Friday, December 12, 2008

Jesuit General Adolfo Nicolas to visit Sophia University

Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J.

The Jesuit Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., is expected to spend a few days in Japan, visiting especially his alma mater, Sophia University, and meeting with students and colleagues. Fr. Nicolas, as is now well-known, spent most of his life in Japan, having arrived in Japan as a missionary in 1961, at the age of 25. His connection with Sophia University too is long. Besides graduating from Sophia University's Faculty of Theology (1968), he also served as a Professor in the same Faculty for may years.

Although the Jesuits know well the role and importance of the visit of their Superior General, most non-Jesuits within Sophia University may not. Given the negligible fraction of Catholics in Japan, most students and members of the faculty are not Catholic or even Christian. Often in casual chats and surveys, students tend to say that they are 'atheists' (by which they simply mean that they don't go to places of worship or pray to a divinity, not that they are militant disbelievers). Although most of them have heard of and read about the Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier, they rarely draw a link between him and Sophia University. They may know that Sophia is a 'Christian' university, but their awareness that it is also a Catholic and a Jesuit University is rather dim as in this secular age, explicit religious references tend to be left out of focus. The visit of Fr. Nicolas, therefore, may be a great occasion for many to get to know the Catholic, Jesuit, and international dimension of Sophia University.

Fr. Nicolas will arrive on Sunday (12/21) and stay in Japan for about ten days. He is expected to dialog with several ecclesiastical dignitaries and address a wide variety of groups, both lay and religious. His engagements at Sophia University are as follows:

12/22 (M) (Bldg 10 Auditorium)
11:45 ~ 12:00 Address to Sophia University Faculty and Staff members (not open to the public)
15:30 ~ ?? Address to Sophia University Students (open to the public)

*As Fr. Nicolas is fluent in Japanese, both addresses will be in Japanese.
*Those interested in attending the 15:30 session may contact Sophia University Catholic Center (Tel: (03)3238-4146; Fax: (03)3238-3031)