Even a quick roundup of recent events in the social ministries is sufficient to demonstrate the vibrancy of the Province’s work in this area.
The Cardoner Project has taken major strides recently in underwriting the sustainability of its works, particularly the Two Wolves Cantina and its offshore immersion projects for young adults. As Cardoner consolidates and grows, Fr David Braithwaite SJ and his team are beginning to partner with other organisations, including other Jesuit ministries, as well as marginalised communities in an effort to expand the range and reach of Cardoner services.
Meanwhile, JRS has had to scramble to respond to two sudden demands on their services. The first followed from the federal government’s decision to cease income support to asylum seekers transferred from detention on Nauru and Manus Island for medical reasons. The government’s objective was to force these asylum seekers either to return to Manus or Nauru or, preferably, to return to their countries of origin.
The second issue is what the federal government refers to as ‘legacy cases’ or boat arrivals between 2012 and 2014 who were previously denied the opportunity to apply for asylum. These cases were suddenly given until 1 October this year to lodge a claim and those who failed to do so were to have their support payments suspended, visas cancelled, and were threatened with the possibility of detention and removal. In response, JRS hosted legal clinics to guide people through the process.
Through all of this, the regular work of JRS goes on and its new CEO, Carolina Gottardo, is very active in advocacy work at national, regional and international levels, while the organisation itself has secured funding for a prevention program targeting domestic violence against women and girl asylum seekers.
And after their remarkably successful fundraising efforts this financial year, Jesuit Mission recently mourned the loss of Fr Ken McNamara SJ, who dedicated much of his priestly life to education in India. Fr McNamara’s work was supported by Jesuit Mission.
Along with Jesuit Social Services and Cardoner, Jesuit Mission will soon visit Jesuit Refugee Services’ Parramatta offices to explore opportunities for closer collaboration.
This is also Jesuit Social Services’ 40th anniversary, and it is marking its milestone year with the launch of The Men’s Project (see banner image), which has been almost two years in the planning. The research evidence demonstrates that boys and men are more likely than girls and women to engage in risk-taking behaviour, to have higher rates of suicide, and they are much more likely to be the perpetrators of serious violence. More needs to be done to support men to live safe, healthy and fulfilling lives.
The Men’s Project will do this through community education, implementing effective early interventions, sharing knowledge about what works, and building capacity among those who work with boys and men on these issues.
In the months ahead, all of these ministries together with the relatively new Bridge Community will be working towards closer cooperation at the level of governance and administration in an effort to increase the effectiveness of all Jesuit social ministries.
Dr Jim Barber, Province Delegate for Social Ministries