What We Do

One Mission, Many Ministries: Responding to the Call of Christ the King

Jesuits are motivated by a deep, personal love of Jesus Christ and a “desire to imitate in some manner our Creator and Lord Jesus Christ … since he is the way which leads to life” (St Ignatius of Loyola). We seek to be “contemplatives in action” combining the service of faith with the promotion of justice, following the example of our founder, St Ignatius, who strove to “find God in all things.” We consider ourselves to be sent on mission with Jesus as companions consecrated for service under the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Jesuits are best known in the fields of education (schools, colleges, universities, seminaries, theological faculties), intellectual research, and spiritual renewal. In Asia Pacific, Jesuits run schools, universities and parishes and engage in missionary work, direct evangelisation to the poor, social justice, inter-religious dialogue, and other ‘frontier’ ministries. Most importantly, we continue the tradition of providing retreats based on The Spiritual Exercises, the foundational work of St Ignatius. 

The goal of the Jesuit mission is to be ever available for the greater universal good, desiring always the “magis”, that which is truly better “For the Greater Glory of God.” It is this availability for the Church’s universal mission that marks the Society of Jesus as an apostolic religious order.

Education

Jesuit Education

The Jesuits were the first religious order in the Catholic Church to undertake formal education as a major ministry. The founder, St Ignatius, was a firm believer in education and devoted many years to his own university education despite beginning at an age when most students had already finished. At first the focus was on training new members for the Society but in 1548, at the request of the citizens of Messina, Italy, Jesuits opened their first school for lay students. Today there are over 3,000 Jesuit educational institutions throughout the world.

Jesuit education seeks to be world affirming - to reveal a world “charged with the grandeur of God”. It encourages study of all reality, promoting the search for God in all things while respecting the infinite variety of ways in which God is revealed to an individual. Its objective is to produce wisdom and a deep sense of reverence rather than marketability or a narrow orientation towards a specific career.

In Asia Pacific, Jesuit schools can be found in Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste.

There are 18 Jesuit universities and colleges in the Jesuit Conference. These together form the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities Asia Pacific (AJCU-AP). In addition, there is The Beijing Center which offers a semester-abroad programme based in Beijing.

Indigenous Ministry

Indigenous Ministry

Jesuits have been working with indigenous people since the 17th and 18th centuries when they set up the Jesuit “reductions”, a type of settlement for indigenous people, in Latin America.

Our work with indigenous people continues today as we work with great numbers of ethnic groups, tribes and countries with traditional cultures, who are struggling to affirm their cultural identity by incorporating elements of modern and global culture. We do what we can to keep the relation between traditional cultures and modernity from becoming an imposition and try to make it a genuine intercultural dialogue.

In Asia Pacific, Jesuits accompany and work with indigenous people in Australia, Malaysia, Micronesia, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar and Taiwan.

International Works

The Jesuit Conference has three International Works that come directly under the President.  Two of these, the Arrupe International Residence and the Asia Pacific Tertianship, are for Jesuit formation. The third is the East Asian Pastoral Institute.

Arrupe International Residence

Arrupe International Residence

Located on the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, the Arrupe International Residence is a house mainly for Jesuits in the theology stage of their formation.  

The residential and formation experience of living at AIR complements the Asian Theology Program at Loyola School of Theology to help prepare Jesuits, wherever they come from, for service within their own contexts of the universal mission of the Society. 

Arrupe House opened in July 1990 and is today home to approximately 60 scholastics from across Asia Pacific and other parts of the world  Students over the years have come from Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia. Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines, Tanzania, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Uganda, the United States and Vietnam.

Asia Pacific TertianshipAsia Pacific Tertianship

Tertianship is the final period of formal religious formation for Jesuit priests and brothers. During tertianship, the mature Jesuit attempts to integrate his past periods of formation and intensify his relationship with God through another 30-day retreat, studies, and apostolic activities.

The Jesuit Conference sponsors the Asia Pacific Tertianship based in Manila.  It is offered to Jesuits across the world coreually from September to March of the following year.  In addition, the Jesuit Conference jointly sponsors the Sri Lanka Tertianship in cooperation with our neighbouring Jesuit Conference of South Asia. 

The tertianship programmes are a way for the Conference to express its thanks for the men and for the financial assistance it receives from around the world.

