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Orders name Australian leaders

Fr Jo Dirks has been re-elected Australian provincial leader of the Blessed Sacrament congregation, while Fr Mark Raper (pictured) is the new Provincial of the Australian Province of the Jesuit order.

The Blessed Sacrament Congregation's 15th Province Chapter, which re-elected Fr Dirks, was attended by priests and brothers from Australia and by delegates from India and Sri Lanka communities which were founded by the Australian province and which are still part of it.

Meanwhile Fr Raper, 60, was appointed by the Jesuits' Rome-based Superior-General Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. He will take up the post on 10 December, succeeding Fr Daven Day.

Fr Raper returned to Australia last year from Rome where he had headed the Jesuits' international refugee service. He is currently director of Uniya, the Jesuit social justice unit based in Sydney.

Fr Raper and Uniya's former director Fr Frank Brennan have addressed audiences Australia-wide this year on the refugee issue and are seeking a "compassionate and workable" Australian Government policy on asylum seekers.

In an article for the forthcoming Jesuit Bulletin, Fr Raper signalled that he would be strengthening the Order's support for lay church workers.

"The Society [of Jesus] has made a corporate commitment to support lay people in their apostolic efforts," he said. "Not because we are now fewer in number, but because now it is their time to take the lead. These partnerships also give to Jesuits a new freedom to live according to our vocation to serve our Lord and his people where the needs are greatest."

Catholic Leader

Mark Raper SJ on appointment as Australian Jesuit Provincial (written for Jesuit Bulletin)
Blessed Sacrament Congregation in Australia
The Society of Jesus in Australia
Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre
Jesuit Refugee Service | Australia

15 Oct 2002