Fr General Arturo Sosa has appointed Fr Antonio F Moreno to succeed Fr Mark Raper as the next President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. Fr Moreno, who is currently Provincial of the Philippine Jesuit Province, will assume office within the next six months.
In his letter dated April 22 conveying his decision to Fr Raper and Fr Moreno, Fr General expressed his gratitude to the Philippine Province and asked that its members accept his decision “in the spirit of generosity and trust in God’s Providence”. “The fact that the Society relies so much on the Philippine Province at this time is surely an indication of the maturity and quality of the Province, which is itself the product of so many fine missionaries from other Provinces who were sent to, began and built up the Philippine Province,” Fr Sosa stressed.
Fr Moreno became Provincial in 2013 after six years as President of Ateneo de Zamboanga University. His doctorate in Development Studies focussed on the socio-political engagement of the Church with post-authoritarian Philippine society.
After his ordination in 1993, Fr Moreno did a brief stint teaching at St John Vianney Theological Seminary and doing pastoral work in Culion, which was once the world’s largest leper colony. Following that, he served as Assistant to the Novice Master for three years. He then went for studies in the United Kingdom where he spent five and a half years. He was appointed Dean of Arts and Sciences and Vice President for Social Development at Xavier University, Cagayan de Oro in 2005, the position he held just before Ateneo de Zamboanga.
In recent years Fr Moreno has represented the Jesuit Conference on the Commissio Interprovinciale Permanens (CIP), a board of Provincials or Presidents from each Conference that assists Fr General and his Delegate with the ongoing governance of the inter-Provincial houses and works in Rome, such as the Gregorian University. Most recently, he served as the JCAP member of the Coordinating Committee for General Congregation 36.
Fr General has indicated that he now wants the Presidents to be increasingly engaged in the discernment and planning for the whole Society of Jesus. As the new president, Fr Moreno will be working with the major superiors in the Jesuit Conference on implementing the decrees of GC 36. In particular, GC 36 asked that the six Conferences undertake a study of their way of proceeding considering the President’s decision-making authority in relation to the co-responsibility of the major superiors and his involvement in the apostolic planning of Provinces and Regions and in facilitating the preparation of Jesuits for international apostolates. (GC 36, Decree 2, No 20)
Fr General concluded his letter with a note of “sincere thanks” to Fr Raper for his “nine years of dedicated and fruitful service as Conference President”, adding “I pray that, as you come to the end of your term, the Lord may fill you with much gratitude and consolation, as you see how much he has done in and through you to serve the Society’s mission in Asia Pacific.”
Fr Raper is expected to move to Myanmar where he has been the major superior of the Jesuit mission since 2011.