24/12/2018
Merry Christmas and a happy 2019 to the Jesuit alumni!

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Dear Alumna, dear Alumnus,

 

Christmas is for us Christians the coming to earth of the Son of God, but in our imagination, it is also the coming into the world of a little child with all the innocence that is attached to it.

 

For us human beings, a child is the promise of an adult being, who has not yet been corrupted by society or life. Where else can we find our lack of understanding in the face of a child’s death? Faced with such a spectacle, a feeling of injustice resonates in us.

 

Yet childhood is threatened in many places in this world and in many circumstances that we do not understand, because we live far from these places and because these circumstances escape us.

 

There are children soldiers who trade their toys for guns and those who are recruited into fanaticisms of another age.

 

There are children exploited in gruelling and dangerous work and those who search landfills to survive.

 

There are children, who are the first victims of hunger, and those who die on the way to exodus.

 

Closer to home, there are children who are mistreated or abused by their parents or educators and those whose deprivation prevents them from fulfilling the promise of their birth.

 

And there are ‘children-kings’ to whom resigning parents suggest that everything is due and children abandoned by absent parents.

 

May Christmas lead us to reflect on these situations. Not to think about it for a moment, with sincerity and compassion certainly, but without any follow up on our thoughts. Rather, by asking ourselves about the foundations of these situations, the root causes of this deprivation or abandonment, and by asking ourselves what we, Alumni of the Society of Jesus – with many others and often less well than others – can do to tackle the evil that robs children of their childhood and kills their hopes.

 

The image of a fragile child in the stable of Bethlehem invites us to become aware of this. I hope that she will accompany us from now on and throughout 2019, a year that I wish you full of joy and life.

 

Alain Deneef
President
World Union of Jesuit Alumni

 

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