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Vol. XVIII, No. 14 23 June 2014
Visit to United Kingdom. On 19 and 20 June, Father General visited England to take part in the celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the founding of Heythrop College. This College was established in Leuven, Belgium, in 1614, for philosophy and theology studies. But in its 400-year history, Heythrop has been based in Liege (Belgium), Lancashire, Oxfordshire, and London. Today, as a College of the University of London, Heythrop maintains a contemporary Catholic ethos. It provides an educational perspective which respects all faiths and diverse points of view. Father General participated in a conference entitled: "For the Greater Glory of God and the Greater Universal Good." During the discussions, scholars from Britain and abroad considered the character and meaning of the Jesuit educational tradition as it influenced the study of theology and philosophy, as well as of science, literature, and the arts.
Visit to Spain. From 20 to 22 June, Father General was in Madrid for the official inauguration of the new Province of Spain. This one single Province integrates the five Spanish Provinces which have existed up to now (see news item below). Father General addressed a letter to Spanish Jesuits on the occasion. In his letter, Father Nicolás, among other things, writes: "Today the Province of Spain is born. When we look back at the process, we see a well-defined itinerary, with intensive work on the part of Provincials, many other Jesuits, and lay collaborators. The process has also been a priceless testimony to generosity. Jesuits and their lay collaborators put aside their personal loves and interests in favor of a radical option for mission, which involves the ever more effective service to the Church and the neighbor. This conclusion could only result from a love that comes down from above. The origin and end of this unification is found in the mission of God." Father General continues: "The celebration coincides with the second centenary of the Restoration of the Society. The creation of this new Province can be read as a call for the Society to re-situate itself, perhaps even as a call for the Society to re-establish itself in Spain. The formation of the single Province encourages it to ask what it can offer and bring to the Church. It does so with a humility that characterizes the least Society, but also with a boldness of those who contend under the banner of the Kingdom."
FROM THE CURIA
Regional Directors of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). From 9 to 13 June, the General Curia in Rome hosted the meeting of the Directors of the Regional Offices of the Jesuit Refugee Service. These Regional Offices are based in Bangkok, Johannesburg, Bogota, Nairobi, Brussels and Washington DC. The meeting explored the growth and consolidation taking place within JRS. More specific topics considered included human resources, financial procedures, programmes, fundraising, advocacy, and communications. Time was also set aside for Eucharist together, group meals, and meetings with JRS International staff. There were opportunities to reflect on the year's challenges, accomplishments, experiences of accompaniment, and areas of growth.
International Commission on Jesuit Higher Education. On Thursday, 19 June, ICJHE (International Commission on Jesuit Higher Education) reviewed the developments and challenges facing higher education around the globe. These were discussed as they featured in each of the six ICJHE regions: each region has two delegates on the Committee. On Friday, 20 June, Fr Friedrich Bechina, the Under-Secretary of the Congregation for Education, joined the meeting as a guest. He spoke about the work of the Congregation, and how ICJHE might cooperate to advance the Church's mission in higher education. Fr Patxi Alvarez also outlined how his office - Justice and the Environment - can collaborate with higher education to advance the justice and ecology agenda of the Society. On Saturday, 21 June, the Committee considered the international meeting of university Presidents and other leaders which will take place in July 2015, in Melbourne, Australia. The theme for this meeting has not yet been determined. But ICJHE anticipates that the meeting will focus on collaboration. It will emphasize collaboration between ICJHE and other apostolates, as well as, the collaboration which is currently taking place or shape between Jesuit institutions of higher learning around the world. Such a meeting is held every five years. The Melbourne meeting follows the international gathering in April 2010 at the Spanish/American University (Mexico City). An evaluation of the progress in collaboration made since 2010 will be on the agenda. ICJHE also reviewed progress in higher education initiatives in Africa and in China, as well as the challenges that these two regions are facing. Progress is slow but a number of initiatives are "in play," and these may advance the Society's interests in these two priority regions.
General Assembly of CLC-Europe. The General Assembly of CLC-Europe was held in Regensburg, Germany, from 6 to 9 June. Participants gathered from twenty one different countries. They reflected on the theme: "The Call of Christ from the World in which we Live." Delegates from Sweden, who were participating for the first time, were warmly welcomed. Fr Michael Holman SJ delivered the keynote address. He expanded on the invitation of Father Adolfo Nicolás to explore the area of "Wisdom Language". He highlighted how St Peter Faber provides us with a "wisdom approach" which is applicable to our times. Fr Holman affirmed that our personal encounter with Christ is a starting point for moving out to the frontiers Participants then spent time discussing the frontiers of poverty, family, ecology and youth. Finally, a new four-member team was elected to continue the work of coordinating and animating CLC in Europe.
