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Vol/ XV, N. 11 20 May 2011
From the Curia
- From May 20-22 to be held in Rome at the General Curia, the ordinary annual meeting of ICAJE (the International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education). ICAJE is composed by 6 members elected by the Secretary for Secondary Education for each Jesuit Conferences, along with the Secretary for Secondary Education. Current members are: Edward Fassett SJ for North America Region; Norbert Menezes SJ for South Asia Region; Marie-Thérèse Michel for Europe Region; Alejandro Pizarro Bermúdez SJ for Latin America Region; Etsuo Sekine SJ for Asia-Pacific Region; Emmanuel Ugwejeh SJ for Africa Region; José Alberto Mesa SJ as Secretary for Secondary Education. "We will be presenting a report from each region - says Fr. José Albert Mesa - analyzing the challenges for Jesuit Secondary Education today, and preparing the Boston International Colloquium for Secondary Education in 2012 organized by Boston College High School."
- From May 23rd to 28th the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology will host the Coordinators of the Conferences for the Social Apostolate which will meet at the General Curia on the occasion of their annual meeting. During these work days they will outline, from the point of view of the Social Apostolate, an overview of the major challenges the Society of Jesus has to face today. The theme of the justice dimension inside the Society will be deepened and the different aspects regarding the future of the Social Apostolate will be taken into exam. Representatives from each Conference will be Fathers César Torres and Alfredo Ferro for Latin America, Andreas Gosele, Brendan McPartlin and Higinio Pi for Europe, Denis Kim for East Asia and Pacific, Ghislaine Tschikendwa and Rigoberto Minani for Africa and Madagascar, Tom Greene for United States and Xavier Jeyarai for South Asia.
- Office of Development Resources. Father Jorge Eduardo Serrano Ordoñez SJ, writes: "On 2007 the Father General P.H. Kolvenbach named Mr. Chuck Duffy (USA) as the first director of the development office created in the General Curia after the Major Superiors' meeting in Loyola (2005). These first three years were to lay the foundations of this new and urgent service to the universal Society due to the great changes in the world's economy, as well as to the new structures within the apostolic body of the Society and its government. This work done by Mr. Duffy with the support of the Assistants, Provincials and Treasurers was the basis for the proposal presented to the Father General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, and to the presidents of the Conferences in September 2010, called the Flagship Project. This proposal seeks to support one Province a year in each Conference until 2013, whether the Province is beginning a fundraising office, or in the midst of strengthening a fundraising program. What is important is that the Province desires to fundraise for the apostolic priorities not only of the Province but also of the shared priorities of the Conference and the world-wide Society. The Conferences have already chosen the pilot Province: East Africa (AOR/Africa), Philippines (PHI /Asia Pacific), Madhya Pradesh (MAP/South Asia), and Malta (MAL/Europe). Latin America has postponed the selection of a pilot Province until the year 2012. The name of this General Curia service has been changed from "Development Office" to "Office of Development Resources", since it is not this office's task to do fundraising, but to facilitate the growth of Development Offices in each of the Provinces and Conferences of the Society."
Father General has appointed:
- Father Bhausaheb Sansare Provincial of Pune (India). Father Bhausaheb, who is currently superior of the community and director of St. Joseph Technical Institute and Hostel in Pune, was born in 1970, entered the Society of Jesus in 1994 and was ordained a priest in 2004.
- Father Sebasti L. Raj Provincial of Madurai Province (India). Fr. Sebasti L. Raj, up to now director of the Xavier Institute od Development Action and Studies of Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh), was born in 1945, entered the Society of Jesus in 1965 and was ordained a priest in 1976.
From the Provinces
CHAD: Recognition to Fr. Gherardi
On May 19 in Geneva, at the UN Headquarters, the WHO (World Health Organization) awarded the Chadian Community Association for Progress, founded by Father Angelo Gherardi, an Italian Jesuit missionary living in Chad for decades, the 2011 prize of the Foundation of the Union of Arab Emirates for Health, and the 2011 prize of Kuwait State for research and promotion of health. The reason for both prizes highlighted the excellent work done by the Association for the research and development of health. In addition to the prestigious award, the prizes involve also a substantial sum of money.
