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    Vol. XV, n. 9 19 April 2011

    Father General

    Visit to England. From 12th to 16th April Father General visited England together with the Assistant for Western Europe, Fr. Antoine Kerhuel.On the afternoon of their arrival, after a visit to the Apostolic Nuncio, they moved on to Swanwick, the place of the Province Assembly. The meeting which was attended by about 250 people, Jesuits and laity, was the main purpose of the trip, and Father General participated in the sessions on the 13th and 14th of April. The focus was: "Our mission for the life of the world, a reflection on our life and mission, ad intra and ad extra, especially on people at the frontier." The issue was examined in study groups and general meetings.  At the end Father General made his speech and answered questions. On 14th April, he met Mons. Vincent Nichols and Cardinal Keith O'Brien. On 15th April he returned to London. After a visit with the Archbishop of Canterbury, in the afternoon he moved to Wimbledon for the Mass - presided over by Mons. Peter Smith - with Jesuits, members of the Ignatian family, Christian Life Communities, friends, collaborators and, of course, parishioners. On 16th April, the last day of his visit, he attended the Province Consultation and an informal meeting for the inauguration of Hurtado Jesuit Centre (Wapping) before leaving for Rome.


    Visit to Africa and Madagascar. From 26th April to 11th May Father General will be in Africa and Madagascar, accompanied by Father Jean Roger Ndombi, Assistant for Africa, and Father Antoine Kerhuel, Assistant for Western Europe. It is very difficult to make a synthesis of a rich and variegated programme, full of encounters. We list here only some of its highlights. The  trip will have three different stages.

    The first part will be the visit to the Province of Central Africa, which is celebrating this year 50 years of its erection (see our Bulletin n. 25, December 9, 2010). Given the brevity of the trip, Father General will visit only Kinshasa and its surroundings, where the Province operates a number of works in different apostolates. He will begin with Kinshasa-Gombe: the Maison Saint Ignace, where the Provincial and the Provincial Curia are based. In the same complex, within walking distance of each other, is the Collège Boboto with its almost 2,400 students and the Cultural Center of the same name; Sacred Heart Parish; CEPAS (Study Center for Social Action); the review of information and reflection on African issues Congo-Afrique, which is also celebrating its 50 years of existence; SERVICO, a practical service to communities, especially those more distant from the city; CADICEC, a Christian centre for the training of business leaders; and the community of young Jesuits studying at the university. In other parts of the town Father General will visit Collège Bonsomi, with more than 1,200 students, and Centre Monseigneur Munzihirwa, a Welcome Center for street children. Another important place Father General will visit is Kimwenza, not far from Kinshasa. Here too, the Society runs many works, such as St. Peter Canisius Institute, with the faculty of Philosophy where many young Jesuits, also from other African Provinces, are studying; the Spiritual Center with the house for Spiritual Exercises: the parish; and ISAV, the agro-veterinary institute of higher learning. Finally, he will  devote a full day to Kisantu, with the visit to the Novitiate and to Collège Kubama.

    The second part o the visit is the  participation in the General Assembly of JESAM. At the beginning of May the Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar will meet in Antananarivo in Madagascar for their annual gathering, with Fr. General and Fr. Jean Roger Ndombi, the Regional Assistant for Africa. They will, as usual, share and exchange news of the happenings in their various Provinces and Regions during the past year. This year the Provincials and superiors  will consider the reports of the commissions on the novitiates, the social apostolate, secondary education, the apostleship of prayer, formation as well as the reports of the common houses of Formation in Harare, Nairobi and Abidjan. The new venture of establishing a network of Jesuit Social Centres in Africa and the African Jesuit Aids Network will be on the agenda. Our theologate in Abidjan will be a focus of special attention since the Ivory Coast is particularly unstable at the moment. Africa and Madagascar constitute a huge area and many millions of people, in order to make the best use of the limited resources of the Society of Jesus in Africa the Superiors will be using the expertise of Fr. Fernando Franco to add impetus to their strategic apostolic planning for the years ahead. The emphasis will be on the sharing of common resources and experiences of the Assistancy.  

