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Vol. XVII, N. 7 20 March 2013
VISIT WITH THE POPE FRANCIS OF MARCH 17th 2013
Here is the report of Father General.
"At the personal invitation of the Pope Francis I went to the Santa Marta House, that had been used for the Cardinals present at the Conclave at 5:30 p.m. He was at the entrance and received me with the usual Jesuit embrace. We had a few pictures taken, at his request, and at my apologies for not keeping protocol he insisted that I treat him like any other Jesuit at the "Tu" level, so I did not have to worry about addressing him as "Your Holiness," or "Holy Father" .
I offered him all our Jesuit resources because in his new position he is going to need counsel, thinking, persons, etc. He showed gratitude for this and at the invitation to visit us for lunch at the Curia he said he would oblige.
There was full commonality of feeling on several issues that we discussed and I remained with the conviction that we will work very well together for the service of the Church in the name of the Gospel.
There was calm, humor and mutual understanding about past, present and future. I left the Casa de Santa Marta convinced that the Pope will gladly count on our collaboration in the vineyard of the Lord. At the end he helped me with my coat and accompanied me to the door. That added a couple of salutes to me from the Swiss Guards there. A Jesuit embrace, once again, as the natural way to greet and send off a friend.
The Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works (DIR). In a letter of 8 March, Father General invites the whole Society "to reflect and pray about an important frontier for our universal mission: the Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works."
"Most of you know that, over the centuries the Popes have given many direct missions to the Society of Jesus, among which are 12 pontifical institutions in Rome currently entrusted to our care. I would like to bring to your special attention the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pontifical Oriental Institute, and the two colleges (the Bellarmino and the Gesù) where Jesuits reside while studying at these institutions. I invite all Jesuits from all Provinces and Regions to consider these institutions as our shared mission and responsibility. Even more, I would like to ask that all Jesuits regard these institutions as "a priority among the priorities of the apostolates of the Society of Jesus," to use the words of Pope-Emeritus Benedict XVI when he visited the Gregorian University in 2006."
After referring to the signs of hope and development of the Church, the letter continues: "I am convinced that, among the many ways we serve the Church, one of the best is through institutions that form leaders for the universal Church, people who will help lead the Church to become more truly what it is called to be by Christ: a humble servant of humanity; a sacrament of the compassion and mercy of Christ in the world; an inspiring herald of the Good News. It is precisely because of the great possibilities that the Roman Houses and Works give us to contribute to this renewal of the universal Church that GC 35, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, and I have insisted that these Roman institutions are a universal apostolic preference of the whole Society."
Father Nicolás then recalls the work of the Gregorian University, the Biblicum and the Orientale and the opportunities that these institutions offer to the diocesan clergy from around the world and to our scholastics who reside at the Gesù and Bellarmino, and from this they experience "the catholicity of the Church" and they build "networks of international friendship and collaboration". Thus,"It is a privilege for the Society to be entrusted by the Roman Pontiff with this great opportunity for serving in the ongoing renewal of the universal Church. So I ask the entire Society to embrace the mission of the Roman institutions with joy and generosity. This may require a change of heart and mind among some of us with regard to these works." He then concludes: "For all these reasons, I urge the Major Superiors to continue to send some of the Society's best men to be professors and administrators in our Roman institutions, even if it means sacrifice on the part of the Provinces and Regions. Furthermore, for the sake of our future service of the Church, I also urge that even more of our gifted young men be sent for studies in these institutions and formation in the Gesù and Bellarmino communities."
From the Provinces
ALBANIA: Project-Memory for Schools
BURUNDI: AJAN Advocacy Meeting
Participants in a recent meeting on advocacy organised by the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN) came away with a renewed conviction that AIDS programmes need to be accompanied by coordinated advocacy initiatives at regional level. Seventeen people - Jesuits and their colleagues - came together for the AJAN meeting that was held from 2 to 5 March at the Emmaus Spiritual Centre in Bujumbura, Burundi. The meeting aimed and managed to develop shared advocacy plans on three focus areas: access to treatment, orphans and vulnerable children and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). The participants came from ten sub-Saharan African countries, where most reach out to people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and work to prevent the further spread of HIV. AJAN was happy to welcome four representatives from the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), who shared their expertise and experience. Amid much lively debate, the participants identified the specific issues they wanted to advocate for and came up with detailed but realistic plans to follow this through over the next two to three years. AJAN hopes to implement these plans in close collaboration with JRS and with Jesuit social centres in Africa and Madagascar.
