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    Vol. XIV, N. 18 20 September 2010

    Father General

    Visit to Belgium. From September 24 to the 27 Father General will visit the two Provinces of Belgium, beginning with the Province of Southern Belgium and Luxembourg. On September 25 first there will be meetings with the Provincial consultors and the finance committee, then at the Collège Saint Michel there will be for the Province of Southern Belgium and Luxembourg an assembly, during which three topics will be examined and discussed. The intellectual perspective, based on the theme: "In what way am I present to the Church and to the world in the way I consider my apostolic mission beginning with the intellectual perspective?" The social perspective, with the question: "In what way am I present to the Church and the world in the way I consider my apostolic mission beginning with the social perspective?" The spiritual perspective asks the question: "How am I present to the Church and to the world in the way I consider my engagements beginning with the spiritual perspective?" The method will be an initial presentation given by three Jesuits (in the case of the spiritual perspective by three lay people from CLC) and then discussion will follow. At the end of the day the theme of collaboration will be treated with the laity and then Father General will preside at a celebration of the Eucharist. September 26 will be dedicated to the Province of Northern Belgium, where in the morning is foreseen a meeting with the laity involved in the apostolic works of the Province. At the focus of the debate will be Decree no. 6 of the last General Congregation on the specific characteristics of a work of the Society of Jesus. In the afternoon the meeting with the Jesuits will be on: "The challenges in the Province of Northern Belgium in a Society that moves beyond the frontiers." Discussion will follow and the day will conclude with a celebration of the Eucharist, again presided by Father General. In the last day of his visit, September 27, Fr. Nicolás will meet the Jesuits and their collaborators, who in Brussels labour in the European works entrusted to the Society, in the Chapel of the Resurrection. In the evening Fr. General will return to Rome.


    From the Curia

    - Tempo Forte. In the annual calendar of  Father General, there are three special meetings known as Tempo Forte, or days of intense consultation, during the months of January, June and September.  Thus, the past few days, 16 to 19 September, Father General met with his advisers to address issues of universal government. This time devoted significant time to ongoing training, accompanied by Father Hans Zollner, Province of Germany and Professor at the Gregorian, who presented some psychological aspects of the issue of sexual abuse and raised a number of considerations to take into account in our training. The monitoring of the Curia's apostolic planning, government restructuring and the preparation of the next Congregation of Procurators completed the agenda items. On Saturday afternoon, a group of the Community of Sant'Egidio went to the Curia to discuss with the Council the presence and activity in China and Africa. The Community of the Curia, also participated in the training sessions listed, and the Council joined the Curia at Eucharistic on the first and last days of Tempo Forte.


    - The meeting of the Presidents of the Conferences of Provincials will take place at the Curia September 20 to 23. The purpose of this annual meeting is described in decree 21, n. 25 of GC 34: "To heighten the sense of the Presidents for the universal character of the Society; to give them a better understanding of the global priorities of the Society; to work with Father General in overseeing and encouraging the further development of regional and global cooperation." The meeting will serve first of all as an examen of the work carried out by the Conferences in the past year and on the role of the President of the Conferences of Provincials. For Father General the meeting will be an opportunity for an updated overview of the circumstances and issues of the Society throughout the world, which will serve as a basis for further discussions and deeper understanding. A number of other topics will be also discussed:  the issue of finances and mutual assistance among the Conferences, intercultural formation of young Jesuits, the topics to be taken up at the Congregation of Procurators in the coming year, etc. 


    - From October 4 until the 14 at the General Curia Fr. Paul Oberholzer will conduct for 25 students from Tübigen a seminar on the historical documents of the Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus (ARSI) and on the history of Jesuits in Rome. Professor Franz Brendle and his assistant Fabian Fechner will accompany the students. The program will consist of lectures in the morning and visits in Rome to places associated with the history of the Society.



    Father General has appointed Fr Charles Lasrado of Karnataka Province (India) Assistant to the Treasurer General of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Lasrado has a Ph. D. in finance and presently is the treasurer of  his Province. He was born in 1968, entered in the Society in 1986 and was ordained in 2000.


