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Vol. XVII, No. 2 5 February 2013
From the Curia
From February 4 - 7 the Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) will be meeting in the Curia. This group of eight Jesuit major superiors comes together annually to discuss the universal Society's mission in Rome with Fr. General and his Delegate for the Roman Houses. Among topics they will discuss this year are: the importance of the Society's pontifical educational institutions for the Church, recruitment of Jesuits to serve in them, and fostering collaboration to improve their mission effectiveness. They will also be discussing Jesuit life in the Roman institutions, and the education of young Jesuits there. The CIP makes annual recommendations to Fr. General, and evaluates their accomplishment in succeeding years.
From the Provinces
AFRICA: Theological Research
Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, S.J., Provincial of East African Province, recently received a major grant from a European foundation to conduct theological research throughout the continent. The project is entitled Theological Colloquium on Church, Religion and Society in Africa (TCCRSA). This multi-year theological research project is designed to create and sustain innovative methodologies of, and processes for theological reflection. It will study, and be at the service of the African Church and the World Church. TCCRSA will run over a three-year period. It will bring together a community of African catholic scholars who use theology or Roman Catholic theological/ethical (re)sources in their academic disciplines. They will identify, analyze, study and envisage a wide variety of issues for the African Church and society. Over this three year period, the Colloquium will publish three volumes on Church, Religion and Society in Africa. The first Colloquium is scheduled to take place in August 2013, in Nairobi, Kenya.
ALBANIA: Teacher Training
A Project "To Train Albanian High School Teachers in a European Perspective" is the result of collaboration between MAGIS (the NGO of the Italian Jesuits) and Fondazione Emanuel. It began in April 2011, and will last 3 years. The Albanian partner of the project is the Association of Jesuits in Albania. This Association collaborates by providing the facilities of the school Atë Pjetër Meshkalla in Scutari for the teachers' training seminars. It will also coordinate the various activities related to the project. "This initiative - says Fr. Lello Lanzilli, director of the school in Scutari - aims to improve the educational service provided by the Albanian school. It will improve the qualifications of 1080 high school teachers. Its aim is to deepen their pedagogical-teaching formation. There will be close collaboration between the academic world of Italian and Albanian universities and school practice. The project also includes information and awareness on issues related to addictions. This module will affect about 12,000 students in 60 Albanian high schools." The teacher training seminars take place during one weekend, and consist of both theoretical lessons and practical activities. For more information see "education" in: www.magisitalia.org
BRAZIL: Amazonian Jesuits and Haitians
About thirty Haitian migrants are helped every day by Projeto Pró-Haiti. This project was set up by the Jesuits in Manaus (Brazil). The project is integrated into the Human Rights Center of the Manaus Archdiocese. It is centred on the parish of São Geraldo. Its coordinator is Fr. Paulo Barausse. Because there is no Haitian consulate in the town, Pró-Haiti collabortes with the Haitian Consulate in Brasilia. It is the only institution in the region which assists immigrants in such urgent tasks as the issuing of passports, consular registration, and the submission of documentation. In reality, the newcomers need everything. Many of them suffered abuse and hardship during their trip to Brazil. Pró-Haiti also offers legal assistance, orientation on health issues, and educational programs on employment and justice. In many cases this help includes psychological support. Volunteer teachers present Portuguese classes. "Everything is offered free of charge by a qualified team. Our service is already a landmark in the region. We take care of about two hundred people every week," says Fr. Barausse, who has been the director of the program since last September. Pró-Haiti was established in February 2012. It became of fundamental importance after the earthquake which devastated Haiti in 2010. Given its geographical proximity, the journey to the Amazon became a route of salvation and hope for hundreds of homeless Haitians. Scalabrinian priests, and sisters and religious of other congregations help Fr Barausse in his daily activities in Manaus. These religious welcomed and supported the waves of Haitians which crossed the border from Peru and Bolivia soon after the earthquake.
CONGO RDC: Jesuit Solidarity
The murder and mayhem in one of the world's most godforsaken countries has triggered a significant initiative by the Irish Jesuit Mission Office. It is linking up with all the mission offices of Europe in a joint effort to meet the challenging chaos of the Congo, especially in the Eastern Province of Kivu Nord. This area is experiencing a social, political, economic and humanitarian crisis which grows year after year, under a plague of regional, national and local armed gangs. It is estimated that half a million people have been displaced by a violent rebellion since April 2012. On 20 November, a group calling itself M23 (named after a date in March when they banded together), attacked and captured the cities of Goma and Sake. During their time in the town, the terrorists occupied and severely damaged its schools and burned their desks and furniture. Initial assessments by JRS, who are the only agency working at second level education in the area, listed twelve secondary schools which need refurbishment of classrooms, toilets, and furniture. School kits for all their pupils as well as for extra teachers are also being sought. The initial budget for this first phase of the project comes to €38,000. JRS appealed to the Xavier Network for aid. The Xavier Network is the coordinated network of all the European mission offices and NGOs. Martin Curry SJ, Programmes Officer of the Irish Mission Office, applied to Misean Cara for support from their Emergency Funds, and a grant of €15,000 has been approved. This will be used to rehabilitate two of the ten classrooms which comprise the first phase of the project. School kits will also be provided for two thousand second-level pupils and for one hundred teachers. More funding is being provided by Alboan (Bilbao), Entreculturas (Madrid), the Austrian Mission Office (Vienna), Magis Italy, Jesuit Missions in London, and Jesuitenmission in Nuremberg. See: http://jesuitcommunicationcentre.newsweaver.com/wa89y7c22tscrgk5yv5rzb?email=true&a=2&p=30952035&t=20449835
LATIN AMERICA: Coordinator for the Indigenous Network
Fr. Pablo Castro, of the Chilean Province, has been named the Coordinator for the Indigenous Network. Fr. Jorge Cela, the President of CPAL, writes in the letter which endorses the appointment: "As you know, the indigenous apostolate is a priority for CPAL. We have chosen, as our first priority, to reflect on, support, advocate on behalf of, and be close to all those who are marginalised and excluded. Expressly noted among these are the indigenous peoples. We hope that the network of the indigenous apostolate will help us to respond to this priority. I feel that the coordinator of the network is of great importance to our presence in Latin America. It will be his task to encourage and assist our brothers who are working with the indigenous peoples. He will put them in contact with those reflection centres which can help them to understand their mission better. He will point out to them those with whom they can collaborate to make their mission ever more effective. But all our work should begin with an identification with those we serve, making ourselves neighbours and brothers to them."
