Jesuit Refugee Service/USA Welcomes New National Director

Oct 18, 2010, 14:00 ET from Jesuit Refugee Service/USA

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Fr. Michael A. Evans, S.J. today becomes the sixth National Director of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. Fr. Evans succeeds Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J., who next year becomes Assistant Director of Jesuit Refugee Service International in Rome.

Fr. Evans served from 1990 through 1996 as the JRS Eastern Africa Regional Director and from 2000 through 2010 as Development Director and Treasurer of the Jesuit province of Eastern Africa. Fr. Evans' broad experience and knowledge of JRS will serve him well and will ensure a smooth transition as he helps lead JRS/USA into a future of continued accompaniment, service and defense of refugees in need.

Fr. Evans recalls the letter Fr. Pedro Arrupe, S.J., former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, wrote to Jesuits worldwide in 1980, asking "every Jesuit world-wide to consider how his personal life, his actions, his institutional apostolate, etc. could begin to address the world-wide refugee crisis."  

For thirty years, "I have dedicated my life, my educational pursuits, and my work as a Jesuit to do just that – in the context of social ethics and economic development – to work with refugees, internally displaced, and marginalized members of our society," said Fr. Evans.

In 2003, Fr. Kenneth J. Gavin, S.J. joined Jesuit Refugee Service/USA as its fifth national director, the first director to work solely on behalf of JRS/USA. He had served as the Provincial of the Jesuits in the New York area from 1996 to 2002, and previously as President of Regis High School in New York City. His commitment to refugees and the forcibly displaced is rooted in the Jesuits' option for the poor and grounded in his belief that God is present even in the most tragic events of human history.

"I am filled with gratitude for the blessings that I have received during my seven years with JRS/USA. In addition to all the treasures of supportive friends and co-workers, at this moment my mind focuses on all the refugees and forcibly displaced people whom I have met and accompanied during the past seven years.  Like many before me in JRS, my life has been transformed by them," said Fr. Gavin.

Jesuit Refugee Service/USA ( is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to serve, accompany, and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced persons.

SOURCE Jesuit Refugee Service/USA