    Finally, the third part of the trip will be devoted to the visit to the Province of Madagascar. This will take place from 7th to 11th May and again, as for the Province of Central Africa, Father General will limit his visit to the capital city of Antananarivo and surroundings, where he will meet the Jesuits and the Ignatian family, lay collaborators, the bishop of the city, and three Jesuit bishops. He will visit various apostolic works, such as the novitiate, the philosophate, the Collège Saint Michel with its almost 2.500 students, the Spirituality Center, the parish and the publishing house (Éditions Ambozontany), the most important among the catholic publishing houses in the country, which also publishes school books. There will be two moment of particular significance: the visit to Bevalala, an important center of agricultural training on the outskirts of the capital, and that to Ambiatibe, the reference point for the Northern Vicariate of the Antananarivo Diocese and the place dedicated to the memory of Blessed Jacques Berthieu, the French Jesuit who was martyred here in 1896. In Antananarivo, like in Kinshasa, Father General will meet the archbishops, bishops and Apostolic Nuncio.



    Father General has appointed:


    - Father Alberto Teixeira de Brito Provincial of Portugal. Father Alberto, who was up to now the pastoral director of the Foyer Catholique Européen in Brussels, was born in 1945, entered the Society of Jesus in 1961 and was ordained a priest in 1973.


    - Father Ante Tustonjic Provincial of the Croatian Province. Father Ante, up to now Treasurer of the same Province, was born in 1969, entered the Society of Jesus in 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1999.


    - Father Emmanuel Mumba Provincial of Zambia-Malawi Province. Father Emmanuel, who was up to now parish priest of St. Mary's Church in Lusaka-Matero, was born in 1968, entered the Society of Jesus in 1990 and was ordained a priest in 2003.


    - Father Franck Janin Provincial of Southern Belgium and Luxembourg. Father Franck, who was up to now director of the Spiritual Centre of Wépion, responsible for the pastoral of vocations and ecclesiastical assistant of the Christian Life Communities, was born in 1958, entered the Society of Jesus in 1984 and was ordained a priest in 1990.


    From the Provinces

    CANADA: Ecological Solidarity

    The Provincial of French-speaking Canada, Jean-Marc Biron S.J., has issued a Lenten letter to Jesuits and collaborators in the Province to remind them that "reconciliation with creation is a spiritual and social requirement of  our times". As well as being a "call to conversion that progressively leads towards an authentic 'ecological solidarity'," the letter contains practical suggestions for discernment and action. The letter can be accessed in French and English on: http://tinyurl.com/canrecnat


    COLOMBIA: Celebration of 400th Anniversary

    400 years ago, on the 12th of April, Father General Claudio Acquaviva erected the Province of the New Reign of Granada, by appointing Father Gonzalo de Lyra as first Provincial.  On the occasion of the anniversary, the Jesuit Provincial of Colombia, Father Francisco de Roux, invited all the Jesuits to gather together in their communities at half past six in the evening to celebrate the Eucharist and remember the history of the Province shared with thousands of brethren who spent their lives in the villages, towns and countryside of Colombia. At the same time he recommended the Jesuits to pray, on this day, in a special way to the Lord for vocations to the Society and to give thanks to Our Lady of the Road for the help received, and to ask her intercession for the commitments we have ahead of us as an apostolic body.


    IVORY COAST : News from the Theologate in Abidjan

    On the evening of Sunday 17th of April about twenty armed men arriving from the North (according to what they themselves referred), stormed and invaded the Abidjan theologate.  They threatened the rector who was locked in a room, then they neutralized the staff, the collaborators and the nuns of two different congregations who had found refuge in our house. Then they asked where the safe was and took it with them together with TV sets, computers, etc. During this operation they fired three shots: one in the room of the minister, who was completely plundered, one in the balcony where they had gathered the people and the third in the office of the Treasurer. They said that the reason was because the Church hides weapons and received money from former President. The same happened to the Capuchins, who live two kms away from our theologate.


    EUROPE : Interprovincial Collaboration

    The General Congregation recommends that "formation sessions be developed in order to assist new superiors to come to an understanding of their mission and to learn practical ways of carrying out that mission..." (CG 35, Decree 5, n° 36). The Provinces of France and South Belgium, encouraged by this text, organized a meeting on interprovincial collaboration. The meeting took place from 18th to 20th March at La Pareille Spiritual Center and the participants were the Superiors of La Reunion, Mauritius, Marseille, Aix, Toulouse, Lyon, St. Etienne, Bordeaux, Nantes, Paris, St. Denis, Lille, Charleroi, Namur, Reims, Luxembourg, Nancy, Louvain-la-Neuve and Brussells. They had the opportunity to better know each other, to become aware of local conditions that encourage creativity and to experience what is the body of the Society beyond geographical areas and countries of origin. The apostolic activity, the management of tensions in society and even within the Church were examined from field experiences. Between the two Provinces there is a network of collaboration between spiritual centers, in the fields of education, publications, formation of young Jesuits, vocation promotion.  This network is based naturally on the specificity of common cultural traditions.


