South Asia: Jesuits in Social Action unite
The 17th Convention of Jesuits in Social Action (JESA) was held from 14 to 16 October 2008 in Guwahati in the state of Assam in north-eastern India. Eighty-three Jesuits came together to share their experiences and engage in discussions. One participant reported the aims of the meeting: "The Convention was an occasion to see where we are, to identify the challenges ... to listen to new initiatives, to difficulties and obstacles faced. It was a time to revisit the decrees of GC 35 and to make collective decisions on certain directions or orientations."
Fathers Mike T. Raj SJ, the provincial of Jamshedpur, and S. Tony Raj SJ shared the agony of the people of Kandhamal in Orissa with the group. They listed specific areas where they needed help in Orissa and a large number of volunteers from among the participants raised their hands. The Convention's recommendations prepared for the Conference of Jesuit Provincials of South Asia (JCSA) reflect the top priorities chosen for the coming years: Emerging fascism / Religious fundamentalism, and Globalization and Marginalization. The speech given by Fr Fernando Franco of the Social Justice Secretariat can be found here.
Read a recent article by the US National Catholic Reporter here about the ongoing violence in Orissa and elsewhere in India. For up-to-date information and documents, visit the JESA website.