Category: News

A new moment of communication in the Society of Jesus

The Society of Jesus is in a new era of communication in service of the mission, and Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ made it clear recently that he is leading the efforts to make this new era an apostolic one. “We want to be focussed, urgent, passionate and strategic [in our communication] … and with a real sense of mission,” he told the heads of communication for the six conferences and the Roman Curia communication team at the start of their four-day meeting in Rome on April 17. “My main point this morning is to stress my commitment to communication,” he told them. Communication is in the Jesuit DNA, it was “almost an obsession” for St Ignatius and it has been a key principle for the Society of Jesus since its foundation. “A communicated universal apostolic body is an indispensable dimension of our way of proceeding,” Fr Sosa stressed, and he is keen to build a new culture of communications in the Society. Fr General is determined that the Society take advantage of the many opportunities he sees in modern culture. “That is what St Ignatius would want from us,” he declared, adding that despite there being a lot of fake news, “we need to discern how to get involved but we should not hang back and be afraid,” he said. If our mission is to “go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News”, we have to take part in public discourse to bring the Good News……

The way forward for JCAP

Discernment. Collaboration. Mission. These three words were used frequently during last week’s Major Superiors Assembly of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. From beginning to end, the meeting was a period of grace, a time for the major superiors to step aside from their province concerns and come together to discern how best to move forward as one Jesuit Conference of provinces, regions and missions in the Asia Pacific region. From this prayerful beginning, they covered considerable ground over the rest of the week. They spent time talking about how they would discern the universal apostolic preferences in their provinces and as a Jesuit Conference, as requested by Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ in recent documents. They reviewed a self-assessment of JCAP’s Way of Proceeding as asked in General Congregation 36, Decree 2. The underlying aim of this study is to ensure that governance in the Society of Jesus is constantly renewed to “better serve and support the Society’s mission, the Missio Dei”. “The self-assessment showed us our giftedness, but we also realised our weaknesses and the invitations of the Spirit to move forward,” said Fr Tony Moreno SJ, who took over as President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific in November 2017. “We will continue to assess ourselves as a conference as we discern the way forward for JCAP.” Fr Oh In-don SJ shared a proposal to Father General for the development of a structure for collaboration in the universal Society of Jesus. He was JCAP’s representative at……

Jesuits in formation re-imagine Jesuit education

“How can we innovate our education ministry to respond to the 21st century, while remaining faithful to our tradition?” This was the big question that 33 scholastics and brothers in formation from 11 countries in Asia Pacific tried to address during the Scholastics and Brothers Circle workshop held in Cebu, Philippines from December 18 to 28. The participants were taken through the history and tradition of Jesuit education, including the 4 Cs (Competence, Conscience, Compassion and Commitment), and even tried using Ignatian Pedagogy as a design process. Technology was embedded in the workshop to give them an experience of learning in a technology-integrated environment. JCAP President Fr Antonio Moreno SJ was also with them for part of the workshop. He told them: “In the last General Congregation, Pope Francis asked us to discern. Therefore we cannot rest content in the way we run our schools and the way we do things in the classroom and even in management. There is this push to re-imagine, to be more creative in the way we run our institutions, our schools. We hope this will redound to the benefit of our future Jesuits.” Fr Moreno spent an evening dialoguing with the participants enabling the young Jesuits in formation to see beyond their own regions and provinces. He also participated in a panel discussion along with JCAP Formation Delegate Fr Riyo Mursanto SJ and Sacred Heart School-Ateneo de Cebu President Fr Manny Uy SJ. Fr Joseph Haw SJ, President of Ateneo de Iloilo-Sta Maria Catholic……

Thirty years of serving at the frontiers of humanity

Thirty years ago, a 74-year-old Spanish Jesuit priest had his first encounter with a community of persons affected by leprosy in China. Moved by the terrible situation of the leprosy-affected persons in Taikam Island in Guangdong Province, Fr Luis Ruiz SJ decided to work with local governments and church communities to change the conditions of leprosy patients in China. That was the beginning of Ricci Social Services, a social service network created to bring relief, dignity and social justice to the poor and marginalised people in mainland China and Macau. Since then, Ricci Social Services has journeyed far and wide in China, going to the remotest places to be with and serve persons and communities in need of solidarity, healing, friendship and support. “The ones who opened the door to us were not business persons, the powerful or the learned, but persons affected by leprosy and those living with HIV/AIDS,” shared Ricci Social Services Director Fr Fernando Azpiroz SJ. “It was because of them that more than 50 local governments from more than10 provinces invited Ricci Social Services to go to their places, to serve them in their needs.” Today, Ricci Social Services collaborates in more than 40 programmes in 10 provinces that serve around 5,000 people, including adults and children affected by leprosy or living with HIV/AIDS, women at risk (such as sex workers), or people dying without support in the hospitals. These programmes are organised as a network of “communities of solidarity”. “These are communities where people learn……

