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PAYG used with Refugees


'There are journeys, deeply entered into, deeply felt, and deeply shareable. They are journeys of life not death; of awareness, not numbness these are the journeys of salvation and healing.'

(Matthew Fox-Original Blessings)


One day, recently, a young man approached me and asked if I might sit with him for a moment. He told me that life within the detention centre was unbearable. Even though there were many people and some with similar stories to his own he felt so terribly alone and isolated, “Where are the people of the UK when you truly need them? Who are they? Does anybody really care?”


“People do care,” I told him, “but we need to find ways of strengthening our union with them.”  He listened with a thoughtful expression on his young face and said “Do you mean like a spiritual solidarity?”  Yes, I thought, a spiritual solidarity.


Some days later I invited a small group of Christian detainees to join me in the chapel for prayer. Together we sat in stillness and silence and, for the first time, listened to Pray-as-you-goPray-as-you-go opened a door for each one that day. Once across the threshold the eyes of our mind and heart welcomed the call to pray, with the world, together. ‘How good and how pleasant it is brothers and sisters dwelling in unity.’ (Ps.133:1)


Young, old, male or female, people off to work, people at home and those of us in detention tuned in to hear the Word of God through song and scripture. Inspired by the gentle voice of the narrator we were invited to consider how the Word of God could impact on our lives, wherever we were, and make a difference. That day we embarked on a journey, not in isolation, but in spiritual solidarity.


Now our journeys, no matter where they lead, have become ‘journey’s of life not death; of awareness not numbness and are deeply shareable.’ Pray-as-you-go has opened up the possibility of being at one with people throughout the world who, united in love, thirst for justice in all its forms. ‘Let not the waves of the sea separate us now, and the years you have spent in our midst become a memory. You have walked among us a spirit, and your shadow has been a light upon our faces…’ (The Prophet by Kahil Gibran)


Sister Margaret C. Baxter SSMN is Detention Outreach Coordinator for Jesuit Refugee Services. You can find out more about the work of JRS and donate to support their work by visiting their website.


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