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Vol. XVIII, No. 9 4 April 2014
FROM THE CURIA
Tempo Forte. Father General, with his Council, is spending from April 3 to 5 in intense discussions (Tempo Forte). The main purpose will be to study the ex officio letters of 2014 which dealt with the important topic of how we live the service of reconciliation in the Society of Jesus. This meeting will finalise the agenda for the meeting of Major Superiors in Yogyakarta in January 2015. As part of the preparation for that meeting, the Council will prepare a response to the mandate given to Father General by General Congregation 35, to comprehensively review the structures of central governance and to prepare instruments to assist those in governance at every level to review implementation of and accountability for their responsibilities. The Council will also gather the fruits of recent international meetings of Jesuit and lay scholars on the intellectual apostolate, and of Delegates of Formation on the academic formation of scholastics and brothers, and study how central governance can promote a more effective integration of faith and justice in all our ministries.
The second meeting of the Catholic School Networks Serving Low Income Learners (CSNL) was held in Lima, Peru from 19 to 22 March 2014. The Secretariat for Secondary and Pre-secondary education coordinated the meeting. The purpose of the gathering was to create a task force to propose ways in which technological tools can enhance the common missions of Fe y Alegría, Jesuit Refugee Services (secondary education), and the Cristo Rey Network. After sharing its experiences, and exploring many ideas, the group developed a one-year plan to focus on two areas: teacher effectiveness and job training. Task force members will collaborate over the year to identify tools, to share their uses, and to determine their impact.
Father General has appointed:
- Father Patrick Magro Provincial of Malta (MAL). Father Magro, at present acting Chaplain of the University of Malta, was born in 1969, entered the Society of Jesus in 1989, and was ordained a priest in 2000.
- Father Paramasivam Stanislaus Amalraj Provincial of Andhra Pradesh Province (AND), India. Father Analraj, at present field director of JRS-Nepal, was born in 1943, entered the Society of Jesus in 1959, and was ordained a priest in 1973.
- Father Stanislaus J. D'Souza Provincial of the Karnataka Province (KAR), India. Father D'Souza, at present rector of St. Joseph's College (Jesuit Nivas), Bangalore, was born in 1965, entered the Society of Jesus in 1984, and was ordained a priest in 1999.
FROM THE PROVINCES
ALBANIA: Teachers' Day
7 March is the "Celebration of Teachers" day in Albania. It commemorates the opening of the first public school on 7 March 1889, in the southern Albanian town of Korça. This year Atë Pjetër Meshkalla high school in Shkodra (which, together with six other Italian schools, is part of the Jesuit educational network) marked the celebration over two days. On Thursday 6 March, during the last two hours of lesson time, students prepared a feast for their teachers in the school playground. Sweets, drinks, music, songs, dances and football games marked this time together. On Friday 7 March, the school's teachers visited their colleagues in the Loyola Gymnasium in Prizren, Kosovo. A joint lunch, which included pleasant conversation, followed the visit. Two teams of teachers challenged each other to a football game. The encounter helped to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the teachers of the two schools. They have known each other for the past ten years, and have been involved in a number of joint activities. On Saturday 15 March, the education committee of the Shkodra school travelled to Prizren for a teacher training day. This is part of a two-year training program in which another school in Shkodra and the school in Lezha join their Shkodra and Prizren counterparts.
BELGIUM: Pax Christi International Peace Award to JRS
The 2014 Pax Christi International Peace Prize was awarded to the Jesuit Refugee Service Syria (JRS Syria) for its outstanding dedication in providing emergency relief to Syrians since the war began in 2011. The award was established in 1988, and is funded by the Cardinal Bernardus Alfrink Peace Fund. It honors individuals and organizations who work for peace, justice and non-violence in different parts of the world. JRS Syria belongs to JRS International. Its mission is to accompany, to serve and to advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons. JRS began its work in the Middle East and North Africa in 2008. It responded to the large number of Iraqi refugees who were fleeing the conflict in their country. In response to the violent events which erupted in Syria in 2011, JRS Syria now mainly focuses on emergency relief to those in greatest need. It also provides medical support, and educational activities to enhance reconciliation between, and co-existence among people from different socio-economic and faith backgrounds. Currently, JRS emergency relief consists of food support, the provision of hygiene kits and non-food items, basic healthcare, shelter management, and rent support. Educational and psycho-social support is fundamental to the mission of JRS Syria. This is offered to 9,800 children and women. In total, JRS helps more than 300,000 people in Damascus, Homs, Aleppo and the coastal areas of Syria. For more information: http://www.paxchristi.net/news/pax-christi-international-peace-award-2014
INDIA: Invitation For Catholics to Wake Up
Narendra Modi, leader of the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) Hindu fundamentalist Party, is one of the main candidates to become Prime Minister of India after the political elections this month. Fr Cedric Prakash is a Jesuit and human rights activist. In a meeting of the Catholic Association of Goa in Margao, he warned that, if Narendra Modi were to become Prime Minister, he would bring the entire country under a draconian anti-conversion law which would undermine the freedom of religion. In 2003, while he was Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi passed the anti-conversion law, making it mandatory to seek permission from the district Collector to change one's religion. Fr Prakash is the director of Prashant, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace. He said that the current talk about the Hindu state and Hindu nation is divisive, especially when the people of India opted for a secular state and enshrined this in the Indian Constitution. Fr Prakash criticized the media for creating hype around Modi, noting the media has compromised on its principles. "The people in Gujarat are living in fear. The lives of their families have been ruined," he claimed. "We should never fear anyone. Jesus urges us to fear no one. I am not a politician. I will go and vote according to my conscience," he said. The media later asked Fr Cedric what message he was giving to Goans, when he asked them to wake up before it is too late. He advised Goans to join mainstream political life, and to take an active part in what is taking place.
