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Vol. XV, N. 19 07 October 2010
Letter to the Provincial of Spain. On September 10 Father General sent in response to the Provincial of Spain a letter in which he confirms the process of the integration of the 5 Provinces into only one, as it was stated in the document that was given to him. This document communicates in several chapters the following issues: the revitalization of the life and the mission of the apostolic body of the Society, the structures of governance for the period of transition, the structures for the new Province, the Apostolic Project, etc. Father General approved as concrete decisions:
- That in September 2010 the transition begin the initial phase with the objective to activate the Apostolic Project, which has been implemented. From now on the various apostolic areas will begin to transfer little by little to the Provincial of Spain. The first area to be transferred this October will be formation.
Father General underlines the importance of the chapter On revitalizing religious life and the mission of the apostolic body, as the cornerstone of the building that we want to construct. Only thus we can continue with hope on this journey already begun, to analyze peacefully the difficulties that present themselves, to pay attention to the various sensibilities and to the contributions that arise from Jesuits and their collaborators in order to better in its entirety and in its essential elements the course that has been already delineated, but that is susceptible to redoing so that is helped everyone to achieve the apostolic goal that is proposed. Finally, Father Adolfo Nicolás invites all to continue in the good practice of giving opportune information and asking the participation of fellow Jesuits and of communities, as also of our respective collaborators, so that no one feels extraneous to the future that is for all and in which all are involved in the response that encourages them to go beyond the particularities and increase the union of hearts and minds.
From the Curia
- Commission for Practica Quaedam. Practica Quaedam is the manual of instructions on the way to handle the correspondence with Father General. The last edition was in 1997. In conformity with what the last General Congregation indicated in number 15 in the Decree on Governance, some months ago the Secretary of the Society asked the Provincials and their Socii to send suggestions in order to update the manual. Father General has constituted an international working group in order to carry out this task. After e-mail exchanges, the commission gathers in Rome from October 11th to the 16th in order to prepare the final edition of this document. The plan is that the new manual will be ready in the first months of next year. This is one of the three commissions to implement some juridical aspects of the General Congregation. A report was given, in this Bulletin (cf. no. 16, of September 6, 2010), about the commission that worked on the structure of the provinces. When the commission meets in order to examine the "Formula of the General Congregation" we will give account about it.
- From 22 until 29 September, JRS International organized its Fifth Service Orientation Course for new staff in the organization. On the first day of the course, veteran staff from around the world helped the participants understand the refugee context, both in global terms and by looking at particular situations in Haiti, South Africa and Sri Lanka. On successive days, the course examined the mission, vision and values of JRS and how it relates to the work of the Society of Jesus at large. New staff were also briefed on human resource issues, such as team work, conflict, stress, and were introduced to the work of the communications, advocacy and programs departments in the International Office.
Father General has appointed:
- Fr. Colin Tan Chin Hock, of the Malaysia-Singapore Region, new Superior of the same Region. Father Colin Tan, at present Master of Novices, vocation promoter and treasurer of the Malaysia-Singapore Region, was born in 1960, joined the Society of Jesus in 1988 and was ordained a priest in 1999.
- Fr. Joseph Pham Thanh Liem new Provincial of the Vietnam Province. P. Joseph was born in 1952, joined the Society of Jesus in 1972, and was ordained a priest in 1995. He has been Socius to the Provincial beside holding other Province responsibilities.
- Fr. Bogdan Lesniak, of the Province of Upper Poland, is from September 23 the new secretary for the Assistancy of Central-East Europe, east section. He substitutes Fr. Alexander Puss. Fr. Bogdan was born in 1973, he joined the Society of Jesus in 1993 and was ordained a priest in 2005.
From the Provinces
AMERICAS: The birth of "Magis Americas"
On September 23 in Rome, the President of the Conference of Latin American Provincials and the President of the USA Jesuit Conference, at the presence of Father General, signed the birth of Magis Americas which seek to increase and deepen collaboration on behalf of the mission of the Society of Jesus in the Americas, particularly through work on behalf of the Jesuit-sponsored ministries in Latin America. Magis Americas is a non-profit organization which engages in the following activities in the United States: raises funds for civil society projects sponsored by the Society of Jesus in Latin America (for example Fe y Alegria), and other apostolic activities that may be promoted with the support of both Conferences; facilitates contacts and mutual beneficial interaction between social agents from North and South and supports, through fundraising, possible joint projects approved by relevant authorities of both Conferences; promotes participation in public policy debates and forums in the United States on educational and social development in Latin America; develops contacts between individuals and institutions sponsored by the Society of Jesus in Latin America. Magis Americas operates on these criteria to guide the provision of such services according to its organizational capacity, subject to its Certificate of Incorporation and its Bylaws, consistent with the legal requirements of the State of Delaware and the United States.
