Category: News

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).

Remembering Fr Jerry Martinson SJ

Fr George Gerald “Jerry” Martinson SJ died on May 31 in Taiwan, 50 years after he first arrived in 1967 from the California Jesuit Province. At the age of 25, he was sent to Taiwan and began working at the Jesuit-run Kuangchi Program Service (KPS). He became a renowned television producer and host, known to many in Taiwan and China as Uncle Jerry, his screen name in an English teaching television programme he hosted.