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Vol. XVII, No. 29 18 December 2013
From the Curia
Evangelii Gaudium. In these weeks, during the daily morning meetings, Father General and his counsellors are focusing on the themes expressed in Pope Francis 'apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. The analysis of the text proceeds chapter by chapter, looking for the main passages and the messages of the document. The aim of this work is to find references, reflections and implications that the Papal exhortation may offer to the commitment of the Society of Jesus.
Father General has appointed:
- Father John J. Cecero, of the Maryland Province, Provincial of New York Province (NYK), Father Cecero, formally Rector of Spellman Hall, Bronx, was born in 1958, entered the Society of Jesus in 1976 and was ordained a priest in 1989.
- Father Robert M. Hussey, Provincial of the Maryland Province (MAR). Father Hussey, at present Superior of the Jesuit Community of Eastern North Carolina, Raleigh, was born in 1961, entered the Society of Jesus in 1989 and was ordained a priest in 2000.
From the Provinces
ASIA PACIFIC: Environment Outlook 2013
The Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) has published an environmental report that presents a brief overview of key environmental concerns, advocacy initiatives, events, policies and discoveries in Asia Pacific. Titled "Environment Outlook 2013", the report, based on the responses of Jesuits and collaborators in reconciling with creation, is the fruit of visits and levels of engagement with Jesuit Provinces, institutes and schools in this part of the world in the last months. Fr Pedro Walpole SJ, JCAP Coordinator for Reconciliation with Creation, said the report was produced to encourage all to analyze it with regard to its coverage of respective areas, keep reporting levels of initiatives, and be able to highlight areas in different Provinces in which there is a particular call to respond. Reconciliation with Creation has been a priority engagement for the Conference for the last three years. Fr Walpole said that during this time, there has been significant growth in ecological responses particularly from scholastics who increasingly pay attention to waste management, energy and water audit and other resources. Schools are also factoring Reconciliation with Creation in their management, and keeping awareness up and information flowing to all staff, faculty and students. In the area of youth education, there are a number of "sustainable courses" emerging. See the Report on: http://sjapc.net/content/environment-outlook-2013
INDIA: Golden Jubilee of the Indian Social Institute
The Indian Social Institute (ISI) has organized the final celebrations of its Golden Jubilee during the first week of December. A national seminar on the theme "Breaking New Paths for Inclusive Development" was organized on December 5 and 6 in Bangalore, while a religious celebration was held on the evening of December 6. The inaugural function of the seminar was presided over by Fr. Edward Muduvassery, Provincial of Jesuits, South Asia, and Syeda Hameed, member of Planning Commission, delivered the keynote address. About twenty scholarly papers were presented at the seminar on different topics, including development debate; labour and workforce development; gender and development; human rights and development; civil society and development activism; ecological concerns and management of natural resources; children and development. About 100 academicians and activists from across the country took part in the program. A documentary on Indian Social Institute directed by Gopal Menon will also released. The Indian Social Institute, Delhi (ISI-D) was established in 1951 as a response of the Society of Jesus to the dreams and needs of the newly independent Indian nation. In 1993, the training centre in Bangalore was registered as an independent NGO (Non-Governmental Organizations), engaged in three major activities- training, outreach, research and publication. The thrust areas of the Institute are human rights, gender equity, livelihood issues, secularism and ecological issues.
INDIA: Insurance for Migrants
The Xavier Institute of Management and Research, (XIMR) in Mumbai has designed a unique financial solution to help migrant tribal people in Mumbai, India's financial capital. The scheme, designed in collaboration with the Chotanagpur Migrant Tribal Development Network (CMTD) and Mumbai-based Jesuit social center Seva Niketan, is expected to help over 20,000 migrant tribal people from Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal live in Mumbai. "It is running a pilot project to encourage monthly savings, incentivizing them with medical and health insurance for their family members," said press release from XIMR director, Father Paul Vaz S.J. The post-pilot ecosystem will consist of banks, insurance and healthcare companies. "The business solution is built on the premise that the livelihood of people at the bottom of the pyramid improves when they get access to finance," Father Vaz explained.
