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    Vol. XVII, No. 11 19 April 2013

    From the Curia

     

    From 22 to 26 April, the annual meeting of the Social Coordinators of the Jesuit Conferences will be held in Rome. At this meeting, participants will discuss the networking which is developing within and between the Conferences. Networking offers opportunities to respond to the challenges which go beyond provincial boundaries. Networking enables collaboration in initiatives which deal with advocacy on behalf of the poor. It strengthens commitment at the local level, where energy is most evident and credibility most important. During the meeting, participants will discuss the current situation in regard to networking.  The meeting will also consider how past experience can help networking to develop in the future.

     

    Communications and Public Relations.  From 22 to 26 April, there will be a meeting centered on the Communications' and Public Relations' Office of the General Curia.  During the first two days, the Advisory Board will discuss new information technologies, and how the Social Media could be of relevance at the General Curia.  With a view to improving their quality, the Board will also evaluate the current commitments of the Office, including the Yearbook, and the digital bulletin.  On 25 and 26 April, the personnel in charge of the communication's sector of the Society's Conferences of Provincials will gather to exchange views, and to devise closer collaboration between the office in Rome and those of the Conferences.  This is the first time that this group has met.  Particular attention will be given to the experience of the Italian Province in the area.  On April 24, the Advisory Board and the communicators of the Conferences will meet together to share views, and to explore specifically how the "Society may network more effectively at the international level."  This discussion will be led by Fr Dani Villaneuva, the assistant director of Fundación Entreculturas in Madrid.

     


    From the Provinces

     

    AFRICA: Jesuits Against Weapons

    The Jesuit Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative aims to raise the awareness of international public opinion on the crisis in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and to monitor the flow of weapons that feeds the war in that region.  The Jesuit Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative consists of a group of African organizations associated with the Society of Jesus.  According to a statement issued by the Catholic agency Fides, these organizations met at the end of March.  They evaluate initiatives which promote joint action in raising awareness of the crisis of the Great Lakes area.  "For almost 20 years - says the statement - conflicts and wars have affected millions of men, women, and children in the Great Lakes region.  In the East of DRC, two million people continue to suffer because of massive displacement, and daily violations of human rights.  These include sexual violence, and the recruitment of child soldiers."  The proliferation of the illicit trafficking of weapons is one of the causes of this conflict.  The Initiative recognizes efforts made by the international community, but it believes that "no significant steps have been taken to eradicate the causes of the conflict."  The Jesuit Great Lakes Advocacy Initiative grew out of these considerations. Through extensive research, the Initiative  hopes to raise awareness among all stakeholders in the region of the link between war and the proliferation of weapons, and to identify the origin of the flow of arms to the area.

     

    AUSTRALIA: First Jesuit Bishop Welcomes First Jesuit Pope

    Australia's first Jesuit bishop says the widespread interest in the election of Pope Francis highlights the continuing relevance of the Church, and its capacity to bring hope and promise to the world.  Bishop Gregory O'Kelly SJ, of the Port Pirie Diocese in South Australia, said that he has been inundated with calls from journalists wanting to know his reaction to the election of his brother Jesuit as Pope.  "In a time when abuses in the Church have dominated its portrayal in the media, the coverage given to Pope Benedict, and now to his successor Francis, shows well that for many, even beyond the Catholic community, the Church remains a sign of hope and promise", said Bishop O'Kelly.  He noted how the new Pope, taking his name from St Francis of Assisi, points to a desire for a more humble faith, and a Church more intimately connected with nature and with the vulnerable of the world.  However, as the Archbishop of a modern, westernized city, Pope Francis would also know the many challenges facing the Church in the 21st century.  "Remember that he has lived through the era of Eva Peron, and then the Junta of the Colonels, with their "dirty war" of abduction and murder, and the "mothers of the missing" staging their extraordinarily powerful weekly protests.  As Provincial of the Jesuits, he had to deal with the disappearance and presumed murder of some of his priests known for their opposition to the regime.  And in all this, it is always the poor and homeless who suffer most, and that is why he identified so closely with them as Archbishop."  Bishop O'Kelly noted that one of the tasks of the new Pope will be to address the need for reform at the Vatican, in terms of style and governance.  "May Pope Francis have the strength and determination to go against any tide that would seek to resist good change.  May he help the collegial dimension come again into the life of the Church."

