Yangon (Agenzia Fides) - The future for the Jesuit mission in Myanmar, a country which is rapidly changing, is the commitment concerning education: this is what emerged from the first meeting of the Jesuits in Myanmar, held in Yangon in past weeks.
The meeting was attended by 27 Jesuits who live permanently in the country, and also by some members of the Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific, such as Fr. Mark Raper SJ, President of the Conference and Regional Superior for Myanmar. As reported in a note sent to Fides by the Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific, those present shared their experiences, impressions and projects for the mission of the Jesuits, exploring the needs of the local Church and the Burmese society and looking to the future role of the Society of Jesus in this context. The first step is to "build a strong community": the Society is in fact growing, the first local Jesuit priest was ordained in 2013 and two deacons will be ordained to the priesthood in April and May 2014. Other religious are completing their studies in Indonesia and the Philippines. In Myanmar there are currently 14 Jesuit missionaries from Australia, Korea, India, Indonesia and Malaysia.
The work of the mission is evolving, says the note sent to Fides: currently, the Jesuits run two English language schools, "San Luigi Gonzaga" in Taunggyi and "Campion Institute" in Yangon. They then have the "Research Arrupe Center" and carry out social projects in favor of the poor and marginalized, and a micro-credit project for farmers in Laputta. In the assembly, the religious men reaffirmed their commitment to serve the poor, youth, farmers, internally displaced persons and refugees, especially in three pastoral areas: education, formation and the media. Education, indeed, is the most precious gift that you can give to young people, it is the path that allows young people to equip themselves to face future challenges, it is the instrument for growth, progress and development of society as a whole. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 07/02/2014)