouverture à tous.  

قراءة المزيد
Nouvelle collection « Al-fikr al-arabî al-masîhî » : Une exploration enrichie de l’héritage culturel chrétien dans le monde arabe

Nouvelle collection « Al-fikr al-arabî al-masîhî » : Une exploration enrichie de l’héritage culturel chrétien dans le monde arabe

Nous sommes ravis d’annoncer le lancement de la nouvelle collection « Al-fikr al-ʿarabī al-masīḥī » par le CEDRAC. Cette collection représente une révision et une extension de la série bien établie « Mawsū‘at al-ma‘rifah al-masīḥiyyah : Al-fikr al-ʿarabī al-masīḥī » de Dar al-Machreq (DeM). Le CEDRAC, en collaboration avec DeM, a décidé d’effectuer une refonte éditoriale (changement de format et de couverture) et de repositionner la collection afin qu’elle devienne le foyer des brèves études dans notre domaine au CEDRAC pour un public savant.

قراءة المزيد
كرماس مدرسة العائلة المقدّسة

كرماس مدرسة العائلة المقدّسة

 كان الحفل في ساحة مدرسة العائلة المقدسة بمصر الجديدة (PCH)، وتضمن العديد من الألعاب المميزة والعروض الموسيقيّة والغنائية، وشارك بعض من الطلاب في تنظيم الألعاب، والبعض الآخر في تنظيم العروض الفنيّة من خلال تقديم مواهبهم أمام الجميع. وساهم المدرسين في تحفيز الطلبة والحاضرين على الاستمتاع بكل ما يُقدم بالكرماس من أنشطة وألعاب وعروض فنيّة.

قراءة المزيد
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