The spiritual and community leader for Jesuits in six countries in Africa, Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, will be the commencement speaker at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University (JST) May 19 at 3 p.m.
Fr. Orobator is the Jesuit provincial for the East African countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, and North Sudan. A Jesuit priest originally from Nigeria, he teaches theology and religious studies at Hekima College, Jesuit School of Theology and Institute of Peace Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.
A delegate to the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, he is considered one of the most brilliant of a new generation of Jesuit leaders worldwide.
“We are delighted to feature Fr. Orobator as our commencement speaker this year,” said Jesuit Father Kevin Burke, dean of the Jesuit School of Theology. “He is one of the most important theological voices in all of Africa and he is deeply respected in the theological community all over the world. We are especially proud of him as a graduate of our school, for he embodies the attributes we cherish in our graduates: a global vision of justice; a deep, rigorous, and rich theological perspective; and a culturally contextualized application of his faith.”
A stirring public speaker, Fr. Orobator is especially known for his writings in the areas of social analysis and ethics, and for his reading of the Christian dogmatic tradition in the distinctive light of African religious experience. In his recent book, Theology Brewed in an African Pot (Orbis Books, 2008), he examines such core Christian themes as God, Trinity, creation, grace and sin, Jesus Christ, Mary, the saints, as well as the meaning of theology itself with extraordinary depth, nuance, faithfulness to the tradition, and skill at rendering faith credible today.
Fr. Orobator received his Ph.D in theology and religious studies from the University of Leeds in England and his licentiate in sacred theology from JST. He received a bachelor’s degree in theology from Hekima College and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Institut De Philosophie, Saint Pierre Canisius in Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He has written or co-written numerous books on topics including Church as family, Catholic social teaching and social justice, Church mission in the age of HIV/AIDS, and African ecclesiology. Fr. Orobator is an advisory board member for the Jesuit Refugee Service, a board member of the Zaidi Centre for Lay Spirituality, and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Religion in Africa.