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Vol. XV, N. 13 20 June 2011
Letter on FACSI. On June 12, Pentecost Sunday, Father General wrote a letter on solidarity inside the Society through FACSI (the "Charitable and Apostolic Fund" established by Father Pedro Arrupe in 1976). After recalling the meaning of Pentecost, Fr. Nicolás wrote: "Over the past thirty-five years one great sign of our shared mission has been our Charitable and Apostolic Fund (FACSI, established by Father Pedro Arrupe) whereby the whole Society contributes of what it has for the sake of the works in need of our financial support. On this great feast of Pentecost I want to take the opportunity to remind us of this dimension of our life and how we have chosen to do it: in solidarity with one another on mission.
After a reference to that "generosity of the Society inspired by Ignatius that always surprises us by its magnanimity", Father General ends the letter with these words: "It is that generosity that I ask be the real motivation for all of us to support our brothers reaching out in their need for our help (...).Let me encourage each of you to give new life and consistency to this solidarity fund, cooperating with the Spirit that inflames us still to this day".
From the Curia
For the first time ever, all the members of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) will come together from 18-23 June in the retreat house near the birth place of St Ignatius in Loyola. The five leaders and twenty core group members of the global networks for Ecology, Right to Education, Migration, Peace and Human Rights, and Governance of Natural and Mineral Resources will spend six days learning about advocacy and networking, and discerning the way forward for their networks. All Conferences are represented in the group, which will be supported by the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, and two experts of Alboan, the Jesuit NGO of the Loyola Province. The workshop in Loyola will be followed by a worldwide mapping of Jesuit institutions that are currently engaged in advocacy. You are invited to follow the meeting through the GIAN website: http://www.ignatianadvocacy.org/
Father General has appointed:
- Father Paul Martin Regional Superior of Guyana. Father Paul, currently coordinator of Ministries in South Pakaraimas, Diocese of Georgetown, was born in 1960, entered the Society of Jesus in 1984 and was ordained a priest in 1996.
- Father Michael J. Garanzini, of the Missouri Province (USA), as Secretary for Higher Education, succeeding to Father Ronald J. Anton. This appointment will take effect on 1st September 2011. Father Michael, President of the Loyola University Chicago, was born in 1948, entered the Society of Jesus in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1980. "Among other duties, Father Garanzini will have responsibility for the creation and maintenance of networks of research and common action among Jesuit higher education institutions throughout the world, for the promotion of the Jesuit identity in these institutions, and for the development of means of sharing the knowledge and research of Jesuit universities with those who have limited access to education."
From the Provinces
EAST TIMOR: Three Jesuits Declared "National Heroes"
During the celebrations of the National Day, the 20th of May, José Ramos Horta, President of the Republic of East Timor, declared "national heroes" three Portuguese Jesuit missionaries. They are Fathers João Felgueiras and José Martins, and Brother (deceased) Daniel de Ornelas, who arrived in East Timor in 1974 and remained there for more than 24 years during the Indonesian invasion of the island. Thanking for the recognition received and speaking for all of them, Fr. João Felgueiras underlined the need for "other religious men and women to be encouraged to leave for Timor to evangelize a growing number of children so that they can assume the role of leaders in the faith in this extreme corner of the world." As for the President, he invited the Church to assume the high responsibility of education in the schools of Timor". Timor, an island of the Malay archipelago, is politically divided into East and West Timor.
LATIN AMERICA: Co-Responsible in the Mission
From May 17-21 a total of 18 Provincials and Regional Superiors of Latin America and Caribbean met in Puerto Rico for the XXII Meeting of the Conference of Latin American Provincials (CPAL). In the final communiqué among other things we read: "Most of the time was devoted to finalize the drafting of the 2011-2020 Common Apostolic Project (PAC). After a process of discernment which was attended by Jesuits and collaborators of the various Provinces, the Project was finally approved. With this Common Apostolic Project, titled Co-responsible in the mission, we hope to give life to synergies that, in addition to increase the impact of our action, will lead us to grow as a single apostolic body. Once approved by Father General, the project will be published, emanated and put into practice, and it will be an instrument of first order for the mission of the Society of Jesus in Latin America and the Caribbean for the next years (...). Another key area was the discernment of the appointment of the new President of CPAL (...). During the meeting we came to know better the situation of Haiti, Amazonia and Cuba, which we assumed as a priority. The information of the respective Regional Superiors renewed clearly God's call to our Provinces in order to meet the needs of the population of these regions."
INDIA: Campaign for Traditional Names
Father Joseph Dias in Mumbai is campaigning for children to be baptized with traditional Christian names to maintain their identity. The campaign has received support from Pope Benedict XVI. Father Dias, who is the assistant director of REAP (Reach Education Action Programme, which aims to empower slum children and women through education), a Jesuit initiative in Mumbai, quoted the Pope about the importance of the name for a children. "The name is an indelible seal that sets children off on a lifelong journey of religious faith.". "Children are not merchandise," says Father Dias who was surprised to come across children named Aspirin, John Kennedy, Prince Albert, Ben-Hur, Brooklyn, and decided to begin counseling parents to give meaningful Christian names instead of naming their children after name with no Christian significance.
