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    Archive: news after March 2009


    Vol. XVIII, No. 20 22 September 2014

    FROM THE CURIA

     

    Meeting of the Presidents of the Conferences. Father General met the Presidents of the Conferences in Rome 15-18 September to help heighten their sense of the universal character of the Society, gain a better understanding of the global priorities of the society, and to work with Father General regarding the further development of regional and global cooperation (GC 34, decree 21, n. 25). Fathers Timothy P. Kesicki (JCU) and George Pattery (JCS) join the group as new members, replacing Fathers Thomas H. Smolich and S. Edward Mudavassery who complete their service this year. The topics of discussion included the intellectual apostolate, restructuring the Society's governance in service of mission, the intellectual formation of Jesuits, the vow of chastity, and the protection of minors.

    FROM THE PROVINCES

     

    AFRICA: New Book of Theology about AIDS

    The African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) has started work on a new book which aims to fill a significant gap in the literature by offering a comprehensive theology about AIDS from an African perspective.  The book will be published in 2015.  Its title will be Current Christian Perspectives on HIV and AIDS in Africa, with the sub-title, Theological Reflection, Public Health Crises, and Social Transformation.  Much has already been said and written about HIV and AIDS.  In Africa, and indeed beyond, Christian theologians have reflected significantly on the pandemic, while Catholic bishops have issued guidelines and pastoral letters for their faithful. Although many have already tackled the issue from a theological perspective, there is still no comprehensive theology about HIV and AIDS in an African context.  The new work will harness resources from a number of different theological perspectives, thus filling the current void.  A number of contributors has been selected from diverse branches of theology to reflect on specific aspects of the pandemic.  Each chapter in this collection will focus on the fact that AIDS is essentially an issue which affects humans on many levels.  From a social justice perspective, it invites a holistic response.  And so, the theological response to the pandemic should be multi-faceted and take both national and global realities into account.  The book's contributors will highlight concepts, methodologies and tools that may inform future theological reflection on other major epidemics

     

    AUSTRALIA: The Planet is Our Home

    There is no institution so old that it has nothing left to learn - and the Catholic Church must commit itself to learning about and changing its practices in relation to ecological issues.  This was the message from Fr José Mesa, Colombian Jesuit, the Secretary of Primary and Secondary Education at the Curia in Rome, and one of the keynote speakers at the JCAP Colloquium in Sydney.  The theme of the Colloquium was The Planet is Our Home.  It brought together delegates from nine countries.  They discussed the role that Jesuit schools can play in promoting reconciliation with creation.  "In the past, we have viewed the natural environment as the raw materials to be used for our own comfort; but now we need to see ourselves more as part of the natural world," said Fr Mesa.  Jesuit environmentalist, Fr Pedro Walpole, said Reconciliation with Creation begins with the making one's own life more simple, with accepting imperfections, and with deciding to allow things to settle.  Fr Benny Juliawan SJ, the coordinator of the Migration Network of the Jesuit Global Ignatian Advocacy Network, outlined the practical implications of environmental pressure and its role in education.  He said that progress is one of the driving forces which is destroying our planet.  He noted, too, that Jesuit schools are partly responsible for instilling this drive for progress in their students.  This draws forth a conflict between the ideal of an entrepreneurial self and the Jesuit concept of men and women for others.  The Jesuit ideal challenges schools to encourage its students to see service of others as more fulfilling than material achievement. 

     

    GUYANA: Loyola Film Festival

    The work of documentary film-makers in Guyana was recognized at the finale of the 2014 Loyola Documentary Film Festival.  Catholic TV Guyana, an apostolate of the Jesuits of Guyana, organized the Festival.  Guyana is a Region of the British Province.  The country's Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport supported the Festival.  According to the director of Catholic TV Guyana, Fr Justin Prabhu SJ, "the Loyola Documentary Film Festival aims to promote and create awareness about socio-economic and cultural issues which affect us as a nation."  The Film Festival has two objectives: to document issues that affect the lives of the poor in both rural and urban areas throughout Guyana, and to highlight situations that affect the human rights, and indeed the very survival of the people.  Guyana is the only English-speaking country on the South American continent.  Jesuits first came to Guyana in 1857.  Today, their work includes pastoral ministries in remote areas, such as Pakaraimas and Rupununi, as well as in the capital, Georgetown.  Jesuits are also involved in adult formation, catechesis and evangelization.

     

    INDIA: The First Indian "Digital" Jesuit University

    The Jesuit Xavier University (XU) in India was opened in July in Bhubaneswar, the state capital of Odisha.  The new university aims to be a center of both academic excellence and sound ethical values.  It is the first "digital" university in the country, the first Catholic university in the state, and the fourth in India.  It will be a center of innovative research and integral formation. Taking its inspiration from Saint Francis Xavier, this University strives to become a globally recognized center of learning and of service to the people of Odisha, of India, and even of the whole world.  In his speech of welcome, Fr Paul Fernandes SJ, said, "XU is God's gift to us.  We receive it with gratitude in our hearts.  We commit ourselves to its establishment and growth.  We bless it today.  We hope that this University will continue to be inspired by Jesuit ideals: namely to be visionary, innovative, research-driven, and open to all.  We hope this university will make a contribution not only to management but to all fields of human endeavor."  The unique feature of XU is that about fifty per cent of places is reserved for Odisha students.  No other private university in the country has such a provision.  In his address, the Archbishop of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar, John Barwa SVD, said: "this university will give birth, as a loving mother, to future philosophers, to great scientists, to eminent thinkers, and to outstanding statesmen for our country and the world."

