6 Ways to Read, Listen & Reflect During 6 Weeks of Lent

04 March 2021

Photo credit: Abhi Sharma, Creative Commons 2.0

The six weeks of Lent (February 17 – April 4) are a wonderful opportunity to slow down, reflect on your life and the lives of those less fortunate, while committing to small acts of change.

At JRS/USA, the team pulled together a list of their favorite bits of media to explore throughout the #400Minutes4Refugees Challenge.

Think we should add something else? Drop us a note on Twitter (@jrsusa) or email at communications@jrsusa.org.

LISTEN: CMS On Air

A podcast produced by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). CMS is an educational institute/think tank devoted to the study of international migration, to the promotion of understanding immigrants and receiving communities, and to public policies that safeguard the dignity and rights of migrants, refugees, and newcomers.

Recommended episode: Joanna Williams on the Kino Border Initiative

LISTEN: Resettled

In this six-part podcast series, VPM showcases stories of refugees as they adjust to their new lives in Virginia. These personal stories are woven together with useful teaching moments about the resettlement process. Season one consists of six thematic episodes, which aim to bring the listener into the daily lives of refugees through field interviews, personally-recorded audio diaries and reflective studio interviews.

LISTEN: American Pathways

This two-year project highlights the voices of both Muslims living in America, including African American Muslims, and specific groups including asylees, refugees, and immigrants, some of whom are DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), TPS (Temporary Protected Status), and DED (Deferred Enforced Departure) recipients.

WATCH: Human Flow (2017)

More than 65 million people around the world have been forced from their homes to escape famine, climate change and war, the greatest displacement since World War II. Filmmaker Ai Weiwei examines the staggering scale of the refugee crisis and its profoundly personal human impact. Over the course of one year in 23 countries, Weiwei follows a chain of urgent human stories that stretch across the globe, including Afghanistan, France, Greece, Germany and Iraq.

Host a virtual watch party with some friends!

WATCH: Immigration Nation (2020)

Immigration Nation is a 2020 documentary web television miniseries directed by Christina Clusiau and Shaul Schwarz. The series consists of footage filmed from 2017 to 2020 of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency’s work during the Trump Administration.

RECITE: Poems on Immigration by Poetry Foundation

The contemporary poems collected here tell the stories of those who have left their homelands to start a life in the United States. These poems often straddle two worlds, and two languages, to find truth in experience. They witness new beginnings, border crossings, acts of racism and discrimination, and homesickness.

PRAY: Stations of the Cross by JRS/USA

Looking for a Friday prayer ritual? Use these stations of the cross to accompany Jesus on his journey, as we watch and pray over displaced people around the world.

READ: What You Need to Be Warm by Neil Gaiman

As an ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Neil Gaiman has been lending his voice to the catastrophe of inhumanity we call a “refugee crisis” since its dark dawn. In 2019, the authored a beautiful poem appealing to our shared humanity.

“Sometimes it only takes a stranger,

in a dark place, to hold out a badly-knitted scarf,

to offer a kind word,

to say we have the right to be here,

to make us warm in the coldest season.

You have the right to be here.”

READ: Blessed Are The Refugees by Scott Rose, Leo J. O’Donovan, SJ

This moving book highlights the stories of immigrant children who fled Central America, having taken the dangerous trip alone to escape violence and poverty. Eight story-reflections, each based on a different Beatitude and recounting the experience of one of these youths, are written by attorneys and volunteers of Catholic Charities’ Esperanza Center of Baltimore. The story/reflections are accompanied by artwork created by an immi­grant youth and her brother, along with prayers written by our director of mission, Leo O’Donovan.

READ: Call Me American by Abdi Nor Iftin

In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why America still beckons to those looking to make a better life.

VISIT VIRTUALLY: Burma’s Path to Genocide

This online exhibition from the US Holocaust Memorial Museum explores how the Rohingya, a religious and ethnic minority in Burma, became targets of a sustained campaign of genocide