Jesuits Around the World
June 20, 2008 Vol. 12, N. 4
- On June 12th Father General paid a visit to the Astalli Center, the headquarters of the Jesuit Refugee Services of the Italian Province, to hold an encounter with the more than 4,000 volunteers who share with the Jesuits the care of immigrants and refugees. The mayor of Rome had planned to meet Father General on this occasion, but the arrival of President Bush of the United States in Rome at the same hour prevented him from coming to Astalli. Nevertheless, he managed to call Father General on the phone and have a short conversation.
For more than an hour Father General spoke about his four years experience of pastoral work among immigrants in Tokyo, and answered the questions raised by a journalist from Italian Radio-TV. Fr. General first briefly addressed the topic proposed by the Astalli Center for the Day of the Refugee: "Frontier or Barrier: Immigration in the world". His comment that: "A culture that closes the door to another culture has no future" was received by a warm and long applause.
In spite of a long absence from Europe, Father General showed that he was aware of the fear prevailing in some countries to open their frontiers to immigrants and people in search of asylum and his speech was very well received.
- From June 18th Father General is away from the Curia making his yearly Spiritual Exercises. Serving as Vicarius ad tempus, Father Valentín Menéndez will look after the ordinary business of governance until the return of Father General on June 27th.
In recent weeks Father General has made the following appointments:
- Father François de Paul Randriamanalina, 52, succeeds Father Jean R. Rafanambinana as Provincial of Madagascar.
- Father Michael Thanaraj, 50, Provincial of Jamshedpur (India) will succeed Father James Kalapura.
- Father Robertus Bellarminus Riyo Mursanto, 51, succeeds Father Agustinus Priyono Marwan as Provincial of Indonesia.
- Father Claudio Barretta, 47, Vice-provincial of South Italy succeeding Father Carlo Aquino.
- Father Nicola Gay, 58, Vice-provincial of North Italy succeeding Father Alberto Remondini.
- Summarizing the data in the Province Catalogs 2007 and information provided by Fe y Alegría, gives us a vivid portrait of the scope of the educational activity of the Society in 69 countries:
INSTITUTIONS Higher Education: 227 STUDENTS 645,634
INSTITUTIONS Secondary Education: 461 STUDENTS 629,379
INSTITUTIONS Primary Education: 182 STUDENTS 95,672
INSTITUTIONS Technical-Professional: 69 STUDENTS 54,773
TOTAL INSTITUTIONS: 939 TOTAL STUDENTS:1,425,458 (adding "others": 2,919,189)
PERSONNEL (Teachers and Staff)
Jesuits: 3,765 Others: 128,426
FROM THE PROVINCES
ROME: PONTIFICAL RUSSIAN COLLEGE
During an encounter with the professors and students of the Pontifical Russian College, Cardinal Bertone, Secretary of State, told his audience that Benedict XVI has asked him to convey his gratitude to the Society of Jesus and to so many professors and collaborators who for such a long time have contributed to make the Russicum a true cenacle of spirituality and cultural enrichment.
The Pontifical Russian College celebrates this year the 80th anniversary of its foundation. It was established "for the purpose of serving the future pastors of the various churches in Central-East Europe and to encourage them to adopt a pastoral, cultural and charitable attitude inspired by a constant desire for unity."
VATICAN TELEVISION CENTER
The Center has recently published an electronic catalogue of available audiovisual material regarding John Paul II and Benedict XVI. One can find the catalogue (in three languages: Spanish, English, Italian) at www.hdhcommunications.com
Polish priest Michael Heller, an eminent theologian, philosopher and cosmologist who has collaborated for many years with the Jesuits at the Vatican Observatory, has received the Templeton Prize (US$ 1,6 million) for his outstanding contribution to the dialogue between science and religion.
"A Musician among Indians" a documentary film on Brother Domenico Zipoli, was screened for the first time at Prato (Florence) his birthplace, on June 10th. Zipoli (1688-1726) studied music in several parts of Italy and became organist at the Gesù Church in Rome. For unknown reasons he went to Sevilla (Spain) where he was admitted to the Society of Jesus. After taking his vows, he was sent to Argentine where he engaged in an intense musical activity in various Reductions. The documentary follows his path through Bolivia up to the Reduction of the "Indios Chiquitos" where there in "secret archives" musical scores of the Jesuit period are kept and restored. Some of these pieces were composed by Zipoli. He died at the age of 38 in Santa Catalina, Argentine.