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Vol. XXI, No. 07 April 24, 2017
Father General has reminded Jesuits of the international and multicultural character of the Society of Jesus, and of the importance of growing in the universal dimension of their mission. Speaking on 19 April in Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany, Father General reminded the Jesuits that "Perhaps today we are at a time when we need to be aware again of what we learned in novitiate: we enter into the Society of Jesus, not into the Hungarian, Austrian or German province. We should grow in this universal dimension of the Society of Jesus."
FROM THE CURIA
On 14 April 2017, Father General signed a decree establishing the Euro-Mediterranean Province (EUM), which will come into existence on 1 July 2017. The new province will unify the current provinces of Italy and Malta, which will consequently be suppressed on 1 July. Father General has appointed the current provincial of Italy, Father Gianfranco Matarazzo as the provincial of the new EUM province.
Pope Francis has appointed:
- Frs. Jacquineau Azetsop (AOC) and James Martin (UNE) as Consulters to the Holy See Secretariat for Communications. Father Azetsop was born in 1972, entered the Society in 1993, and was ordained in 2003. He is currently the dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Father Martin was born in 1960, he entered the Society in 1988, and was ordained in 1999. He currently serves as Editor at large at the Jesuit Magazine America, in New York City.
FROM THE PROVINCES
UNITED STATES: Washington, DC: Remembrance, Contrition and Hope
Father Timothy Kesicki, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and United States expressed sorrow and contrition to the African-American community for the role the Jesuits played in slavery in the 19th century. Speaking at Georgetown University's Liturgy of Remembrance, Contrition and Hope, Father Kesicki said: "It is our very enslavement of another, the very ownership of another, culminating in the tragic sale of 272 men, women and children, that remains with us to this day, trapping us in a historic truth for which we implore mercy and justice, hope and healing." And directly addressing nearly 100 descendants of Georgetown slaves, Fr. Kesicki told them, "Today the Society of Jesus which helped to establish Georgetown University and whose leaders enslaved and mercilessly sold your ancestors, stands before you to say: We have greatly sinned. The Society of Jesus prays with you today because we have greatly sinned, and because we are profoundly sorry." Read more...
VENEZUELA: Enough is enough - Venezuelan Jesuits
Venezuelan Jesuits are saying enough is enough. Faced with the escalation of violence in Venezuela, and the famine and extreme poverty that the country is experiencing, the Society of Jesus, through its various organs, has declared, "We are living in a state that has been seized and is being violated by a dictatorial government." Additionally, they denounce "indiscriminate and systematic repression of the civilian population" by President Nicolas Maduro's government. "As Christian leaders, we have the task of accompanying the people in this long Passion Friday they are living." The message of the Jesuits echoes the "clear and courageous" voice of the country's bishops. Read more (in Spanish)...
Assistant ad Providentiam and General Counsellor, Fr. Vernon D'Cunha recently accompanied Father General to Peru. Here he shares his experience from the visit:
This was my first trip to Latin America and I was looking forward to it. There were many beautiful and memorable experiences awaiting me - the CPAL (Latin American Jesuit Conference) meeting at Lima, Peru, for which there were over 100 participants - Jesuit and lay - in a spirit of search and collaboration for the Magis, to evaluate and fulfil the 6 apostolic priorities set out earlier in 2010 and to charter out new horizons. This experience was formative in itself.
What touched me most during the visit to Peru were the visits to parts of the Peruvian province where Jesuits and lay people were working for the education, service and upliftment of the poor indigenous people.
There was the visit to the parish of El Agustino district in Lima, La Virgen de Nazaret - a poor parish but brimming with activity and enthusiasm. The Jesuits and laity were working together to build up the faith of the simple people and attend to their socio-economic-pastoral needs. There are about 7 chapels, in addition to the main church, in the area and 6 homes for children in need from the district. There were two counsellors who handled about 3,000 cases/interviews per year. There was also SEA - Servicios Educativos El Agustino - run by the parish with a lay director, which was attending to the education of children and adults of the area. There are 6 Jesuits (including the new President of the Latin American Conference, Fr. Roberto Jaramillo) most of whom cater to the needs of the poor of the area, and live in an apartment close to the parish church.
The visits to the Fe y Alegría schools in Yamakentsa and Chiriaco (near Jaén in the north of Peru) also impressed me very much. Both the schools are residential and serve the needs of the poor indigenous children who would otherwise not have access to a decent education. Children come from distant places, some even 4 days' journey on foot! The conditions are challenging with not much of infrastructure and having to cross a swirling river for almost every need. The joy on the faces of the children and the commitment and dedication of the Jesuits and religious serving them were heart-warming. The scenery was simply beautiful and the journey to these places reminded me very much of the atmosphere and situation that seemed to have existed during the time of the Reductions of Paraguay!!!
May the Lord bless the efforts of the Jesuits and collaborators working in these challenging situations so that they may bear much fruit for the Reign of God!