Refugee expert elected President of religious leaders

The former international director of Jesuit Refugee Services, Fr Mark Raper, has been elected president of the Australian Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes (ACLRI), the peak organisation for Australia's 8000 men and women religious.

Fr Raper, who is also the leader of the Jesuits, was elected late last week at the ACLRI's annual assembly in Adelaide for a two-year term commencing in August.

The current President Sr Rosie Joyce congratulated Fr Raper and said the theme of the Assembly, "Prophetic in a comfortable society," affirmed the continuing leadership and service performed by Australian religious leaders and their members in the Church and wider society.

Fr Raper said the newly elected ACLRI Council would continue the work of the previous Council in promoting collaboration for joint action and a public voice on issues of common concern and continue to collaborate with other bodies engaged in Church leadership.

"Partnerships give us new energy to respond in a timely and informed way to contemporary needs. Given the many needs of people today, we believe our mission remains valid.

"There are many people who may not share every detail of our way of life, but who are willing to support our mission. Moreover, the expertise they bring enables us to manage far more complex enterprises," he said.

Fr Raper says love, prayer, hope, mercy and justice are "sources of renewable energy."

"They give life to our activities among young leaders in the Church. These values alert us to exploitation and to the misuse of power, whether in society or in the Church," he said.

He said the country's religious continue to follow the vision of their founders who bequeathed the timeless qualities of contemplation and a commitment to serve the poor.

The Assembly also highlighted, through a public rally, the trafficking of women and children both in Australia and abroad and how religious now use their networks to combat this "modern day slavery."

(ACLRI Media Release 5/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Uniya interviews Fr Mark Raper, head of JRS International
Fr Mark Raper SJ awarded for service to refugees and asylum seekers

Jesuit Provincial receives human rights award (CathNews 20/9/04)
Rebuilding Rwanda ten years on (Fr Mark Raper SJ)
Australian on frontrunners list for Jesuits' top job (CathNews 7/2/06)

6 Jul 2006