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Vol. XVIII, No. 11 05 May 2014
Father General's Journey. On 25 April, Father General left Rome for South America. He will return on 12 May. The first stop of the visit was British Guyana, Venezuela and Cuba. During the second half of this visit, Father General took part in the 28th Meeting of Latin America Provincials (CPAL). On Friday, 25 April, Father General began his journey in British Guyana. After a night in Barbados, he arrived in Georgetown at noon on 26 April. Visits to apostolic works of the Society, and a meeting with Jesuits and their collaborators followed. Father General left for Venezuela on Monday, 28 April, where his stay centered on Caracas and Maracaibo. In Caracas, he visited the Catholic Andrés Bello University, the La Vega barrio, the Educational and Pedagogical Reflection Center, the San Ignacio College, and the Jesús Obrero center of collaboration, where he met Jesuits and their collaborators. The visit in Maracaibo on 30 April, allowed him to familiarize himself with the Ignatian Apostolic Network of Zulia. On the evening of 2 May, he left for Cuba, where he remained until the afternoon of 4 May. In Havana, he met the country's religious congregations, as well as Jesuits and their collaborators. He participated in the Festival de Jóvenes Ignacianos. On the Sunday evening he travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico, to take part in the Latin American Provincials meeting.
The 28th Assembly of CPAL begins on 6 May and continues until Saturday, 10 May. It will be held in the Retreat and Conference Center at Puente Grande. Father General will personally meet with each Provincial during the Assembly. He will familiarize himself with the common projects of CPAL's Provinces and Regions. These include the project centered on the Panama Canal Zone, and the international centers of formation. Core issues on the Assembly's agenda will be the re-configuration of Provinces, and the establishment of common centers of philosophical formation. On Friday, 9 May, still in Puente Grande, Father General will meet the Mexican Jesuits in formation. On Sunday, 11 May, before his departure for Rome, Father General will launch an exhibition whose theme is the Society of Jesus during the colonial era. This will be held in the Society's former novitiate and missionary center in Tepotzotlán, near Mexico City.
FROM THE CURIA
On 2 May, Fr Paolo Molinari died at the St Peter Canisius Residence in Rome. He was born in Turin in 1924. He was the Postulator General for the Causes of Saints at the General Curia from 1957 to 2008. For over fifty years, Fr Molinari devoted all his energies to promote this Office in the service of the Society and the Church. He placed his expertise and long experience in the service of numerous people and institutions.
JESAM Plenary 2014. The Conference of Jesuit Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) has met in the Curia in Rome from the 29th of April to the 2nd of May 2014. The president, Michael Lewis, all the Provincials and Regional Superiors have attended, including three CEP (Conference of European Provincials) members of the Commissio Mixta from Europe plus John Dardis, their president, who has come a day in advance, for a one day joint enterprise. This meeting of the Commissio-Mixta, the inter-conference collaboration (CEP-JESAM) structure, dealt first with issues of common concern such as refugees and migrants and other inter-continental issues of common interest such as the Jesuit Historical Institute of Africa (JHIA). Apart from dealing with biannual reports on common works, the main purpose of the JESAM plenary session has been to study the future of our formation centres in Africa with respect to the changing national policies on Higher Education in some countries. The meeting concluded the agenda with a number of issues including solidarity in formation, restructuring of Provinces and Regions, the JHIA. This meeting provided an opportunity to meet with curial officials and also an occasion to visit with those who are studying in Rome from the African Assistancy.
Father General has appointed:
- Father Jacques Gebel Vice-Provincial of the Province of France (GAL). Father Gebel, at present Superior of the Jesuit Community of Saint Ignatius of Reims, was born in 1962, entered the Society of Jesus in 1980 and was ordained a priest in 1993.
- Father George Mutholil Provincial of the Kerala Province (KER), India. Father Mutholil, at present director of the Indian Social Institute (ISI) of Bangalore, was born in 1953, entered the Society of Jesus in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1985.
- Father Marianus Joseph Kujur Provincial of the Ranchi Province (RAN), India. Father Kujur, at present head of the Department of Tribal Unit, Indian Social Institute, New Delhi, was born in 1960, entered the Society of Jesus in 1980 and was ordained a priest in 1994.
- Father Varghese Pallippalakatt Provincial of the Dumka-Raiganj Province (DUM), India. Father Pallippalakatt, at present at Loyola College, Chennai, was born in 1954, entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1987.
- Father George Fernandes Provincial of the Jamshedpur Province (JAM), India. Father Fernandes, at present Superior of the Xavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI) of Jamshedpur, was born in 1955, entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1986.
- Father Kalyanus Minj Provincial of the Province of Madhya Pradesh (MAP), India. Father Minj, at present Rector of St. Xavier, Ambikapur, was born in 1965, entered the Society of Jesus in 1986 and was ordained a priest in 2001.
