|John McLaughlin says "My goal is the same as last time: inviting people to partner with me at $1 per mile for the 26.2 mile run; I'm hoping that we get 100 people to do this." (photo courtesy of John McLaughlin)|
|"JRS is doing the work of the Gospel in a very concrete way," Mr. McLaughlin said. "JRS is working with people and in situations that most of us don’t think of. It is good to know that someone is accompanying these forgotten people and advocating on their behalf," he said.|
(Washington, D.C.) April 4, 2011 — John McLaughlin, an employee of Boston College and a parishioner at St. Ignatius Church in Newton, Mass., is running in this year's Boston Marathon to help the work of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. This marks the second time Mr. McLaughlin has run for refugees.
"My goal is the same as last time: inviting people to partner with me at $1 per mile for the 26.2 mile run; I'm hoping that we get 100 people to do this," said Mr. McLaughlin. He added he is running for JRS/USA because "I was moved by the work of JRS, especially the 'accompanying' of the people; it's important to all human beings not to be alone."
At his church, Mr. McLaughlin leads an introduction to Ignatian Spirituality group. During his 2009 run, Mr. McLaughlin said he realized "it's a privilege to be part of the event. A grace, really, to be in the position to do it."
Mr. McLaughlin raised more that $4,900 to benefit JRS programs worldwide during his 2009 marathon effort. "This is definitely a partnership. Sure, I'm doing the running, but it doesn't mean much by itself. The running becomes worth something only when others partner by means of donations," said Mr. McLaughlin.
Mr. McLaughlin hopes his 26.2-mile effort can both raise awareness of the plight of refugees around the world and raise money to help the efforts of JRS/USA.
"JRS is doing the work of the Gospel in a very concrete way," Mr. McLaughlin said. "JRS is working with people and in situations that most of us don’t think of. It is good to know that someone is accompanying these forgotten people and advocating on their behalf," he said.
People are invited to support Mr. McLaughlin and his efforts for JRS by visiting the JRS website at www.jrsusa.org and clicking on the "Donate Now" tab near the top of the page. On the credit card donation page, donors are invited to write 'Boston Marathon' in the donation box to indicate they are supporting Mr. McLaughlin's efforts.
"I'm excited to bring a bit of attention to the good work that JRS/USA does. I know the economy has been tough on a lot of people over the past few years. In light of this, I really have no idea what money will be raised. But it is definitely a worthy goal," said Mr. McLaughlin.
JRS/USA is one of 10 regions of Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people around the world.
Mr. McLaughlin, who is married and the father of three daughters, is a Boston College graduate, and currently works in the IT Dept. supporting Human Resources at the college.
Mr. McLaughlin was a member of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for several years. He started his JVC experience at the St. Paul Mission on the Fort Belknap Reservation near Hays, Montana, doing whatever was needed, from driving the school bus to helping to maintain the school and other properties.
His next post for JVC was at the Dismas House in Nashville, Tenn. “Dismas is the name that tradition gives to the ‘good thief’ that was crucified with Jesus,” he said. “Dismas House works with people coming out of prison to help them transition to a better, more productive life. Dismas is based on the idea that people need community,” he said.
After the Dismas House, Mr. McLaughlin was on the staff of JVC South, where he helped to run the JVC in the 10 southern states that coincide with the New Orleans province of the Society of Jesus.
"JVC was a great experience for me. A lot of graces in the people I met, the places I lived in and visited, and the work we did," Mr. McLaughlin said.
Mr. McLaughlin aims to complete his eighth marathon when he laces up for the race.
"The support that I can help generate for JRS is small relative to the needs, but it is something. And it being something is enough," Mr. McLaughlin said.
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