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Vol. XVIII, No. 6 20 March 2014
On February 3rd Father General signed the Decree of incorporation of the Dependent Region of Micronesia (MIC) into the Province of New York (NYK). The decree will be effective from March 25.
Meeting of Provincials 2015. On 12 March, Father General sent a letter to all Major Superiors convoking the next meeting of Provincials. "The 34th General Congregation," writes Father General, "in its decree 23 (C4) asked the Superior General to convoke a meeting of all Provincials approximately every six years beginning from the last General Congregation, in order to consider the state, the problems and the initiatives of the universal Society, as well as international and supra-Provincial cooperation. Accordingly, after having discussed the matter with my Councilors, I hereby convoke a Meeting of Provincials, from January 18 to January 25, 2015, at Yogyakarta (Indonesia)." The choice of Indonesia, writes Father General, will be a "unique opportunity to become aware of the challenges that interfaith dialogue presents to the Society in its service to the whole Church and to mankind."
FROM THE CURIA
Meeting of the Conference Delegates for Formation. The Delegates for Formation from the six Conferences are at the General Curia in Rome, from March 17 to 20, for a meeting organized by Fr. José Magadia, General Counsellor for Formation. This is the first time such a meeting is being held, and it will focus on several critical formation issues, including the recent document on the intellectual formation of Jesuits. The six are Fathers Gratian Carlo (KHM) from South Asia, David Godleski (CDT) from the US, Alessandro Manaresi (ITA) from Europe, Patrick Mulemi (ZAM) from Africa, Norris Seenivasan (MAS) from Asia-Pacific, and Juan Miguel Zaldua (VEN) from Latin America.
Meeting of CLC Executive Council. The Executive Council of the World Christian Life Community (CLC) held its meeting in Rome from 16 to 22 February 2014. The focus of the meeting was to follow up on the recommendations of the World Assembly held in Lebanon in August 2013. The Assembly at Lebanon had recommended that CLC engage in the four frontiers of Family, Ecology, Poverty and Youth. At the meeting in Rome, council members discussed ways in which CLC groups could meaningfully respond to these frontiers at both the individual and communitarian level. Another broad area discussed was that of CLC Identity. In relation to this, topics about Ongoing Formation, Collaboration, Membership and Wisdom Language were raised. The discussion on wisdom language was initiated by Father Adolfo Nicolás who pointed to the need for new ways of proclaiming the faith today. He encouraged CLC members to use their Ignatian formation to discover and reveal the presence of God at the heart of all reality.
Pope Francis has appointed:
- Father Francis Serrao bishop of Shimoga (India). Father Serrao, at present Provincial of the Karnataka Province (India), was born in 1959, entered de Society of Jesus in 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1992.
Father General has appointed:
- Father Jakub Kolacz S.J. Provinciale of the Southern Poland Province. Father Kolacz, at present Socius and Secretary to the Provincial, was born in 1970, entered the Society of Jesus in 1988 and was ordained a priest in 1999.
- On 17 March, has been announced that Father General will appoint Father Francisco José Ruiz Pérez S.J. as the Provincial of Spain on 21 June, the same day on which the new Province of Spain will be established. Over the past few years, Father Ruiz Pérez was the coordinator of the process which has led to the unification of the five Provinces. Fr. Ruiz Pérez was born in 1961, entered the Society of Jesus in 1981, and was ordained a priest in 1994.
