Loyola School launches Asian Theology Programme

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The Loyola School of Theology (LST) in Manila has begun offering a theology programme through which students, especially Jesuit scholastics, can engage with Asian contexts. 

Asia Pacific is marked with great cultural diversity, extreme poverty in many countries, and minority Christian presence in most countries amid much greater numbers of followers of other ancient religions, particularly Buddhism and Islam. 

In offering a contextual programme that takes into account and underlines Asian contexts, LST seeks to help meet the challenge of serving the mission of the Society of Jesus in this part of the world and within the larger Asian diaspora.

Located within the Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University, LST has been offering civil and ecclesiastical programmes in theological studies from 1965.  It has become the centre of theological studies in this part of the world, with foreign students comprising a third of its population. The current student population is around 400 coming from 30 countries.

Loyola School launches Asian Theology ProgrammeLoyola School of Theology

LST was given a particular role within the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific in developing a programme where students can engage with Asian contexts. 

The Asian Theology Programme has been years in the making to ensure the offering of theological studies with a more Asian content, methodology and ethos.  It involves a growing internationalization of the faculty, seeking both long-term and visiting professors conversant with a range of religious and cultural contexts; a restructured curriculum for Jesuit students to ensure a focus on contextual theology and Asian religions, as called for by the “A Profile of the Formed Jesuit”; and a move towards a pedagogy that encourages Jesuit students to ground their theological reflection in their own experience in different contexts so that the diversestudent body becomes part of the learning environment.

The Asian theology learning environment embraces also the communal life of international Jesuit students. Situated near LST is Arrupe International Residence, a key JCAP work, which is a house of studies for students in theology and in special studies. AIR is able to offer places to Jesuits, particularly those who are interested in studies in the vibrant Asian context, thereby providing a residential and formation experience that complements the Asian Theology Programme at LST. With residents of 15 nationalities, the experience of community life in AIR will help prepare Jesuits in Asia Pacific, and those from elsewhere, for service, within their own contexts, of the universal mission of the Society.

Source: ucanews.com (June 2, 2014)