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Seeks to sustain a greater awareness of Jesuit people in ecology and advocacy efforts
Trip to Castille. Between 5 and 11 May, Father General will visit to the Province of Castille, with its membership of 525 Jesuits. This will be the last of his visits to the five Spanish Provinces before the new one single Province, consisting of the current five Provinces, will be established next year. Father General will go to those places which are the main apostolic centers within the present Province of Castille. These will continue to be important in the new Province: Madrid, Valladolid, Asturias and Galicia. In Valladolid a meeting is planned with Superiors and Directors of works of the whole Province. To them, Father General will speak on "The Leadership Necessary in Today's Society". In Santiago de Compostela, he will talk with the leaders of the apostolic project of the autonomous region. In La Coruña, he will give a conference on "Faith and Culture in the Mission of the Society." In Asturias (Gijón and Oviedo) his presentation will center on "Education and the Society". In Madrid, he will focus on "Collaboration in Mission." Father General will also meet with volunteers in our social works, with young people in university communities, with professors of Comillas university, and with students and educators. Father General will pay the usual courtesy calls on the archbishops of these places. He has put time aside to share with Jesuits, and he will preside at Eucharists with different Jesuit and lay groups. These moments of grace will inform the conclusion of the Province restructuring process. Finally, on May 11, Father Nicolás will visit elderly and sick Jesuits in Alcalà de Henares: those Jesuits, who were not able to be with him during his visit, will also meet him there. For further details: www.visitageneral.infosj.es
From the Curia
Tempo Forte. From 29 April to 3 May, Father General and his council held their "tempo forte" ("intensive time"). They reflected on, and prayed about different themes related to the mission and governance of the Society. There were four main topics on the agenda. First of all, consideration was given to the Year of the Faith, and the service of the Society in this area. The ex-officio letters offered insights on how the Year of the Faith is lived by the Jesuits throughout the world. From this flowed the second topic: our universal vocation and the mission to the whole world. This involved, thirdly, an analysis of the networking, the new opportunities and more effective responses which flow from the global challenges which the Society faces today. Finally, the meeting analyzed how our apostolic institutions could be more effective instruments for the mission of the Society.
On 29 to 30 April, the International Committee of the Society of Jesus on Jesuit Higher Education (ICJHE) met at the General Curia. Participants dealt with five important areas. In the first place, they reviewed the development of our mission, and the identity of catholic and Jesuit institutions. Secondly, there was a discussion on the growing collaboration of Jesuit institutions in the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) program to bring higher education to refugee camps. Thirdly, there was a consideration on a future "virtual, digital" university of the Society of Jesus, and the opportunities and challenges which this presents. Fourthly, the meeting examined the Society's commitment to higher education in Africa and Asia. Finally, the meeting raised the possibility of a worldwide conference of the rectors and presidents of higher educational institutions in 2015.
Meeting on Temporal Administration. During May, there will be two workshops (one in Spanish from 6 to 9 May, and the other in English from 20 to 23 May) for Jesuits and lay collaborators who work in provincial administration in different parts of the world. The goal of this meeting will be to introduce a number of basic concepts about "our way of proceeding" in the administration and management of the resources of Provinces and Regions. The meetings will also provide information about some basic administrative tools. These will include accounting, the legal implications of actions, the benefits of professional expertise and technology, and guidelines for investments. Particular attention will be given to the Society's "Instruction on the Administration of Goods", and consideration will also be given to the Society's characteristic spirit of poverty, as enumerated in the "Statutes on religious poverty". The four days of meetings and workshops will offer important information on how general administration is undertaken in local Curias. Particular cases and common situations will be analyzed. Five lay collaborators from Europe, Africa and America will take part in these meetings, as well as 38 Jesuits from 40 Provinces and Regions from around the world.
Pope Francis appointed:
Fr Milan Lach, S.J., auxiliary of the Archeparchy of Prešov for Catholics of Byzantine rite (Slovakia), assigning him the Titular see of Ostracine. Fr. Lach was born in Kežmarok (Slovakia) in 1973, entered the Society of Jesus in 1995, and was ordained a priest in 2001. At present he is vice dean of the theology faculty of the University of Trnava.
Fr. Michael C. Barber, S.J., bishop of Oakland (USA). Father Michael, at present Spiritual Director at St. John's Seminary of Brighton, in the Archdiocese of Boston, was born in 1954, entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest 1985.
