A second mission by the Jesuit Refugee Service inaugurated in Bamyan
In addition to Herat the Jesuits will help in reconstruction in the Hazarajat region, one of the country’s poorest and most inaccessible regions. Local authorities and population look “favourably” at their arrival. The arrival of a fourth community of Catholic nuns is imminent.
Kabul (AsiaNews) – The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has opened its second mission in Afghanistan, in Bamyan, in the extremely poor region of Hazarajat. The three Jesuits who will run the new mission were “favourably” received by the area’s governor, Ms Habiba Sarabi, said Fr Giuseppe Moretti, director of the country’s missio sui iuris. The three will teach English and biology at a local university and will offer farming courses to the population at large. They will also work with other humanitarian groups already operating in the area like the US Caritas (CRS). Meanwhile a fourth community of nuns is scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan, on their way to Herat.
“Our presence in the country,” said Fr Hector D’Souza, provincial superior for South Asia,” is meant to provide help to the population in making changes that can brighten their future.”
Father Santiago, JRS representative in Afghanistan, stressed that the Service’s mission is to provide “assistance and support to the country’s efforts in reconstruction and building a global, democratic and active society.”
But it is necessary to remember that evangelization is banned in Afghanistan and that the Jesuits actually present in the country are there as humanitarian operators.
The JRS has been present in Herat since 2005. Currently, there are six men religious, most of whom are from India.
The mission in Bamyan was inaugurated on May 15 in a territory that has been quite low on the agenda of many NGOs, Father Moretti said.
“Hazarajat is one of the poorest regions of the country, inhabited by ethnic Hazaras. It is very beautiful from a naturalist perspective, but hard to reach because of poor roads,” he explained.
For the Barnabite priest, who is also parish priest in Afghanistan’s only church inside the Italian Embassy in Kabul; the Jesuits “will find favour among the Hazaras who are always welcoming and keen workers.”
Finally, Father Moretti announced the imminent arrival of the fourth group of nuns from the Community of Joseph and Mary. The community, which was founded by a Jesuit, will be run by three or four Indians sisters who will train local nurses.
The Little Sisters of Jesus, the Sisters of Mother Teresa and the Congregation for Children are already present in Kabul.