    PERU: IV Symposium on Indigenous Theology

    From 28th March to 2nd April, the Department for Culture and Education of CELAM, the Latin American Bishops' Conference, held in Lima, Peru, the IV Symposium of Indigenous Theology, which was attended by over fifty experts. The theme was: "The theology of creation in the Catholic faith and myths, rituals and symbols of Christian aboriginal people in Latin America.  God's plan for the creation of man and the cosmos." The main purpose of the Symposium was to discover the "seeds of the Word" (the revelation) in the cosmogonic tales of indigenous people in the light of  the Word of God and the Magisterium of the Church to strengthen incultured evangelization, in the spirit of the Declarations of Aparecida, for the preservation "of our sister-mother earth and the planet" (Aparecida, CELAM, document n. 125). The Symposium was inaugurated by Mons. Luis Ladaria S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith. Among the participants there were also Mons. Bruno Musaró, Apostolic Nuncio in Peru, and Mons. Antonio Zerdin OFM, Apostolic Vicar of San Ramón, President of the Episcopal Commission for Catechesis, Biblical Pastoral and Indigenous Pastoral Theology. The Society of Jesus was represented by Fr. Jaime Regan, professor of Anthropology at the University of San Marcos.


    POLAND: Pray-as-you-go Polish Edition

    "Modlitwa w drodze" is a Polish version of the Pray-as-you-go project started by the British Jesuits five years ago. Young Jesuits studying philosophy in Cracow have accepted the challenge of transferring this idea into their land. "Modlitwa w drodze" began functioning five months ago, at the start of Advent, with a set of specially prepared meditations. For about ten minutes, the listeners are invited to hear a recording of the Gospel along with a short reflection and relaxing music, all of which serve a purpose in helping in individual prayer. All the recordings are accessible and can be downloaded to a mobile phone or other sorts of players as mp3 files right from the website www.modlitwawdrodze.pl. „Modlitwa w drodze" has considerably extended its audience during this time of Lent. This was possible thanks to the cooperation that was offered by the creators of the project and almost twenty Catholic radio stations in Poland plus several Internet radio stations. A significant advantage of the prepared meditation texts is the fact that some of the most famous Polish journalists and actors from theaters and the television were asked to read them. Jesuit scholastics alone were the authors of the texts so far, yet for the time of the Lent the team of writers was reinforced by Jesuit priests.


    SPAIN: Jesuits and Internet

    An extensive investigation on the use of Internet was carried out among Spanish Jesuits during the month of March. The coordinator of the project was Father Dani Villanueva. He explains here the purpose of the survey. "The survey was planned as part of a talk on Digital Visibility and New Vocational Culture for the interprovincial meeting of vocational promotion of the Provinces of Spain that was held on April 1st in Madrid.  As we didn't have any data to analyze, we all now decided to conduct a survey of the whole Society of Jesus in Spain. The outcome is that now more than 20% of the Spanish Society of Jesus is highly connected, but is  mainly focused on passive use of the Internet. We are using this data to have a baseline for future developments, and also to emphasize that we need to improve our "communicational culture" in order to facilitate the transparency of the Society of Jesus in the new digital age. We firmly believe that there is a strong link between this new ways of public presence and the promotion of new vocations to the Society of Jesus". The result of the survey are on: http://www.pastoralsj.org/danisj/usointernetsj


    New in SJWEB

    podcast (in French) with Father Alex Bassili (Born in Lebanon, 1945). He spent a good part of his life at the Collège Notre-Dame of Jamhour in Lebanon, as student, scholastic, professor and vice rector. He is now Socius of the Provincial of the Middle East and Rector of the formation house at Beirut. In this interview he explains what it means to be a Socius: "The memory and the hands of a Provincial" and he recalls with gratitude the recent trip of Father General in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey. Click on "Jesuit Voices".