Manila (Agenzia Fides) – It has become a point of reference in Asia for primary and on-going pastoral formation in the spirit of Vatican II: for 50 years the East Asian Pastoral Institute EAPI based in Manila, has irradiated its activity all over Asia. The centre originally an initiative of by Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ, then Superior General of the Society of Jesus, was opened by a group of Jesuits forced to leave mainland China who moved to the Philippines.
On 4 March EAPI will open anniversary celebrations with a special Mass presided by Bishop Honesto Ongtioco of the diocese of Cubao., and in the days to follow with the presence of Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, archbishop of Manila. In June it will be the turn of Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, archbishop of Yangon. EAPI Anniversary celebrations will culminate on 3 December the feast day of the patron saint of missions St Francis Xavier
In 1953 Jesuit Fr Johannes Hofinger from Austria established a first Missionary Institute to provide on-going formation for missionaries also regarding changes in the Church. In September 1961, when the name of the Institute was changed to East Asian Pastoral Institute, the centre organised the first seminars of liturgical and catechetical renewal. In 1966 EAPI began to offer Pastoral Courses for priests, women religious and laity from all over Asia. Fifty years later the Institute has become the Asian hub for courses in pastoral programs for thousands of pastoral workers. The early fathers wanted to build an institution where there was a close encounter with other cultures, with the documents of Vatican II and fresh ideas from Asian theologians. Today it continues to offer students an “existential ” viewpoint encouraging them to transform their lives to be witnesses and faithful followers of Christ’s way in the world. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 1/3/2016)