KENYA: Providing a Safety Net for the Vulnerables
On a sunny morning at the end of February, St Theresa's Church Hall in Eastleigh, Nairobi, comes alive as people slowly trickle inside. A mixed crowd of men and women, each carrying a small bag, waited for the last meeting of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) initiative for urban refugees running small businesses in the Kenyan capital. The 45 beneficiaries of the JRS Nairobi Urban Project, received food and material assistance as a way of providing a safety net while they invested in their businesses (income-generating activities IGAs). The four month initiative, which ended last month, was launched after a study conducted by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and the Danish Refugee Council in May 2012 revealed that refugee-run IGAs in Nairobi were not expanding. The survey found the income earned was only enough to meet the basic needs of refugees, and was not invested back into the businesses. It recommended refugees receive food and material support for four months, giving them space to invest their profits. Integration into the host community was another key component of the programme. As urban refugees live among Kenyans, in frequently very marginalized communities; the inclusion of five Kenyans in the group strengthened interdependence of national and refugee communities, helping avoid ideas that refugees are favored over locals. For more information: www.jrs.net (dispatches, n. 334).
POLAND: The Jesuit Social Volunteering
The Jesuit Social Volunteering ("Jezuicki Wolontariat Spoleczny" - JWS) has just finished its first year. The core idea is to take care of refugees located in Poland. This country is not a dream for refugees but for many of them it is the only one place to be in Europe. They have two options: to remain or to be extradited. This situation creates a growing group of people who want to stay. The majority of them are refugees from Africa. They live in the open camps build for refugees in and around Warsaw. Despite the basic needs are provided by the governmental organizations the refugees are completely lost without any care and help. This emptiness is a basic platform for JWS. With the help of students (volunteers) it is possible to create a system of support to the people who are waiting for permission to stay in Poland. Each of them has a Polish companion (usually students) who teaches how to speak in Polish and help them to share with everyday problems: health care, housing search, finding a job, buy a seasonal clothing. At the Narbutta Street (the Jesuit house is located there), is provided a space where they can meet together, have a Polish language lessons, participate at Mass and also have an access to the internet, etc.. At the international level, there are two groups who are preparing now for volunteering in the Jesuit missions. One consists of students from all over Poland. They are preparing to build a "learning centre" in Nepal. The second group is preparing for holiday volunteering in Kyrgyzstan. Most of the volunteers come from Jesuit chaplaincies student groups.
SPAIN: The 2013 Javieradas
Spain: New Master Degree in Ignatian Spirituality. The next academic year 2013-2014, at the Universidad Pontificia de Comillas (Madrid), premieres the Ignatiana Masters degree: a Masters requiring 60 credit monograph units on Ignatian spirituality. It consists of seven modules and a total of 60 unit credits. Modules can be studied as individual units. The master's offers an overview of the origins/history, theology and Ignatian spirituality and well as the main challenges facing our world today initiated by Ignatius of Loyola: Ignatian leadership, faith and justice, culture, formation of Ignatian laity, Ignatian apostolic networks, the adaptations of the Spiritual Exercises to diverse contexts, inculturation of Ignatian spirituality, etc. Supported by a group of specialist teachers in diverse Ignatian themes and support by an excellent and easily accessible library, the Comillas Pontifical University in Cantoblanco Campus hosts this new master to provide a service to the Society of Jesus and many lay groups and Ignatian religious wishing to deepen the richness of the charism in the sixteenth century that began with St. Ignatius of Loyola and his first companions. Information: www.upcomillas.es/masterignatiana .