Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ returned to his home province of Japan on August 6, 2018. He left Manila early in the morning accompanied by Japanese Provincial Fr Renzo De Luca, and arrived safely in Tokyo.

Testimonial dinner

Before Fr Adolfo left the Philippines, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and his communities in the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) and Arrupe International Residence gathered to thank him and bid him farewell on a special testimonial dinner held at the Ateneo de Manila University, hosted by the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and the Philippine Province. The event had been organised to officially launch the Adolfo Nicolás EAPI Endowment Fund, which will support the work of EAPI, where Fr Nicolás was director from 1978 to 1984.

When he resigned as Superior General of the Society of Jesus (2008-2016), Fr Nicolás asked to return not immediately to Japan, but to be sent to the Philippines, where he wanted to serve at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, whose missions was close to his heart, as Spiritual Director and as a Consultant.

Among the several friends who sent video testimonials for the 4th August, there were current Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa, Regional Assistant for Asia Pacific Fr Danny Huang, Myanmar Mission Superior and former JCAP President Fr Mark Raper and former Japanese Provincial Fr Shogo Sumita.

Endowment Fund

Fr Nicolás had not wanted a testimonial dinner or to be immortalised in an endowment fund, but he agreed to both because of his affection for EAPI.

“We know you are one who does not wish to be in the limelight … but you have allowed it only because you believe it is for EAPI and not for yourself,” said Philippine Provincial Fr Primitivo Viray Jr SJ. This attitude was, as Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific President Fr Tony Moreno SJ said, “typical of Fr Nico, always self-effacing, never self-referential”.

His humility was clear in his message to the guests, read for him because of his slowed speech.  In it, Fr Nicolás said, “In this distinguished audience, there certainly are those who ask themselves for the meaning of today’s supper. Why a person, Adolfo Nicolás, who otherwise appears to be rather normal, in a time of so many, would give his name to a pastoral Institute and to fundraising? The answer is simple: because he believes in pastoral institutes.”

Fr Nicolás believes that “in Asia it is not enough to say that we must be humble and imbued by the sense of mystery and the like. Rather, we have to show the way, and this is pastoral”.

East Asian Pastoral Institute

EAPI serves the local churches in Asia Pacific with its focus on pastoral formation in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. It envisions a new way of being Church by offering priests, religious men and women and laity a unique experience of learning and formation in community. The endowment fund will be used primarily to provide scholarships for participants from poorer countries and for maintaining the facilities.

Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and an EAPI alumnus, flew to Manila for the occasion. “Surely Fr Nicolás will be embarrassed by my words of appreciation. It comes from my heart because I have personally tasted his love for our Myanmar Church,” said Cardinal Bo who is the fund’s honorary chairman.

Cardinal Bo spoke of how EAPI has helped pilgrims like him find healing and a sense of belonging to a universal society. “For many priests and church personnel who came from Myanmar, emotionally, spiritually bruised and broken, the stay in EAPI was comprehensively healing… We went back with a great resolve to be better disciples of Jesus.”

Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, gave the apostolic blessing Pope Francis imparted with affection to Fr Nicolás and to all those present.


The testimonial dinner raised about US$200,000 towards the endowment fund.  “The total target is of course huge, but for this initial phase of fundraising, we have set for ourselves the modest target of about US$1 million,” said EAPI Director Fr Peter Pojol SJ.

He thanked the many people who gave their support. “We continue to count on you and many others like you to further the work of EAPI and the dream of Fr Nico,” he said.

Jesuits in Britain / JCAP