South Asia

Fr Sosa visits India in first official trip as Superior General

Fr Arturo Sosa SJ was in India recently in his first official trip since being elected Superior General of the Society of Jesus on October 14, 2016. His choice underlines the demographic shift within the universal Society. The Jesuit Conference of South Asia accounts for close to 25 percent of the whole Society and the majority of the 4,027 Jesuits are from India. Fr General spent 11 days, from February 18 to 28, visiting his Jesuit confreres and companions in Delhi, Jabalpur, Ambikapur and Raipur.

Encouraging Buddhist-Christian dialogue

The Christian-Buddhist Workshop group of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) has produced its first book, to showcase its work over the last several years and to encourage younger people to study Buddhism. Titled The Buddha and Jesus: An anthology of articles by Jesuits engaged in Buddhist Studies and Inter-religious Dialogue, the collection of 16 essays discusses Buddhist traditions, inculturation, meditation methods, issues in Chinese Buddhism, doctrinal interpretations in early Buddhism, the spirituality of indigenous peoples and more.

Committing to the rebuilding of Nepal

It has been a month since Nepal suffered the deadliest disaster in its history. A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit the Himalayan country on April 25, killing thousands and demolishing more than half a million homes, most of them in rural areas. A second major quake struck on May 12, just as the people were beginning to recover from the previous quake. According to the home ministry, the death toll from the two quakes stands at more than 8,500.

A Universal Body with a Universal Mission

At our annual meeting with Fr General in Rome this month, the six Jesuit Conference presidents identified significant strategies that are bearing fruit for greater solidarity among Jesuits and our colleagues globally, and planned new cooperative measures.  Since the primary goal of conferences concerns mission, we dealt with questions such as restructuring of governance arrangements, solidarity in sharing resources across the Society, cooperation in the formation of Jesuits and promotion of studies in Ignatian spirituality. 

India’s first Jesuit university officially opens

The first Jesuit university in India was inaugurated on July 7.  Located in Bhubaneswar, the capital of the state of Odisha, Xavier University (XU) is also the state’s first Catholic university and the fourth Catholic university in India. 

In his address, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the new university aims to be a centre of both academic excellence and sound ethical values, and thanked the Jesuits in Odisha for taking establishing it.

Dialogue, discernment, frontier

With a Pope whose language and behaviour so closely reflect his Jesuit identity, the Society of Jesus is enjoying a period of encouragement in its mission.  Pope Francis models a discerning, compassionate, pastoral approach for the Church. Each day he surprises us, yet his initiatives make sense to many people, whether believers or not, whether Christians or not.

First Jesuit university in India

The first Jesuit private university in India will open its doors next year.  It will be named after St Francis Xavier, and will be built in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, where the Jesuits already run a business management institute, the Xavier Institute of Management.  The Orissa state Legislative Assembly recently gave the go-ahead to the project, which was first proposed four years ago.  

Deliberation for Social Action

Jesuits involved in Social Action in the South Asian Conference spent three days in March deliberating to find a framework for Social Action. The objectives of the deliberation were to analyse the present state of affairs of social action and identify its causes, recognise the challenges and opportunities facing the ministry in the present socio-political and economic context, and come up with a framework for response that could provide a guideline for zonal / province level deliberation in order to develop a concrete plan of action for the next five years.

Structures for mission

In September, the six Conference Presidents gathered in Rome for their annual meeting with Fr General. Although we came from very different parts of the world, we could experience much in common in our roles of service to the Society’s global mission. 

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