East Asian Pastoral InstituteEast Asian Pastoral Institute

Situated on the campus of the Ateneo de Manila University, the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) was established in 1961 to conduct courses and workshops for priests, religious and lay people with an emphasis on forming lay Catholic leaders.

Interreligious Dialogue

“Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination.”

Nostra Aetate, 1965

Inter-religious Dialogue

“Since in the course of centuries not a few quarrels and hostilities have arisen between Christians and Moslems, this sacred synod urges all to forget the past and to work sincerely for mutual understanding and to preserve as well as to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom.”

Nostra Aetate, 1965

Dialogue with people of other faiths is a major dimension of the Jesuit commitment to be companions of Jesus and servants of his mission. This mission includes being prepared to live alongside people of other faiths, acting as good neighbours to them, and being prepared to work with them for the common good.

This is especially important for Jesuits in Asia Pacific, which is home to several major religions and cultures – Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism.

For many Jesuits, the dialogue with people of other faiths expresses itself through the dialogue of religious experience - learning how to listen to what others are saying and to enter into their spiritual lives through prayer and conversation.

For a few Jesuits, dialogue means theological exchange. It demands not just face-to-face debate but a life of study and constant reflection on what God may be saying through these other religious traditions.

In Asia Pacific, Jesuits are particularly active in encouraging and promoting dialogue between with Buddhists and Christians in Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Thailand and Cambodia. 

“Buddhism, in its various forms, realizes the radical insufficiency of this changeable world; it teaches a way by which men, in a devout and confident spirit, may be able either to acquire the state of perfect liberation, or attain, by their own efforts or through higher help, supreme illumination.”

We are also building a network that will help us to gain a better understanding of Islam and its role in this region. We engage in dialogue with Muslims in ways that challenge our theological understanding, help us gain greater understanding of religious fundamentalism and support solidarity with Muslims on human rights issues and to foster peace in the region. The effort is spearheaded by a group of Jesuits active in the study of Islam and engaged in solidarity actions with Muslims.

Social Communications

Jesuit Communications

From early times, Jesuits have seen the potential for communications in spreading the Word of God. Ignatius himself bought a printing press when he was the head of the Society, the first of many Jesuit publishing enterprises.

In Asia Pacific, the Jesuit work in social communications comes under the banner of Jesuit Communications.  The network consists of Jesuits and lay collaborators working in various fields of Church communications such as audio and video production, and publications on topics of Jesuit concern. It also promotes the use of communication for ministry in Asia. The most established social communication works in the Jesuit Conference are Jesuit Communications Australia, Kanisius Publishing and Printing House and Studio Audio Visual Puskat in Indonesia, Jesuit Communications Philippines, Kuangchi Program Services in Taiwan and Casa de Produção Audiovisual in Timor-Leste. 

Jesuit Formation

Jesuit Formation

When Catholics speak of “formation”, we mean preparing people to participate more effectively in the mission of Jesus.

Formation is much more than training or education; it is about the internalisation of values, attitudes and perspectives, and the maturing of faith.

Jesuit formation is always undertaken with the idea of mission in mind. What we do in our formation helps us to be better able to help others. When St Ignatius went back to school at the age of 33, he did so in order to be able “to help souls”.

The formation of a Jesuit begins with two years in novitiate, followed by several more years of study in the areas of philosophy and theology and practical experience in various ministries. Formation continues even after ordination.

As lay people take on roles in Jesuit ministries, formation has become important for them as well. This includes spiritual formation in the form of retreats, which are offered by several Jesuit spirituality centres across Asia Pacific.

Forming a Contemplative in Action: A Profile of a Formed Jesuit for Asia Pacific

The Six Interrelated Dynamics of Jesuit Formation

Our Jesuit life is a call to apostolic service under the banner of the cross. This way of proceeding is our pathway to God. The grace we receive from God is for the salvation and spiritual good of both ourselves and others. The apostolic service of the Society of Jesus is the principle that regulates the entire formation of our members.

“Mediocrity has no place in Ignatius’ world view,” former Jesuit General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach famously said. It is therefore essential to give young Jesuits a human, spiritual, intellectual, and ecclesial formation as deep, strong, and vibrant as possible to allow each of them to achieve our mission in the world with a proper attitude of service in the Church.

