Social Justice & Ecology

Jesuits in Korea and Japan confront ethnic reconciliation

August is a symbolic month dedicated to peace movements in Japan. Seventy-one years have passed since the defeat of Japan in the Second World War, but the dropping of the first two nuclear bombs on Hiroshima (August 6, 1945) and Nagasaki (August 9, 1945) are still vividly remembered.

A group of 34 Jesuits, half of them from Korea and the rest from Japan gathered in Shimonoseki, in the west of Japan from August 23 to 26 to heal wounds occasioned by the worst historical relationship between both countries and to search for closer cooperation.

A beacon of hope

Indonesian scholastic Tiro Daenuwy SJ shares what he learnt from his immersion experience in an Islamic boarding house in Garut, West Java, Indonesia.  The five-day immersion held from July 29 to August 2 is a vital part of the Asia Pacific Theological Encounter Programme, a formation programme in contextual theology with a focus on Islam that is conducted annually by the Jesuits in Indonesia.

Ateneo de Davao University underscores commitment to the environment

The southern Philippine island of Mindanao is home to an abundance of natural resources, chief among them are forests and aquatic resources that sustain and nourish ecosystems. But big agricultural developments and large-scale mining activities have resulted in land dispossession of indigenous communities, violence and environmental degradation.

Celebrating the Season of Creation

In one sense it is strange that we should have a “season” of Creation. All seasons are of Creation; they are its very life, the process of sustaining all lives.  But, thanks to Pope Francis, the Catholic Church celebrated the Season of Creation for the first time in 2015.  

A new way of being a Jesuit conference

One might have thought they would be exhausted after two long days of immersion, talks and group work, but the third and final day of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) sustainability conference saw ideas coming fast and furious on how sustainability in Asia Pacific can be increased. A bright flame had been lit in the approximately 140 participants from across Asia Pacific.

Giving up plastic straws in response to Laudato si’

When the Jesuits in Cambodia gathered for the usual days of prayer, discussions and celebrations in honour of St Ignatius this year, one interesting outcome was the decision to practise a unified, symbolic action to strengthen the Jesuit witness of working for ecological conversion. Such would be a communal response to the Holy Father’s invitation towards care for our common home in Laudato si’.  So, during the meeting held from July 27 to 29, they decided that this symbolic action would take the form of giving up the use of plastic straws.

Jesuit colleges and universities commit to promoting institutional collaboration on sustainability in Asia Pacific

The Jesuit focus on sustainability in Asia Pacific is gaining momentum. Just two days after the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific’s first sustainability conference, the chief executive officers of Jesuit institutions of higher learning agreed that their network would be the institutional home of JCAP’s sustainability movement. 

Sustainability in the youth

Small-scale farming and indigenous practices in the uplands of Asia are not very sustainable and a great majority of the youth wants out.  Given the marginalisation and oppression that still rule in many of these environments with exploitation by corporate “sustainable” logging and mining firms, armed groups, corporate agricultural practices, infrastructure and seeping globalisation, farming life is not a question of success but of survival.

Continuing to accompany the “stranger” in Thai prisons

For 25 years, the Jesuit prison ministry in Thailand has been accompanying foreign prisoners primarily through providing counselling and companionship. Today, the programme serves about 1,200 prisoners spread across in 10 prisons in Bangkok and other provinces, and two prison hospitals.

This year, the team encountered a number of challenges.

A reflection on the forest walk

The experience of walking through the forest helped to set the scene of the JCAP Reconciling with Creation Reflection Workshop by immersing us in nature and helping us to reflect on the interconnectedness of all things.

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