EUROPE: Strategic Plan
A special meeting of the council of the Conference of European Provincials (CEP) was held recently in order to realize a strategic plan of action for the next three or four years. Father John Dardis, the president, outlined the main points: "First we took into consideration evangelization and its importance across Europe, in a moment of big secularization. The Jesuit charism is open to culture, to meet God in all things and to help people to meet him too. This is our particular contribution to the Church. A second basic idea in our discussions was to pay particular attention to young people (...). Everywhere young people have a deep hunger and a great potential. Will we be able to bring out this potential and to develop it? Regarding interreligious dialogue, it was stressed that they are really more than one dialogue. Islam is not the only group with whom we have to interact, even though it is the most complex and difficult. We must not forget also the ecumenical call in Europe among all Christian Churches (...). Then, we stressed the importance of helping the renewal of the Church all over Europe."
INDIA: New Jesuit Center to provide media training
A newly opened Jesuit Center, the Lievens' Institute of Film and Electronic Media (LIFE), aims to offer young tribal people media skills training with a certain ethical viewpoint and highlight issues related to their communities in Eastern India. Father Francis Kurien, head of the Hazaribagh Jesuit Province, opened the Lievens' Institute of Film and Electronic Media (LIFE) in Ranchi, the Jharkhand state capital, recently. Addressing the gathering, Father Kurien expressed hope that the center's students would take up tribal issues in various media channels and will make tribal voices heard nationally and internationally: "Today the media is not reporting many events happening in Jharkhand," he regretted. Ranchi Provincial Father Xavier Soreng, who blessed the building, hailed the Center as "a new chapter in the life of Jharkhand and a gift of the Central Zone Provincials to the tribal people of the region." The Center will offer a course in film and television production from July 15, with the Mumbai-based Xavier Institute of Communications awarding diplomas to graduates from the Ranchi Center. In the near future it will also offer certificate courses in electronic media.
ITALY: The residence of Florence closes
A statement of the Italian Province announces the closing of the residence of Florence with these words: "After the decision to close the communities of San Remo and Gorizia, the Italian Province of the Society of Jesus has come to the point of having to carry on the painful closure of the community in Florence. In fact, the two younger fathers had to leave for other destinations and the remaining community, formed by the Superior and two elderly fathers, is no longer able to stand. This choice does not mean in any way that the Society leaves Florence. Fr. Ennio Brovedani, director of the Stensen Institute, will remain in town and the Institute will continue with its programs of high cultural level which are widely recognized. The educational, spiritual and charitable activities will continue thanks to the generous hospitality offered from the neighboring parish as well as from the Stensen. They will continue under the responsibility of lay people helped by some Jesuits from other towns. The destination of the building has not yet been defined. We will try to find solutions according to the educational purposes that characterized its use up to now."
ITALY: Global Campaign for Education
The Magis Foundation, together with other 15 GNOs, is one of the organizers of the Global Action Week (GAW), a week of global action promoted by the Global Campaign for Education. The event was held from 2-8 May in more than 100 countries around the world and involved millions of students and teachers. The first edition, held in 2003, was attended by 2 million people. Over the years the number of participants in the initiatives increased steadily, reaching in 2008 the world record for the biggest ever lesson in the world which counted 8,8 million people and, in 2010, almost 20 million people. In 2011 the main initiative of the GAW was the Big Story. The theme that was handled and deepened during the week of action was the gender discrimination and the access to education for girls and women around the world. Today there are still 69 million young people who have no access to primary education and 54% of these are girls, while of the 759 million illiterate adults, two thirds are women. Unfortunately in the last ten years this figure is increasing. Convinced that the development of a country cannot be separated from education of its people (and thus also of its women) the aim of this week was to raise awareness and to take concrete action to help girls all over the world to have access to an inclusive education at all levels and to foresee an ongoing formation over the course of their lives. For more information: www.cge-italia.org
PORTUGAL: Drama on Father Vieira
Throughout the month of May, the Museum of San Roque (Lisbon) offers to secondary students a drama around the figure of Father Antonio Vieira (Portuguese Jesuit and famous preacher and writer in Portugal and Brazil), to be held in the exhibition areas of the Museum and the Church of San Roque, the very place where the "Emperor of the Portuguese language" uttered some of his most famous sermons. Are interpreters: Francisco Vaz, Sylvia Figueiredo and Paula Só. In June, the sessions of the show are directed to the general public, and will take place at night. Fr. Vieira was born in Lisbon on February 6, 1608. When he was 6 years old he traveled to Brazil to join his father who was already there. After joining the Society of Jesus in 1623 he distinguished himself as one of the most brilliant preachers of the XVII century. He played important diplomatic roles and was a great defender of the Brazilian indigenous people.
