Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD Passes Away in Manila at the Age of 88

Fr. Franz-Josef Eilers, SVD (May 11, 1932 - January 13, 2021), renowned scholar, teacher, and author in the field of social and pastoral communication, passed way in Manila, Philippines on Wednesday at 2.40 pm, local time.

Fr. Eilers was the Co-Founder and longtime Executive Director of the Asian Research Center for Religion and Social Communication (ARC), St. John’s University, Thailand.

In addition to his great contribution in promoting academic research and interreligious dialogue in the field of religion and social communication in the Asian context through over 20 years of running the ARC, Fr. Eilers was widely respected for his scholarship in the field of social and pastoral communication with numerous published books and articles. In 1968, he founded in Germany the journal Communicatio Socialis, which was the very first academic publication for Christian Communication. The journal still exists after more than 50 years of publication.

In the past, Fr. Eilers served as the Executive Secretary of the FABC Office of Social Communication, Director of Catholic Media Council (Cameco) in Aachen, Germany, and as Consultant to the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for Social Communication (PCCS).

Fr. Eilers was also a highly esteemed teacher, having taught at numerous places including the Pontifical Gregorian and Salesian Universities (Rome), Divine Word School of Theology (Tagaytay City, Philippines), Maryhill School of Theology (Quezon City, Philippines), Don Bosco Center of Studies (Parañaque City, Philippines), University of the Philippines Los Baños and the Pontifical University of Santo Tomas (Manila). Fr. Eilers retired from teaching at UST only in 2018 at the age of 86. The graduate program in social and pastoral communication (MAT-SPC) at UST, which Fr. Eilers initiated in 2021, has yielded dozens of Licentiate graduates from Asian countries like China, Vietnam, Myanmar, Korea, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

Fr. Eilers was also the recipient of recognitions such as the Titus Brandsma “Leadership in Social Communication” Award from the Carmelites (Philippines) and the Asian Media Information and Communication (AMIC) Award for “Transformative Leadership.”