Pope Francis has appointed:
- Father Gilberto Alfredo Vizcarra Mori, Apostolic Vicar of Jaén (Peru). Father Vizcarra Mori, at present parish Vicar at Abéché (Chad), was born in 1960, entered de Society of Jesus in 1982 and was ordained a priest in 1994.
Father General has appointed:
- Father George Pattery Provincial of South Asia (POSA). Father Pattery, at present Acting President of the Inana-Deepa Vidyapeeth of Pune (India), was born in 1950, was ordained a priest in 1978 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1984.
FROM THE PROVINCES
ECUADOR: Young People Communicate with Young People
On the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Fe y Alegría Ecuador, 300 young people from all over Ecuador gathered in Quito to participate in its first Youth Congress. Its aim was to promote an environment which promotes democracy and participation. The Congress hoped to encourage young people to provide a contemporary youth perspective to the transformation of society and education: this transformation would have both a local and national significance. Carlos Vargas is the national director of Fe ey Alegría. He declared: "It is our hope that young people become the driving force of this project of Fe y Alegría. If they can comment on the type of education they receive, they become the voices which alert teachers and directors where and how to improve. In this way, they can continually innovate processes and projects. The end result is that teachers will become better instruments to educate young people ever more effectively." The Congress' young participants arranged its publicity. In doing so, they laid the foundations for a future network of students involved in communication based at the educational Jóvenes comunicando a Jóvenes centers ("Young People Communicate with Young People"). For more information see: www.jovenes.feyalegria.org.ec, a website created by the young people themselves.
ITALY: Second Edition of Martini Award
The Carlo Maria Martini Foundation, established through an initiative of the Italian Province of the Society of Jesus in conjunction with the Archdiocese of Milan, is publicizing the second (2014-2015) Carlo Maria Martini International Award. The award was set up in 2013. Its aim is to perpetuate the memory of the life and work of Cardinal Martini, and to keep alive the spirit that animated his commitment. Two new factors inform this year's award. First, there is a greater international dimension to the award, with applications possible in four languages: Italian, French, English and Spanish. Secondly, a new category has been introduced. This focuses on pastoral experiences and projects which are inspired by the style of the cardinal. These have been added to the two categories which featured in the award last year - the study of Carlo Maria Martini's thought and person, and the integration of the relationship between the Bible and today's culture. Finally, with the view to encouraging original contributions, the award will focus on unpublished works. For this reason, a longer time has been set aside between the publication of the notice of interest, and the delivery of contributions.
LEBANON: Three Centenary Celebrations
The Lebanese mail service has issued a stamp commemorating three anniversaries associated with the St Joseph University in Beirut. These anniversaries center on the Faculty of Medicine (1883-2013), the Faculty of Law and Political Science (1913-2013), and the Faculty of Engineering (1913-2013). "To care for, to defend, and to build. These three verbs describe the three essential social functions of these faculties. A civilization would simply not exist if it lacked medicines and hospitals, lawyers and tribunals, engineers and building sites. These three pillars of life in the wider society are reflected in these first three non-ecclesiastical faculties at St Joseph University (USJ). They are now part of its genetic patrimony. Those many years ago, it was exciting for the University to be the "mother" of the impulse to establish these faculties, and then to actualize them. Since the end of the 19th century, they have assisted Lebanon, and accompanied her into the modern world. When we are part of the birth of a university, in some way, we witness the birth of a society" (USJ info, n. 38). But the university did not always have an easy life in a country which has so often been at war. We recall, for instance, "that the Faculty of Medicine has been destroyed three times; that the campus of Science and Technology has been sacked three times; and that lectures at the Faculty of Law changed location a number of times. In response to this destruction during conflicts, USJ created a number of regional centers. The present celebration then, in a period of renewed stability, takes on an added significance."
