RETHINKING AND RE-DIRECTION
The Jesuit Roadmap for Mindanao had the Christianization of the region as the primary goal of the mission. This was largely accomplished in the first three quarters of the 20th century. However, over the last three decades, that roadmap has been undergoing changes, rethinking, and re-direction. Many factors are responsible for these ongoing changes: (a) The evolving understanding of the Society of Jesus of its mission since General Congregation 32 to 35 of what it means to work for justice through the authentic living out of our faith; (b) The realization of how the original inhabitants of Mindanao have been the victims of dispossession and minoritisation over the last century and how the Church may have inadvertently benefited from this; (c) The valuable insights provided by the social science and environmental science research on Mindanao, much of which from our own universities in the island; (d) The ever-increasing vulnerability of the island and its peoples to environmental, socio-economic, and political threats as well as the seemingly unresolvable armed conflicts.
EVOLVING DEMANDS OF THE MISSION
Since the 1970’s, responses to the evolving demands of the mission in Mindanao include but are not limited to: (a) The brave stand Jesuits took in defense of the people during the Martial Law years in the persons of Bishop Francisco Claver, Fr. Godofredo Alingal, Fr. Agustin Nazareno, Fr. Calvin Poulin, and Fr. Joseph Stoffel; (b) The unprecedented attempts at dialogue, such as Fr. William Kreutz’s invitation to Mr. Nur Misuari to Ateneo de Zamboanga University; (c) The development of social and cultural research in the persons of Fr. Francis Madigan, Fr. Francisco Demetrio, Fr. Miguel Bernad, and Fr. Albert Alejo; (d) The work of the Environmental Science for Social Change based in sitio Bendum, barangay Busdi, Malaybalay; (e) The development of Indigenous People schools by Ateneo de Zamboanga University, Ateneo de Davao Univerisity, Xavier University, and the Apo Palamguwan Cultural Education Center (also in Bendum); (f) The personal commitment of Fr. Mateo Sanchez and Fr. Pedro Walpole to live with the Lumad peoples; (g) The continuing works of the Bukidnon Mission District; the assignment of scholastics and new priests to Mindanao; and (h) Various works, outreaches, research done by our universities and their centers and institutes too many to mention here.
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With a renewed clarity of understanding, that our mission in Mindanao is not to be assessed by the Christianization of the island, but by the extent that the propagation of our faith there has planted and nurtured an authentic reconciliation among its peoples, between its peoples and its environment, and between its peoples and God, the Jesuit mission in Mindanao must continue with greater intensity, with a more profound understanding and analysis of the situation there, and with greater coordination to ensure our corporate efforts may indeed have the impact that we hope, imagine and intend to make.