PHILIPPINES: A Great Communicator
After some 70 years of service in the Philippines, American Jesuit priest James Reuter died recently at the age of 96. Filipino Catholic Bishops described Reuter as a "great communicator of the Good News of Jesus." He was known for his use of modern media, even musicals, plays and movies, to preach the gospel. Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon recalled him as a "very pious and exemplary" priest. "We join the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, the generations of alumni of the Ateneo de Manila University, and men and women of media, arts, and letters, who mourn the loss of this man of faith, good cheer, and eloquence," President Benigno Aquino said in a statement. The statement described the late priest as a "friend, mentor, confessor, and adviser to generations of Filipinos, both in public and private life, and in the media, arts and journalism." Father Reuter, who served as the director of the National Office on Mass Media, helped organize UNDA/ASIA, the region's International Catholic Association for Radio and Television. He was also one of the founders of the Philippine Federation of Catholic Broadcasters, a union of 41 Catholic radio stations nationwide. In 1981, the late Pope John Paul II honored Reuter for his "outstanding service to the Catholic Church in the field of mass media." He later received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice award, the highest papal award given to any individual, in recognition of his outstanding and "exemplary service to the Catholic Church and the Holy See." In 1989 received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Journalism, Literature and Creative Communication Arts, an award considered to be Asia's counterpart of the Nobel Prize.
SPAIN: The Chair of Bioethics in Comillas
The chair of bioethics in the Pontifical University of Comillas was established by Javier Gafo, and celebrates its 25th birthday this year. Javier de la Torre Díaz, the current director of the chair, in an interview with Vida Nueva, stressed the pioneering importance of its establishment. "The chair has been, both for the University and for the Church, an important interdisciplinary forum for dialogue on bioethical issues. In fact, the chair was established in 1986 at the request by the Episcopal Conference of Spain in order to provide a university forum on these issues. During these twenty five years, there was the need to address complex issues, such as abortion, medical assisted reproductive technologies, cloning and euthanasia. The chair has been rigorous in its analyses which include legal, philosophical, theological, medical and biological perspectives." Javier de la Torre notes that the main contributions of the chair center on teaching, research and publications. Over the past fifteen years, the chair has trained about two hundred bioethicists. In research, there have been more than thirty five interdisciplinary seminars. "But perhaps most importantly," says de la Torre, "the chair has become the European centre with the largest number of publications on bioethics: there are more than eighty books on the discipline, in four collections. These publications have great influence in all Spanish-speaking countries, especially in Latin America." For more information: http://www.upcomillas.es/centros/cent_cat_bio_index.aspx
TAIWAN: Jiang Conversion Filming the Gospel
The fifty six year old Jiang Zhiming was baptised on 6 January - the Epiphany - because it is the feast day when Jesus "manifests himself" to mankind. For someone who has worked all his life in the communication field, "it is indeed an important day." This is the explanation given by the Taiwanese media man for his conversion to Catholicism. Jiang came from a Buddhist background. The desire to become a Christian developed while he was working on the Gospel of the Day programme, which is broadcast by the Kuangqi Program Service of the Jesuits in Taipei. "When I was working on the Gospel of the Day, I heard many stories of how people came to know and follow Jesus. For me production work has never been something neutral: I always have a reaction for or against anyone who came to the studio. I never ignored any guests, as if he or she was simply part of routine work. For this reason, those who came to speak and bear witness to Jesus became ever more important to me." Another element that led Jiang Zhiming to Jesus was the experience of serious illness. "The experience of chemotherapy sessions affected every part of my life: diet, lifestyle, work schedule, physical exercises. With the help of my wife, my friends and colleagues, I fought it, got through, and won. I dropped everything except the Gospel of the Day segments. This was because I felt that, in addition to all the physical help, I needed spiritual help, something that would give me deep hope."
USA: Jesuit Alumni in the Congress
Among the 535 members of the 113th US Congress that were sworn in on January 3, 52 are alumni of Jesuit colleges and universities. This figure comprises almost 10 percent of the entire Congress. There are 11 Jesuit alumni serving in the Senate and 41 in the House of Representatives. There are currently 14 Jesuit institutions represented by alumni in the U.S. Congress. Georgetown University has the most alumni, with a total of 21, followed by Boston College with 7, and Fordham University with 5. The College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Mass.) has 4, Creighton University (Omaha, Neb.) has 3; and Loyola University Chicago, Saint Peter's University (Jersey City, N.J.) and University of Detroit Mercy each has two alumni representatives. Other schools have one. "We are proud that nearly 10 percent of Congress are alumni of Jesuit colleges and universities," said Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) President, Jesuit Fr Gregory Lucey. "We are grateful for their leadership, and we look forward to strengthening the excellent working relationships we have already established with those in Congress and forging ties with new members of the 113th Congress." President Barack Obama has also appointed several Jesuit college and university alumni to serve in key leadership positions. To download the full list of Jesuit alumni in the 113th U.S. Congress, click Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
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