St. Xavier's College, right in the center of Kathmandu, Nepal, has been offering Jesuit education for over 65 years in an intercultural and interreligious context. Father General addressed the youth - staff and Jesuits of the institution on Thursday, 27 February. At the heart of his message were the four pillars of the Jesuit educational proposal.
This is my maiden visit to Nepal and I am pleased to be with and meet you all.
Whenever parents and grandparents talk about their younger days, they always mention how their school years formed them and laid the foundation for life ahead. Today’s students are techno-savvy. It is a concern for many parents and teachers today that students are overly distracted with their mobile phones and the social media. Modern technology is not only morally neutral but can be very helpful and beneficial, if used well and in moderation. It is a constant challenge to educate our students in this line. I invite you students to use these gadgets and the social media intelligently and wisely, for your growth and not for your destruction.
The Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits as they are popularly known, want to, through their educational institutions, form men and women with others and for others. Our goal as educators is to form men and women of competence, conscience and compassionate commitment. These four Cs, which were formulated by one of my predecessors, Fr. Kolvenbach, have inspired the renewal of Jesuit education in the last two decades.
The four Cs capture the true meaning of excellence that Jesuit education stands for.
To become and be this kind of men and women, we must be connected to, and in touch with, the struggles of the poor and disadvantaged people. There are those who suffer from domestic violence and exploitation, single mothers, children from disadvantaged households, persons who are trafficked, migrants, refugees, and youth at risk….to mention only a few. Think of the untold damage done to our Common Home, the earth. You are aware of the sad state of holiest river of Nepal, the Bagmati. Therefore, to walk with the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated in a mission of reconciliation and justice and to collaborate in the care of our Common Home are two of the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus for next ten years.
I am pleased to know that your school has a scholarship program for the underprivileged children and that the students and staff rise to the occasion to help the poor and the outcasts. There are several commendable ventures that you are involved in. For example, the school is a plastic-free zone, you have an Eco-Club, students and staff take part in Tree Plantation and Cleaning Campaigns. Walking with the poor, the outcasts of the world and to collaborate in the care of our Common Home are important and urgent needs today. We are invited and expected to be involved, and be passionately involved, in these ventures so that the Reign of God can become more and more a visible reality. The Jesuits cannot do this single-handedly. We need your help, your cooperation and your support. Together we can do much. We, Jesuits, look forward to this cooperation and collaboration.