As many as 56 Jesuits have lost their lives since their congregation made a commitment to promote a “faith that does justice” and foster reconciliation in society 50 years ago, says an official of the Society of Jesus.
“If we want to stand for justice, we have to pay the price. We have sacrificed many Jesuits and their collaborators as our forefathers worked hard to bring justice and reconciliation in the world,” said Father Xavier Jeyaraj, director of Jesuits’ Rome-based Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat.
Father Jeyaraj, a member of the Calcutta Jesuit province, was addressing around 220 conferrers and their associates in South Asia who have gathered in Delhi to celebrate the golden jubilee of their congregation’s commitment to justice.
“If we want to commit for future, be ready to pay the price,” he told the opening session of the September 26-27 program at Navjeevan Renewal Centre in Old Delhi.
Father Jeyaraj, who went to Rome in 2017 after four years of service as the secretary of Jesuits in Social Action in South Asia, said similar celebrations have taken place in various continents and all of them were occasions to review their ways, re-strengthen themselves to recommit to justice.
The bald and mustachioed diminutive Jesuit, who took up social justice seriously after a shock experience of witnessing the demolition of shanties in Mumbai in 1985, pointed out that the golden jubilee celebration takes place at a time when several crises that grip the world hinder the mission of justice and reconciliation.
“There is a crisis of democracy and leadership, a crisis rising from the growth of religious fundamentalism that destroys unity and harmony and a crisis of environment,” he explained.
He said many people in India cutting across religious and ideologies have paid the price for standing for truth and justice.