New chief for South Asia Jesuits appointed
Jesuit Superior General Father Arturo Sosa on April 30 appointed Father Jerome Stanislaus D’Souza as the head of South Asia region, the fastest growing Jesuit communities in the world.
Father D’Souza, popularly called Father Stany, is the current provincial of Karnataka. He replaces Father George Pattery, who held the post for more than six years.
The South Asia region with more than 4,000 members is the largest Jesuit unit in the world.
Father D’Souza headed the Karnataka province since 2014.
Earlier, he was the rector of St Joseph’s Institutions, Bengaluru. He has a degree in philosophy and theology, besides a master’s degree and doctorate in Kannada from Bangalore University and Mangalore University, respectively. His doctoral research was on the rereading of Vachana Sahitya from the perspective of empowerment.
As the provincial of South Asia (POSA), Father Stany will oversee the administration of some important Jesuit training institutes such as Delhi’s Vidyajyoti Theological Institute, Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth Theological and Philosophical Institute in Pune, Satya Nilayam Institute of Philosophy and Religion in Chennai, Sadhana, Lonavla, Indian Social Institute in Delhi and Bengaluru.
He will coordinate the activities of Jesuit Conference of South Asia, a body of heads of 18 provinces and two regions. He will also animate crucial Jesuit works such as Jesuit Refugee Service in this region comprising Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Father Joseph D’Mello, who is the assistant to the Karnataka Jesuit provincial, hails Father Stany as an able administrator. “As POSA, I am sure he will put to greater use such administrative skills for effective ministries in South Asia,” he added.
According to him, Jesuits have identified four important universal apostolic preferences for the coming decade — showing the way to God, walking with the excluded, journeying with the youth and caring for our common home.
“And POSA has an important responsibility to see that these apostolic preferences are carried out at all the Jesuit institutes in South Asia,” Father D’Mello explained.
Father Stany hails from Mogarnad parish in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district. He was also the regional president of the Conference of Religious in India.
He is assuming the office at a time the coronavirus pandemic has brought to a halt all religious activities all over the world, especially in India.
Outgoing South Asia provincial Father Pattery says the virus has threatened the existence of human as both science and religion remain mute and helpless before the virus. “Man stand humiliated both in prayers and even blasphemy,” he writes in jcsaweb.org, the region’s website.
He points out the virus has halted the liturgy-centered and neatly and precisely fabricated rubrics that laid immutable foundation for clericalism.
“The Church centered on clericalism is made totally vulnerable.Post-Corona Church has to reinvent itself,” he asserts while pointing out the virus rendering priests jobless, and the sheep feel lost without the pastor. “Post-Corona Church has to be different,” he asserts.