AUSTRALIA: Adapting the Spiritual Exercises across Asia
In view of increasing collaboration across the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP), some 23 participants among Jesuits and lay people working in Ignatian Spirituality ministries gathered at the end of August at Canisius Centre of Ignatian Spirituality in Sydney, with Father General's Secretary for the Ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, Fr. Eddie Mercieca, as a special guest speaker, along with JCAP (Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific) President Fr. Mark Raper and Australian Provincial Fr. Steve Curtin. Both Fr. Mercieca and Fr. Raper made presentations at the conference exploring the need for greater formation and training for people in the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, which should be a key element in the direction and style of all Society's ministries. "I would add that it is imperative that each Province has two or three of its best men trained seriously in spiritual studies with special reference and research in Ignatian Spirituality," said Fr. Mercieca, who in his last talk on the final day of the meeting, addressed the need for broader collaboration across the Asia-Pacific Assistancy. He outlined three themes for the collaboration between the various Provinces: Common apostolic discernment; Ignatian leadership formation; and the insertion of the Spiritual Exercises in local cultures and traditions. With Asia being such a vastly diverse region of cultures and communities, Fr. Mercieca said one of the biggest challenges facing the Society would be adapting the Exercises to local contexts.
BOLIVIA: Film on Luis Espinal
With the desire of inspiring reflection on the inheritance left by Luis Espinal on the thinking of Bolivian society, in the next days the film Lucho San Pueblo, by Fr. Eduardo Pérez, S.J. will be broadcasted all over Bolivia. The film tells the story of the Jesuit martyr Luis Espinal, victim in 1980 of the Bolivian military dictatorship. It shows the happenings of the night in which he was kidnapped and tortured , based on documents and historical sources, among which the audio of his voice when, in his capacity as director of a radio station connected with Radio Fides, he broadcasted the news about the military coup d'état by the then colonel Hugo Banzer Suárez. Fr. Espinal intervened defending politicians and labour organizers persecuted and imprisoned during the 1971 military coup d'état. In March 1980 he was kidnapped, put into a jeep and brought to a slaughterhouse where he was tortured for four hours and finally killed with 14 gunshots, after having engraved a cross on his chest.
BURKINA FASO: A challenge to the desert
The name of the project is "A challenge to the desert", and is sponsored by Magis (Mouvement and Action of Italian Jesuits for Development). It is a big project of human, cultural, health, socio-economic and even athletic development and its goal is to launch growth and autonomy for an entire province around Kaya, in Burkina Faso, Subsaharian Africa, between desert and savana, with the participation of the local population. The challenges are water, agricultural high school, working cooperative, learning, health, solar kitchens. And even the building of a recreational and sporting center. Taking up the tradition of 500 years of experience, from St. Francis to Father Arrupe, Magis is a work of Italian Jesuits working for missions all over the world. It is recognized as a NGO (non governmental organization) by the Minister of Foreign Affairs), as a ONLUS (not for profit organization) and as a charitable entity. To learn more: email@example.com.
COLOMBIA: Meeting of Ignatian Spirituality's Reviews
The CIRE (Ignatian Center for Reflection and Exercises) of Bogota, Colombia, hosted, October 4-6, the third international encounter of Ignatian spirituality reviews. Participants came from France, Canada, Italy, Spain, England, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Argentina. The meeting was organized by Fr. Edward Mercieca, of the Secretariat for Ignatian Spirituality of the Society of Jesus at the General Curia in Rome. Apart from sharing of challenges, today's orientation and problems the reviews have to face in their countries, the themes on the agenda were: how to profit by proper resources, how to increase the opportunity of exchange of articles and how to realize a common project for the years to come. Father General, in his message of congratulations for the encounter and the work done by spirituality reviews, pointed out three fields or areas of our life and our way of proceeding that could be deepened in the studies of ignatian spirituality: early, specialized and ongoing formation; ignatian spirituality there and put into practice in every apostolate of the Society, dialogue between faith and culture according to the custom of every country and region.
