For many, findingKyrgyzstan in a world map is difficult, but not for Jesuits. Theyve had a presence in this small Asian country with a majorityMuslim population since the 1980s.
That information is found inside their 2013 Yearbook, which features a man from that country on the cover. The Yearbook explains the work that over 17,200 Jesuits carry out across the world. This year's highlights include their works in Asia, Africa and in ecumenism.
In Africa, for example, they've been around for over 400 years. They have 1,500 Jesuits on the continent who teach over 24,000 youths at their centers. There are many future projects underway, including new universities and the establishment of the Loyola high school in Malawi, where only three of out 10 young people have access to secondary education.
The Jesuit Refugee Service continues bringing hope to those who have lost everything in countries like Sudan, Ethiopia, Malawi, the Central African Republic and Chad. The African Jesuit AIDS Network, which recently reached its tenth year, provides important services to people infected by this virus.
The Yearbook also features the work Jesuits have developed in the area of ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue. They actively participated at the Ecumenical Institute in Geneva, which is over 50 years old, along with 1,600 other people. And they strengthened dialogue with Jews, with Muslims in Indonesia, Hindus in India and Buddhists in China.
The Jesuits closed off their yearly report in September 2012. Very few could have imagined that just half a year later, for the first time in history, the world would have a Jesuit Pope.