From the Provinces
AFRICA: Ecological Awareness
From 12 to 14 April 2013, Jesuits and collaborators met in Nairobi to review the environmental and ecological dimensions of the mission of the Society of Jesus in Africa and Madagascar, and to plan for the next three years. The participants came from Jesuit agricultural institutes in the provinces of Madagascar, Central Africa, Zambia-Malawi and the region of South Africa. Convened by the coordinator of the African Jesuits' social apostolate, the meeting was held at the Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations at Hekima College. In 2008, the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus called Jesuits "to appreciate more deeply our covenant with creation" and to realize that care for the environment "touches the core of our faith in and love for God." In his 2011 letter to the whole Society of Jesus on ecology, Father General, Adolfo Nicolás SJ, repeated Pope Benedict's exhortation that we respect creation ever more seriously and profoundly, and that we take decisive measures to protect it. Father Nicolás reminded us of our call to restore and heal broken relationships with creation. In the light of these exhortations, the Jesuits met in Nairobi to chart a way forward for Jesuits in Africa and Madagascar to incorporate ecological and environmental sensitivity and action into our ministries for the next three years. Cf. www.ignatianadvocacy.org
ARGENTINA: "Mary who Unties Knots"
An angel offers a tied ribbon to the Virgin; this passes through her hands, and fragments into pieces which are picked up by another angel. This is the image of "Mary who unties knots" (Virgen Maria Knotenlöserin), an oil painting on cloth. It was painted around 1700, and is kept in the church of St Peter am Perlach, Germany. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis, has a great devotion for this image. Fr Alejandro Russo explains how this came about: "The Holy Father spent some time studying in Germany. In a Church there, he found the image of the Virgin who unties knots. He took a few postcards of the image back with him to Buenos Aires. Then he began to insert copies of the image in every letter he wrote. After some time an Argentinean painter offered to make a copy of the image for the university chapel. So, this image of the Virgin started to excite the devotion of many people, but the painting was in a very restricted location. A number of people, who worked at the University and who belonged to the parish of San José del Talar, asked the parish priest to place a larger copy of the image in the parish church. In this way people discovered the image, and little by little over time an important devotion grew up in Argentina. Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who was archbishop of Buenos Aires at that time, did not arrange to have the painting placed in the parish church, but the inspiration for the devotion can be traced back to him." (Vatican Radio)
CHINA: Death of Msgr Aloysius Jin Luxian
Msgr Aloyisius Jin Luxian, the Patriotic Association bishop of Shanghai, died on 27 April. The prelate, one of the most important personalities of the Chinese Church, was 97 years old. He had been ill for a long time. He had been hospitalized in recent months, and no one was allowed to visit him. Msgr Jin, a Jesuit, contributed to the development of the Church in a decisive way. Several years ago he was reconciled with the Pope, and the Holy See considered him the "auxiliary" bishop of Shanghai. The ordinary bishop, Msgr Joseph Fan Zhongliang, is also very old and sick. The new bishop of Shanghai, Msgr Thaddeus Ma Daqin, was ordained on July 7 last year. He was put in house arrest in Sheshan seminary after having decided to leave the Patriotic Association.
CUBA: Territorial Priority for CPAL
The independent Region of Cuba from the 31st June will be integrated with the Province of Antilles. Cuba participates in the mission of the Society in this continent, and responds to the specific challenges which the history poses for the Church in Latin America. Cuba shares the strong cultural presence of African traditions with the other Caribbean tropical islands of the Antilles. The history of slavery brought great cultural wealth and creativity to the island. The Caribbean is characterized by a diversity of cultural roots which are both European and African. Its identity is marked by colourful and lively music, by bodily and physical expressiveness, by a past of colonialism and slavery. "The Society of Jesus - writes Fr Juan Miguel Arregui SJ, the Delegate Superior of Cuba - has managed to maintain a creative fidelity to its mission in this land. The presence of the Society has been uninterrupted and generous. There were 216 Jesuits on the island in 1959; now, there are 28. At this time, conscious of the winds of change, we want to shake off any hint of defeatism and despair. We want to renew our ability to dream, to plan, and to enthuse about our mission for the Eternal King. We do so with both strategic vision, and with realism. For a number of years we have been working on a strategic plan. The time has come, now, when we are looking at operational planning which centres on the selection of apostolates. This will be part of the Common Apostolic Project of the Provincial Conference of Latin America (CPAL), and integrated into the Caribbean Project."
INDIA: Soon a Jesuit University
The first Jesuit private university of India will open its doors next year. The Institute will be named after St Francis Xavier, and will be built in the eastern Indian state of Orissa, in Bhubaneswar. There, the Society of Jesus is already successfully running an institute for business management, the Xavier Institute of Management. The Orissa state Legislative Assembly has recently given the go-ahead to the project, which was first proposed four years ago. "The campus will be ready by December, and it will start in July 2014, when we hope to launch the first rural management program," declared Fr Paul Fernandes, the director of Xavier Institute of Management, in the "Business Standard", the local newspaper. Fr Fernandes has been one of the leading promoters of the initiative. The estimated cost of the first phase of the project is 400 million rupees (about €5.6 million). At later stages, funds permitting, the university will open new schools. The idea, explained Fr. Fernandes, is to have a high quality university which is "innovative", with science and humanities schools which respond to the state's needs. 50% of the places at the new university will be allocated to students from Orissa.
