In eastern Nepal, at Maheshpur in the Jhapa district, Father General concelebrated at Sunday Mass on February 29th. With the help of an interpreter, he addressed the parishioners, confirming the commitment of the Society of Jesus at their side for the establishment of better living conditions in all aspects.
I am grateful to you, my brother Jesuits, parishioners, Sisters and collaborators for your indomitable spirit and relentless work that you are doing in the Jhapa district. You live in a multi-cultural context wherein you constantly encounter different languages, faiths and cultures. This is indeed a challenging situation. Some of your ancestors moved in from India to work in the tea gardens here. Some of you are bonafide citizens of Nepal. I am aware that there was a time that you could not even practice and profess your faith freely. Until the arrival of the Jesuits in late 1990s priests were not available for the Eucharist and the other Sacraments. You used to walk miles to attend the Eucharist in India. Yet you persevered in your faith. I admire and appreciate your faith in Jesus Christ.
At the end of 1990s, the Nepal Jesuit Society branched out to Jhapa with the objective of educating the Catholic children and to provide spiritual ministry to the faithful. Within 20 years, the mission has expanded to include four schools, one parish, one quasi parish and six Mass centers. Every Easter there are new families who opt to be baptized. There are great prospects of evangelization. The fact that more families are getting attracted to the Church is a sign that you are living good and edifying Christian lives. I would like to thank the catechists for their evangelical spirit. Your parish is one of the promising seedbeds of vocations to the religious life. Pray for religious vocations. I encourage the young boys and girls present here to think about a religious vocation.
I am aware that the living conditions of the people are very difficult. Education is one of the means of empowerment. It widens our perspectives and broadens our horizons. It is important to remember that education is a game changer. It can help to enhance job opportunities and ultimately, the standard of life. Therefore, I encourage parents to educate your children. Motivate the youth to study well. However, education to develop the head alone is not enough; we need to educate our hearts too. Jesuit education aims at all-round development.
Today the world is changing fast; a lot of good is taking place but at the same time, there are problems that create divisions based on religion and culture. The Christian vocation and the mission of the Jesuits as well, is to promote reconciliation, justice and peace, thus contributing to the building up of human communities.
It is important to remember that whatever work we do is God’s work and we are mere collaborators in His work. The work of God does not belong exclusively to any one Religious Congregation or person. Therefore, we have to collaborate with all people of good will who are engaged in and desirous of building up a world that is more humane and more just.