Thailand

Promotio Iustitiae shines spotlight on the prison ministry

The prison ministry is the focus of the latest issue of Promotio Iustitiae painting, as Social Justice and Ecology Secretary Fr Patxi Álvarez SJ said, a picture of the quiet work Jesuits and lay collaborators have been doing to serve people in prison. 

“The Jesuits, and the laypeople that they collaborate with, have a longstanding tradition of serving people in prison, dating back to the first companions of Jesus,” said Fr Álvarez.

A gift of joy from God

Gratitude and joy for the love of God recently inspired two young Jesuits to write a song. Deacon Soo Young Theodore Park SJ from Korea and Scholastic Jun-G Bargayo SJ from the Philippines say the song Kutafuta Mungu (“Finding God” in Swahili) was a gift for them as 2017 began.

The inspiration to compose the song came the night after Soo Young’s diaconate ordination.

Reuniting families separated by detention

Seeing divided families is a painful sight and this is often the case in immigration detention centres where women and men are held in separate detention cells. For 25 years, the Jesuits have been working closely with the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok to facilitate the release of detainees and help them return to a life of dignity and freedom with their families. Two years ago, Jesuit Refugee Service Asia Pacific handed over responsibility for this work to the Jesuit Foundation – Prison Ministry Thailand.

In Motion videos on refugee stories

“I have a big dream for my son. I myself wish to be an educated man, and I want my son to become one too.  I want him to get opportunities that we couldn’t get,” says Peter, a community organizer from Kachin State, internally displaced in Myanmar. 

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.

Rest in peace

Fr Andrew Lee Sung-gyoon SJ, the new director of Yiutsari, the Jesuit migrant centre in Korea, reflects on the death of a young Thai migrant worker in Korea and what it says about Korean society.


On February 8, sad news of the death of a young Thai worker came to me. I rushed to the hospital to meet his relatives and friends. According to them, this young man had been too weak to work and had gone to a small local hospital. Several days ago before his death, he decided to go to the general hospital and was hospitalised but he died one day later.

Set aflame by Magis

Go, set the world on fire! On January 3, 70 young people, set out to do just that in their home countries – Cambodia, Korea, Myanmar, Macau, Taiwan, Thailand, Timor-Leste and Indonesia – after nine days spent in the first Magis JCAP, held at Omah Petroek in Kaliurang Yogyakarta. 

Is it safe for refugees to return to Myanmar?

Since the historic elections in November 2015, there has been a wave of optimism for national reconciliation, which may allow for Burmese refugees who fled to camps on the Thailand-Myanmar border decades ago to return.

My God becomes bigger and bigger

Taiwanese Scholastic Aloysius Hsu SJ shares his experience of Vipassana Meditation and the 2015 East Asia Theological Encounter Programme (EATEP) held from July 22 to August 17 in Chiang Mai, Thailand. EATEP is a programme of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific that provides Jesuits in formation with opportunities to deepen their dialogue with other faiths, particularly Buddhism, and to enrich their perspectives on theology in Asia. 

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