Provincial’s Message

2022: The International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development and Moving towards the Synodal Church

Let me at the outset, wholeheartedly wish all of you, my dear friends in the Lord a grace-filled New Year. As we begin this year with our hearts heavy with agony and anxiety about Corona, and its new variant Omicron which will be followed up by Omicron, we shall surrender to the Lord to take hold of our future. Let Him lead us in His path. Again we are forcefully thrown into a totally hazy period in our lifetime! As we comfort each other in our communities, we shall draw our strength from our Lord. I invite you to reflect further with the present international and national scenarios.
International Year: UN has proclaimed 2022 as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development towards achieving Agenda 2030 and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, is a clear sign of the shared responsibility of the nations to protect and provide the human beings and the earth with peace and prosperity, now and into the future.
Global Goals: The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) or Global Goals {(1) No Poverty, (2) Zero Hunger, (3) Good Health and Well-being, (4) Quality Education, (5) Gender Equality , (6) Clean Water and Sanitation, (7) Affordable and Clean Energy, (8) Decent Work and Economic Growth, (9) Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, (10) Reduced Inequality, (11) Sustainable Cities and Communities, (12) Responsible Consumption and Production, (13) Climate Action, (14) Life below Water, (15) Life on Land, (16) Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions, (17) Partnerships for the Goals} are the crucial call for immediate action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership.
The SDGs pay attention to multiple cross-cutting issues to moving towards ending poverty and other deprivations with strategies that improve health and education, fight against inequality, spur economic growth, addressing the issues of climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
Global Partnership: In this International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, the UN General Assembly ‘invites its Member States, Organizations of the United Nations system and other global, regional and sub-regional organizations, as well as other relevant stakeholders, including academia, civil society, inter alia, international and national non-governmental organizations, individuals and the private sector, to observe and raise awareness of the importance of basic sciences for sustainable development, in accordance with national priorities’.
Our dear Pope Francis often speaks of ‘globalisation of solidarity’. While our actions are very much local in nature, touching upon the stark realities of our own place and time, our alliances need to be global to make our struggles vibrant and dynamic. The struggling masses are everywhere. Let us become ‘Glocalised Jesuits’ in our perspectives, perceptions, thoughts and actions.
Synodal Church: Under the leadership of Pope Francis, the entire Church is involved in the process of preparation of the Synod 2023 with the theme: ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission’. The three-year synodal journey will have three phases — diocesan, continental and universal – of consultations and discernment, culminating with the assembly in October 2023 in Rome.
Men and Women for Others: Through this Synodal journey, the Church moves to listening, dialoguing, praying, discerning and accompanying the people of God, living in a particular reality. Pope emphasizes that the synod is based on the conviction that God is at work in world history, in life’s events, in the people we meet and for whom we work. During this special year of achieving Global Goals, the member States of UN also take the pledge to attain sustainable development and to improve the quality of life for people all over the world through the basic sciences.
We are invited to be part of these processes of Synodal journey and actualisation of SDGs and also to create social awareness and to promote peace and social justice in collaboration with the Church, other institutions and partners. It is our duty to organize events and activities in all our institutions and centres to showcase and improve the links among the themes of the Synodal journey and the UN goals. These are clarion calls, inviting each one of us to focus our life-mission on forming our people and students as agents of social transformation. In this way, not only our students and our people, but we also become Men and Women for Others.
May we be accompanied by our Mother Mary in all our dreams and actions. Let us make 2022 as yet another platform of possibilities of acts of transformation. God Bless!

 Jebamalai Irudayaraj SJ
Jesuit Chennai Province