Journey with JRS this Lent

Each year, Lent offers us the opportunity to connect with our faith, with God and with our neighbour through almsgiving, fasting and prayer. Through the 46 days of Lent the church takes us on a journey of penance and reconciliation, deepening our faith in God who died to save us.

This year we invite you to begin this journey again and join JRS as we are led to places of darkness and light by one of our refugee friends; and through his journey deepen our understanding of God in the world.

A daily journey with Hassan-Ali

Three years ago, as part of our Lenten journey, we met Hassan-Ali one of the refugee friends JRS UK supports. Unfortunately, like many of those we accompany at JRS, Hassan-Ali remains in a similar position today as he was three years ago.

We caught-up with Hassan-Ali who shares how things have changed for him during the pandemic, and the different lockdowns and restrictions we have faced.

Each day we will reflect on his experiences, drawing on what he shared with us in 2018 and in his most recent conversations this year. We will spend a few days on each account, allowing us to reflect more deeply on the experiences of Hassan-Ali in the light of the scriptures and our own prayer.

We hope this will be a way of helping you go deeper with the traditional Lenten observances of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

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The Mandala images

One of the refugee friends that JRS supports, Karim, has been drawing and colouring mandalas for years. He first started at the JRS Day Centre when one of our volunteers created a ‘Mandala therapy’ corner. Since the Day Centre was forced to close in March 2020, Karim has continued to colour and create Mandala-type art and imagery.

Each week, sometimes even daily, Karim shares pictures of his latest creations to the JRS Creative Arts WhatsApp group. When we asked Karim if he’d be happy for JRS to use some of the mandalas for the JRS Lenten journey resource this year, he was delighted.

Karim has said of his colouring and creating Mandalas:

“Drawing and colouring mandalas takes me away to another place, and helps me to not think about my current situation. When I’m colouring, I don’t like to be disturbed – sometimes I find my tea has even gone cold without me realising! Colouring is the only way to take my mind away from lockdown. After JRS have sent me the mandalas to colour, I have felt like my skills and drawing have improved. If you do your best for sure you will feel inspired. When you do good things, others will always surely appreciate your work”

It took a bit of logistical navigation, involving posting the original artwork to the JRS office where a team member was able to arrange for the artwork to be scanned in. Those scans have then been turned into the images and graphics that you’ll see alongside Hassan-Ali’s experience and the Lenten prayers. We hope they aid your prayer.

Jesuit Refugee Service UK
The Hurtado Jesuit Centre
2 Chandler Street, London E1W 2QT

020 7488 7310

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