This Profile details what we hope Jesuits being formed in Asia Pacific would be growing towards, and is intended for use by both Jesuits in formation and those who accompany them.

To download the Profile, click here.

Parishes & Pastoral Work

Parishes & Pastoral Work

Jesuit priests and brothers work with religious women and laity in parishes in many countries within the Conference. Some of these were founded by the Society, others are now in the care of the Society and others are diocesan parishes with a Jesuit as parish priest. Jesuit parishes can be found in Australia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines and Singapore.

Social Justice

Social Justice & Ecology

Social justice has long been at the heart of the mission of the Society of Jesus. Our mission today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. This makes the social ministry a fundamental aspect of the work of the Society of Jesus, and perhaps the broadest of all Jesuit ministries in terms of scope and reach. 

As the social sector in the Society of Jesus, our collective role across the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific is “to be with, to think with, to act with, to pray with” the poor and marginalised.  Hence we provide direct services to those in need; do social and cultural analysis; encourage theological reflection on questions of injustice; advocate for change; and campaign alongside others striving to make our world a more just place.   Across our provinces and regions, there is a range of engagements from local social services within provinces and regions to work with the prison services, indigenous persons and for others in need. There are also several Jesuit social justice organisations working for peace and justice for all of those in need. 

In addition to these, the Jesuit Conference has committed to two priority engagements in social justice - Migration, in which refugees are a special category, and Reconciliation with Creation. 

Reconciliation with Creation

Ecology header

Reconciliation with Creation has been an apostolic priority of the Jesuits in Asia Pacific since 2010. We were encouraged the following year by the publication of Healing a Broken World in which Father General, Adolfo Nicolas SJ, emphasised the need for all Jesuit ministries to engage in reconciliation with creation.  

In 2015, we enthusiastically welcomed Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato si, appreciating the attention he drew to the urgent need for reconciliation with creation.  In a statement issued after their July meeting that year, the major superiors in our Jesuit Conference urged “all the members of our Conference, our colleagues, and all those we seek to serve to make a thoughtful and generous response to the Holy Father’s plea”.  They highlighted the need to continue to examine the issues of migration; pollution; nuclear power; sustainable energy; stewardship of resources; and the dignity of every human person — all issues that Pope Francis raised in his encyclical. 

As we persevere in our efforts in reconciliation with creation, we draw strength from a perspective of gratitude for the communities that sustain us, the structures that allow us to continually grow and the grace to share this growth. We strive to think ecologically, from a humble faith perspective, about care of creation. This affects our daily lives and prayer and gives us context for reflection and discernment that in turn leads to engagement and collaboration for concrete actions in reconciliation with creation. In particular we consider the role of ecology and healing in community life, formation and leadership, and collaboration in mission.

Read the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific Reconciliation with Creation Strategy for 2015-2019Reconciling with Creation five-year strategy here.

Our Partners

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Environmental Way of Proceeding

Way of Proceeding

Fr Pedro Arrupe SJ often spoke of “our way of proceeding”, and one of the first steps the Conference took when it made Reconciliation with Creation a priority engagement was to discern our way of proceeding in relation to the environment. 

In 2011, the Ecology Task Force of Asia Pacific developed Our Environmental Way of Proceeding, a document provides us with a framework and an operative spirituality that guides us in an experience of, and deepens our relationship with, creation and Creator.  It guides our ecology strategy and action plan.

Our Environmental Way of Proceeding consists of seven points that deepen our response to the challenge of reconciliation with creation in our lives and institutes.

  1. We acknowledge God as Creator of all life and find some quiet moment each day to appreciate this with gratitude.
  2. We as an apostolic body seek to reflect and speak of what we experience and discern of our relationship with and responsibility for the natural systems. 
  3. We recognize that the children we see today inherit this living world and as we choose to sustain it by finding God at work in all things, we humbly work with young people. 
  4. We seek to reach out in hope to the poor who are increasingly losing their livelihoods and ecological sustainability and incorporate their concerns in our care for the web of life. 
  5. We support good actions in contemporary culture and explore needed alternatives with decision; we partner with others broadening our capacity to transform environmental attitudes and relations. 
  6. We seek the greater good of finding how people can work with the gifts of creation; we live life as a mission, to heal and share with others the fullness of life. 
  7. We accept the challenge of living sustainably in the world.

