February 17, 2017 — The parishioners of the Jesuits' Holy Trinity Church in Washington, D.C., had a mission — help get a refugee family of eight from Syria into their care. They have been working diligently to get the family assigned to their parish, accepted through the vetting process, and into the United States. After six months of planning and paperwork, the recent travel ban had once again put things on hold.
Leading prayer vigils and pilgrimages throughout their parish community and the city of Washington, Holy Trinity and its school went on the march, hoping to finally bring this family away from a life of hell and into a new life of hope.
Pastor of Holy Trinity Church, Fr. Kevin Gillespie, SJ, leads a prayer service for the parish's efforts to help a Syrian refugee family.
Their efforts did not go unnoticed. Jesuit Father Thomas Reese covered their plight in an article for the National Catholic Reporter, and the Catholic Standard for the Archdiocese of Washington ran an article on Holy Trinity's school hosting a prayer service and pilgrimage. Yahoo News even picked up the story.
With the travel ban from Syria lifted for now, the family was finally able to make their journey to the United States, arriving in Washington, D.C., late at night on February 16 after 30 hours of travel. Parishioners from Holy Trinity were there to greet them, recounting that it was a very emotional experience for everyone. The family was so grateful for all that this Jesuit parish had done to make their exodus possible.