    From the Provinces

    AFRICA: A competition for youth

    To offer the young generation a chance to understand and express what the epidemic HIV/AIDS means for their own everyday lives and for their friends, families and communities. This is the objective of The Youth Movies for Life and for Love scriptwriting regional contest launched within all Jesuit educational institutions and other centres of learning affiliated to the Jesuits in sub-Saharan Africa. From 15 September to 15 December 2010 all youth aged between 10 and 25 years are invited to come up with an original idea or "scenario" for a short film of 5 to 8 minutes in length. The hope is to have good scripts that propose the best message on how the youth can respond to the challenge of HIV pandemic, adopting value-based lifestyle or making choices that are life-giving and that will help them avoid contracting sexually transmitted infections and HIV. The first 20 best ideas with correct information on AIDS will be adapted by professionals chosen by AJAN  (the "African Jesuit AIDS Network") to make educational DVDs in the context of HIV and AIDS prevention in sub-Saharan Africa.


    BOLIVIA: Ancient paintings recovered 

    It all began in 1972 when the Swiss Jesuit Hans Roth started to take care of the rich and wide Jesuit patrimony in Bolivia. After 30 years of work done in different stages, thanks to a project financed by AECID (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development), the Bolivian church and the local municipality, the more than 1.700 sq. m. of frescoes of the Jesuit Church San José de Chiquitos in the Santa Cruz region shine brightly again. The church, declared by UNESCO World Heritage in 1990, was built in 1748 when the Jesuits arrived in Bolivia to carry out their apostolic mission. The building, considered one of the best among the missionary buildings of the region, after the expulsion of the Jesuits was transformed  into residence of the Spanish governors. Among the frescoes there are geometrical shapes, pictures of flora and fauna, religious and military paintings with historical value. The work done is part of a broader project aimed at improving the region as a destination for cultural, religious and natural tourism.


    INDIA: Radio Station seeks larger community

    Sarang Radio, a Jesuit radio station run by the Jesuits of St. Aloysius College of Mangalore, in southern India, is looking to broaden its appeal by launching a host of new community-oriented programs. The introduction of the new services will also help mark its first anniversary on September 23, 2010 (see our Electronic News no. 17, 5 October 2009). "We plan to start more community-oriented programs in regional languages like Kannada, Tulu and Konkani along with Hindi and English," said Father Richard Rego, who is in charge of the radio station and heads the Journalism Department at the College. There are also plans to launch several weekly phone-in programs, such as Kannoonu Kacheri, on legal issues, Arogya Sparsha, a live program on health concerns, and a special program for children. The station will also invite leaders, writers, social workers, farmers and local artists for interviews, narration and feature presentations in order to broaden its activity, which initially was to broadcast about four to six hours a day, but now it is on air for 14 hours.


    JESUIT COMMONS: A Virtual Meeting Place

    A new website has been created called Jesuit Commons. In describing its mission, it states: "A virtual meeting place where a million-strong, global network of individuals, schools and institutions collaborate to benefit poor communities... More than a thousand schools and universities count millions of students, graduates, or faculty; and countless others work and pray in Jesuit refugee agencies, justice institutes, parishes, development NGOs, and retreat houses. Imagine the power that would be unleashed if this million-strong network could jointly innovate projects, launch global advocacy or prayer campaigns, share teaching materials, or mount research efforts." The website invited users to register and become part of community and support projects from Asia to South America. The message continues: "The Jesuit Commons enables such collaborations by putting online communications and networking tools at the service of all those committed to working for a more just world, in solidarity with the Jesuit mission."  For more information: http://www.jesuitcommons.org


    PERU: House named after Matteo Ricci

    Francisco Chamberlain, S.J., arrived in Peru in 1963 and since some time ago he works in Ayacucho. He explains his work this way: "There is a private company that took the people the land, their only mean of subsistence. We are studying some juridical ways to defend their rights and to obtain back the properties inherited from their ancestors. This is possible because we can speak, understand their problems and needs and then act consequently. People needs support and if left alone they cannot do much. In Cangallo we developed a pastoral presence that encouraged social and economic action by the parish, in order to allow people to develop self initiatives. We opened a house named after Matteo Ricci, to encourage dialogue and exchange 'among others' of the town and the region, on the present and future of Ayacucho; a dialogue meaning not only love and understanding, but also discussion carried on together. To meet "others" and to promote dialogue is a typical Jesuit work, and I think it can be of help to the town and to the region."