 

More on our Way of Proceeding in Reconciliation with Creation.

Disaster Management

Disaster risk reduction is a major concern of the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific. Our geographic region experiences more natural disasters than any other part of the world, and increasingly countries are recognising the need to plan for a natural disaster rather than focus on what to do after a disaster strikes. There is a need for capability training in disaster event warning and evacuation strategy where the ability to interpret and utilise scientific information is expanded. Also, the disaster management cycle generally described as having four phases — mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery — is beginning to be seen as having a fifth phase of redesign. Beyond an overall approach, more specific opportunities are needed to enable collaborative action.

At the Conference level, we have developed a protocol calling for greater integration of capacity and networking, and we are encouraging our various provinces to develop their own protocol. The Philippine Province, which experiences natural disasters every year, was the first to develop a province protocol.

In addition, many Jesuit education institutions have relief and disaster risk reduction and management in their planning and processes. Having a broader system for coordination will increase impact and deepen responses. Greater social preparedness integrated with scientific analysis, in the event of the typhoons and cyclones prevalent in the Pacific, is needed.

With the increasing incidence of more intense storms and other climatic hazards, stakeholders are actively seeking opportunities to respond to needs. The Hyogo Framework for Action details the work required from all different stakeholders to reduce disaster losses. It outlines priority actions and offers guiding principles and practical means for achieving reduction in disaster losses through building the resilience of nations and communities to disasters.

Read Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific Coordination Protocol here.

Read the Philippine Province Coordination Protocol here.

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Education in Sustainability

A large part of caring for creation is ensuring that the next generations continue and even take today’s actions in reconciliation with creation further. Thus, education in sustainability is also a focus of our Jesuit Conference. Through a variety of practical sustainability courses and training programmes, we seek to provide people with the analysis of the changing context that will help them form their values and perspectives. Our priority groups are Jesuit scholastics as well as young professionals and indigenous youth who are seeking broader meaning in life, human integration and sustainability.

Sustainability courses and training programmes offered include Human Development and Resource Management in Asia: An Outdoor Course, Sustainability Coordinator’s Course, Leadership and Sustainable Management: An Ignatian Field Course, and Understanding Ordinary Time for Mitigation and Preparedness: Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Protocol.

For more information about courses and training programmes, contact Ms Mariel de Jesus marielecojcap [at] gmail [dot] com.

Migration

Migration

Migration is one of the defining global issues of the early twenty-first century, with more and more people on the move today than at any other point in human history. 

Asia is the largest source of temporary contractual migrant workers in the world, with China and the Philippines among the top 10 suppliers and Indonesia and Vietnam in the top 25.  Forty percent of the world’s domestic workers are from Asia.

Migrant workers (both foreign and internal), foreign brides, undocumented migrants, including victims of trafficking and smuggling; and people in immigration detention centres are among the most vulnerable people in the world, and in need of support and assistance. Of these, migrants from rural areas, those who work alone in isolated settings such as domestic workers, and those who do not work within a legitimate corporate structure, such as undocumented persons, are at greater risk.

Jesuits and collaborators, including the Jesuit Refugee Service, serve vulnerable migrants at the local level by providing casework, medical and legal help, social and learning activities, accompaniment, chaplaincy work and pastoral care.  We also foster capacity building among non-government organisations working in aid of migrants within this part of the world.

The focus at the Jesuit Conference level is on improving and strengthening collaboration and coordination between the countries from which the migrants come and those to which they go (sending and receiving countries), and on developing ways to communicate more effectively and advocate for changes in policies and practices affecting vulnerable migrants.

In the Jesuit Conference, the main centres working with migrants are Sahabat Insan in Indonesia, Tokyo Migrants’ Desk in Japan, UGAT Foundation in the Philippines and Rerum Novarum Center in Taiwan.

Refugees

Migration Work at the Local Level

A lot of the work with refugees in Asia Pacific is done through Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), which was founded on November 14, 1980, by Father Pedro Arrive, Superior General of the Society of Jesus at that time.  JRS Asia Pacific was set up in 1981 in response to the need for emergency refugee care in the region, but its work has since expanded towards a longer-term commitment.

