Xavier Network Calls for Ceasefire and Humanitarian Assistance in Gaza

The Xavier Network strongly supports the statement issued by the Society of Jesus on March 29th condemning the on-going violence in Gaza and other areas of Israel/Palestine, spilling over into the surrounding countries in the Middle East. We echo its words: “We cannot be silent.”

As Jesuit organizations involved in responding to humanitarian crises around the world, we also express our shock at the killing of 7 aid workers who were delivering essential food aid on April 2. It is reported that 196 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since last October. This is the latest horrific event in a war in which civilians, many of them children, continue to be the main victims.

We join the Jesuits’ call for “an immediate ceasefire, for the release of all the 7 October hostages, for negotiations and for the beginning of a process that will bring freedom, liberty and justice for all in the Middle East, the only road to true peace.”

The Xavier Network brings together Jesuit mission offices and non-governmental organizations from across Europe, North America and Australia. It responds to the needs of victims of conflict, many of whom are civilians, in many parts of the world, including in Syria and Lebanon. For this reason, it is deeply disturbed by the current conflict in the Middle East, just as it also deplores the violence inflicted on innocent victims of other conflicts such as those in Sudan, South Sudan, Myanmar, Haiti, Ukraine and many other places.

The members of the Xavier Network call for:

  • an immediate ceasefire in Gaza
  • the opening of a humanitarian corridor to allow the immediate delivery of aid to Gaza with guaranteed safe passage of all aid workers
  • respect for international humanitarian law and the Geneva conventions governing the legal use of force in armed conflict
  • the unconditional release of all hostages abducted on October 7, 2023
  • an end to all arms sales which are fueling this conflict
  • the resumption of negotiations towards a political agreement which guarantees the right of the two peoples to self-determination, security and freedom

In his Easter message on March 31, Pope Francis appealed for a ceasefire: “Let us not allow the current hostilities to continue to have grave repercussions on the civil population, by now at the limit of its endurance, and above all on the children … War is always an absurdity and a defeat.”

Published 5 April 2024 – Xavier.Network

The Xavier Network brings together Jesuit mission offices and non-governmental organizations from across Europe, North America and Australia. It supports international solidarity and the universal mission of the Society of Jesus as stated in its General Congregation 36: “Our vision is to place faith, justice, and solidarity with the poor and excluded as central elements of the mission of reconciliation.” (D1 para 3)

The members of the Xavier Network are:
1- ALBOAN, Spain
2- Canadian Jesuits International, Canada
3- Entreculturas, Spain
4- Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira, Portugal
5- Irish Jesuits International, Ireland
6- Jesuit Mission Australia
7- Jesuit Missions UK
8- Jesuitenmission, Austria
9- Jesuitenmission, Germany
10- MAGIS Italy
11- Magis Americas, USA
12- Oeuvre des Missions Catholiques Française d’Asie et d’Afrique, France
13- Stiftung Jesuiten weltweit, Switzerland

Fr. Ted Penton’s five years of service to Magis Americas

Ecclesiastes reminds us that “for everything there is a season” and in the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States, the spring weather also brings us the season of new missions for many Jesuits. This year, the season has come Fr. Ted Penton, S.J. to finish his time with the Jesuit Conference Office of Justice and Ecology (OJE) and, also, leave his position as Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Magis Americas. 

Ted first joined our Board of Directors in the fall of 2018, shortly after he took on his role as Secretary of OJE. His arrival aligned with the important first steps of Magis Americas and he has closely accompanied and supported the growth of our organization over the last five years. 

In a recent interview, Ted remembered that, “I had no idea until I arrived here that Magis [Americas] existed. [Executive Director] Nate [Radomski] had just been hired as the first staff member of Magis Americas in many years just before I arrived, with the mandate of determining the feasibility of [this project] developing into a larger institution and to determine what are the ways that it could contribute to the mission of the Society of Jesus.” Since that time, our organization has grown substantially and has greatly benefited from the support of Ted and the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States. 

In January of 2021, Ted accepted this expanded role and took on the responsibilities of Chairperson. Over the past two and a half years, his guidance has continued to contribute to our growth. “I am really grateful to Ted for his exceptional leadership and consistent support during his tenure on our board,” Executive Director Nate Radomski shared. “His vision and understanding of the importance of our mission and our work have continued to push us forward as a team. His previous experience with other Jesuit NGO’s made him a great asset for our Board, but it was his commitment to helping us grow that made him such a good choice for the position as chairperson.”

During this time, perhaps one of our most important milestones was the acceptance of Magis Americas as the 14th member of the Xavier Network in January of 2022. Ted saw this as an important step for our organization since he first arrived. He explained, “Before coming to the US on this Mission, I was in Toronto serving on the board of the Canadian Jesuits International … a member of the Xavier Network and I was very aware that the U.S. [Jesuits] did not have a member [organization] of that network. The US Jesuits have always been in solidarity and worked with Jesuits throughout the world in a number of very important ways, but in this particular area there was essentially a vacuum in the United States and also tremendous potential.” Whether it is learning from the best practices of the other members of the Xavier Network or participating in trainings offered through the same, our staff continues to benefit from the opportunity to be part of this fantastic network.

Of course, the support and guidance that Ted has offered us over these past five years is representative of so many other Jesuits and lay people who serve on our Board of Directors and support our work in so many ways. Ted made it a point to thank the support that he had received from Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States (JCCU), Fr. Timothy P. Kesicki, S.J., who preceded him in that role, and Fr. Sean Michaelson, S.J., JCCU Treasurer and Socius. Together, these four Jesuits are examples of the continued support that we receive from the JCCU that makes our work possible. 

At Magis Americas, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to Fr. Ted Penton, S.J. for his service to and support of Magis Americas over the past five years. We recognize the many hours he has dedicated to our organization, and we are grateful for the sincere and inspiring vision he has shared about the future of Jesuit development initiatives around the globe.  


Magis Americas joins the Xavier Network

Magis Americas has been accepted as the 14th member of the Xavier Network, an international network of Jesuit mission offices and non-governmental development organizations from Europe, Canada, Australia, and, now, the United States. Through this development, Magis Americas will contribute to the global mission of the Society of Jesus in partnership and coordination with other Jesuit works around the world.

“We are grateful for this opportunity to heed Father Sosa’s call to collaborate across borders,” said Fr. Brian Paulson, S.J., President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States (JCCU). “Together with Canadian Jesuits International, Magis Americas looks forward to working within the Xavier Network to strengthen our Conference’s contributions to the Society’s global mission of reconciliation.”

The Xavier Network, which takes its name and inspiration from St. Francis Xavier, was founded in 2004 under the simple principle “that by joining together we can achieve more”. Member organizations collaborate in four areas: response to humanitarian emergencies, advocacy, development projects, and overseas volunteer programs.

“We are thrilled to be joining the Xavier Network. This is not only an opportunity to collaborate with other Jesuit organizations, but to also learn from their wealth of experience and knowledge,” said Nate Radomski, executive director of Magis Americas. “We have been working toward this moment for a number of years and I am grateful to the JCCU and the Xavier Network for their support and commitment to seeing this goal become a reality.”

Within the JCCU, Magis Americas will coordinate with Canadian Jesuits International on joint initiatives, including fundraising appeals for humanitarian emergencies, as was previously done for the earthquake in Haiti and response to the second wave of COVID-19 in India.