ROME: Celebration of the first approbation of the Society
On the evening of September 27th a solemn liturgical celebration to commemorate the 470th anniversary of the first approbation of the Society of Jesus, took place in the Church of the Gesù, Rome, with numerous Jesuits, friends, and people committed to Jesuit spirituality. Father Federico Lombardi, in absence of Father General, who was in Belgium, presided at the liturgy. In his homily Fr. Lombardi recalled the approval of the Society by Pope Paul III, on September 27, 1540 and said that "this date is a watershed. It marks the passage from the spiritual and apostolic involvement of a group of friends in the Lord to the birth of a new religious Order recognized by the Church, with all the consequences that this involves. Also Ignatius will no longer be the spiritual head of a group of itinerant apostles, but he will be soon a religious Superior" engaged in the tasks of governance and the drawing up of the Constitutions of the new Order, of which he will become the true Founder. Later he added: "In 470 years the Society of Jesus has accomplished extraordinary apostolic enterprises, but also it has had its weaknesses and been subject to some very hard tests and humiliations. It was suppressed by a Pope, and approximately 200 years ago it was restored to life by another Pope and began again its way with practically nothing. It has been expelled many times from many different countries (...). The tests to which in these times the Society must deal which concerns the credibility of the Church - radical tests of faith in a secularized world, tests of coherence and credibility in witness and holiness of life - are tests of life or death, that the Society lives internally, within its very body."
USA: At work on the Border
The work of the Kino Border Initiative continues on U.S.-Mexico border. It is a a collaborative effort of the Jesuit provinces of California and Mexico, the Diocese of Tucson, the Archdiocese of Hermosillo (Mexico), Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Missionary Sisters of the Eucharist. The kitchen of the dining room ministering to deportees on the U.S.-Mexico border in Nogales, Mexico, with the help of some Jesuit students and other members and volunteers, served as many as 250 meals a day in winter. The average this summer has been about 150 meals per day, a reduction accounted for in part by the summer heat cutting down on cross-border traffic and partly by the Border Patrol flights that return people to their home states. Apart from some beds and other services for women and children, the services at the Kino Border Initiatives's offices in Nogales includes public education about the border in light of Catholic social teaching, with workshops offered in parishes on both sides of the border and research and advocacy on behalf of fundamental human rights and comprehensive immigration reform. Talking about his experience Ricardo Avila, a young Jesuit in formation who spent five weeks with the Kino Border Initiative this summer said: "I've gotten an understanding of the migrant experience, of how genuinely dangerous the immigrant experience is."
Paraguay, the Guaraní played soccer. The Paraguayan team was vs. Italy at the first football match of the world champions league in South Africa and played very well brushing the semifinal, beaten by Spain which was the world winner. In those days Gianpaolo Romanato wrote in the Osservatore Romano that soccer in Paraguay is very old. Here is a testimony: "During feast days, after evening mass, men organize a fictitious struggle in the square, throwing arrows towards a target (...). They also used to play soccer, and, even if of full rubber, the ball was light and quick and once received the stroke, bounced back many times without stopping, pushed by its own weigh. They do not push the ball with their hands, as we do, but with the upper part of the naked feet, passing it over and receiving it with great ability and precision." This is what wrote Spanish Father José Manuel Peramás. Born in 1732 he worked for some years among the Guaraní of the Paraguayan Reducciones, until the decree of expulsion forced him and his brethren to leave the Spanish colonies in America. He died in Faenza, Italy, in 1793. But this is not the only testimony. Another missionary of the Reducciones, Fr. José Cardiel, who died in exile in Faenza in 1781, speaks about the same topic. Another jesuit historian of the Reducciones, peruvian creolo Father Antonio Ruiz de Montoya, wrote around 1639-1640 that soccer was practiced by guaraní even before the arrival of the Spanish missionaries.
New in SJWEB
- A slide show about the visit of Father General to the two Belgian Jesuit Provinces. Click on "sjweb Media".