     

    CHILE: The Election of the Jesuit Pope

    Fr. Eugenio Valenzuela, Provincial of Chile, wrote a reflection in the Santiago daily, El Mercurio, on the election of the Jesuit Pope.  Among other matters he noted: "Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ was not elected Pope because he is a Jesuit, but because the other cardinals saw spiritual and human qualities in him that make him suitable to lead the Church in these stormy times.  This is not to deny that he was shaped by Ignatian spirituality.  But the idea, that at his election Jesuits have come to power, that they have reached the top, that they have finally conquered the helm of the Church, is way off the mark.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  For us it is bewildering to receive congratulations on his election because he is a Jesuit, or to read current comments about this in the press.  The Petrine ministry, to which Fr Bergoglio has been chosen, is to serve the unity of the entire people of God, and not to serve the interests of a single group, a congregation or country."

     

    INDIA: Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection

    Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection is the premiere Catholic theological journal in India.  It is published from Vidyajyoti College of Theology, Delhi, and has just celebrated 75 years of service to the Church and the wider world.  In 1938, the Archbishop of Madras-Mylapore, Louis Mathias SDB, started The Clergy Monthly to help priests in their ministry of preaching, catechesis, and the pastoral care.  The journal also dealt with canon law matters.  It had its circulation among of the Catholics of what is today India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.  As its first editor, the archbishop managed to secure the collaboration of a number of theologians who were experts in different disciplines of theology.  In 1940, he entrusted the journal and its editorial responsibilities to the Jesuit Faculty at St Mary's College, Kurseong.  Thus the seedling, which was initially nourished in southern India, found a fertile field in the Himalayan Hills for further growth.  The Jesuit Faculty of St Mary's College (re-christened later as Vidyajyoti College of Theology at Delhi) has been faithfully carrying out the mission entrusted to it.  In pre-Vatican II days, the journal focused mainly on helping priests in their pastoral ministry.  After the Vatican II, the journal attempted to spread the message of the Council to all the people of God, and to become a platform of dialogue with people of other religions and secular traditions.  This change in the focus of the journal was expressed in the change of the name from the The Clergy Monthly to Vidyajyoti Journal of Theological Reflection.  The journal has always skillfully responded to the needs of time and guided its readers to a deeper faith which ever remains open to the changing times.

     

    INDIA: Goa to Invite Pope

    Officials of the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa are planning to invite Pope Francis for the 2014 exposition of the remains of the missionary Jesuit, St Francis Xavier.  The chances for the first Jesuit Pontiff to attend are "good", said Fr Savio Barreto, rector of the Basilica where the mortal remains of the saint are preserved.  He said that Basilica officials have received many enquiries about inviting the pope to the event.  During the celebrations, the relics of the saint, which are preserved in a silver casket elevated inside the Basilica, are exposed by being brought to ground level.  The exposition generally happens once every ten years: the previous exposition was held in December 2004, and it lasts for about one month.  And so, the next is due in November 2014.  "The chances of Pope Francis coming for the exposition look good.  He may not even need an invitation to visit the resting place of his fellow Jesuit brother," the priest said.  St Francis Xavier, who hailed from Navarra in the Basque region of Spain, brought Christianity to several parts of Asia.  He arrived in Goa, a Portuguese colony at the time, in 1542.  After his death in 1552, in Shangchuan, China, his body was first ferried to Malacca, in Malaysia, and one year later enshrined in the grand Basilica of Bom Jesus.  Every year, more than a million believers throng the church complex in Old Goa.

