Jesuit Father General thanks Australians for giving their hearts to the marginalised
On 24 January we welcomed Jesuit Father General Arturo Sosa, his Jesuit companions from Rome, and the Jesuit Major Superiors from across Asia-Pacific, to share an intimate evening of gratitude and friendship with some of our long-term and loyal supporters.
"You are part of the family of the Society of Jesus. Not because of what you give, but because of who you are. Because what you are giving is your own life, your own heart," said Fr. Sosa.
The evening consisted of a panel session where the Jesuit Major Superiors from Myanmar, Cambodia, Thailand and Timor-Leste shared heartfelt stories of impact and updates from the ground, on the life-changing global outreach made possible thanks to your generosity.
Led by Helen Forde, CEO of Jesuit Mission, the panel was a great way for supporters, from Sydney, Broken Bay and Paramatta dioceses and some who travelled from Melbourne and Adelaide dioceses, to hear from the Major Superiors and Fr. Sosa, followed by opportunities for supporters to engage and meet in person.
"It was an evening of great joy and encouragement, a reminder of the positive change we make when we collaborate and uplift our sisters and brothers in need together," said Ms Forde.
The Major Superiors were invited to share how their ministry is ensuring that the youth have a hope-filled future, to become leaders that strive for justice.
"We are providing not only education, but holistic formation to youth where their values, culture and spirituality are grounded," said Fr. Erik John Gerilla SJ, Regional Superior of Timor-Leste, in reference to the Jesuit education institutions there which are forming thousands of students and trainee teachers to be the next leaders and change-makers of their country.
Even in the political upheaval in neighbouring Myanmar, beacons of hope and opportunity bloom through the chaos.
"Despite the challenges of the country, the youth of Myanmar have hope…the fighting will one day cease and with the education they receive they will breathe in something new," said Fr. Girish Santiago SJ, Regional Superior of Myanmar.
In Cambodia many children living in rural areas, are unable to receive a quality education due to poverty and a lack of opportunity.
"We opened Xavier Jesuit School in Cambodia near the Thai border, as many children are left behind while their parents seek employment in Thailand. Our school motto is to ‘Dare to Dream of a Brighter Future,” said Fr. Kwon Oh-Chang SJ, Delegate of Cambodia Mission." said Fr. Kwon Oh-Chang SJ, Delegate of Cambodia Mission.
Similarly, in Thailand your generosity is supporting the Jesuits work in two refugee camps providing education, social and pastoral services.
"We have about 11 schools improving their curriculum, supporting teacher salaries, providing textbooks as well as seminars for teacher training and child protection. We visit families, take care of the elderly, the sick and the outcast," said Fr. Miguel Garaizábal SJ, Regional Superior of Thailand.
Fr. Sosa is the 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
As only the third Father General to visit Australia in the history of the Jesuits, it was a truly memorable occasion for the Jesuit Mission family to hear directly from the Father General as he shared a message of thanks and offered a special blessing.
"The Society of Jesus cannot exist, cannot have a long history as it has without your generosity, without those who support, who have been partners in this mission. So from the grateful heart of the whole Society of Jesus, especially from the Australian, Asian, part of our universal body, and in your name, I ask the Lord for abundant blessings... May the Lord bless each of you, your families, your intentions. May you be blessed with good health and interior strength so that we can encourage one another in doing God's work,” said Fr. Sosa.
Fr. Sosa expressed the importance of us working together as one Church:
"I want to insist that the mission does not belong to Jesuits. The Lord called all of us. All of us are called to that mission together for the same mission. Even though we have different ways of fulfilling... we need to help each other so that we, the Jesuits, and you our friends in Jesuit Mission Australia can work together to fulfill the mission and entrusted to us by God and the Church.”
We would like to extend its deepest thanks to Fr. Sosa, the Major Superiors of Asia-Pacific and Australia, as well as the rest of our Jesuit partners and supporters in mission in Australia and around the world. Through our collaboration in God’s Mission, there is hope for people trapped in the cycle of poverty.
Photography: Giovanni Portelli/Jesuit Mission Australia.
Click here to watch more of Father General's visit to Australia.