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    Vol. XIV, N. 7 12 April 2010

    Father General

    A letter for the beatification of Fr. Bernardo de Hoyos.


    (The letter is in translation and its summary will be sent as soon as it is ready).


    Visit to Spain. Father General will visit Spain from the 16th to the 19th of April.  On the 18th of April he will participate in the beatification of Father Bernardo de Hoyos, apostle of the Sacred Heart in Villagarcia de Campos near Valladolid.  He will take advantage of this trip to meet the Jesuits coming to Villagarcía de Campos for the beatification.  On the 19th of April at the Comillas Pontifical University, Father Nicolás will attend the International Congress on El ser sacerdotal fundamentos y dimensiones costitutivas ("Structures and Dimensions of Priestly Life").  Later that same day he will depart Madrid for Central America.


    Visit to Central America. From the 19th of April to the 1st of May, Father General will visit the Provinces of Mexico, Central America, and the Antilles.  First and foremost, Father Nicolás will participate in a meeting of Jesuit universities from across the globe to be held in Mexico City, 22 - 24 April, under the theme: Networking Jesuit Higher Education for a globalizing world.  Before the meeting Father Nicolás will visit some of the works of the Province of Mexico, participate in a Province meeting and meet Jesuits, friends and benefactors.  On the 24th of April he will travel to the Province of Central America.  In El Salvador he will meet with members of the "Ignatian family" and will visit some of the major works of the Society of Jesus there; in Nicaragua he will visit the Colegio Centroamericano, Fe y Alegría primary school, and the Centro Pedro Arrupe at the University of Central America (UCA). On the 27th of April he will be in Panama where he will visit the novitiate and inaugurate a new building at the Colegio Xavier. On the 28th of April he will go to the Dominican Republic and Haiti, both part of the Province of the Antilles.  While in Haiti, Father Nicolás will offer support and encouragement to the Jesuits engaged in service to the homeless, the injured, and in reconstruction after the devastating earthquake of 12 January.

    From the Curia

    - The Society in Numbers. The Statistics of the Society of Jesus worldwide have been just published.  The various tables present its composition as of the 1st of January 2010. The total number of Jesuits is: 18,226; 12,887 priests (last year: 13,088), 1,589 brothers (last year: 1,674), 2,818 scholastics, that is the Jesuits in formation (last year: 2,925) and 972 novices (last year: 816).  A decrease of 237 members was experienced from 1st  January 2009.  These figures show a small decline in relation to the previous year, when the loss was of 304 members.  There was a small decline in the average age: in 2008 it was 57.44 and in 2009 it was 57.29.  Table 6 presents an historical summary of the size of the Society from 1973 to 2010 that may be of interest.  It offers the potential of tracking the trends of novices, scholastics, priests and brothers during these years and noting the differences year by year. For more and detailed information please refer to the printed edition or visit www.sjweb.info (for Jesuits only).      


    Jesuit Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) will hold a meeting at the Curia 11 - 18 April.  This annual meeting offers major superiors the opportunity to confer on the realities of their Provinces and Regions.  The upcoming meeting will focus on those apostolates and organizations that share a pan-African character such as social apostolate, JRS, AJAN, etc.  Particular attention will be given to the condition of the "common houses" of the African Conference, especially the  houses of formation in philosophy and theology.  In addition, the statutes of JESAM will be reviewed.  On the 18th and 19th of April, the Africa-Europe joint commission will meet to study the ways and means of promoting mutual collaboration.


    - Jesuit Mission and Ecology. The Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat has informed Father General about the formation of a task force to help implement Decree 3 of General Congregation 35 that encourages all Jesuits, "to appreciate more deeply our covenant with creation" (D 3, 36).  The task force will take into account how the environment "touches the core of our faith in and love for God" (D 3, 32) and follow the lead of Pope Benedict XVI who devoted chapter 4 of Caritas in Veritate to this theme.  The pope stressed the importance of protecting and respecting the environment in his First of January 2010 Peace message entitled "If you want to cultivate peace protect creation."  This is an appropriate time to have an "aggiornamento" with our Jesuit tradition.  Ten years ago saw the publication of "We live in a broken world: reflections on ecology" (1999), prepared by this Secretariat in response to Decree 20 of General Congregation 34.  The Secretariat is attentive to reading the "signs of the times" noting the urgency of dealing with several environmental issues including climate change and the lack of good governance to deal with the exploitation of natural and mineral resources.  This calls for a response from the Society, and it needs to discern its specific contribution. This Task Force would consist of a small group of 6 to 7 Jesuits and lay people and will be entrusted with the task of quickly preparing a report with practical recommendations.  There will be two levels within the report: proposed concrete ways to make the concern for ecology a "dimension" of all our ministries, and suggested concrete project/s (action plans) that have an inter-disciplinary dimension, all the while stressing the global and international aspect focusing on issues and methodologies where the Society can use its distinctive strengths. Father General has encouraged the Secretariat to pursue this direction.



