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Vol. XVI, N. 16 19 October 2012
Year of Faith. The Year of the faith was officially opened on October 11. It will last until November 24 2014 (2013?). To mark the occasion, Father General wrote a letter to the Major Superiors of the Society in which he notes: "With gratitude to the Holy Father and in communion with the whole Church, we welcome this call to focus more explicitly on the gift of faith, and the witness and service we give to it. We are aware that, in today's world, 'a profound crisis of faith . . . has affected many people.' (Porta Fidei, 2). As the reports of many Procurators indicated and as I pointed out in my recent de Statu Societatis, we ourselves have not been unaffected by this crisis...With this letter then, I wish to invite the whole Society to take to heart the call of the Holy Father and to seek ways of participating meaningfully and with greater personal and communal engagement in this special year for the Church. It is my hope that every Jesuit spends some time - perhaps even his annual Retreat - in prayer and reflection on the meaning, implications and calls of this year."
He then requests all Major Superiors to invite communities "to dedicate a good number of their regular meetings to prayer and reflection together", and he provides some points for this reflection. He ends the letter: "Aware that we are always called to grow in faith, this year we make our own in a special way the prayer in Mark 9, 24: 'I do believe, but help the little faith I have.' Let us pray that the Lord may make the Year of Faith a time of abundant grace and new life for the whole Church and for our least Society."
Canonization of Fr Jacques Berthieu. On October 21 Fr Jacques Berthieu (1838-1896), a French Jesuit, missionary and martyr in Madagascar, will be declared a Saint. To commemorate the occasion, Father General wrote a letter to the whole Society from which we quote below. After recalling some significant ecclesial events of this year, such as the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization and the Year of Faith, Father General adds: "for the Society of Jesus, this year 2012 is also marked by the Congregation of Procurators which took place last July in Nairobi. The apostolic vitality of the provinces of Africa and Madagascar that are part of JESAM and our renewed awareness of sentire cum Ecclesia invite us to receive with fervor the witness of Jacques Berthieu."
After recalling the main events of the Saint's life and remembering his martyrdom, Father Nicolás highlights some features of his life as a missionary, a man of prayer, and a pastor. He continues: "The total and irreversible gift of his life in the following of Christ was at the heart of his commitment. In the midst of trials, he retained his sense of humor, and remained affable, humble and helpful. He liked to quote the Gospel passage: "Do not be afraid of those who kill the body, but rather of those who make one lose one's soul" (cf. Mt 10:28). In his instructions, he often spoke of the resurrection of the dead. The faithful remembered the following sentence: "Even if you are eaten by a crocodile, you will rise again." Was this a premonition of his own end? In fact, after his death, two inhabitants of Ambiatibe dragged his body to the river Mananara, a short distance away from the place of his martyrdom, and his remains disappeared."
Father General concludes: "May the Holy Spirit help us put into practice the choices of Jacques Berthieu: his passion for a challenging mission that led him to another country, another language, and another culture; his personal attachment to the Lord expressed in prayer; his pastoral zeal, which was simultaneously a fraternal love of the faithful entrusted to his care, and a commitment to lead them higher on the Christian way; and finally, a life lived as gift, a choice lived out every day until the death which definitively configured him to Christ."
Visit to Perù and Bolivia from October 28 to November 8, 2012. Meetings with Jesuits, CPAL and Fe y Alegría. Father General will participate in the 25th Assembly of the Conference of Latin American Provincials (CPAL) in Lima (Peru) from October 30 to November 3. The main topics to be discussed at the Assembly will be: the renovation of provincial structures at the service of the mission; the participation of the Society in Latin America in the network which promotes the right of everybody to a quality education; the evaluation of the Interprovincial Centres for Formation (CIF), and the process for establishing new CIFs. As usual, before and during the Assembly, Fr Nicolás will receive the accounts of conscience from the Provincials. During and after the assembly, he will deepen his knowledge of the Province of Peru with a busy schedule of meetings and talks with different apostolic sectors, groups of Jesuits, and lay people. On November 5, Father General will leave for Bolivia. There he is expected to participate in the Congress of the International Federation of Fe y Alegría whose theme this year will be: "The challenge of inclusive education: disability, youth at risk and multiculturalism." He will fly back to Rome on 8 November.
