February 2016

50 years of providing pastoral programmes in the spirit of Vatican II

Fifty years ago, the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) embarked on a new mission through the initiative of Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus.  After providing liturgical renewal for missionaries for more than a decade, it changed its purpose in 1966 to providing programmes for renewal and aggiornamento in the spirit of Vatican II. 

Lessons from a silver jubilee

Are there lessons to be learnt from a silver jubilee?  In a typically Jesuit fashion, Fr Renato Repole SJ, Rector of the Arrupe International Residence (AIR), looked back on the recently concluded celebratory activities spread out over the last seven months, and asked himself, “What have we learned and gained from the whole experience? What did it mean for us at Arrupe?”

Buddhist-Christian dialogue and the sustainability of life

Sustainability is a hot word today among scientists, economists, politicians, religious leaders, and others especially concerned with humanitarian values. It has been linked to economics, ecology, social welfare, social justice, gender equality, financial security, conserving energy, eradicating poverty, and, of course, finding meaning in life.  And it is a topic of concern for the Jesuits engaged in dialogue with Buddhists.

A temporary respite

As usual it began with a phone call.  In the first week of February, a call came through from the staff at the halfway house run by the Ministry of Social Welfare in East Jakarta. A group of people needed some spiritual counsel. The people were Indonesian migrant workers who had been deported from Malaysia. The next day, a group of volunteers who call themselves Care for Migrants Network of the Jakarta Archdiocese visited the shelter and organised a common counseling session and a mass because most of the deportees were Catholic.

To hear, understand, and accept refugees

On January 21, more than 170 Montagnards (Degar Christians) were granted the chance to a fair asylum process by the Cambodian government. They had fled to Cambodia from religious persecution in Vietnam in late 2014 and 2015. Many had endured imprisonment, torture, harassment and violations of their land rights.

This government decision was welcomed by the Jesuit Refugee Service, which has been accompanying the Montagnards since they arrived in Cambodia.

First Fe y Alegría Congress in Africa

In January, the first Fe y Alegría Congress in Africa was held with more than 40 participants from Chad, Madagascar, Kenya, Togo, Central African Republic, Guinea Conakry, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Zimbabwe, Zambia, as well as from the Conference of the Jesuits of Africa and Madagascar, the International Federation of Fe y Alegría, Jesuit Refugee Service, Entreculturas-Fe y Alegría Spain, Alboan, Porticus, and Misereor.

Advocating for migrants in the US as Pope visits Mexico-US border

During Pope Francis’ visit to Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city on the border with the United States, thousands affiliated with Jesuit institutions across the United States echoed his call for a compassionate response toward migrants by holding masses, erecting “mock border walls”, and signing a letter to members of Congress.

Boston College, Creighton University, and Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose, California were among a number of schools, parishes, and other ministries that held masses in a display of solidarity with Pope Francis’ mass at Benito Juarez Stadium on February 17.