ITALY: Recognition for Father Zucol
The city of Sarnonico conferred the honorary citizenship to his fellow citizen Father Lino Zucol, aged 97, missionary in Southern India since 1948. Born in Sarnonico (Trento) on February 8, 1916, Father Zucol was ordained a priest on March 9, 1940 and joined the Society of Jesus in 1943. He left for India in April 1948 and there he worked in favor of the poor and the evangelization. In the newly independent India, he devoted his life to teach how to build houses that can hold out against the monsoon rains, to dig wells, to cultivate rubber, mango, pepper, coffee. He worked to spread the right to education, health care and property against the exploitation of powerful. "The strength of Fr. Lino's mission is measured by the numbers, says Nadia Tecini, city councilor of Sarnonico: 7000 houses built for Christian people, more than 30 parishes started, 600 sisters Servants of the Poor, a congregation he founded together with Sister Petra Moanigmann, dozens of schools opened and much more, thanks to donations arriving from Italy, Switzerland, Germany." There is no lack of work for Father Lino who at 97 continues with the enthusiasm of a young man. Nadia Tecini adds: "Everyone in India loves him and every morning in front of his small house there is a line of people asking him different things: a house, a goat, a sewing machine and he always tries to please everyone."
JAPAN: When Fr. Bergoglio Said to me: "Go!"
Renzo De Luca was born in Larroque City, Argentina, in 1963. In 1981, he entered the Society of Jesus and four years later he was sent to Japan. Today he is the director of the Museum of the twenty-six martyrs of Nagasaki, the most important Japanese Christian museum that, among other things, retains some original letters of St. Francis Xavier. Few people know that to send De Luca to Japan was the former Provincial of the Jesuits in Argentina and rector of the College of San Miguel, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. "At first, when I asked to be sent on a mission to the Far East I was convinced that Bergoglio would have said no," Fr. Renzo confessed with a smile in a long interview to the Osservatore Romano. "At that time, he says, he was my spiritual director and once he said to me: 'Renzo, did you ask to go to Japan?'. I answered yes. And he said: 'Have you an idea of what to expect?' I thought he did not agree. But it was some kind of a test". And with regard to his mission in Japan he added: "I think that to stay here is a way to continue the mission Bergoglio inspired to me. Then there is an ideal bond between Pope Francis and the first Jesuit here in Japan. St. Francis Xavier agreed that a Japanese named Lorenzo joined the Society of Jesus. The fact that he was a Japanese was in itself a revolutionary act. However, Lorenzo was an old man and even blind, and did not know Spanish. Nonsense for that time. Nevertheless, what was interesting for Xavier was the spirit of that man - who was a great orator - not his material condition, in a word, the appearance. Therefore, I think Bergoglio has the same approach toward others. Francis Xavier went against the conventions of the Society of Jesus of that time; in the same way Bergoglio can bring unexpected changes in the church."
PHILIPPINES: Jesuits Prepare a Survival Kit
As the Jesuits in the Philippines continue to distribute aid to the victims of Typhoon Haiyan (locally called Yolanda), researchers at their university in Davao City (southern Philippines) are already designing a survival kit that will help people stay alive longer, whenever similar disasters strike in the future. Learning from Typhoon Haiyan and previous devastating storms, the engineering department of Ateneo de Davao University has designed a survival kit that includes a solar-powered lamp, a mobile phone charger and a water purifier. The Jesuits founded the university in 1948. "One of the key lessons we learned from Yolanda and Pablo (the 2012 typhoon that devastated the Visayas) is that when a strong storm flattens the area, light and water are out," says Lourdesita Sobrevega-Chan, head of the research department at the university. "So, our engineers experimented with the solar panels, and developed a 24-hour survival kit, integrating all these things necessary for people to survive the aftermath of the typhoon." The local Jesuit-led relief agency in the Philippines, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan (SLB), has used Ateneo de Davao University as a collection and distribution centre for goods received, as well as local schools. An SLB statement has thanked "all those who volunteered, who shared their resources through donations and logistical support, who spent their time with us and who continue to support us in our mission."
UKRAINE: The Jesuit Presence
There are only ten Jesuits working now in Ukraine. Despite the fact, they are engaged in a great number of activities while trying to serve in the context of the local church. By the end of October, they managed to activate a new website of Jesuits in Ukraine (www.jesuits.org.ua) where they share news, write blogs and broaden a "Jesuit" culture on the Internet.
Jesuits in Lviv are involved in formation processes of other religious orders of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church. They organize Ignatian retreats, conferences, meetings and serve in the field of spiritual direction. There were a couple of conferences in November organized by the young Jesuits in formation. Fr. Andriy Zelinskyy SJ, who's working at his PhD in Political Sciences at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Kyiv, took part in organizing and conducting a conference at the university on the topic of "Eurointegrational Perspectives of Ukraine: Hopes and Challenges", attended by the Head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Svyatoslav, as well as the Papal Nuncio, a Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, politicians and representatives of the civil societies.
We wish all our friends and readers a Merry Christmas
and a New Year filled with joy and peace.
The Press and Information Office notes that the next Electronic Bulletin
will appear around the middle of January 2014.
In February it will resume its regular Bulletins.