FROM THE PROVINCES
AUSTRALIA: Launch of the "Bamboo Community"
Bamboo is a virtual community open to all who seek to live a life of deep connection with others and all creation, grounded in the mystery that underpins our lives. Members of the community seek to be "contemplatives in action." They affirm life, love and justice through their commitment to the following foundational principles: simple living, solidarity and contemplation. Bamboo has its roots in the Ignatian, Catholic, Christian tradition. It is for anyone who seeks to live a life of integrity and purpose and who wishes to connect with others in this endeavour. For more information and for those who wish to join this virtual community: http://www.bamboocommunity.com/
CAMBODIA: Jesuit Educational Project
The Jesuit education project in Cambodia will be located in Sisophon, in the Banteay Meanchey Province. In a letter to members and collaborators of the Cambodia mission, Fr. Francisco Oh In-don S.J., the Delegate of the Korean Provincial to the Cambodia Mission, wrote: "it was very clear that we Jesuits should serve poor children first". Fr Oh explained that he chose Sisophon over Battambang because it has many fewer educational opportunities. "The city itself is poorer. Battambang is already the location of two reputable schools, the Salesian and Borey Schools. In Sisophon there is nothing. This is the most important reason for my decision." The school will be named Xavier Jesuit School. One reason for this is that St Francis Xavier is the Patron Saint of the Sisophon Parish. Another is that Xavier is the name of many Jesuit schools and institutions throughout the world. And, as Fr. Oh noted, "anyone who hears this name will recognize that it is affiliated with the international Society of Jesus." The land has already been bought. Ham Toeun SJ, the first Khmer scholastic, is doing his regency in Banteay Meanchey Province, and laying the groundwork for this Jesuit education project. Sch Toeun is working with the project director, Fr. Ashley Evans S.J. He has negotiated the purchase of 15 hectares of land outside the town of Svay Sisophon. Sch Toeun is excited about the project. "The school project is very important for Cambodia. The country really needs the fruit from good quality education. I know that Cambodian children are very hungry for good education right now." Toeun also helps in the hostel for high school students attached to the Sisophon Church.
ITALY: A Stamp for Martino Martini
On 8 March, the Italian Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp to celebrate the fourth centenary of the birth of the Jesuit missionary, Martino Martini. He was one of the most representative figures of that group of Jesuits who opened up a contemporary relationship between Chinese and western culture in the seventeenth century. The self-adhesive stamp has a value of 0.85 Euro. It depicts an anonymous seventeenth century painting of the missionary in Chinese clothes with a map in his hands. For Martino Martini was the author of the first modern atlas of China. The Novus Atlas Sinensis was published in Amsterdam in 1655. The background of the stamp is a map taken from this atlas. Martini was born in 1614, and was ordained a priest in Lisbon. In 1642, he arrived in Macau before settling in the Chinese city of Hangzhou. He died there in 1661. Using a western model, he also wrote the first modern Chinese Mandarin grammar, as well as an historical treatise on ancient China.
MALTA: JRS Report on Human Rights Abuses
Asylum seekers should not be returned to Libya for any reason because their safety, lives and freedoms are at risk. In Libya, they have virtually no chance of getting protection, even though the Gaddafi regime has collapsed. This is the core and unequivocal conclusion of Beyond Imagination, a Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Malta publication. It documents the experiences of asylum seekers who arrive in Malta via Libya. "In this publication we wanted to highlight the consequences for asylum seekers when they return to Libya. We publish the stories we hear repeatedly after they arrive in Malta. Most have suffered horrific abuse, which includes indefinite detention in miserable conditions, beatings, rape and other forms of sexual abuse. They are denied the possibility of obtaining any kind of protection," said Katrine Camilleri, JRS Director in Malta. "So we are reiterating our call to the government. We ask the government to refrain from actions that will result, directly or indirectly, in the return of migrants to Libya until the situation there has drastically improved, and the Libyan government has put in place effective measures to safeguard human rights and guarantee access to protection in practice." The JRS publication is based on interviews with asylum seekers from Eritrea and Somalia. In the words of one of them, life for sub-Saharan African asylum seekers in Libya is "beyond imagination". Conditions are so bad that asylum seekers prefer to die than to return. For more information: www.jrs.net
SPAIN: Jesuits in Northern and Central Europe
On 6 March 2014, the Historical Institute of CSIC (Higher Council of Scientific Research) and Comillas University in Madrid organized an international workshop. Its theme was The Religious and Cultural Contribution of Ibero-American Jesuits to Northern and Central Europe. From the 16th to the 18th centuries, Jesuits from Spain, Portugal and Latin America were active in the Baltic and Scandinavian countries, and in the northern and central parts of Europe. The cultural and religious impact they had in these regions was enormous. The workshop set out to place Jesuits in the perspective of cultural history. It went beyond the more narrow historiographical traditions, which tend to focus on provinces, colleges, institutional procedures, and the biographies of leading figures. Jesuits exerted a major influence for three distinct, but closely-related reasons. Firstly, Jesuits were of major importance because of the diplomatic missions with which they were entrusted by both the Holy See and the Spanish and Portuguese governments. Secondly, they were prominent because of the institutional presence of the Order in those areas. Lastly, Jesuits were significant in the intellectual and cultural endevours of the post-Tridentine era.
