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    Vol. XX, No. 15 December 7, 2016


    Beirut: Adieu Peter-Hans Kolvenbach

    Father General Arturo Sosa was in Beirut, Lebanon, from 29 November to 1 December, for the funeral of former Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach who passed away peacefully on November 26, 2016. Father Kolvenbach's funeral was celebrated in Beirut, on 30 November 2016, which would have been his 88th birthday.

    The mass was presided over by the Jesuit provincial of the Near East and Maghreb Province, Father Dany Younès in the Latin Rite. Father General Arturo Sosa preached.

    At the end of the mass, during the final commendation, the priests of the Armenian Rite conducted prayers and chants. Father Kolvenbach belonged to the Armenian Rite.

    Father Kolvenbach was the first Superior General of the Jesuits to belong to one of the Eastern Rites in the Catholic Church. He is also the first Superior General to die and to be buried outside Rome. The Scouts Group from the Jesuit Notre Dame de Jamhour school provided a guard of honour at the beginning and at the end of the mass. The school choir led the singing.

    Among those present at the funeral were the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregorios Bedros XX Ghabroyan, the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Gabriele Caccia, the Latin Vicar Mgr Cesar Essayan, and a number of bishops from the different eastern rites (both catholic and orthodox). There was an official delegation from the Lebanese President's office, which included ministers. Also present were members of the diplomatic corps representing different countries in Lebanon.

    Father General, Father Antoine Kerhuel, and Father Patrick Mulemi represented the General Curia.


    The World is Our Home

    The expression by Jerome de Nadal (1507-1580), "the world is our home," played a prominent role in conversations among members of General Congregation 36 in Rome. It was perhaps best captured in the words of Father Dermot Preston, SJ (British Province) in a blog describing the ending of GC 36: "And unexpectedly, it is over. All votes are cast. All documents written. All jobs that were complete-able are complete. We suddenly find ourselves on the last day, with a last Mass this evening and tonight the goodbyes will begin. We only knew it yesterday. It is slightly unreal. I will see some of the Jesuits from the Aula next week in London; some I will never see again. We are pilgrims on the road, creating community as we travel, breaking and re-creating communities at the next cross-roads, trekking on to various destinations as yet unknown."


    Father Dexter Gray (Sri Lanka) pronounced his solemn vows at a Mass presided over by Father General on 21 November. During General Congregation 36, Father General named Fr. Gray the next provincial of Sri Lanka Province. He will take over as provincial on December 8, 2016. Fr. Gray has been working in the General Curia as assistant treasurer for the past two years.


    Father Norbert Frejek (PME) pronounced his final vows in the Society at a Mass presided over by Father General on December 3, 2016 (Feast of Francis Xavier). Father Frejek is secretary for the Central and Eastern Europe Assistancy in the General Curia.


    AUSTRALIA: Jesuit Mission Australia provides aid in flood-ravaged Vietnam

    Jesuit Mission Australia is working with local Catholic Church groups to provide urgent emergency response to families affected by severe floods in Central Vietnam. Over 600,000 people have been directly affected by the floods, with an estimated 100,000 houses fully submerged. The torrential rains started on October 13, causing some of the worst floods ever experienced in the provinces of Quang Tri, Quang Binh and Ha Tinh. It is believed water discharged by two large hydropower dams the next day, without adequate warning to communities already battling the heavy rains, added to the severity.


    CANADA: Commitment to Fossil Fuel Divestment

    Seven Catholic institutions from across the globe -among others, Canadian Jesuits- announced their decision to divest from fossil fuels on the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, with the largest faith-based divestment announcement to date. This latest commitment to divestment highlights the growing momentum towards the practical implementation of the spirit of Pope's Laudato Si'. In it, the Pope warns of the dangers of climate change and argues that "technology based on the use of highly polluting fossil fuels - especially coal, but also oil and, to a lesser degree, gas - needs to be progressively replaced without delay." Read more...


    HAITI: Responding to the victims of Matthieu hurricane

    On October 3 to 4, hurricane Matthieu caused innumerable damage in several departments in Haiti. They speak about 1.250 casualties (people killed or disappeared), thousands of displaced people and more than half a million people have lost their houses. Most crops have been destroyed. Jesuits in Haiti are offering their services to the victims of this humanitarian crisis and ask for our solidarity with them. Read more... (in Spanish)


    SYRIA: JRS staff stand together in serving the displaced

    Beirut, 22 November 2016 - The war in Syria has grabbed world headlines for almost six years now. The violence has killed and wounded thousands. Millions have been made homeless: most of them as IDPs in Syria or having to seek refuge in another country. Many towns and cities of Syria are destroyed beyond recognition. In the face of hate and violence, pain and suffering - there are several ordinary citizens who have silently and heroically reached out to serve their less fortunate sisters and brothers. Staff of Jesuit Refugee Service Syria is among them. Braving all odds, they serve, accompany and advocate for those more affected than them. Read more...