Facebook and Twitter feeds abound with stories and highlights surrounding Pope Francis’ historic visits to Cuba and the United States this week. Several Ignatian-inspired and Jesuit-run initiatives have emerged to share in-depth views of the Holy Father’s trip to two countries that “have been sociopolitically separated by more than a mere 90 miles.”
America Media has launched a great micro-site that provides a timeline as well as reports and analysis of Francis’ journey. They’ve even prepared a “travel guide” for the pope, looking into the joys and challenges facing American Catholics today.Social problems must be resolved by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds.
On September 24th, Pope Francis is set to address a joint session of Congress, a key opportunity to call legislators to reflect and act on issues facing marginalized groups, especially migrants. The Ignatian Solidarity Network has called on students, alumni, and parishioners from Jesuit institutions to host watch parties and engage by sending questions and feedback via social media (#Pope2Congress). According to ISN, 59 members of the 114th U.S. Congress are Jesuit alumni and 20.8% of Americans identify themselves as Catholics.
Francis’ packed schedule also includes a visit to the United Nations on September 25th, in the midst of the UN Sustainable Development Summit. Here, Global Ignatian Advocacy Network core groups such as ecojesuit and edujesuit, among others, will be paying special attention to what the Pope has to say about sustainable development challenges such as climate change and the right to education in the new post-2015 agenda.
The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has also launched a campaign to share the stories of the impact of a Jesuit education and its influence on forming transformational leaders such as Pope Francis. 28 colleges and universities that make up AJCU call on individuals to share their stories using the hashtag "What makes you proud to be #JesuitEducated?"
A grass-roots initiative of young adult Catholic leaders, many of whom have been Jesuit-educated, has written an open letter to Pope Francis entitled “Being a Church at the Peripheries”, asking the Pope to continue using his voice to “challenge all of us to take the Gospel and the Catholic social tradition seriously.”
As Pope Francis said in Laudato Si: "Social problems must be resolved by community networks and not simply by the sum of individual good deeds." Collective action is key to bringing about change. We are excited to see so many community-driven initiatives, and we are sure there are plenty more out there so feel free to fill us in on what’s going on in your area to follow and communicate about Pope Francis’ historic trip.