We were very grateful and moved to welcome over 140 supporters and friends of JRS who attended our prayer vigil of witness and solidarity on All Souls Day, Monday 2nd November. The vigil was led by Fr Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, Damian Howard SJ over Zoom, and broadcast live on Facebook.
The horrifying and avoidable deaths of a family of five last week – and two further adults who are missing – moved and angered us at JRS UK. In response to this tragic human loss, we planned some time to come together as a community to remember all of those who have died this year, seeking refuge and protection, to grieve for them and to pray for justice.
The 30 minute prayer vigil was led beautifully by Damian Howard SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Britain, and included readings, and prayers of intercession read by refugee friends, volunteers and staff of JRS UK. This joint contribution of voices created a very poignant space for reflection, and we are so grateful to all who helped lead the vigil. We would also like to especially thank Antoine Paumard SJ, director of JRS France, who said a few very moving words towards the end of the service.
We were overwhelmed by the number of attendees who joined the liturgy on Monday evening. All participants were asked to light a candle to remember and reflect on those who had lost their lives. It was a very moving sight to see so many bright flames shining in among the grid of faces on Zoom. All of us at JRS UK feel very grateful to have shared such profound moments of stillness and reflection, with so many people around across the country and around the world.
Sr Rachel Riordan, who read during the vigil, commented: “It’s difficult in a few words to convey the powerful impact made by the simple, tender message of the Prayer Vigil of Witness and Solidarity which I, along with many others, was privileged to attend [on Monday]”
“To create a meaningful liturgy and successfully weave together all the necessary elements is a challenge and to manage it without sentimentality is a precious blessing”
“The liturgy though allowed that moment of connection which made me so glad that JRS – Covid 19 notwithstanding – remains an integral part of my life.’
Thank you to all of our supporters, and refugee friends who join us in prayer and help us continue our mission to accompany, serve and advocate for those who face destitution at the hands of the asylum system in the UK.
We invite you to join us in a moment of solidarity, reflection and prayer by watching a full recording of the vigil on Facebook.