New provincial for the Chinese Jesuit Province

Fr Stephen Sau-yan Chow SJ will become Provincial of the Chinese Jesuit Province on January 1, 2018. He succeeds Fr John Lee Hua SJ who has served as Provincial for the last six years. Fr Chow hails from Hong Kong and is a seasoned educator. Before entering the Society of Jesus in 1984 in Dublin, Ireland, Fr Chow already had a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Philosophy and a Master of Arts in Educational Psychology (Counselling) from the University of Minnesota in the United States. After his ordination in 1994, he obtained a Master of Science degree in Organisational Development at Loyola University, Chicago, USA, and worked at Wah Yan College Kowloon and Hong Kong for five years, from 1995 to 2000, as minister, ethics teacher, vocations director and chaplain. At Wah Yan College Hong Kong and Kowloon, he also served as school manager (trustee). In 2000, he went to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education to study Human Development and Psychology, and completed his Doctorate in Education in 2006. Prior to his appointment as Provincial, Fr Chow served as Formator of scholastics in Hong Kong. Fr Chow will continue as Supervisor of Wah Yan College Hong Kong and Kowloon, positions he has held since 2006 and 2007 respectively, and as Chairman of the Chinese Province’s Education Commission.

Announcement: CHN New Provincial

Dear Brothers, I am very happy to announce to the Province that Fr. General has missioned Fr. Stephen CHOW Sau-yan (周守仁) as the new Provincial. Fr. Stephen Chow will begin his new mission on January 1, 2018. He will continue to be Supervisor of the two Wah Yans and Chairman of the Commission for Education. Fr. Stephen Tong Chak-long (董澤龍) will replace Fr. Chow as Formator of Scholastics in Hong Kong and as member of the Province Commission for Formation, starting from Sept. 1, 2017. We are very grateful to Fr. John Lee Hua (李驊) for his dedication and zeal during these past six years as Provincial. After finishing his term as Provincial, Lee Hua will have a well-deserved sabbatical. Fr. Stephen Chow will surely need our prayers and fraternal support as he prepares himself for his new mission. May all of us continue to be fully available for mission! Fraternally in Christ, Luciano Socius

Promoting a holistic dialogue between Jesuits and Buddhists

Jesuits from different parts of the world gathered in Cambodia recently to dialogue with Buddhist monks, engaging them on three levels – academic, spiritual and practical. This holistic approach to inter-religious dialogue is one that has prevailed in the regular Christian-Buddhist Workshop of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific for many years. It also provides an opportunity for “networking, friendship and fellowship among Jesuits engaged in Buddhist studies and dialogue,” as first time participant Fr Jaroslav Duraj, a Polish Jesuit based in Macau, discovered. This year’s workshop, held from August 8 to 12 in Siem Reap, saw 16 Jesuits come from Korea, Philippines, United States, Japan, India, China, Thailand, Nepal and Myanmar. They were joined by four Cambodian Buddhist monks, a former Jesuit and Buddhist activist, a former Buddhist monk and a Maryknoll priest. Meditation and chanting with Buddhist monks at Wat Svayromeath Fr Jerry Cusumano SJ from Sophia University in Japan presented on Zen and Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius Loyola, showing how Zen and the Spiritual Exercises complement rather than contradict each other. Fr Bernard Senecal SJ from Sogang University, South Korea spoke about “Christ as the Awakened One”, describing Buddhism and Christianity as religions of awakening. He pointed to Christ’s mystical experiences, times of prayer and docility to the Holy Spirit as evidence of his enlightenment. Fr Thierry Meynard SJ from Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, China presented on “Beyond Religious Exclusivism: The Jesuit Attacks against Buddhism and Xu Dashou’s Refutation of 1623”, examining the dynamics of……

A path to magis for young people

In 2014, the major superiors of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific decided that the youth had to be a priority for the Jesuit Conference. They saw a clear need to accompany young people in the way of St Ignatius, which is marked by cura personalis (personal care), discernment and magis (more).