ITALY: 450 Years of Lay Ignatian Communities
The Christian Life Community (CLC) organized a number of events in Rome during the last weekend of April. This was to celebrate the 450th anniversary of the foundation of the Marian Congregation. A conference was organized on "The History and Future of the Laity and Ignatian Spirituality". Other activities included the election of a new leadership team for CLC-Italy, and a concert to raise awareness and funds for their outreach activities. The final Eucharist was celebrated by Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Also present at these celebrations were CLC members from other countries besides Italy. These included Ms Daniela Frank, the President of World CLC. Through their presence, these guests powerfully communicated the message that CLC is indeed One World Community. Jean Leunis SJ founded the first Marian Congregation (Prima Primaria) in Rome in 1563. For four and a half centuries, the Marian Congregations have been nourished by the treasures of Ignatian spirituality and have worked towards building up the Kingdom of God. These groups were later transformed into the Christian Life Community, and have served as a school of formation for the laity to understand and live out their vocation. Through these communities, the laity has been formed through the Spiritual Exercises and has moved along the path of becoming Contemplatives in Action, striving to find God in all the realities of their daily lives.
LATIN AMERICA: Priority for Amazonia
CPAL, the Conference of Latin American Provincials issued recently a communiqué. Among a number of other observations, we read: "The Amazon is one of the regions identified in our Common Apostolic Plan which deserves priority, and which merits special attention in our consciousness and solidarity. The Amazon is a huge geographical region which covers both a number of countries and Provinces of the Society. Its concerns are the concerns of the whole continent... Our priority focuses immediately on the current and future issues and problems of the Jesuit Region "Brazil-Amazon" (BAM): this lies entirely in the Amazon basin. But a number of other Latin American Provinces also have missions in the Amazon: Bolivia, Guyana, Peru, Venezuela, and Brazil. These missions face serious and complex challenges which require both personal and institutional strength, sensitivity and wisdom. There are a variety of religions and cultural contexts in these missions: these invite sensitive and respectful inter-cultural and inter-religious dialogue. Furthermore, we are witnessing complex development and cultural change in the area, and this calls for considerable on-going personal and institutional discernment and analysis. The Society needs to prepare people adequately for missioning in the area, and to manage its resources in such a way that the missions may be sustained, and indeed strengthened." For the full text of the communiqué please see: www.cpalsj.org
REFUGEES: Agreement between JRS and UNHCR
ROME: Centro Astalli is Waiting for the Pope
Fr Giovanni La Manna, director of "Centro Astalli", the centre for refugees run by the Jesuits in downtown Rome, announced that Pope Francis will pay them a visit. "I invited the Pope to Centro Astalli", he wrote on Facebook. "The Pope then called me on my mobile phone, saying that he will come to visit the soup kitchen. He asked me to greet all refugees in his name. Pope Francis is extraordinary. He gives encouragement to those involved with the poor and the weak, so that they continue to serve with enthusiasm, as he and the Church wants." Centro Astalli first opened in 1981. Currently it plays an important role in helping refugees of all nationality and religions; it is equipped with a soup kitchen that distributes 400 meals each day, a clinic, three reception centers, a school for learning Italian, and other services for refugees who might arrive for the first time, or who continue to experience difficulties. The first step is always acceptance. It is the tone of the first contact, and it grows with the passing of time. "Often, refugees continue to receive their mail at Centro Astalli, even though it is a long time after their initial arrival. This offers refugees the opportunity to tell us the news about their lives. Someone "makes it", gets the documents, finds a job, rents an apartment. Often enough, they come back to announce a wedding, the birth of a son, the opening of their business. Others, unfortunately, continue to remain on the fringes, unable to establish connections."
Father Nicolás President of the USG. Father David, secretary general of the USG, the Union of Major Superiors, wrote on 30 April: "Dear Superiors General, I am happy to inform you that, in line with clause 18 of our Statutes, Fr Adolfo Nicolàs SJ has agreed to replace Fr José Rodriguez Carballo OFM as President of the Union "ad complendum triennium". We will proceed to the election of the new Vice-President during the assembly of May 22 to 24 next. We thank Fr Nicolàs wholeheartedly for his spirit of availability and we accompany him with our prayer."
New in SJWEB
Two new series of slides show about the visit of Father General to Germany and Malawi-Zambia in April. Click on: http://www.sjweb.info/ss/index.cfm
450 years Celebrations of CLC in Rome: Listen to the homily (English) of Fr. General : http://www.sjweb.info/jesuitvoices/index.cfm