INDIA: Restoration of an Old Observatory
St Xavier's College, Kolkata, has a new addition to the present campus. In March 2014, Fr Felix Raj SJ, Principal of the College, inaugurated the re-commissioned astronomy and solar observatories at the College. The new observatories were dedicated to the memory of Fr Eugene Lafont. This observatory is one of the oldest on the sub-continent. Fr Lafont was a renowned scientist and professor of St. Xavier's College. Fr Lafont was known as the "Father of Modern Science in India." He established the observatory in 1865. The observatory hit the headlines in November 1865, when it predicted a severe cyclone, and this foreknowledge saved hundreds of lives. It was listed in the Observatories of the World, and had a close association with the Vatican Observatory. While it is one of the oldest in the country, it is definitely the oldest and biggest established on an educational campus. The observatory has been out of commission for most of the past eight years. The present Principal decided to rebuild it: he added a new dome and a modern telescope. The present dome is larger than the original one, with a diameter of 24 feet and a height of 15 feet. The 14 inch Celestron telescope makes it the largest in the country. It rotates on both sides, and has a slit opening which increases the telescope's field of vision. The observatory has an advanced hemispherical rotating motorized dome which will be used for night observation. The smaller solar observatory, with its electrically operated retractable sliding roof, will be used for daytime observation. Attached to it, this unit has an experimental facility and an adjoining computer laboratory for analysis and documentation.
ITALY: Pope Francis in a Nutshell
Popoli, the international missionary monthly magazine of the Italian Jesuits, unpacks and comments on nine words and key phrases of Pope Francis. They range from "doing mercy" ("misericordiando") to "the globalization of indifference", from "peripheries" to "shepherds with the smell of the sheep". These phrases, as well as a number of others, were the bases of an evening event organized by the magazine in Milan on 12 March. This coincided with the eve of the first anniversary of the Pope's election. This occasion generated an e-book: "Francis in a Nutshell: The Jesuit Pope in Nine Key Words." The book (cost 4.49 euro) is available on the EMI publisher's website, as well as from other major Italian and foreign digital libraries. The sociologist on migration, Maurizio Ambrosini, comments on the Pope's appeal on Lampedusa: "No to the Globalization of Indifference". The journalist Maurizio Chierici, an expert on Latin America, focuses on "From the End of the Earth". Guido Dotti, a monk from the Bose community unpacks "The Scandal of the Divisions Between Christians", while the Jesuit biblical scholar, Silvano Fausti, explores the theme of "Shepherds with the Smell of the Sheep." Miriam Giovanzana, the editor of the Terre di Mezzo magazine comments on "Doing Mercy" "misericordiando". The digital media consultant at 10Zing, Ugo Guidolin, looks at "@Pontifex". Elisa Kidane, a religious of the Comboni Sisters, and editor of Combonifem magazine, discusses "Mothers, not Spinsters." The author Giacomo Poretti, a member of the Aldo Giovanni and Giacomo acting trio, discusses "Have your quarrel, but then make peace." Fabrizio Valletti, a Jesuit of the di Scampia community in Naples, reflects on "A Church at the Peripheries." For more information please consult www.popoli.info
KENYA: Fruits of Reconciliation
Two years ago, Magis, the Italian Jesuit Foundation for Development Cooperation, began to collaborate with the Hakimani Centre, the social centre of the Jesuits in Kenya. It did so through its Africa Horn campaign. The collaboration supports several initiatives. Once centers on the creation of solidarity groups which focus on interreligious dialogue in a very personal way. The beneficial results of this collaboration continue to be evident. In the words of Fr Cedric Galia Asaiavugwa SJ, assistant coordinator of the program: "Reconciliation is the most appropriate term to describe the personal experience lived during the Magis Foundation project which focuses on social justice and inter-faith dialogue. I have come to the conviction that social justice and interreligious dialogue cannot be separated. I was born into a family divided equally between Islam and Christianity: of my ten family members, five are Christians and five are Muslims. When there are incidents of religious intolerance between Christians and Muslims, a family feud ensues... It was different years ago, when I was a child in Mombasa. On Friday, I went to the mosque with my cousins, and on Sunday, to church with my parents: and there were no contradiction. But things have changed over the years. Now there are real tensions between Christians and Muslims in Kenya. I attended meetings where Christians and Muslims spoke about their respective religions. I have heard different stories. Everyone wants a better world, a world of peace for both Muslims and Christians. This has come home to me in a very personal way, because it also gave me a glimpse of the possibilities for my own family. I can dream again of the mosque on Fridays, and of the church on Sundays."