Fr. General has appointed:
- Father Joseph Stuchlý Provincial of the Bohemia Province (BOH). Fr Stuchlý, at present Vice-Superior of the Brno Residence, was born in 1966, entered the Society in 1991, and was ordained a priest in 2002.
- Father Padre José Cecilio Magadia (PHI) General Counselor for Formation. He will take over from Fr. Orlando Torres on a still to be specified date of October 2013. Father Magadia, at present Provinciale of the Philippine Province, was born in 1960, entered the Society in 1980, and was ordained a priest in 1991.
The Jesuits at the Synod. Errors and omissions excepted, we offer here the list of Jesuits attending the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.
- Msgr Ján Babiak (SVK), Archbishop of Prešov for Catholics of Byzantine rite. President of the Council of the Slovak Church (Slovak). Vice-president of the Synod
Elected by Episcopal Conferences
- Msgr Paul Desfarges (GAL), Bishop of Constantine, Algeria (C.E.R.N.A, North Africa)
- Msgr Joseph Atanga (AOC), Archbishop of Bertoua, President of the Episcopal Conference (Cameroon)
- Msgr Julio César Terán Dutari (ECU), Bishop emeritus of Ibarra (Ecuador)
- Msgr Joseph Werth (RUS), Bishop of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk
Elected by Union of Superiors General
- Fr Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits)
Experts (Adiutores Secretarii Specialis)
- Fr Paul Béré (AOC), Professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages at the Catholic University of West Africa (Burkina Faso)
- Fr Marko Rupnik (SVN), Slovenia, Director of Ezio Aletti Study and Research Centre in Rome (Italy)
- Fr Samir Khalil Samir (PRO), Professor of History of Arabic Culture and Islamic Studies at the University "St. Joseph de Beyrouth" (Lebanon); Professor of Arabic-Christian Theology at the Pontifical Oriental Institute (Rome, Italy)
- Fr Virginio Spicacci (ITA), doing pastoral work of evangelization (Archdiocese of Naples, Italy)
- Fr Mihály Szentmártoni (CRO), Serbia, Director of the Institute of Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome, Italy)
- Fr Federico Lombardi (ITA), Director of the Holy See Press Office (Vatican City)
From the Provinces
INDIA: 10,000 Bio-gas Plants in 10 Years!
SAS (Shramik Abhivrudhi Sangh), also called Jana Jagran, is a social action initiative of the Goa Jesuits. Its activities are concentrated in Belgaum, a number of other districts in North Karnataka, as well as in the Kolhapur district of Maharashtra. It is progressively achieving its overall objective. This is to build strong local communities that play an active role in planning and implementing those programmes which create the socio-economic and cultural conditions that enable people to have access to the basic necessities of life in a clean and healthy environment. SAS sees "sustainable" economic development as human development. This involves an investment in those resources which harness the energies and aspirations of the people. In this way, the developing skills, capabilities and assets enable the people to contribute to the wider community and to the Mother Earth. During the last decade, SAS has constructed more than 10,000 Biogas Plants cum Toilet Units for rural households. Over the years, villagers have become increasingly motivated, and they actively participate in this initiative. On average, six persons directly benefit from each bio-gas plant cum toilet unit. The indirect benefits are many. The biggest beneficiary is, of course, Mother Earth, because the initiative helps to increase the fertility of soil through nitrogenous organic manure, to stop deforestation, and to improve the general health of the people. For more details visit http://www.religiousindia.org/religious-india/10000-bio-gas-plants-in-10-years
MADAGASCAR: Jesuits in Mourning
"Fr Bruno Raharison has been victim of a violent assault and has suffered a brutal death. The local Jesuit community is in shock." This was how, on September 30, the news-agency Fides announced the death of Fr Raharison. He was a member of the Provincial Curia community in Antananarivo, Madagascar. Fr Bruno, a Madagascan citizen, was killed during a robbery. Some inhabitants noted his car near the town of Carion, parked along the road from Antananarivo to Tamatave. The police kept the car under surveillance. The following day, a young man tried to take possession of the car. He was stopped and taken to the police station. At the same time, the police started to search for Fr Bruno's body. It was found about 400 meters from the spot where the car had been abandoned. Fr Raharison had been struck a number of times on the back, chest and head with an edged weapon. The criminals wanted to steal the car which Fr Bruno had just taken possession of to carry out his work. During the trip, he was accompanied by a boy who helped him in his travels. According to local sources, it seems that this lad, together with some of his friends, was the one who organized the ambush that led to Fr Raharison's death.
