Father Thomas Smolich, SJ, has been appointed International Director of Jesuit Refugee Service in 2015. For the past eight years he has served as president of the Jesuit Conference of the US, reports Jesuit.org.
JRS accompanies, serves and advocates for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced people. Headquartered in Rome with ten regional offices around the world, the organisation has more than 1,800 staff and volunteers, including 70 Jesuits, and serves upwards of 950,000 refugees per year.
Appointed by Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, Fr Smolich begins his term on November 1, 2015. 'I’m deeply honoured and grateful that Fr General missioned me to this assignment, because JRS speaks to the heart of Jesuit identity and our Jesuit mission,' Fr. Smolich says.
'JRS goes where the need is greatest, to places where others are unable or unwilling to go. JRS witnesses to who we are as evangelizing people. Whether someone is a Catholic or not is not the question — we are there to preach the good news.'
(Fr Mark Raper SJ, an Australian Jesuit who currently serves as President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific, was a previous International Director of the JRS.)