U.S.A.: Communal Prayer Experience
US Jesuits invite all to participate in Moved to Greater Love, a digital, communal Lenten/Easter prayer experience. The program runs for nine weeks, beginning the week of Ash Wednesday and concluding after the second week of Easter. Moved to Greater Love will emphasize individual prayer and reflection, incorporating four specific graces: gratitude, spiritual freedom, vision, and joy. A two-week period is dedicated to each grace. A Sunday introduces and explains the grace that is being sought. Daily online presentations will offer questions for reflection, a reading, as well as some multimedia content. Reflections will be posted on the Jesuits' national website, www.Jesuits.org. Those interested may sign up for a daily email link to the online content. "This is the first time the Society has done something on a national level where we've invited Jesuits, those who work with us in our ministries, and anyone who's interested in a deeper Lenten experience to join with us in prayer," said Fr Thomas H Smolich SJ, the President of the Jesuit Conference. "As the Society of Jesus looks to the future, being grounded in prayer helps us respond to God's call with greater spiritual depth and freedom." For more information, visit Moved to Greater Love at: www.Jesuits.org/GreaterLove and follow the Jesuit Conference on Facebook and Twitter for daily Moved to Greater Love updates.
VENEZUELA: Against Violence
In response to the difficult situation of Venezuela, the Director General of the Fe y Alegría Movement has issues a statement. It is entitled Ya Basta (Enough!). It describes the situation in Venezuela. "The country is experiencing pain, suffering, distress, violence, fear, intimidation, repression and death. The conflict is intensifying at a pace that will soon render it uncontrollable. We have to transcend polarization and divisions, and denounce the use of violence. We must stop the violence, wherever it comes from. There must be no violence, neither in the protests nor in their suppression." He continues: "We support the various initiatives of dialogue. These must be based on mutual respect, and lead to effective peace arrangements. We support the call of Pope Francis to end all violence and hostilities, so that 'the Venezuelan people, trusting in their political and institutional figures, will unite to promote national reconciliation through mutual forgiveness and sincere dialogue. With respect for truth and justice, they will be able to address specific issues in the light of the common good.' We urge the various sectors of the population to play an active role in working for peace and justice. We, Fe y Alegría, want to be a meeting place for all parties. As a movement of popular education, we will continue to form people involved in building a country which is free from violence, a lover of peace, and where there will be room for everyone. It is essential to act quickly, before the anarchy and violence become uncontrollable."
1814-2014 RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOCIETY
New material online on the Bicentenary in the website of ARSI (Rome):
- On the Jesuits in Russia in 1780s.
Asia Pacific. Jesuits across Asia Pacific have planned various activities to commemorate the bicentennial of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus. Symposia, seminars and assemblies are planned, as well as reflections and retreats and community celebrations. On 12 March, the Matteo Ricci Institute in Macau held a seminar which focused on understanding the Suppression in Europe, and which reflected on the Suppression from the perspective of the Chinese Province (see our Bulletin, no.5, 5 March 2014). The Institute will also host a 3-day international symposium in October. This will focus on the history of the Restoration in East-Central Europe, Russia, China and the United States. There will also be a three-day symposium in Hong Kong. The Korean Jesuits are also planning a symposium in the second half of the year, and all communities will set aside time for reflection and renewal. The Malaysia-Singapore Region will hold a seminar with lay collaborators in May, with Jesuit historian Fr Tony de Castro SJ as the keynote speaker, and a retreat will follow later in the year. The Japan Province will mark the anniversary with Province assemblies: on 31 July for the Jesuits in the western area, and on 26 December for those residing in Tokyo. The Australian Province will be publishing various writings on the Suppression and Restoration, while the Thai Region is translating some Jesuit books into Thai. In Indonesia, papers from a seminar held in December 2013 have been published in book form for lay partners. A reflection gathering is planned in Yogyakarta in March. In July and October, there will be celebrations with lay partners. For the Philippine Province, the bicentennial is an opportune time to develop the Province roadmap. Several activities are planned throughout the year, including conferences and talks on the Suppression and Restoration of the Society, art exhibits, plays, a roadshow of Jesuit music, and a major concert. A video, 200 Years after Restoration, was produced and released in January. In 2014, the Vietnam Province also celebrates the 400th anniversary of the arrival of Jesuits in the country. For the bicentennial, the Vietnamese Jesuits have planned Province retreats, a study on Jesuit history, recollection for collaborators, and a talk in the scholasticate. Myanmar and Timor Leste will mark the anniversary with retreats.