    SPAIN: Fifth-centenary of St Francis Borgia

    During the summer many initiatives have taken place in Gandía, birthplace of St. Francis Borgia, on the occasion of the fifth-centenary of his birth.  Many Jesuits arrived in town in order to visit the Ducal Palace and to celebrate the Eucharist in its chapel. There were numerous pilgrimages of religious groups and members of the Spanish dioceses and many eucharistic celebrations in honour of the saint. An exhibition presented to the public the restoration of the frescoes of the ancient chapter house of the Convent of the Clarisse, which in the past counted 32 religious women from the Borgia family. The "Cabalgata de los Clásicos", a drama on the history of Gandía's dukedom from 1399 to 1551 (the year when St. Francis Borgia renounced to the Dukedom and entered into the Society of Jesus) was performed twice in a new renovated version with great success. The "Visitatio Sepulchri", a holy-lyric drama, attributed to St. Francis Borgia, on the death and resurrection of Christ, which is performed every year in the church of Gandía's palace on Holy Friday and Easter day, was exceptionally performed during summer as a concert with participation of a large public.


    TURKEY: Signs of hopes for Christians

    The Turkish government's decision to allow the Orthodox patriarch to celebrate a liturgy at the ancient Panagia Soumela Monastery near Trabzon was a sign of hope for Turkey's Christian minority, said Fr. Thomas Michel, a Jesuit expert in interreligious matters. Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople celebrated the Orthodox liturgy on  August 15th, for the feast of the Dormition of Mary at the Panagia Soumela Monastery, which was founded in 386. The building, which is maintained by the government as a museum, was closed in 1923 after Greek monks' community abandoned it under the terms of the Treaty of Lausanne. The present government has promised it really will pay attention to the needs of the Christian minority so this is a positive step in the right direction. Turkey is a country with a majority of Muslim and a population respectful of people's different beliefs. "Turks are open-minded and they always emphasize the fact that Turkey is a place where you can find a mosque, a synagogue, and a church side by side," Fr. Michel said. He expressed the hope that Christians will be able to use again the Catholic Church of St. Paul in Tarsus.


    The 4th centenary of Matteo Ricci's death

    Hong Kong: Ignatian Symposium. Xavier House-Ignatian Spirituality Centre, Hong Kong is organizing an Ignatian Symposium, in memory of the 400th anniversary of the death of Matteo Ricci. It will be held in from December 2-5. It will focus on three aspects of Ricci's legacy in related to Ignatian Spirituality, namely, Affectivity, Cultures mediating God, and Apostolic Creativity and Leadership. Ten speakers from around the world will come to lead this meaningful event. It is conducted in English. This symposium is open to any participants, especially Ignatian people, around the world. For more information and application: Email: xhisc@ignatian.net, tel: (852) 2981-0342, http://xavier.ignatian.net/html/is2010/program_highlights.html


    Macau wants his place too. Even Macau wanted to participate to the celebrations for Matteo Ricci.  From August 7 to October 31 the exhibition "Matteo Ricci, encounter of civilizations in Ming's China", which was already held in Bejing, Shanghai and Nankin is hosted at the Macao Museum of Art. But in Macau there is a something new for the first time the "mysterious map of the two shapes" was introduced in the exhibition. This is the biggest universal map traced by Ricci. For the occasion a bronze statue was inaugurated, remembering the passing through of Ricci in Macau. "We welcome Father Ricci in his second homeland," Fr. Louis Gendron, Chinese Provincial said in this occasion.  And Fr. Howard Lui Ching-hay, Jesuit superior for Macau, added: "This is an historical moment for the Church and an opportunity for evangelization."