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Vol. XVI, N. 13 13 September 2012
From the Curia
Members of the Secretariat for Interreligious Relations and Ecumenism met at the Curia from 5 to 8 September. At Father General's request, each member of the Secretariat prepared a report in which he responded to the following three questions: 1. What have been the main events this year in terms of dialogue in the area you cover? 2. What have been the main challenges you have encountered there? 3. What are the main insights that have emerged regarding ecumenism and/or interreligious dialogue? In addition, Fr. General requested that each participant gather information on incidences of persecution or violence provoked in the name of religion in the area of his expertise. The participants were Fr. Milan Zust (Orthodoxy), Fr. Mpay Kemboly (African Traditional Religions), Fr. Noel Sheth (Hinduism), Fr. Aloysius Pieris (Buddhism), who participated by way of video-conferencing, Fr. Jean-Pierre Sonnet (Judaism), Fr. Xavier Albò (American Indigenous Religions), Fr. Thomas Rausch (Protestant Churches) and Fr. Christian Troll (Islam). In addition to lively discussion with Fr. General on the topics raised in the reports, the group visited the Pontifical Council for the Unity of Christians, where it was warmly received by His Eminence Kurt Cardinal Koch, and by His Excellency Bishop Brian Farrell. Cardinal Koch expressed his appreciation for all that the Society has done in the service of Ecumenism, and shared with the group his concerns and priorities. The Secretariat also met with Fr. Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot, M.C.C.J., at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Fr. Ayuso emphasized the expectation and hope that the Society continue and even strengthen its commitment to collaboration to Interreligious Dialogue, especially through the preparation of the future leaders in this field. At regular intervals the members of the Secretariat will send Fr. General up-dates on important events and emerging trends in their fields. They will meet again in September, 2013.
Meeting of the Presidents of the Conferences of Provincials. According to General Congregation 34's decree on Interprovincial and Supraprovincial Cooperation, (n. 21) the Presidents of the Conferences meet annually with Father General to (a) to heighten their own sense of the universal character of the Society, (b) to gain a better understanding of the global priorities of the Society, and (c) to work with Father General in overseeing and encouraging the further development of regional and global cooperation. The topics for the meeting that will be held this year from September 17-20 include the Intellectual Apostolate; implementation of the Father General's letter, The Renewal of Province Structures in the Service of Universal Mission; community life in the Society today; and planning for the financial sustainability of the Society's formation programs. The Presidents will also have a number of opportunities to promote communication and cooperation among themselves and their respective Conferences during their time in Rome.
The International Office of the Apostleship of Prayer (AP) in Rome has circulated a document worldwide in response to Father Adolfo Nicolás' request to move toward a re-creation of this apostolic work. Its almost 60 pages are the fruit of a consultation and discernment process over two years. The document, which is available in English, Spanish and French, proposes the AP as "A way of the heart to the service of the world". This document presents guidelines which highlight the AP as a useful spiritual path for men and women today. It can be downloaded from the "Document" section at www.apostleshipofprayer.net
Fr. General has appointed:
- Father Chukwuyenum Afiawari (ANW) Rector of Arrupe College, Harare Zimbabwe). Fr Chuks Afiawari moves from Rome where he has served for a few months as the Secretary of the Assistancy of Africa. He was born in 1964, entered the Society in 1987 and was ordained a priest in 2000.
- Father John K. Ghansah (ANW) Rector of Hekima College, Nairobi (Kenya). Fr Ghansah has been the novice master for North-East Africa. He was born in 1963, entered the Society in 1984 and was ordained a priest in 1996.
- Father Ambrose Vedam (GUJ), Socius of the DIR's Delegate in Rome. Father Ambrose, at present director of Jeevan Darshan Pastoral Centre of Vadodara, was born in 1959, entered the Society in 1980 and was ordained a priest in 1994.
- Father Marius Talos first Regional Superior of Romania (ROM), after having decided to make the Jesuit Province of Romania into an Independent Region. The respective decrees for the erection of the new Independent Region and the appointment of the first Regional Superior were signed on September 8 and will come into effect simultaneously on September 27, the anniversary of the first approval of the Society of Jesus. Fr. Mario was born in 1970, entered the Society of Jesus in 1995, and was ordained a priest in 2004.
