Fr Tony O'Riordan SJ
Tony O'Riordan SJ is travelling to South Sudan next week, to take over as Project Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Maban.
The refugee settlement that he will be based in is one of the most remote in the world, in a country that is in embroiled in an ongoing violent conflict between tribes and whose people are enduring food scarcity and poverty. Tony sees an important part of his job as fulfilling the Jesuit role of promoting reconciliation among people to the region, which may make a contribution to peace.
Although conditions are daunting in South Sudan and he has the concerns of anyone travelling to a tropical country about tolerating the heat and mosquitos, Tony says that overall he is not afraid; his condition is one of gratitude. He is grateful both for the things that we take for granted here in Ireland, like clean drinking water and sanitation and for the opportunity to go and work in the region and be a part of the Society of Jesus response to the most marginalised people in the world.
He is busy with the practical tasks involved in preparing for his journey - ensuring he has the right equipment and supplies for his time there and trying to keep within his luggage allowance for the flight! During these last few days before he leaves, he plans to spend time with his mother and to do what he calls the most important preparation… to be still and spend time with God.
The position that he is taking up was previously held by Pau Vidal SJ, a Spanish Jesuit who started a newsletter with updates about the work and progress in the region. Tony will be taking this on in addition to writing a regular blog about the situation in Maban.
He is the latest Irish Jesuit missionary and one of only 22 that we currently have abroad. We wish him the best of luck in his new challenge and look forward to hearing his news.
Irish Jesuit Missions, 22nd February 2018