PERU: Apostolic Plan 2014-2021
The Peruvian Ignatian Collective consists of Jesuits, women and men religious, lay women and men all of whom are inspired by Ignatian spirituality. In a letter to this Collective, Fr Miguel Cruzado, the Provincial of the Jesuits in Peru, released the Apostolic Plan which will guide the mission of the Peruvian Province until 2021. The project, Fr Provincial notes, "is the result of work and reflection carried out in every area of apostolic activity. Therefore, the document shows who we are and reflects the priorities that guide us. At the same time, through the objectives and lines of action that we have set in place for the coming years, it expresses what we want to be." The full title of the document is Apostolic Project of the Peruvian Jesuit Province 2014-2021. It presents the four apostolic "frontiers" in which the Jesuits want to present the Christian message: poverty and exclusion; violence; youth and the search of meaning; and Christian formation and lay leadership. Secondly, the document presents the priorities which have emerged from these frontiers, and details objectives and lines of action. Finally, the letter presents the regional apostolic platforms (PAR) that organize the work of the Society in the country. It outlines the missions and priorities which each regional group has set for itself. For more information: www.jesuitas.pe
SPAIN: One Single Province
On 21 June, the feast of St Aloysius Gonzaga, the new Province of Spain was officially erected. The existing five Provinces were integrated into the one single Province. The new Provincial is Fr. Francisco Ruiz Pérez. At 12.00 Father General spoke in front of a large group of Jesuits (over 400). Later he celebrated the Eucharist during which the decree of creation of the new Province was read in the presence of a good number of lay collaborators. Then all participated in a brotherly and friendly lunch. The process of integrating the Provinces of Spain began in 2008. At that time, Father General identified "the greatest and best service to the Church and society" as the ultimate goal of unification. He considered it as "a providential opportunity to renew our mission" and "to grow in a deeper understanding of the Society." Although this would not be an easy task and mission, it would be an "exciting" one. In the government of the Province, the Provincial will be assisted by a delegate for the elderly Jesuits and by other delegates and coordinators for the Local and Territorial Apostolic Platforms. There will be also a delegate for formation and delegates for the five apostolic thrusts: the social apostolate, secondary education, university education, formation, and pastoral care.
1814-2014 RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOCIETY
Spain: Congress on the Bicentennial. Francisco José Ruiz, Provincial of Spain, organized a congress on the Suppression, the Survival, and the Restoration of the Society of Jesus 200 years ago. The congress took place from 11 to 14 June in the "San Ignacio" Spirituality Centre in Salamanca. Fr Pascual Cebollada SJ is the Director of the Center. During the three days participants studied and reflected on the events of those many years ago. They also considered their consequences on the subsequent centuries, including today. They did so from historical and spiritual points of view. The Congress was conceived as a seminar for the ongoing formation for Jesuits and others. 115 Jesuits, 11 women religious and 8 lay people participated in the Congress.
The Bicentenary Celebrations in Africa. Celebrations of the bicentenary of the Restoration of the Society are approaching full speed in Africa and Madagascar. This, it seems, is happening after some initial hesitancy. "The Society was never suppressed in Africa", some think. Clearly, that is wrong, an opinion based on an ignorance of history. Through different fora, JHIA (Jesuit Historical Institute for Africa) and its close collaborators are set to put the historical record straight. They will focus not only on what actually happened in Africa at the Suppression, but also map the trickling return of Jesuits to the continent after the Restoration. Furthermore, the President of JESAM has asked the director of JHIA to make an inventory of activities and events in Africa and Madagascar associated with the bicentennial celebrations. The JHIA 2014 Diary, which celebrates the bicentenary, is now a household item for many. Under JHIA's auspices, an article also appeared in the Jesuit Yearbook 2014, providing a brief overview of the Suppression and Restoration in Africa and Madagascar. In June this year, three papers were presented at an international conference on Jesuit Survival and Restoration. This took place in Boston, USA. Frs Festo Mkenda (AOR), Jean Luc Enyegue (AOC), and Ms Aquinata Agonga (Kenya) constituted an Africa panel at the conference. They provided an overview of the subject matter (Mkenda), treated the return of the restored Jesuits to the Island of Fernando Po (Enyegue), and to the Zambezi region of southern Africa (Agonga). These papers will later be published by the Journal of Jesuit Studies (Brill). A more detailed publication from JHIA is forthcoming, with substantive topics treated by African and international scholars (Festo Mkenda SJ). For more information: http://jesam.info.
The 2015 Yearbook of the Society of Jesus is currently being compiled. It will focus largely on the Society of Jesus and Ecology. A series of articles will deal with the growing consciousness about ecological issues among Jesuits. The Yearbook will present a number of experiences about ecological matters which are currently taking place in different continents. As usual, the Yearbook is published in five languages: Italian, English, French, Spanish and German. Reservations for copies must be sent by June 30 through the Socii of the individual Provinces. Non-Jesuits may request copies via our email address: firstname.lastname@example.org They should indicate their desired language, the number of copies they want, and their postal address. The Yearbook will be sent out towards the end of October 2014.