- Father Alejandro Tilve Provincial of the Argentina-Uruguay Province (ARU). Father Alejandro, at present Rector of the Colegio del Sagrado Corazón of Montevideo, was born in 1959, entered the Society of Jesus in 1980 and was ordained a priest in 1989.
From the Provinces
ASIA PACIFIC: Report for 2012
The Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) has produced a 16-page annual report, simply entitled Jesuits in Asia Pacific 2012. The document begins with a report by the President, Fr Mark Raper SJ, on the Conference in 2011. It contains articles on the four common priority areas across the Conference - (1) Jesuit Formation, (2) the education project in Timor Leste, (3) the Environment, and (4) Migration - and it concludes with a brief description of the Conference. The "Forming Jesuits for Asia Pacific" section discusses the detailed JCAP document on formation, in turn entitled "A Profile of a Formed Jesuit for Asia Pacific". It details how the Loyola School of Theology is implementing the Asian mandate in theological education. The second priority, "The vision of an educational institute", paints a picture of Instituto de Educação Jesuíta, the education project in Timor Leste. This will comprise a teacher education academy and a secondary school. The "A sacred sense of ecology" section analyses an environmental way of proceeding: this was developed by the JCAP Ecology Task Force as an introduction to a practical reconciliation with creation. "Living with our neighbours" introduces the migration priority: it turns the spotlight on Yiutsari, the Jesuit centre for migrant workers in South Korea, as just one example of how many local Jesuit ministries serve migrants in the Asia Pacific Assistancy.
AUSTRALIA: The Grace of St Francis Xavier
The significant relic of Saint Francis Xavier, the arm with which he baptized so many thousands of people and which has long been enshrined in the Gesù, the Jesuit church in Rome, is visiting Australia. This pilgrimage is one important part of the Year of Grace which that country is celebrating. With the support of the bishops of Australia, the Archdiocese of Sydney is arranging the tour of the relic. Saint Francis Xavier is one of Australia's Patron Saints. The Society has been invited to be actively involved, and the Provincial, Fr Steve Curtin, has strongly encouraged this involvement. The pilgrimage provides a timely opportunity for presenting our Jesuit story and spirituality to an audience with whom we might not generally have contact, and for fostering vocations. Fr Robin Koning SJ has been busy preparing liturgical, catechetical and prayer material for the pilgrimage. Mgr Peter Andrew Comensoli, one of the auxiliary bishops of Sydney, is the main organizer of the visit. In his letter to his fellow bishops, he noted his hopes for the visit of the relic: "Given the missionary significance of Saint Francis Xavier for the Church in Australia, as well as his importance for the Jesuits, and the obvious spiritual link to the Year of Grace, my hope is that the relic will be generously received." The relic arrived in Sydney on 16 September, and has begun a journey through almost all the dioceses in the country, spending about three days in each. It will return to Sydney in time for the Feast Day Mass in Saint Mary's Cathedral on Monday, 3 December, before being brought back to Rome. Father Provincial wrote: "This visit has the potential to have a great impact on the life of the Australian Church and on the place of the Society within the Church here."
BOLIVIA: International Event on Jesuit Missions
International Jesuit Mission celebrates its thirtieth birthday this year. Its first meeting was held in the city of Resistencia, in Chaco-Argentina. After that, celebrations were organized in a variety of countries every two years: in Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. The fourteenth meeting in the series took place, from 7 to 10 August, in Bolivia, at San Ignazio de Velasco, the former Saint Ignatius Loyola mission. The event has never abandoned its original focus, which was the Jesuit mission of the Paraguay Province. But with the passing of time, the meeting has embraced wider horizons, dealing with the more extensive missionary experience of other times and places. This recent meeting had a three-fold theme: Memory, Heritage, and a Living Culture. It aimed to explore and study the very important traditions of the Latin-American peoples, and its relationship with the mission of the church. This is the first time that the festival was held in the mission areas of Bolivia. The Chiquitania Region makes a positive effort to maintain the vibrant culture of the Jesuit missions, by restoring, enhancing and appreciating its Jesuit patrimony. Today, the memory of the former Jesuit missions and their legacy are still alive among the Chiquitanos. Theirs is one of the few, perhaps even unique examples still preserved on the continent. These international days help to keep alive the memory of the impressive work in education, evangelization, and development done in the Jesuit missions among the various indigenous peoples of Latin-America. The destruction of these missions was a catastrophe which retarded the full development of the Latin-American peoples, and which impoverished the indigenous expression of Christianity.