    Father General has appointed:


    - FatherVicente Durá Garrigues Provincial of the Province of Aragon.  Father Vicente is presently the superior of the Residence San Ignacio in Valencia.  He was born in 1941, entered the Society of Jesus in 1958 and was ordained priest in 1971.


    - Father Kurien Francis Vadakekara Provincial of the Province of Hazaribagh.  Father Vadakekara was born in 1953, entered the Society of Jesus in 1970 and was ordained a priest in 1983. He is presently superior of the Bokaro community and director of St. Francis Xavier School, in Bokaro.


    - Father Thomas Layden  Provincial of the Irish. Father Thomas was born in 1957, entered the Society in 1979 and was ordained priest in 1991. At present he is member of Peter Faber Residence and Centre of Spirituality in Belfast, Northern Ireland.


    From the Provinces

    AUSTRALIA: Music in the Yarra Valley

    On Sunday, 11 April Victoria's oldest wine region Yarra Valley, a one hour's drive from Melbourne, will host Just Cycle Yarra Valley, a recreational cycling and musical event.  As part of the event, some of Australia's most exciting talents and emerging bands will perform at Rochford Wines.  An initiative of Jesuit Social Services, Just Cycle Yarra Valley will raise awareness and funds for an organization that works with some of the most disadvantaged and at risk people, families and communities. To find out more please visit: www.justcycle.com.au


    KENYA: A Recognition to Father McGarry

    On the occasion of the celebrations of the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi in 1984, Father Orobator, Provincial of Eastern Africa, received from the university's Chancellor, a diploma posthumously granting Father Cecil McGarry a Doctor of Philosophy, Honoris Causa in recognition of his many services given to the Association of Members of the Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Catholic Church in Kenya and the university. Father McGarry died on the 24th November 2009; he was one of the founders of Hekima College, the pan-African Jesuit Theologate in Nairobi.


    MEXICO: Jesuit Radio Station Honoured

    La Voz de los Campesinos, a radio station directed by Fomento Cultural y Educativo, was the winner of the 2010 Award for Rural Communication by International Program for Communication Development of the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Fomento Cultural y Educativo is a civil association directed by Jesuits and laity. Forty-five years ago it founded La Voz de los Campesinos, a radio station broadcasting on medium wave in Spanish and three native languages to a large region of Mexico.  Sergio Cobo, director of Fomento Cultural y Educativo, declared "This recognition rewards the campesinos and Mexican indigenous people who contributed to the growth of the radio station with their voices and it is a source of satisfaction for the whole of Mexico and Latin America." The award ceremony was held at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on the 24th of March.


    VENEZUELA: The Jesuit Radio Network in Latin America

    The first meeting of the Jesuit radio network in Latin America and Caribbean was held several weeks ago in Caracas at the offices of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference.  According to Fides Agency, about 40 participants came from different parts of the continent.  Representatives of radio stations in Dominican Republic, Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Honduras and Venezuela participated in the meeting with much enthusiasm and hope, and with a profound desire to promote the creation of a network.  Father Francisco Muguiro S.J., director of Radio Marañón, a radio station that contributes to evangelization and supports sustainable development in the north-east region of Peru, expressed his joys and hopes for the anticipated results of this gathering.  This is the first time that Jesuit radio stations expressed an interest in creating a means for coordination and common radio projects.  The total number of Jesuit radio stations in Latin America is 102.


    The 4th centenary of Matteo Ricci's death

    AUSTRALIA: Chinese Community Celebrates Matteo Ricci.  The 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci's death has been celebrated by the North Sydney's Chinese community as part of its celebration of the Chinese New Year of the Tiger.  The event was held a the Jesuit Parish of Saint Mary.  The church and the altar were decorated with Chinese symbols and a Chinese painting of Our Lady of the Way was placed on the side of the altar.  Parish priest Father Tony Smith, S.J., concelebrated the mass along with other priests from Canisius College.  The homily was given by visiting Chinese priest Father Joseph, who spoke about the lesson we can learn from the life of Matteo Ricci:  "Father Ricci impressed his Chinese neighbours by his generosity, courtesy and charity... Many Chinese intellectuals were impressed by his behaviour, imitating Christ.  As followers of Christ, we should also adopt an attitude of charity, reconciliation and patience as we witness to our faith".



    Changing Times. When Pope Gregory XIII needed advice on how to revise the Julian calendar in 1582, he turned to a Jesuit mathematician at the Roman College, Christopher Clavius, who said, "Suppress ten days in the Julian calendar, and every 400 years omit the extra day of what would otherwise be a leap year."  Even though English Protestants denounced it as a "Jesuit plot", it worked!


    New in SJWEB

    A Podcast with Father Pierre Salembier (Province of France) Father General's delegate for the World Union of Jesuit Alumni(ae) is presented on the Curia's website in French.  To listen, go to: www.sjweb.info  and click on: Jesuit Voices.