Jesuits and colleagues in the Asia Pacific region are gathering in the Philippines next month to discuss and share how transformed lifestyles are moving a more meaningful and effective response to environmental and social concerns in their ministries. The three-day environmental reflection workshop will be held at the Culture and Ecology Centre in Bendum, Bukidnon from June 6 to 10, and is organized by the Reconciliation with Creation programme of the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific (JCAP).
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(Vatican Radio) Can getting a higher education benefit entire communities and even countries ? Jesuit Fr. Michael Garanzini, Secretary for higher education worldwide for the Society of Jesus, thinks so and he has the model for doing just that. Fr. Garanzini, whose tenure as President of Loyola University in Chicago expires at the end of this month, assumed his role as Secretary for Jesuit higher education in September 2011 to coordinate and champion Jesuit higher-education issues around the world for the order.
The 2015 Yearbook confronts the theme of ecology from a very particular point of view: the Society of Jesus’ growing awareness of this huge problem. The last General Congregation – the highest Jesuit legislative body – said much about it in 2008, affirming among things,“Care of the environment affects the quality of our relationships with God, with other human beings, and with creation itself. It touches the core of our faith in and love for God. . .. The drive to access and exploit sources of energy and other natural resources is very rapidly widening the damage to earth, air, water, and our whole environment, to the point that the future of our planet is threatened.
In Valladolid, the Jesuit College of Agriculture (INEA) has a program for retired people with the support of the City Council. The College offers the farming land in its premises plus technical supervision to 450 farmers. The farmers are retired people with or without previous experience of farming and inscribed through the community social centres of the city. They receive a garden plot of 15 square meters, training, and technical support. The farmers commit to grow strictly organic crops and attend the training sessions organized on their behalf. After five years the experience, is a huge success, in farming terms, but also as social involvement of the community.
The Jesuits of the Kohima Region in Northeast India work in the rural, mountainous area situated in the Himalayan hills and valleys between Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Tibet. They serve a population that is primarily indigenous and their work includes: the establishment of parishes, the operation of 10 high schools, 13 middle schools, 26 primary schools (over 13,000 students), one undergraduate college, a training center and numerous vocational and agricultural training programs. Social action projects include economic self-help cooperatives, women’s micro-finance groups; initiatives to support human and cultural rights, religious/ethnic tolerance initiatives and dialogues, ecological preservation, legal advocacy, and support for health care.
The Granja Escuela Popol Ja (or Popol Ja Farm School) is part of the Jesuit parish La Natividad de la Virgen María in Santa Maria Chiquimula, Totonicapán in Guatemala. The farm is located next to a Fe y Alegría school (Centro de Educación Integral Indigena Popol Ja) and is a place of education, training and experimentation designed to generate knowledge that can be replicated in home gardens and communities across the municipality.