INDONESIA: Film on Monsignor Soegijapranata a Hit
People in Indonesia have been flocking to cinemas across the country to see Soegija, a film based on the life of Monsignor Albertus Magnus Soegijapranata S.J. He was the first local Catholic bishop in Indonesia (cf. our Bulletin, no. 17, 20 September 2011). The film was produced by the Jogyakarta-based Jesuit Studio Audio Visual Puskat (SAV). As a child from 1909 to 1919, Msgr Soegijapranata came under the influence of the Dutch Jesuit missionaries in Muntilan (Central Java). He embraced Catholicism in 1910, and joined the Society in 1920. Twenty years later, he became the first native Indonesian to be appointed bishop. A Presidential Decree declared him a national hero three days after his death. Msgr Soegijapranata was well-remembered among the faithful for his saying: "100% Catholic, 100% Indonesian". Reviews for the 115-minute motion picture have been very good. The director, Garin Nugroho, a Muslim, explained: "Soegija tries to explore problems which have not yet been acknowledged and addressed by our leaders today. The multiplicity of cultures is an important issue in Indonesia. Msgr Soegijapranata addressed this issue which is still so relevant to us even now." Frs Y Iswarahadi SJ, Murti Hadi Wijayanto SJ, and Budi Subanar SJ were the three Jesuit members on the film's creative team. Fr Iswarahadi SJ, director of SAV (Puskat Pictures) and the film's executive director, noted: "We produced Soegija to encourage reflection about nationalism, humanity, and faith among Indonesians. When Msgr Soegijapranata fought for the welfare, peace, unity and independence of Indonesia, he epitomized a vibrant nationalism. In his work for the welfare and dignity of those who suffer, we see his efforts for humanity. We strive to comprehend that faith is important in our lives and our nation, and that we embrace not only those who are close to us - our families and our friends - but our people as a whole."
ITALY: Italian Television on Matteo Ricci
Matteo Ricci continues to make history. On August 13, Rai Uno, the first channel of Italian Television, broadcasted the documentary: In the heart of China: Matteo Ricci. That same day, the documentary was also broadcast in continental China by Chinese Television CCTV. The film, directed by Duilio Giammaria, was produced by RAI in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Economic Development, and the Marche Region. The film will be shown again in the fall in RAI-History programmes. The film is part of a number of initiatives promoted in recent years to highlight the extraordinary figure of the Italian missionary. He was the first to establish a strong cultural bridge between the West and China. In the heart of China highlights places in Italy, starting from Macerata, proceeding to Rome, and then moving on to the first stop in Goa, in the East, and ending in the remote port of Macao, the gateway to China. These are all places which retrace the footsteps of the journey and adventure of Matteo Ricci. This journey brings the past and the present together, it describes what the two countries knew, and now know about each other, and how each has enriched the other in the past, and continues to do so in the present.
SLOVAK: Meeting of "Jungmann Society"
The sixth biennial meeting of Jungmann Society was held in the Major Seminar of Nitra (Slovak). Jungmann Society is a "network" of Jesuits who are involved in the liturgical formation of young people, including scholastics, and of those who have direct apostolic commitments. Jungmann Society is particularly interested in studying and promoting the liturgical life in the Society and in her apostolates. The Society was formed in Rome in 2002, and has held meeting every two years: in Bangkok, Fortaleza (Brazil), Montserrat, Tampa (Florida) and now in Nitra. At this sixth meeting, there were 48 Jesuit participants from 23 Provinces: they came from all five continents. There were also 8 guests from different countries. Six keynote addresses broke open the basic theme of the meeting: "Preaching the Word", which was then taken up in different linguistic study groups. Also studied was the liturgical formation during the scholasticate years, as well as ongoing liturgical formation. The daily celebrations of Lauds and the Eucharist were very deeply felt and involving experiences. The next meeting will be held in Mexico in 2014. For more information: www.jungmannsociety.org
SOUTH AFRICA: Jesuits Respond to Social Needs
A historic meeting has taken place at Holy Trinity Church in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, in August. Jesuits and their collaborators in their various work in Johannesburg met to share what they are doing and to seek make a more coordinated response to their work in the Social Apostolate. The four major works of the Jesuits in the Johannesburg area were involved: St Martin's Parish in Soweto, Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Holy Trinity Parish in Braamfontein, and the Jesuit Institute South Africa. They hope that this meeting will help them to respond better to the ever increasing social issues which confront them in South Africa, but more specifically in their immediate works in Johannesburg. "In Johannesburg, we have capacity for much direct social action for and with the poor through our work at St Martin's in Soweto, JRS, and Holy Trinity in downtown Johannesburg," says Fr Russell Pollitt SJ, chaplain at the University of Witwatersrand. "We have explored how the Jesuit Institute can help and support our work on the ground through research and publication. We believe that together we can do more to make a response to the many who are crying out for help."
