Students at a JRS secondary school in the sprawling Goz Amir Refugee Camp, about six miles from Koukou, Chad. The camp is home to 25,000 refugees, primarily from the Darfur region of neighboring Sudan. (Christian Fuchs — JRS/USA)
All: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Jesus turned toward the women, saying, “Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:27-28)
In his compassion, Jesus asks the women to weep for the most vulnerable members of society in his time — women and children. Today, conditions have not changed, and of the 45 million refugees and displaced persons in the world, 80 percent are women and children. Positive changes have been made, but women still face the most poverty, lack equal access to education, and are at greater risk for human trafficking.
Rosalie, formerly with JRS Namibia, brings this cold statistic to life:
"Chatting with one girl at the Osire Refugee Camp, I find out she is nine years old, and she lives with her sister. To my question of ‘Where are your parents?’ she just shakes her head to give me the message that she does not know. I think about this little girl in a foreign country with no parents, how hard can life get?
"Who is there to take proper care of her? Who is helping her with homework? Who will make sure that she has something to eat and drink before going to school, and that she is properly dressed? There are so many other students just like her, she is just one of them."
Lord, we pray for women and children around the world. You asked us to weep for their oppression, and we pray that we may see their gifts, their strengths, and their plight as you do. We pray for the wisdom to break down the structures that oppress people based on gender, and we ask that you protect this overwhelming majority of the displaced population.
All: Our Father.