- Father Dany Younès Provincial of the Middle East Province (PRO). Father Younès, at present Prefect of Studies of the Scholastics in Beirut, Lebanon, was born in 1974, entered the Society of Jesus in 1995 and was ordained a priest in 2005.
- Father Javier Vidal González Provincial of the Province of Antilles (ANT). Father Vidal, at present Socius of the Provincial at the Curia of Santo Domingo, was born in 1969, entered the Society of Jesus in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 2004.
FROM THE PROVINCES
AUSTRALIA: International Jesuit Prison Network
Jesuit Social Services (JSS) in Australia has formed an International Jesuit Prison Network (IJPN). This will facilitate collaboration and support among Jesuit organizations and individuals around the world who are working in prisons or with former prisoners. The network was set up late last year. The initiative already has the support of all the Jesuit Conferences and a number of other Jesuit organizations. These include Jesuit Networking, which has offered to assist in connecting interested people. JSS project officer, Carolyn Ryan, said that there has been little collaboration or support between regions, and recording of the work done in the prison ministry only takes place in an ad hoc way. JSS grasped an opportunity for collaboration in order to support the work of all who are active in this field. The IJPN has a 3-fold aim. First, it hopes to identify and map prison work carried out by Jesuit organizations and individuals around the world, and to connect those involved. Second, it hopes to provide a forum for sharing information, experiences and ideas. Third, it hopes to encourage collaboration on key issues and common concerns, and to address injustice through advocacy. For more information: http://www.sjapc.net
CHINA: Interactive Guided Prayer Site
Two Jesuit Provinces - China and Ireland - have combined to make the world's leading interactive guided prayer site available in China (PRC) for the first time. "Sacred Space is much loved around the world," said Fr Michael Kelly SJ, Executive Director of UCA News. "Tens of thousands access the site in 20 languages. It seemed to me a real waste to have this great aid to deepening our engagement with God not available to the growing number of Christians in the PRC. Two problems prevented access: the content was not in the script used in China, and China's Great Fire Wall meant that even the content in Traditional Characters was blocked because it was available only on a site with a URL in Taiwan. The Chinese cyber police blocked this site. These problems were easily solved - by having the Tradition Characters changed to Simplified Characters through widely available technology; and by having the content hosted on a URL that would not upset the Chinese authorities. What we now have is the prayer content available in a script used in China and available on a URL that is not blocked," Fr Kelly said. The site leads more than half a million visitors a month through the Ignatian Examination of Conscience, with almost 20,000 visitors following the prayerful process on weekdays. The Simplified Character site joins two other Asian language versions - those in Korean and Bahasa Indonesia.
ITALY: Italy and America Honour Father Kino
In April, Luigi Bressan, the archbishop of Trento, traveled to Arizona and to Sonora in California to be present at Alessandro Cagol's film, Inchiesta su Padre Kino, a film which has been dubbed in both Spanish and English. The visit was also the occasion for an important meeting with the bishops of Tucson and Hermosillo. They signed a joint document to support the cause of Fr Eusebio Francesco Chini' beatification. This will be presented to Pope Francis. The initiative was made public by the "Fr Eusebio Chini Association". This is based in Segno, Fr Chini's hometown, Trento. This association is preparing a number of other initiatives to support the application. These include the revival of the project to arrange ten songs by Giorgio Conta in honour of Fr Kino: this is the American name of the missionary who was born in 1645 and who died in Santa Magdalena, Sonora, in 1711. Livio and Giorgio Conta have devised a series of information panels at the entrance of Segno to highlight the life of Fr Chini. Xaverian Fr Domenico Calarco, the vice-postulator of the cause currently underway in Rome, has also re-configurated the Chini website, and prepared a new edition of Chini's letters. The Association continues, under its president, Alberto Chini, to work on a number of fronts to raise awareness of the multi-faceted personality of this missionary. He was a geographer, astronomer, explorer, and defender of the Indian tribes against the oppression by the Spanish conquerors.
SPAIN: Communication in the New Province
The internal communication system of the soon-to-be-launched Spanish Province began operations through the new website, www.infosj.es, on Friday, 14 March. This website will no longer be that of the Province of Castile alone. From 21 June, it will be the primary means of communication within the Spanish Province of the Society. Correspondents from all the new Province's apostolic sectors will send in news related to the specific areas of their apostolic responsibilities. The website will have a section for externs: this will feature news about the works of the Society for lay people, for Jesuits, and for their friend. There will also be a section reserved for Jesuits: this will contain personal information about Jesuits, status changes, and letters of Father General, and instructions of the Provincial, etc. Information which used to be circulated in hard copy (eg, the old Province newsletters) will now become digital. But it will still be possible to easily print news items for those Jesuits who do not use computers. The aim of this new system is to improve communication among Jesuits, and between works and collaborators in the Spanish Province. The system will contribute to the integration of the Province through the sharing of knowledge and information. It will now be possible to find, in one place, all issues related to the Province, to Jesuits and to their works.