SPAIN: Permanent Exhibition of "Reductions of Paraguay"
On June 28, a permanent exhibition on the Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay was opened at the Sanctuary of Xavier in Navarra. The Jesuit Reductions of Paraguay: a fascinating adventure that persists over time, recalls one of the most interesting aspects of the evangelization of the Americas: the experience of the Jesuit Reductions. The exhibition is rich in photographic material, explanatory panels, and three beautiful models of the Reductions of San Ignacio Miní (1610, Argentine), Santos Mártires del Japón (1639, Argentine), and Jesús de Tavarengué (1685, Paraguay). There are also large-scale reproductions of some entrance doors found in the Reductions. The exhibition, set up by Jesuit Enrique Climent, was one organized for young people who participated last August in World Youth Day with the Pope in Madrid. It will now remain permanently in the Sanctuary of Xavier, and will be viewed by the thousands of pilgrims who visit the place. The Sanctuary is an excellent location for an exhibition on the missionary work of the Society of Jesus in one of the most fascinating moments of her history. The missionary zeal of the Society had its origins in this very place, the castle where Saint Francis Xavier was born, the first of a long list of Jesuit missionaries.
TIMOR LESTE: Honoured for Remaining with the Oppressed
On the occasion of 10th anniversary of the country's restoration of independence, Portuguese Jesuit Father José Alves Martíns was one of six religious men awarded Timor Leste's second highest medal by the newly sworn-in President, Taur Matan Ruak. On 22 May, the President conferred the Medalha de Mérito de Dom Marito da Costa Lópes on the group in recognition of their contributions during the struggle and fight of the people of Timor Leste for independence during from Indonesian occupation from 1975 to 1999. Fr Martíns has been a missionary in Timor-Leste for 38 years. During these years, he accompanied the Timorese in the suffering and struggles they experienced during the invasion and occupation by Indonesia. In the months leading to the Indonesian invasion of Timor Leste, many priests and religious were given the option of leaving the country. In September 1975, when Indonesia had already begun attacking the border of Timor Leste, Fr Martíns and his Jesuit companions were given the choice to stay or leave. Although he had expressed his desire to leave to both his Superior and his companions, Fr Martíns did not feel at peace. In his disquiet, he spoke about his feelings to an elderly Jesuit, Fr Bernard Gouin SJ. Fr Bernard asked him: "Why do you want to go to Darwin (Australia)? In moments or situations like this, Jesuits should be the last to leave". He prayed over this advice. In that prayer, his real vocation was confirmed: it was to be a missionary who remains with his people in their struggles. In the light of this confirmation, he wrote to say that he would not join the others in Darwin. He stayed with the people. It was a decision he has never regretted.
USA: International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education
For the first time in history, leaders of Jesuit secondary schools in the world were invited to gather at the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education (ICJSE) in Boston. For five days, from July 29 to August 2, more than 300 school leaders shared their ideas and examined their Jesuit mission and identity. The meeting focused on two main goals: (1) to meet as a global network to respond together to the challenges that the last General Congregation and Father General have asked them to face, especially the challenge to become a more effective global apostolic network; and (2) to reflect together on their Jesuit mission and identity today so that through a common understanding they could be more effective and creative in recognizing and responding to apostolic frontiers. The International Colloquium was hosted by Boston College High School and took place at Boston College. At the conclusion of the Colloquium, the meeting unanimously adopted a vision statement. See: http://www.icjse.org