JCAP Major Superiors Assembly in Chiang Mai: looking at the present and guiding the future

Reconfiguration of Provinces, programmes for the protection of vulnerable people, the search for candidates to take up responsibilities within the Conference, the formation of younger Jesuits, relationships with the General Curia and other Conferences: these are just some of the items on the agenda of the Conference Assembly of the Society of Jesus in Asia Pacific.

The Region of Thailand - a dependent Region of the Indonesian Province - is hosting this week’s early 2023 Major Superiors Assembly. Some figures: there are 38 Jesuits in the Region, including 16 scholastics. There are 14 Jesuits living in other Provinces, mainly because of their studies. It is a small Region, in terms of the number of Jesuits, in a country where only 0.5% of the population is Catholic. But, as the Provincials of Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific will see, it is a lively Region that knows how to identify the needs of the people and has a true capacity to adapt.

Why do the Major Superiors of each of the Society’s Conferences meet at least twice a year? The President of the Conference organises these intensive meetings, lasting about a week, each time in a different country or geographical area. It is an opportunity to get to know a part of the Conference territory, to meet Jesuits from another cultures, and to learn about the specific challenges facing the host Province. It is also an opportunity - and this is significant - to pray together.


Meeting room at Seven Fountains Spiritual Centre, Chiang Mai, Thailand

But it is first and foremost a session that allows all the Major Superiors to unite, to show solidarity, to help each other, and to coordinate their interventions. All of this is done in order to serve together the people in the best possible way in the mission that the Lord has entrusted to the Society. In concrete terms, since 2019, it has been an opportunity to see how the Provinces and Regions respond to Father General’s invitations to implement the Universal Apostolic Preferences or the initiatives of inspiration and spiritual deepening such as the Ignatian Year and the reflection on the vow of poverty.

The JCAP meeting takes place in Chiang Mai, the most important city in northern Thailand. The Society runs a spiritual centre there, the Seven Fountains Jesuit Retreat Center, which allows for many Jesuit meetings but also serves other groups, especially ecumenical and interreligious meetings.

During the assembly, the Major Superiors will evaluate two projects of rapprochement between Provinces or Regions, according to a policy undertaken for some years now throughout the world, aiming for greater apostolic impact. They will also consider how to respond to certain requests made by local Churches or ministries; Jesuits are often sought to lead initiatives or set up important projects. It is not only a question of responding to requests, but also of making requests. The Conference can look to other parts of the world for help, both in personnel and financial resources, especially for the formation of its young members. JCAP has a relatively high percentage of scholastics among its members, and several of the countries of the Conference are among the low income countries.


Sharing in small groups

The meeting in Chiang Mai will also be attended by the Presidents of three other Jesuit Conferences: Fr. Orobator Agbonkhianmeghe SJ of JCAM (Africa and Madagascar), Fr. Brian Paulson SJ of JCCU (Canada and USA) and Fr. Franck Janin SJ of JCEP (Europe). Each will have the opportunity to present their own Conference and identify what links could unite their parts of the world to this rapidly developing Asia-Pacific area.

Finally, the JCAP assembly will allow participants to share information and get updates on many programmes that are being carried out on the Conference level. These include: meetings on inter-religious dialogue and peace-building, dialogue with Buddhists, formation of leaders of educational institutions, ongoing formation for the protection of the vulnerable, and meetings of young Jesuits on the regional level.

*Stay tuned for various articles on the Jesuit involvement in the northern part of Thailand are presented on our website during this month.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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