Social Justice & Ecology

Aiding in flood relief efforts

The fury and ferocity of floods becomes more amplified when one sees the situation first hand. The data, descriptions and dashboards of information fail to project the face of people and their experience at the ground level.  At the invitation of the Bishop of Kalay (Sagaing division – the place that took the brunt of floods), we visited Kalay.  As the plane descends (roads are still to be repaired) an eerie scenario unfolds. A vast expanse of clay mud covers hundreds of acres where there were once villages and flourishing farming communities. Only water now.

The Asia Pacific face of the promotion of justice

A black and white photograph caught the eye on entering the meeting room for this year’s Social Apostolate meeting in Kuala Lumpur. It showed six men, all Jesuits and all Caucasian, deep in thought. The photograph was taken sometime in 1971 when the Committee for the Development of Socio-Economic Life in Asia (SELA), the predecessor of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific social apostolate office, had a meeting.

Solidarity and collaboration for peace

Solidarity in social apostolates is rapidly increasing between the Japan and Korea Jesuit Provinces.  In another step towards increased collaboration, the two provinces will hold a bi-province meeting, timed to coincide with the 2015 Gangjeong Peace Conference to be held from September 7 to 9. 

Dropping off the edge

The recent Jesuit Social Services study of disadvantage, Dropping off the Edge 2015 has aroused widespread interest in Australia.

Reaching out to Myanmar after Cyclone Komen

The landfall on July 30 of Cyclone Komen in Bangladesh brought strong winds and heavy rains to Myanmar, particularly to Rakhine and Chin States and Sagaing and Magway Regions in western Myanmar. More than one meter (40 inches) of rain that followed turned the floods into a major natural disaster. On August 3, the Ministry of Agriculture stated that 525,895 acres of farmland had been submerged. The Relief and Resettlement Department (RRD) of the Government of Myanmar put the number of deaths at 63 and displaced people at 200,000. But newspapers (e.g.

Thai Jesuit education project on the way

With the cooperation and support of a considerable circle of lay experts as well as the advice of Jesuit educators in Asia Pacific, the Jesuits in Thailand are embarking on an ambitious education project to serve the poor, especially the indigenous communities in the northern mountains of the country.  An assistant professor at Mae Fah Luang University in Chiang Rai has been hired to conduct a feasibility study that will help the Jesuits work out many of the details of the proposed college.  It should be completed in August. 

Statement on Laudato si’

We, the major superiors of the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific, sincerely and enthusiastically welcome Pope Francis’ new encyclical Laudato si’ (On the Care of Our Common Home). He draws attention to the urgent need for reconciliation with creation, already one of our apostolic priorities in Asia Pacific. We urge 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.

Pope Francis' environmental encyclical

Pope Francis' encyclical on the environment has won many hearts, not least because it combines concern for the environment and for social justice. The Pope writes with authority because of his experience with the poor in large Argentinian cities. There the poor, caught in a society marked by great extremes of wealth and poverty are forced to live in polluted and unhealthy conditions. He has also visited poor villages whose people are vulnerable to the extreme weather events resulting from global warming.

Raising awareness of the Rohingya in Japan

For World Refugee Day this year, the Tokyo Jesuit Social Center chose to focus on raising awareness of the plight of the Rohingya in Japan. This decision stemmed from a Skype discussion the Migration Network of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific had about the thousands of Rohingya from Myanmar stranded in the sea by the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

On his return to Tokyo, Fr Isamu Ando SJ, who heads the centre’s migrant desk, asked himself what could possibly be done in Japan.

Becoming environment-friendly Jesuit houses

The Jesuits in the Philippines have committed to making their various houses environmentally friendly as part of reconciling with creation. They have begun by setting up waste management activities in their houses. This is a simple yet practical step that contributes to the broader initaitive of living a simple lifestyle.

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