Fr. R. Jesu Raja, SJ (85/66) aka Scripture Raja, Bible Raja, Psalms Raja passed away on 6th May, 2019 at BeschiIllam, Dindigul. His resolute commitment as the servant of the Word of God was eloquently manifest in his systematic research, meticulous translation, effective teaching and popular preaching. He was energetically engaged in teaching Sacred Scriptures to young seminarians, Jesuits in formation, and sisters of various religious congregations for nearly thirty years. He taught Scripture at St. Paul’s Seminary, Tiruchirapalli for 25 years and was the last Jesuit Rector there. He was also visiting faculty at Mater Dei (Goa), Jeevan Jyoti (Hyderabad), Lumen Institute (Tindivanam), and Arul Kadal (Chennai). His brilliant lectures were much awaited by his students.
The Ignatian spirit of vibrating with the Church was very evident in Raja’s life and mission. That is why perhaps during his tenure as the Principal and Professor at Vidyajyoti (Delhi) from 1988-1993 he was recommended by the CBCI and chosen by Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) to be a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (PBC) representing Asia for ten years. With his fluency in Italian, German, and English, besides his mastery of Biblical languages and Tamil, he contributed a lot to the monumental PBC document The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church (1993).
From 1999 onwards, Raja served as a spiritual guide and helped many young religious through his personal conversations, succinct retreat points, and concise recollection talks. He is rightly remembered for his spiritual fidelity, intellectual integrity, total commitment to the formation of his students and his conviction that the study of the Bible is the soul of Theology.
- A. Maria Arul Raja, SJ