NEAR EAST: Bearers of Hope
On June 6th Fr. Victor Assouad, S.J., Provincial of the Province of Near East, wrote: "After the Egyptian revolution, it is now the turn of Syria to be in the storm. Really, it is the whole Arab world which is shaken by a real wave of unrest. With the Jesuits of Syria we felt the urgent need to meet (24th and 25th of May) to reflect on the situation of the country and to the events that are going through. Some days later we informed you about what we could and had to say about it. I think of the words we have heard repeatedly during our communitarian discernment and that I want to emphasize again: The changes underway in the Arab world and the current unrest in the Syrian society are bearers of a new hope that we must take into account. Can we, behind optimism or pessimism that everyone has warned, be unfailing bearers of this hope?" (The full text in French is published on: www.sjweb.info).
NEPAL: New Jesuit Mission
Two young Jesuit priests and one Jesuit scholastic are the initial team of a new Jesuit Mission in Tipling, a remote village development area in Dhading district, Northern Nepal, in the foothills of the Ganesh Himalaya mountains that border China. Tipling consists of five villages where the majority of the population is mainly Protestant with about 100 Catholic families, who were assisted by lay catechists. For several years the Jesuit priests have been helping educate the children of Tamang migrant families in north Kathmandu along with the Sisters of Charity. After a long journey in an old truck ahead of a two-day trek the Jesuits reached Tipling and got an accommodation in Thulo Gaon, the central village, and plans are afoot for them to start helping out in the local government-run school, which lacks proper teachers.
SPAIN: Court for the Massacre in El Salvador
After two years of investigation, the Spanish bench reopened one of the blackest pages in the recent history of El Salvador by ordering the arrest and imprisonment of 20 soldiers and former soldiers for their alleged involvement in the murder of six Jesuits, their collaborator and her teenage daughter in 1989 during the civil war (1980-1992). The judge of the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid, the Spanish High Criminal Court, Eloy Velasco, ordered that the persons affected by the measure presented in front of the court within 10 days. Among the accused there are former Salvadoran minister of defense Humberto Larios and René Emilio Ponce (this latter died on May 2), and former army colonel Guillermo Alfredo Benavides. The Spanish Jesuit Ignacio Ellacuría, Rector of Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (UCA), was killed in the campus, along with his brethren and collaborators, on 15th November 1989 during a raid of the soldiers of the anti-guerrilla battalion Atlacatl. According to Spanish investigators, the Jesuits, and particularly Fr. Ellacuría, were working to promote the opening of peace negotiation between the executive, presided over at that time by Alfredo Cristiani with the support of the Casa Bianca, and the guerrilla of Frente Farabundo Martí para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN), now in power. According to Judge Velasco this was the main reason for the murder.
SRI LANKA: Jesuit not Guilty of Tamil Tiger Ties
Father Paul Satkunanayagam, who was accused of having links with Tamil Tiger rebels, has been acquitted after a court hearing on late May. The Jesuit, together with other five people, all ethnic Tamils, was arrested in Dambulla on February 9. He was freed two days later but the government investigated through his life history and his whereabouts. At the end of May the Jesuit priest and others appeared in court but he was acquitted from charges of being affiliated to "violent groups." Father Satkunanayagam, who is in his 70s and is in poor health, works at an NGO center in Batticaloa where he offers counseling. He studied in the United States where he obtained a doctorate in psychology.
SUDAN: New JRS School Opens
The children of Tipere, Southern Sudan, can now study in better conditions after the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) handed the keys to a new classroom block over to the education director of Kajo Keji county. While most neighbouring communities have benefited from internationally-funded school construction projects, Tipere's school system has, until now, been operating out of dilapidated, mud-and-stick walled buildings that look as though they would collapse if struck by an errant football. The new building, on the other hand, is one of the snazziest in the county. Designed by JRS engineers Veronica Sanchez and Alejandro del Castillo, the building sits atop a gently sloping hill, and has thirteen white concrete pillars guarding its veranda. In addition, the engineers added ten concrete benches to the veranda, so that children have somewhere to sit while waiting for classes to begin. The rocky hills which separate Tipere from the Nile River form a striking backdrop for the new building. "We have done our part. ... Now it is time for you to do yours. You must show your appreciation by keeping your school clean and well-maintained, and by improving your academic performance", JRS Primary Education Coordinator, Londo Edward Eliason, said to the students, teachers and parents lined up in front of the new building.
USA: Jesuits Boost Rugby at US Schools
In a recent Rugby Magazine poll of the nation's best high school rugby teams, five of the top 10 - and seven of the top 17 - were from Jesuit institutions. The traditional game, with 15 players on each side, and the hybrid "sevens" version, with seven players per side, of the sport are experiencing an American boom, nowhere more so than at the 80-plus Jesuit high schools and colleges from coast to coast. Many of them participate in regional and national championships. Though Gonzaga of Washington was the top-rated team for much of 2011, this year's high school championship was won by Jesuit High School of Sacramento over Xavier of New York. These schools produce smart, tough players who are also good students. "The whole idea of what Ignatius inspired in Jesuits, a competitive spirit and the development of the whole person, is really alive in the sport," said the Rev. Bruce Bidinger, a Jesuit counselor at St. Joseph's University and the chaplain for that school's basketball team.