     

    ITALY: New Version of La Civiltà Cattolica

    On 5 April, the first issue of the revised edition of La Civiltà Cattolica was presented at a Press Conference at the Vatican Press Office in Rome. The event coincided with the anniversary of the publication of the first issue of the La Civiltà Cattolica, on 6 April 1850.  The journal is published by the Society of Jesus.  In the new version, La Civiltà Cattolica has had more than just a facelift.  The graphics, layout and content of the new version have been revised to respond to, and reflect both historical as well as contemporary concerns.  The new format sports a new cover, inspired by that in use until 1970, a new open source font, as well as a revised structure. The section entitled "Cronache" (Reports) is replaced with "Focus", containing critical studies which help to deepen our understanding of contemporary issues.  Issues dealing with politics, the law, economics, as well as with international and general societal themes will be addressed.  Reflections on the Church hold a permanent place at the heart of La Civiltà Cattolica.  New categories include "Profile" and "Interview".  The number of Jesuits, from the international Scoiety, who will contribute to the magazine will be greater, as will be the variety of topics covered.  Pope Francis well summarized the aims of La Civiltà Cattolica : "To bring together and express the expectations and needs of our time", and "to provide the context for discerning reality" with "a particular focus on truth, on goodness, and on beauty."  For the first time, the new version of La Civiltà Cattolica will be available in digital format on all tablets, with an app for iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Windows 8.  With one single subscription, readers will be able to access both the printed and digital formats.  An institutional Twitter account (@civcatt) and a Facebook page are also active (facebook.com/civiltacattolica).  In addition, with the help of Google, a new project will be launched where all issues published since 1850 will be accessible via the web.  Also planned is an instant digital book format which collects articles published on a number of relevant topics: this will provide readers with a comprehensive overview of how that topic has been treated over the years.  The Jesuits, who comprise the magazine's editorial staff, are convinced that - as Benedict XVI told them in 2006 - "the La Civiltà Cattolica, to be true to its nature and task, will need to be continually renewed."  See: www.laciviltacattolica.it

     

    ROME: The Pope Visits Ignatian Places

    In the afternoon of Sunday 14 April, at the end of the solemn celebration in which he took possession of the Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, Pope Francis went to the basilica's chapel of the crucifix.  That is where the XIII century icon of Our Lady Theotokos Hodigitria is preserved.  It is before this icon, on 22 April 1541, that Ignatius and the group of First Companions who were still in Rome (seven people in all, for three - Xavier, Rodriguez and Faber - were already on mission) pronounced their solemn profession in the Society of Jesus.  A few months earlier, the Formula of the Society of Jesus had been approved by the Pope.  And a few days earlier, Ignatius had accepted his election as Superior General of the Society of Jesus, by which the new order was officially established.  The Pope was accompanied by the concelebrants, the archpriest of the Basilica, Card Harvey, the two archpriests, emeritus Card Monterisi and Cordero Lanza di Montezemolo, and the Benedictine abbot of St Paul.  Pope Francis incensed the icon, and remained briefly in prayer.  It was the second Ignatian place in Rome which the Pope has visited: on the morning after his election, Pope Francis made a private visit to the Basilica of St Mary Major.  There he remained briefly in the Sistine Chapel, in whose crypt is the altar where Ignatius celebrated his first mass.

     

    ROME: Award to Father Federico Lombardi

    The Allianz Insurance Company has presented the award, "Most Effective Communicator of the Year" to Fr Federico Lombardi, the Director of the Press Office of the Holy See. Allianz has offices in over 70 countries, and 80 million customers worldwide. The award was presented on 18 April, as part of the international meeting of the company's Directors of Communications. The Directors meet annually in a European capital to consider issues related to world communication. In conferring the award, Allianz noted that Fr Lombardi "has the ability to understand and interpret the Holy See with great insight and experience, without imposing himself as a protagonist." It adds that the Director of the Press Office has always "presented information with an integrity which is extended both towards the body which he represents, and towards those who request information from him."