MEXICO: Meeting on Francisco Xavier Clavigero
On the occasion of the 225th anniversary of the death of Jesuit Francisco Xavier Clavigero (1731-1787), the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas of the UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) organized an international meeting in his honour. A number of scholars and researchers from Spain, Brazil, Great Britain and the United States participated in, and contributed to the meeting. Francisco Xavier Clavigero is mainly known for his work, Historia Antigua de México, published in 1780. But he was also the author of other books, such as La Historia de la Antigua Baja California, Diálogo entre Filaletes y Paeófilo and Breve descripción de la Provincia de México en el año 1767. All these works had a considerable influence on both his contemporaries as well as on subsequent generations. The last meeting on this important figure of Mexican national history was celebrated thirty years ago. "It was time to examine recent studies on him," said Francisco Iván Escamilla González, academic secretary of the Instituto de Investigaciones Históricas of UNAM. To coincide with the meeting, there was an exhibition of original documents of Clavigero, including the original Spanish manuscript of the Historia Antigua de México, as well as documents of his Jesuit contemporaries.
NEPAL: Desideri House
After a very hectic two months of construction and furnishing, the new Boston College Nepal Program house in Boudha (Desideri House), opened its doors recently. This was just in time to welcome the BC undergrads who arrived to spend a semester studying at the KU Centre for Buddhist Studies. The house has been named in honor of Fr Ippolito Desideri SJ, the Italian Jesuit who lived in Lhasa in the early 18th century, and who was the first westerner to learn Tibetan and to study Buddhist teachings. The house is located on the main road in Boudha (Kathmandu). The two floors that make up Desideri House include a Tibetan-style chapel, meeting rooms, library, three guest rooms, and a kitchen that is equipped to cater for large meetings and gatherings. In addition to the BC undergrads, who moved into home-stays with Tibetan families after orientation, we have had a steady stream of visitors and guests, among whom was John Makransky, from Boston College. He came to give a month-long course on meditation practices which awaken compassion. The course is designed especially for those in ministry and the helping professions. We already have some interesting programs lined up for 2013. In addition to the usual BC undergrads and grad students, including scholastics and lay students from the Boston College School of Theology & Ministry (a US theologate), we are planning to host the annual meeting of Jesuits from the South and Asia Pacific Assistancies who are involved in Buddhist-Christian learning and dialogue.
ZIMBABWE: Book of a Jesuit AIDS Pioneer
Fr Ted Roger, a British Jesuit who spent his life pioneering social change in Zimbabwe and beyond, has published his memoirs. Jesuit, Social Pioneer and AIDS Activist in Zimbabwe was launched in August in South Africa, and in September in Zimbabwe. Fr Ted spent five decades in Zimbabwe, pioneering social change in response to the needs he saw around him. Among his many achievements are the founding of the high-quality School of Social Work at the University of Zimbabwe, and his visionary response to the AIDS crisis in this country. "The main impact of the book is that the man himself comes through. The imagination and energy that we have always associated with Ted is written on every page," said Fr David-Harold Barry SJ at the Zimbabwe launch. Fr Ted co-founded JAP in Zimbabwe in 1997 to stem the destruction caused by AIDS. It is a programme designed to reach young people through peer education. "We wanted to stop it rather than pick up the pieces all the time," he said. "We turned to schools to use the clubs approach and developed a training programme over the years." Copies of book can be obtained from Cluster Publications, South Africa, at R150 (US$30.00) each at email@example.com.
New address. The new e-mail addresses of the Regional Curia of Romania are as follow:
Hymn of the Year of Faith. On October 11, during the Mass celebrated in St Peter's Square on the occasion of the fifty anniversary of the opening of Vatican Council II and the beginning of the Year of Faith, the Hymn for the Year of Faith was sung in Italian and a number of other languages for the first time. The text was a collaborative effort by two members of the Jesuit General Curia, and the music was set by an Italian composer.
New in SJWEB
There is a new Video of a conversation between Fr Adam Zak SJ, the outgoing Regional Assistant for Central and Eastern Europe (ECO), and Fr Giuseppe Bellucci SJ, the director of Communication and Public Relations at the Curia. Follow the link for viewing. http://www.sjweb.info/video/index.cfm?LangTop=1&Publang or click on the video icon on the home page.