Syrian Refugees in Omaha

Statement from Creighton University President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, regarding Syrian refugees arriving in Omaha

The plight of refugees worldwide, including those from war-ravaged Syria, presents important and complex humanitarian, political and social realities for us locally, nationally, and globally.

Creighton University’s Jesuit and Catholic identity and mission call us to actively reach out and be of service to the poor and the marginalized, in our communities and around the world.

As Creighton’s president, I am fully supportive of the tremendous efforts of Lutheran Family Services and other social service agencies in Omaha and Nebraska to assist with the resettlement of refugees, including those from Syria.

Pope Francis has called us to open our hearts and eyes to the suffering and struggles of refugees, to awaken from a “slumber of indifference.” As a human community, their journey is our journey.

The Jesuit religious order and the entire community here at Creighton University have embraced that invitation to serve our brothers and sisters who have fled their home countries, often with little or no resources, and are desperately searching for a place to resettle, to raise their families and to find meaningful employment.

Jesuit Refugee Service, for instance, works in more than 45 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social, and other needs of refugees and other forcibly displaced people, regardless of race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.  JRS/USA is advocating for urgent diplomatic and humanitarian action to assist the more than 4 million Syrian refugees who have now fled war and persecution. 

At Creighton University, our new Creighton Global Initiative, engages students, faculty, and staff in helping refugees resettle in Omaha. In partnership with Lutheran Family Services, each Friday, these Creighton volunteers are helping to set up apartments and assist with shopping, to provide a welcoming home to incoming refugees. Our Schlegel Center for Service and Justice and other campus programs also offer volunteer opportunities to assist refugees in various capacities.

I am proud of our continued efforts to work with community partners and other agencies to provide assistance to refugees fleeing desperate conditions in their home countries. It is encouraging and life-affirming to be able to provide opportunities for refugees to resettle in a welcoming community and begin their lives anew.