U.S.A.: Bringing Bible Stories to Life
Jesuit Fr J Michael Sparough has juggled, worked with a circus troupe, written musicals and directed traveling shows - all to bring Bible stories to life. He is also a retreat director. He founded Charis Ministries for young adults, and is the author of a number of books. He says that he sees himself as a "contemporary evangelist" whose storytelling skills help inspire. Fr Sparough's English and Theatre studies coincided with the popularity of musicals, such as Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. This moved him to write a sequel to Godspell, with the help of his friend, Jesuit Fr Mitch Pacwa. Their production is entitled J.C. (And Other Resurrection Stories). It began with the death of Jesus, and moved through the Resurrection narratives. A staff member from the Episcopal diocese of Southern Ohio saw the show, and invited Fr Sparough to stage a few of its scenes on Fountain Square, the civic plaza in Cincinnati. With a group of 100 performers, Fr Sparough recreated the scenes in the tradition of the medieval morality plays, which used to be performed in public plazas. Following the success of the event, Fr Sparough founded the Fountain Square Fools in 1975. This was a "portable theatre proclaiming Good News," using drama, dance, mime and music to bring the Gospels to life. Fr Sparough served as its artistic director, traveling with the group across the US and to Canada, England and Ireland during the next 16 years. After his time with the Fountain Square Fools, he moved to the Bellarmine Retreat House in Illinois, where he continues to dramatize biblical stories.
VATICAN: Audience for the Educational Institutions in Rome
On 10 April, Pope Francis received the faculty, students and non-teaching staff of the three institutions of the Gregorian Consortium - the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, and the Pontifical Oriental Institute - in the Paul VI Auditorium. The invitation was also extended to other Jesuits, and to collaborators in the General Curia. The tone of the audience was most cordial and fraternal. In his address, the Pope emphasized two particular issues. "The first aspect that I want to emphasize is that of appreciating the very place in which you find yourselves working and studying, that is, the city and above all the Church of Rome. Here is a past and here is a present. Here are the roots of faith: the memories of the Apostles, of the Martyrs, and here is your ecclesial "today". Here is the actual Church which leads in charity, and which is at the service of unity and universality. All of this should not be taken for granted! It must be lived and appreciated with a commitment that is partly institutional and partly personal, the latter of which is left to the initiative of each person... The other aspect that I want to share concerns the relationship between study and the spiritual life. Your spiritual commitment to teaching and research, to study and deeper formation, will be more fertile and efficacious if it is fully animated by the love of Christ and of the Church, if the relationship between study and prayer is solid and harmonious... The theologian who does not pray and who does not worship God ends up in a distressing narcissism."
1814-2014 RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOCIETY
Italy. On 12 April, to mark the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus, a reflection afternoon took place at the Villa St Ignatius residence in Trento (North Italy). The encounter focused on two particular periods, those immediately before and after the Suppression of the Society. Jesuit Fr Andrea Dall'Asta, the director of the San Fedele Art Gallery in Milan, offered significant insights into the artistic genius of the Jesuit painter, Br Pozzo. Fr Giovanni Ladiana SJ, superior of the Jesuit community in Reggio Calabria, offered reflections on the short but turbulent time in the history of the Society while it was struggling with the revolutionary challenges which flowed from the Second Vatican Council. The then Father General, Pedro Arrupe, prophetically led the Society through an apostolic re-orientation. Fr Ladiana has been involved in the fight against organized crime for many years. At the conclusion of the day, Fr Livio Passalacqua, resident in Trento for many years, enumerated the changes that took place in the second half of 1900's in the city of Trento. He recalled the commitments the Jesuits. They began their work in a retreat house, but were able to expand their presence in dialogue and collaboration with a growing number of lay people. In this way, they influenced the major issues of the day - social commitment, spirituality, formation and culture.
Portugal. On 2 June, the Oriental Museum in Lisbon will hold a symposium on The Restoration of the Society of Jesus in Portugal and in the East, 1814-2014. The Jesuit magazine, Brotéria, Fundação Oriente, in conjunction with a number of other entities, is organizing this event. The considerations will focus two periods: "The Old Society" and "The Restored Society". Experts from different parts of the world will contribute to the seminar. Father Adolfo Nicolás, who will be visiting the Province of Portugal at that time, has been invited to speak on "The Society of Jesus in the East Today". For full details about the symposium, go to: http://www.museudooriente.pt/1929/restauracao-da-companhia-de-jesus-em-portugal-e-no-oriente--1814-2014.htm