December 24, 2017
May the peace and joy of the Christ-child be with you!
This year marks some transitions for the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Arturo Sosa, General of the Society of Jesus, appointed Fr. Antonio “ Tony” Moreno as the new President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP). Fr. Tony replaced Fr. Mark Raper who had faithfully served for nine and a half years in this capacity.
In the light of this transition, the Philippine Province undertook an immediate search process that included consultations with Jesuit communities and its lay partners. This search process was meant to assist Fr. Tony and the leadership in their recommendations to Fr. General. Last August, Fr. General appointed me as Fr. Tony’s replacement as Provincial Superior of the Philippine Province.
The Province leadership remains committed in pursuing the general direction of our Philippine Roadmap as crafted by the entire Province—Jesuits and lay partners. The general direction of the Roadmap takes its cue from the recent General Congregation 36 that calls for the renewal of Jesuit life and that of Pope Francis—promote new evangelization (Evangelii Gaudium, 2013), to care for the earth (Laudato Si, 2015), and in his recent visit to the Philippines to go to the poor and the peripheries. The Philippine Roadmap is also cognizant of the priorities of the Universal Society of Jesus, especially those of the JCAP. At the same time, the Roadmap gives greater focus and attention to Mindanao concerns of the continuing poverty and marginalization of peoples, pervasive conflicts and violence, degradation of the environment, and continuing struggle for lasting peace and reconciliation.
As the Jesuits and lay partners of the Philippine Province pursue the Roadmap in the coming months and years, we are convinced of the absolute necessity of engaging in dialogue and partnership with all the sectors of Philippine society—government, business, and civil society. Society’s intractable or ‘wicked’ problems of economic, environmental, and political issues can only be addressed through 1) a challenging process of arriving at what we judge to be the common good and 2) a collaborative and committed effort of our people who are willing to change their mindsets and behavior to find creative solutions to our nation’s problems.
May the birth of the Savior grant us new hope and courage to face challenges that lie ahead for the sake of the Filipino nation and especially for the poor and those in its margins!
Wishing you all a truly Blessed Christmas and a Hopeful New Year!
PRIMITIVO E. VIRAY JR., S.J.