     

    ROME: St. Peter Faber's Centre

    The Board of Directors of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome has accepted a proposal of Fr Jaime Emilio González Magaña SJ to change the name of CIFS (the Centre for the Training of Educators to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life) into the "St Peter Faber" Centre for the Educators to the Priesthood and Consecrated Life.  "Peter Faber," explained Fr González Magaña, the director of the Centre until last August, "was the first companion of Ignatius Loyola.  He is the clearest example of a priest who allowed himself to be formed.  Ignatius spent four years carefully helping his friend and roommate.  At the beginning of 1534, they made the Spiritual Exercises together near Saint Jacques (Paris).  For the rest of his life, Faber grasped the internal knowledge of this conversation between the Creator and the creature like no other person.  He had a special gift for sharing this knowledge with others."  From 1 September, the new director of the Centre is Fr Stanislaw Morgalla SJ.

     

    SPAIN: The Ignatian Pilgrimage

    On the feast of St Ignatius, 31 July, it was announced that the first Jubilee Year of the Camino Ignaciano (the Ignatian Pilgrimage) will be held next year, from 31 July 2015 to 31 July 2016.  Notice was also given that, in six years' time, from 31 July 2021 to 31 July 2022, the second Jubilee Year of the Pilgrimage will be celebrated.  This will coincide with the commemoration of the five hundredth anniversary of the conversion of Iñigo de Loyola, and of his pilgrimage to Manresa.  The feast of St Ignatius will close each of these Jubilee Years.  The tradition of pilgrimages to the shrines of Loyola and Manresa became popular in the seventeenth century, after the canonization of Sts Ignatius and Francis Xavier.  This popularity has only increased during the twentieth and present centuries, with an ever greater focus on the spiritual gifts and piety that are associated with pilgrimages.  The Camino Ignaciano was established to encourage this devotion through the pilgrimage way which recalls the path traveled by Ignatius in 1522 (for more information, see: www.caminoignaciano.org).  Work on the new route began in late 2010.  On 31 July this year, it gave birth to the Obra Apostólica Camino Ignaciano (or OACI, the Apostolic Dimension of the Ignatian Pilgrimage) of the Society of Jesus.  The mission of this association is to keep the Ignatian spirit alive along the pilgrimage route of nearly 700 kilometers, from the shrine at Loyola to the cave in Manresa.

     

    TAIWAN:  Honour for Giuseppe Castiglione

    The Chinese Year of the Horse officially began on 31 January.  This turned the spotlight onto the Italian Jesuit, Br Giuseppe Castiglione (1688-1766).  He was famous for his paintings of imperial horses.  He came to China in 1715 as a missionary, but was retained by Emperor Kangxi for his talent in painting.  Subsequently the posthumous title of "Deputy Minister" was conferred on him.  Despite his high position at court, the Jesuit artist remained a simple, humble man who never lost sight of his missionary vocation.  His best-known work is a 7.7 meter scroll.  It depicts one hundred horses, and is considered to be one of the masterpieces of all Chinese art.  The National Palace Museum in Taipei houses most of his works.  According to AsiaNews, the Museum has digitized his famous painting of "One Hundred Horses," and used six high-resolution projectors to animate the work, and surround the viewer with it.  Representatives from a number of foreign delegations were present at the inauguration of the exhibition.  Another major event, which commemorates the importance of Giuseppe Castiglione, is the production of a docu-drama about the Jesuit artist.  It was produced by Kuangchi  Program  Service  (KPS) in  Taipei, in co-operation  with Jangsu  TV  in Nanjing.  Jangsu TV is China's third most important television  network (See our Digital Bulletin no. 12, 20 May 2014).

     

    UNITED KINGDOM: Schoolboy Wins an Award

    A talented musician from the Jesuit Mount St Mary's College in Derbyshire has won the Junior Category of the highly prestigious BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer of the Year.  The award winning composition by 17-year-old Harry Castle will be performed by professional musicians at this year's BBC Proms.  It will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 3.  This year, the BBC Proms Inspire Young Composer of the Year competition attracted hundreds of entries from 12 to 18-year-old composers.  The competition has been running since 1978 and is renowned for discovering outstanding new talent.  Harry said: "I am absolutely delighted to have been selected as one of this year's winners.  I have always looked up to the people who have won the competition in the past, and it seems a bit surreal now that I am one of them!  I'm very excited about the opportunities the competition brings, and I'm really looking forward to hearing my piece at the Proms."  Head of Music at Mount St Mary's College, Lucy Kitchener, described the award as an exceptional achievement.  As the Junior Category winner this year, Harry will also be invited to compose a piece for the Aurora Orchestra, a professional chamber ensemble based in London.