JRS works with refugees, asylum seekers (individuals who have made an application for protection but whose status has not yet been determined),  forcibly displaced persons and internally displaced and stateless peoples. Many have fled extreme poverty, generalised conflict, economic collapse, etc. In host countries, they are regularly denied access to basic services such as social welfare, education and health care, and the right to work. It is in this denial of access and the consequent need for action in justice that the work of the JRS begins.

In addition to JRS Asia Pacific, JRS has local offices or representatives in Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore.

Spirituality

Spirituality

From his mystical experiences, Ignatius of Loyola discovered that God can be found in all things, in all events, in every moment. Learning to listen to the movements of his heart, he was led to a profound faith in Jesus, and he invited others to journey along the path he trod. Generations later we call this path ‘Ignatian Spirituality’. It is a pilgrim’s path, a way that respects each person’s life journey, but profoundly challenges the pilgrim to hear, to decide and to journey onwards.

Following the example of St Ignatius, Ignatian spirituality centres on the imitation of Jesus,focusing on those priorities which constitute Christ's mind, heart, values, priorities and loves. To learn what those values, priorities and loves are, Ignatius would encourage us to consider what Jesus said and did. At the foundation of Jesus's life was prayer, a continuous search for how best to live as an authentic human being before a loving God.

Ignatian spirituality stresses the need to take time to reflect and to pray in order to find out how God wants us to serve him. This active commitment to seeking God's will is called discernment.

Apart from the principles in the Jesuit Constitutions, the primary expression of Ignatian spirituality is St Ignatius’ book of The Spiritual Exercises. The Exercises are the basis of a variety of retreats and courses offered for clergy, religious and lay people.

Within our Jesuit Conference, Jesuit retreat houses and spirituality centres can be found in Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. 

Jesuit retreat houses and spirituality centres in the Jesuit Conference.

There are also many Jesuit retreat houses and spirituality centres in continental Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States

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Jesuit Retreat Houses and Spirituality Centres

Jesuit Retreat Houses and Spirituality Centres - Mirador - Photo by Kenneth Rayco

Within the Conference

  • St. Francis Xavier Spirituality Centre
    27 Peak Rd. Cheung Chau,
    N.T. Hong Kong
    Tel: 852-2981-0342
    Mail: xaviersj [at] netvigator [dot] com
  • Manresa Centre of Spirituality
    40 Alley, 1, Lane 2, Ta Pu Rd.,
    Changhua, Taiwan 50073
    Tel: 886-4-712-2259
    Mail: manresatw [at] seed [dot] net [dot] tw
  • Ignatian Spirituality Centre
    22 Sec. 1 Hsin Hai Rd.,
    Taipei, Taiwan 10089
    Tel: 886-2-2364-6400
    Mail: twignatian [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] tw
  • Christ the King Retreat House and Puspita Spirituality Centre
  • Civita Youth Camp Retreat House
  • Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Retreat House
  • Lay Formation Centre
  • Centre of Spirituality for Western Japan
  • Jesuit Spirituality Centre
  • Retreat House of Martyrs of Japan
  • Retreat House of St Paul Miki

Other Parts of the World

Sites on Spirituality and Prayer

Sites on Prayer

Ways of praying by Gerald Fitzgibbon SJ - http://freespace.virgin.net/g.fitzgibbon/

Daily Prayer

Sacred Space — Produced by the Irish Jesuits. Sacred Space is designed to help busy people in their offices have a meaningful experience of prayer via the internet.  It offers a daily 10-minute prayer session, in six stages, centred on a scripture passage and based on the tradition of Ignatian spirituality. Sacred Space attracts over five million visits annually and is now produced in some 20 languages.

Pray-as-you-go — A daily prayer session in MP3 format that can be downloaded for use on a computer or a portable MP3 player.   It combines some of the world's most beautiful spiritual music with a reading from the scriptures and some questions for personal reflection. Pray-as-you-go is the perfect way to build a habit of regular prayer into a busy day, and the perfect antidote to the hassle and stress of the life of the average commuter!

Daily Scripture Reflections — Reflections on the readings of the day written by members of the Creighton University community.

Liturgy of the Hours — Join in the Church’s prayer using this site which provides the daily office in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format. 

Prego — Reflections on next Sunday’s readings for prayer group sessions or personal refection. PREGO is a weekly scripture resource produced by the St Beuno's Outreach Group led by Fr Damian Jackson SJ of the St Beuno’s Ignatian Spirituality Centre in North Wales.