"Today, we are commencing our journey under the guidance of the Spirit of God. The theme of “journey” is constitutive of the nature of the Church, understood as the people of God on the move, a Church in full transformation through the process of synodality" - JCAM President, Fr. José Minaku, SJ, during the opening of Hekima's 2023/2024 Academic Year on 19 August 2023.

Read Fr. Minaku's address below!

Most Reverend Bishop Rodrigo Mejia, members of the Hekima University Council, distinguished guests, dear students and faculty,

I am honoured to be back in this esteemed hall in the company of students, administration, teachers, and staff members, as we inaugurate the new academic year, 2023-2024. It is also with great pleasure that we mark the 40th anniversary of HUC this year. This milestone occasion is not only a celebration of the remarkable history of this institution but is being testified by the significant transformations and renovations that we are observing. We extend our heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to all those who have contributed to this achievement. The occasion, nevertheless, demands that we assign significance to this anniversary. Indeed, the number is highly symbolic.

Forty is ambivalent depending on whether you are entering or leaving the forty-year cycle. Entering the cycle of forty years means you are entering the desert, a space or a period of mortification and purification, with the risk of losing the entire generation. However, for us today, there is nothing dramatic! We are instead coming out of the magic number of 40 years. Emerging from a cycle of forty years inaugurates an era of reconstruction, “re-creation, " and new hope.

Nonetheless, we have to interrogate what hope we can bring to a world that is facing the same old challenges but with renewed and sustained intensity. We are witnessing a regression in peace, the respect of human dignity and the value of life. The fundamental principles of freedom and human dignity are disregarded and set aside in favour of modern imperialism. In our world today, there is a growing number of people living in conditions below what can be considered human. These individuals struggle to access the most basic necessities, such as food and shelter. On the other hand, we see a small group of individuals who are becoming increasingly wealthy and powerful. Unfortunately, many of these wealthy individuals are becoming more and more indifferent to the plight of those who are less fortunate. This growing divide between the rich and poor is a cause for concern and highlights our society's need for greater empathy and compassion. And yet, here we are, doing theology, with a seriously shaken faith.

When contemplating today a broken world marked with divisions, we may ask ourselves what the Spirit tells us. Certainly, we cannot escape the peripheries where the Spirit of God calls us today. In a recent speech to the youth in Portugal, the Holy Father encouraged them to persevere in their efforts to create a world where fraternity and caring for each other will bring harmony. “Life is transformed by the chaos in life and the cosmos; it is up to each one of us to find a path of truth and beauty,” he said.

Similarly, the General of the Society of Jesus, Most Reverend Father Arturo Sosa, invites to the kind of collaboration that reconciles all things in Christ.

So today, we are commencing our journey under the guidance of the Spirit of God. The theme of “journey” is constitutive of the nature of the Church, understood as the people of God on the move, a Church in full transformation through the process of synodality.

Let me draw your attention to the founder of HUC, Father Pedro Arrupe, a Servant of God and a role model whose cause of beatification was introduced two years ago. It is well known that in 1983, Father Pedro Arrupe played a major role in encouraging and supporting the creation of HUC. He emphasized two areas of conversion that could serve as inspiration for our jubilee: bearing witness and becoming prophets.

What is the purpose of our theological pursuit if we don't draw from our rich history? In the same light, what is the relevance of "doing theology" if it doesn't provide prophetic hope in a broken world?

Today, it is up to you to commit so that your heads and your hearts come together in the same theological act, individually and collectively.

As you start this new academic year, be assured of my prayers and support for your endeavours.

With this call to responsibility and this note of hope, I declare OPEN the 2023-2024 academic. Thank You!

Related article: 40 years of nurturing people to become faithful servants and global citizens