SPAIN: Ignatian School of Spirituality
A number of years ago, the Tarraconense Province established the Ignatian School of Spirituality (or EIDES, to use its Spanish acronym). Its purpose is to study and publish the treasures which Ignatian spirituality can offer the Church. Currently, EIDES forms part of Cristianisme i Justícia. This is a study center, well known from the many booklets which deal with social and theological matters from a faith and justice perspective. Since 1990, EIDES has published 71 booklets on Ignatian spirituality: to date, these have appeared only in Catalan and Spanish. These can be consulted, free of charge, at http://cristianismeijusticia.net/es/eides. Last February, a beginning was made to translate some of these booklets into English. The plan is to develop a collection of Guides. Their purpose is to guide people, both Jesuits and lay collaborators, who are interested to delve more deeply into Ignatian topics. The collection will only be available in digital format. These English translations can be downloaded from http://cristianismeijusticia.net/en. The Guides will also be sent out by e-mail two or three times a year to an extensive mailing list, which you may wish to join.
UNITED KINGDOM: New Website for "Jesuits in Britain"
The Jesuits in Britain launched their new website on Thursday, 20 March 2014. In addition to being able to read the latest news from the Society and the Church, visitors will have the opportunity to watch videos about the work and history of the Jesuits and test their knowledge with an Ignatian quiz. The site offers answers to questions about spirituality, and will invite visitors to submit prayer requests. The emphasis on the new "Jesuits in Britain" website is very much on engagement and interaction: people will be able to book for forthcoming events, find out how to get involved in volunteering and make donations online. It is also part of a 'family' of linked websites including "Thinking Faith", "Jesuit Vocations", and the online resource that accompanies the 2014 calendar published by the Jesuits in Britain to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus. If your computer has stored the details of the URL (www.jesuit.org.uk), you may need to refresh your browser to view the new site.
U.S.A.: A Book from "The Jesuit Post"
A little more than two years ago, The Jesuit Post, a popular website started by Jesuits in formation, was little more than an idea. In March, the editors of The Jesuit Post released their first book: The Jesuit Post: Faith, God, Frontiers, Culture, Mystery, Love. The book is available on Kindle and in paperback. It features 20 new essays, as well as reprints of a few of the most popular essays on the site. The Jesuit Post is curated by its founding editor, Jesuit Fr Patrick Gilger. The site's contributors - young Jesuits in formation - aim to reach their peers and converse about religion in a highly secularized age. "We didn't think that anyone was talking to their peer group about religion on a level that would resonate with them," said editor-in-chief Eric Sundrup SJ. "We wanted to speak as one friend speaks to another". Sundrup, along with Fr Gilger and Jesuit Sam Sawyer, came up with the idea to create The Jesuit Post site two years ago. The three Jesuits rounded up a staff of similarly-minded young Jesuit contributors and were off and running, with the help of Jesuit Fr James Martin, editor at large at America magazine. Fr Martin, who released his own book titled Jesus: A Pilgrimage on 11 March, wrote a foreword for The Jesuit Post's book. The book covers a vast range of subjects in a vast range of styles, reflecting the contributors' varied backgrounds and experiences as Jesuits. For more information: https://thejesuitpost.org
VENEZUELA: School for Life
Under the banner, "School for Life", more than 600 people from Fe y Alegría Venezuela, contributed to more than 250 radio programs in all cities and regions of the country. The fathers and mothers, teachers, children, young people, personnel, directors, and partners spoke about the work carried out by Fe y Alegría, the accomplishments, achievements and challenges associated with the schools. This media campaign is an annual event. It reminds the public, the media and the educational authorities of the work carried out by Fe y Alegría in the area of popular education. This is the seventeenth year of the campaign. It took place while the country is in turmoil, but there were no untoward incidents. The schedule of presentations proceeded according to plan. Presenters had prepared their contributions for many months in advance, and the objectives of the exercise were achieved. As Fr Manuel Aristorena, the National Director, noted, there is no doubt that this is "a special time. We again remind the general public of the importance of the work we do for public education in the country. At the same time, we are conscious that we are part of this big family which gives u our identity and spirituality".
1814-2014 RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOCIETY
The April issue of the ARSI (Jesuit Archives, Rome) webpage on the Bicentenary 1814-2014 is now available. It features materials on the expulsion from Portugal.
Peru. During March, Jesuit students participated in a course/seminar on the Restoration of the Society of Jesus in Peru. Frs Adolfo Domínguez, Armando Nieto, and Jaime Regan contributed to the seminar. Fr Juan Dejo coordinated it. Fr Domínguez spoke on the pre-Suppression Society of Jesus in Peru; Fr Nieto on the Restoration of the Society in Peru, and Fr Regan on the presence of the Jesuits in the Amazon region both before and after the Restoration.
NEW IN SJWEB
A series of photographs on the new Saint José de Anchieta are available on the Curia website. Click on: http://www.sjweb.info/photo-repository/anchieta/ or go to: sjweb.info, resources.