Learning the Meaning of Humanity

casa ricci social services
Fr Fernando Azpiroz SJ working the land together with friends in south Yunnan Province, China. (March 2018) 

Irish Jesuits have been present in China for more than 90 years. The Irish Province sent 106 missionaries to China over the years and four Irish men still remain there.

In this article, Argentinian Jesuit Fr Fernando Azpiroz SJ, the Director of Casa Ricci Social Services tells of how working with people who are poor, ill or in precarious living circumstances has affected him.

“The Chinese character that expresses the idea of “humanity” is “Ren”. This character caught the attention of the first Jesuits who arrived in China, as it is at core of the Confucian way of understanding what makes us become human. The character is formed by two parts. At its left side, a human person; at its right side, the number two. Confucianism states that we learn how to become human not alone but in relationships. I believe that the bigger the gap or difference between these two people, the deeper the impact of the relationship on our identity.

A Legacy of Hope in South Sudan

Fr vitor Luke Odhiambo SJ

Dedicated to the life of Fr Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ, RIP, 1956 – 2018

South Sudan is a beautiful country; intense, scarred and complex. I spent a month there in July - August 2018 for the Xavier Network, a global network of Jesuit Mission Offices and development initiatives which is supporting projects in the world’s newest state. When I first drafted this article reflecting on my experiences there, I felt a deep conviction despite the pessimism of many commentators to write from a perspective of hope. In every brutal situation, without exception, there are always many good people and many positive dynamics at work. It is important to honour the dignity of a country and its people and God in the midst of all by protecting and nourishing all and any signs of hope.

Teach a Woman to Farm, and Feed a Village for a Lifetime

women farmers kasungu
Female farmers in Kasungu learn techniques such as manure making, afforestation, soil cover, and maize variety selection through JCED's Farmers Field Schools.

Jesuit Adrian Makasa’s work with the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development, which teaches women the methods and benefits of conservation farming gives him hope, in the midst of the struggle of people in rural Malawi who are disproportionately affected by the adverse impacts of climate change even though they have done very little to cause it.

Kasungu, a rural area in Malawi, about two hours away from the capital Lilongwe, has a population of more than 40,000 people and a rapid growth rate of 5.6 percent. The main occupation in Kasungu is farming.

Fr Victor-Luke Odhiambo SJ RIP

Fr Victor Luke Odhiambo
"Fr Victor-Luke worked with all his energy and gave his sweat and blood for the promotion of good education in South Sudan. This effort reached its climax at Mazollari Teachers’ College where he even paid the ultimate price of his own blood being poured out.” These were the words of Fr Leonard Afulo SJ at the funeral of fellow Jesuit, Fr Victor-Luke Odhiambo, who was gunned down on the morning of 15th November by two assailants who broke into his home. He died instantly. The funeral was held in the teachers’ college in Cueibet, where he was Principal. The town is in Gok State, one of the new states decreed by South Sudanese President Salva Kiir in 2015. The states are divided largely among ethnic lines, and this is the heart of Dinka land.

Love at the Heart of Mission

leonard moloney mass gonzaga

Our annual memorial Mass to celebrate the lives and work of deceased Irish Jesuit missionaries and volunteers took place at the Gonzaga College Chapel on Sunday 4 November 2018. We had a great turnout of family and friends who participated in this lovely celebration of the lives of our deceased missionaries. In particular we remembered those men who had passed away this year; Fr Joseph Mallin, Fr Harold Naylor (Hong Kong) and Fr John Moore ( Zambia/Malawi Province and ex Prof of Botany UCD).

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