Jesuits name Father Girish Santiago new superior for Myanmar

Father Girish Santiago has a doctorate in Social Science specializing in the care of persons with disabilities

The Society of Jesus, more popularly known as the Jesuits, named Father Girish Santiago, SJ, as the new superior of the Myanmar Jesuit Region, the Society announced this week.

Jesuit superior general Father Arturo Sosa named Father Girish as the successor of Father Mark Raper, SJ, who has been superior of the Myanmar Jesuits since 2011.

With his appointment, Father Girish becomes the first superior since the Myanmar Mission became a region dependent to the Philippine Province in March 2021.

Born in Tamil Nadu, India, in 1967, Father Girish entered the Society of Jesus on July 25, 1986, in Gujarat.

He took his first vows on July 31, 1988, and was ordained priest on October 18, 1997. He made his final vows on August 15, 2005.

Father Girish has a doctorate in Social Science specializing in the care of persons with disabilities, serving to “enable the disabled” within the Church’s call to the New Evangelisation.

In 2000, he founded the Unteshwari Sammilitalayam, a center for the promotion and implementation of inclusive programs for and with persons with disabilities in Gujarat.

In 2006, he was chosen by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs as one of 24 delegates to an international cooperation program on Special Education.

His work in transcribing the New Testament of the Gujarati Catholic Bible in Braille earned him recognition from the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment.

In 2016, Father Girish was sent to Myanmar, where he currently serves as consultor to the regional superior, delegate for Social and Pastoral Ministries, and assistant to the director of St Luke’s College, a socio-pastoral formation center of catechists in Myitkyina, Kachin State.

Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ as Santa Claus
Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ, handing out presents as Santa Claus on Christmas day 2020 (Photo supplied by Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ)

At the college, he animates the staff and students to reach out to the displaced, disabled, and disadvantaged.

Father Girish is known to be a proficient writer and international speaker. He recently published a book titled “Let’s Learn Kachin” on learning the local language.

The new regional superior of the Jesuits has strong family ties to Myanmar where most members of his family were born.

The front and back covers of “Let’s Learn Kachin” by Father Girish Santiago, SJ (Graphics supplied by Fr. Girish Santiago, SJ)

In a message, Father Primitivo Viray Jr., SJ, provincial superior of the Society of Jesus’ Philippine province, thanked Father Girish for his “generosity and availability to serve the Myanmar Region and the Society.”

He also expressed gratitude to Father Raper for “over 10 years of dedicated service to Myanmar, leading it through especially difficult times which are far from over.”

The Myanmar Region is considered a special mission of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific.

Father Tony Moreno, SJ, of the Asia Pacific Conference, also thanked Father Girish for “his readiness and generous availability to take on this tough mission given its very difficult circumstances.”

Father Girish will begin his new mission as Superior of the Myanmar Jesuit Region on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation.

Read more about Father Girish Santiago, SJ, at:

Father Girish Santiago, a Jesuit missionary priest working in Myanmar, speaks with the local community. (Photo supplied)

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