SLOVAK: Jesuits celebrate 450 Jubilee
The Slovak Jesuits are commemorating 450 years of the Society of Jesus in the area of Slovakia. The main celebration will take place in Trnava, 22 May 2011. Fr. Lubomir Pilarcik, jubilee coordinator, invites Jesuits from abroad to join the community for the occasion or to visit Trnava during the jubilee year. Different events for pilgrims are organized in the recently renovated Holy Trinity Church in Trnava where the relics of the Martyrs of Kosice are preserved. Plenary indulgences were granted by the Holy See for pilgrims prayerfully visiting any Jesuit church in Slovakia from the Easter till the Solemnity of Christ the King. The national postal company will issue a special postmark with a Jesuit theme to be applied over postal documents in the city of Trnava. The historical Jesuit Collegium in Trnava started from the 23 April 1561. In later centuries Jesuits were famous by the Trnava University (1635-1777). The main highlights of the program on May 22 in Trnava will be the sightseeing of the historic Jesuit places, Holy Mass presided by the Archbishop of Trnava Mons. Robert Bezak, followed by the blessing of the renovated exterior of the Jesuit Church and exhibition of artworks by Slovak Jesuits.
SPAIN: "The last Jesuit"
The latest historical novel of Father Pedro Miguel Lamet was presented on May 9 in the conference hall of ICADE in Madrid. The book, titled The Last Jesuit, recounts the tragic persecution of the Society of Jesus during the reign of Charles III. The work, Father Lamet's 37th, has been a major challenge for the author, who considered it "the most dramatic, exciting and rigorous historical novel" he never wrote. According to Lamet the expulsion and suppression of the Society is comparable to "the expulsion of the Moors and Jews." The reasons are many and various: the Order was at that moment in the zenith of its height and influence in Rome and in the world, theological issues such as Jansenism, the doctrine of Father Mariana on the tyrannicide, the publication of the famous novel "Fra Gerundio" by Father Isla, and especially the lies about the Reducciones in Latin America. But, according to Father Lamet, the main reason for this and other expulsions the Society of Jesus suffered during the centuries was "to work at the frontiers of faith and culture, and an independence of approach which has its basis in the inner freedom of spirit acquired through the Exercises of Saint Ignatius."
SPAIN: Ignatian immersion in Manresa
The spiritual center at the Cave of St. Ignatius in Manresa has welcome 36 participants for the first international immersion course. The course has turned out to be such a success that it has been necessary to open a waiting list with 60 applications for the future. This is the first international course in English to take place at the Cave of St. Ignatius. There are participants from all over the world, from 20 different countries and from every continent including an important presence from Africa and Asia and representing 19 different languages. A third of the participants are lay and the majority of the rest are Jesuits. Over five weeks, the participants will be "immersed" in Ignatian spirituality. The course, said Father Francisco José Ruiz Pérez, Provincial of Spain, "demonstrates that Ignatian spirituality is alive and that there is everywhere a strong desire to know about it and bring it up to date and adapt it to the needs of the Church and mankind." Spain's Provincial reminded us that the spirituality of St. Ignatius does not only belong to the XVI Century but it is open to the challenges of every day and everywhere. A proof of the fact that this course is international is that the Spiritual Exercises can be followed in English and also in Chinese thanks to the presence of Colleen Wang, who is a member of the Center run by the Society of Jesus in Hong Kong. The course began on 27th April and will end on the 4th June.
U.S.A.: Jesuit chaplain of US House of Representatives
Jesuit Father Patrick J. Conroy, a chaplain and theology teacher at Jesuit High School in Portland, has been nominated to be the next chaplain to the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio announced the decision May 6 and said it was made in consultation with Nancy Pelosi of California, House Democratic leader. The priest will be the 60th House chaplain, the first Jesuit priest and the second Catholic priest in this role, succeeding Father Daniel P. Coughlin who retired in April after more than 11 years of service. "One does not aspire to become the chaplain to a chamber of Congress," said Father Conroy and added: "This opportunity to serve is an extraordinary gift, and I hope to be worthy of the trust the Speaker of the House and the Minority Leader are extending to me. I am also humbled by the confidence my Jesuit superiors are demonstrating in making me available to answer this call to serve the people's House." He is expected to be sworn in late May. "We are honored that Father Conroy has agreed to serve as House chaplain," Boehner said, "his dedication to God's work, commitment to serving others and experience working with people of faith from all traditions will make him an asset to the House community. We look forward to having his counsel and guidance in the people's House."
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A slide show about the visit of Father General to Madagascar Province (May 6th-11th ). Click on: "sjweb Media".