Earthquake emergency in Turkey and Syria
After the severe earthquake on the night of Feb. 5-6 that struck Syria and Turkey, the situation remains dramatic. The Cathedral in Iskenderun has collapsed. Bishop Paolo Bizzeti SJ, Bishop of Anatolia in Eastern Turkey, was out of the country at the time but is organising help. Antuan Ilgit SJ is on the spot and is organizing relief for his parishioners. The situation is fluid and constantly being updated. The surrounding picture is bleak: collapsed or uninhabitable hospitals, lack of electricity, broken or very difficult connections.
“We express our deepest sympathy and condolences to the families and communities affected by the recent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey” said Fr Arturo Sosa. “Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones, homes, and communities. We pray for the swift and safe recovery of all those who have been injured and for the comfort of those who have been impacted by this disaster.”
In Aleppo, the community of three Jesuits fled their house after the first earthquake and joined the other residents of Aleppo in the freezing cold through the night. Many houses have collapsed. People refuse to return to their homes out of fear of other earthquakes. The Society has opened up our building in Aziziyé to people looking for shelter. It is a house well built. JRS is leading the Jesuit response. They have already launched an appeal for funds.
Irish Jesuit Fr. Tony O'Riordan, Director of JRS Syria, says: “I am just arriving (7th February) in Aleppo to lead JRS needs assessment and early response. Sustaining life and health is our immediate priority, and we will seek to reopen our health clinics once buildings are cleared by engineers later today, and we will continue to ramp up our support of basic protection again the cold and elements for people unable to return home. Helping people remain resilient mentally will be a second priority.”
Turkey – More information and links for donations at www.amo-fme.org.
Syria – More information and links for donations at jrs.net/. All Jesuit Conferences, Xavier Network, NGOs and mission & development offices are aligned on this common response with the JRS. If you want to donate through your local jesuit institution, all these national links are available in support of the humanitarian response:
• Australia - Jesuit Mission
• Austria - Jesuiten Weltweit
• Belgium - HUBEJE Belgium
• Canada - Canadian Jesuits International
• Germany - Jesuiten Weltweit
• Global - JRS International
• Italy - MAGIS Italia
• Ireland - Irish Jesuits International
• South Korea - Gipum Nanum
• Spain - Entreculturas and Alboan
• Switzerland - Jesuiten Weltweit
• UK - Jesuit Missions
• USA - JRS USA
“On 6 February, the earthquake surprised me in Iskenderun. I had celebrated Sunday evening Mass in the cathedral with the Christian community made up of Latin Catholics, Maronites, Melkites, Armenians, Arabs, neophytes and Turkish catechumens...”
Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General, has appointed Fr. Enric Puiggròs Llavinés as the new Provincial of Spain. The announcement to the Province was made on Thursday 9 March, adding that Fr. Puiggròs would take office in June 2023.
Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General, has nominated Fr. Dalibor Renić as the next President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (JCEP).
Father General Arturo Sosa has appointed Father Sebastian Šujević as the next Provincial of Croatia.Fr. Sebastian is aged 44 and comes from the city of Rijeka, Croatia. He grew up in a Jesuit parish in his native city, where he also attended the Salesian High School.
Father General Arturo Sosa has chosen Father Shane Daly as the next Provincial of Ireland. He is aged 49 and he entered the Society of Jesus at the age of 35, in 2008. Before joining the Jesuits, he worked as a teacher in a prison for youth offenders.
One of the challenges facing the Society of Jesus in Europe is the emergence of new vocations. “We need to pray more,” Fr. General said, because we must not forget that “vocations come from God.”