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Vol. XVIII, No. 22 06 October 2014
FROM THE CURIA
Jesuit Brothers in Europe: At the Frontiers of the Mission Today. From 26 to 29 September, the meeting of European Brothers was held at the General Curia. The theme of the meeting was: At the frontiers of the mission today. Thirty five participants came from twenty three European countries. The aim of the meeting was to reflect on the contribution of Jesuit Brothers to the mission of Christ in Europe and in Mediterranean countries: Who we are? What do we do in our ministry? Our vocation, and our hope for the future. The vocation, formation and the apostolate of the Brothers - both inside and outside of the Society - were considered. Father John Dardis, President of the Conference of European Provincials, presented an overview of the Society in Europe, and the challenges which it faces today. Study groups were an important focus during the meeting. On 27 September, the meeting's participants joined Pope Francis in prayer. They were able to join other Jesuits in the Gesù Church, Rome, for the liturgy of thanksgiving for the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society. Participants were also able to meet with Father General.
The Jesuits at the Synod. Errors and omissions excepted, we offer here the list of Jesuits attending the Synod of Bishops on the Family:
- Msgr Ján Babiak (SVK), Archbishop of Prešov for Catholics of Byzantine rite. President of the Council of the Slovak Church (Slovak).
- Fr .Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) on behalf of the Union of General Superiors General.
- Fr. François-Xavier Dumortier (BSE), Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
- Fr. Antonio Spadaro (ITA), Editor of La Civiltà Cattolica.
- Fr. George Henri Ruyssen (BSE), of the Pontifical Oriental Institute of Rome.
- Fr. Federico Lombardi (ITA), Director of the Holy See Press Office (Vatican City).
- Fr. Bernd Hagenkord of the Vatican Radio.
Pope Francis has appointed members of the Pontifical International Theological Commission:
- Father Peter Dubovský (SVK), professor at the Pontificio Instituto Biblico of Rome.
- Father Bernard Pottier (BML), professor of dogmatic theology and philosophy at the Institute d'Études Théologiques of Brussels.
- Father Gabino Uribarri Bilbao (ESP), dean and professor at the Faculty of Theology of the Pontificia Universidad de Comillas.
FROM THE PROVINCES
AUSTRALIA: Breaking the Silence
Jesuit Social Services is raising awareness for World Suicide Prevention Day with a bicycle ride from Geelong to Melbourne, and the launch of a new book. This book brings together the stories of relatives of people who have taken their own lives. On 10 September, a group of riders embarked from Geelong on the cycle ride to Melbourne. "Most of the riders have lost a loved one to suicide, and they want to raise awareness. We want people in the community to feel more able to discuss suicide openly and responsibly," said Louise Flynn, the coordinator of the JSS' "Support after Suicide Program". The ride was followed by the launch of a new publication sponsored by the Program. It is entitled The Cost of Silence. The book includes stories of relatives of people about the experience of losing someone to suicide. On Sunday, 14 September, participants in the Program, together with supporters of Lifeline and The Compassionate Friends organizations, took part in a walk to help "break the silence." For more information about the "Support after Suicide Program" visit: http://www.supportaftersuicide.org.au/
CHINA: Martino Martini, Mandarin of God
Four hundred years have passed since the birth (on 20 September 1614) of Jesuit Martino Martini, a scientist during the final years of the Ming dynasty in China. He remains an important figure because of his missionary style and his cultural openness which revealed the Middle Empire to Europeans. The city of Trent has an important place in the history of the Church, not only because of the Council of Trent (1545-1564), but also because of the many religious figures who were born there. The Jesuit Martino Martini was one of them. For us Westerners, it would be impossible to imagine China without his contribution. If Matteo Ricci was the first to introduce western culture and traditions into China, Martino Martini is widely considered as the person who first introduced China to the European West. Giuseppe O Longo has written a biography of Martino Martini (Il gesuita che disegnò la Cina, Springer 2010). He reveals a man of strong character and vast learning. "Although he lived for only forty seven years, he left an exceptional legacy in historical, geographical, linguistic, philosophical and religious fields. This is more remarkable when one takes into account that twenty four years of his life were spent in childhood and studies, and another twelve years on the seas, in confinement, in travelling, and as a kidnap victim of pirates. He spent, therefore, only a dozen years in China." His fame as a scientist and cartographer rests on his Novus Atlas Sinensis. It was published in Amsterdam in 1655. Martini's Atlas superseded all previous depictions of the Celestial Empire, and remained unmatched for nearly two centuries.
ITALY: The Castiglione Institute
On 20 February 2014, the Castiglione Institute, concerned with the relationship between Jesuits and culture, was inaugurated at Gonzaga-in-Florence. Its aim is to bring to life the heritage of the Jesuit cultural mission at Gonzaga-in-Florence. It does so by promoting a conversation between faith, art and culture. Gonzaga-in-Florence is the study abroad program of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. The Institute is named after Giuseppe Castiglione SJ (19 July 1688 - 17 July 1766), the Jesuit missionary and artist who arrived in China in 1715. He was the court painter and architect to three emperors of the Ching Dynasty. His art changed the history of Chinese painting through a novel synthesis of Chinese and Western artistic methods and values. The goal of the Institute is to encourage a cultural engagement which is both respectful and instructive, and which encourages a renewed sense of beauty through a dialogue between equals. For the time being, Dr Francesco Fossella, a professor of art history at Gonzaga-in-Florence, is the Director of the Castiglione Institute.
MADAGASCAR: Fe y Alegría and the Training of Teachers
The newborn Fe y Alegría in Madagascar experienced a memorable time this August. It was something like its christening. For three weeks, 105 teachers from its schools participated in pedagogical training. One hundred and twenty five teachers had taken part in various educational sessions during weekends for the first half of 2014. Of these, one hundred and five answered the call for further, more intensive formation. There were sixty three female and forty two male teachers. They came from twenty five primary schools, only six of which could be classed as "urban," that is, located within a town. The others, some with only forty or fifty students, were scattered in remote villages. Each day began with an hour of written composition on the subjects studied the previous day. Participants were divided into four groups, and the program developed along four themes: lesson preparation, teaching methods, psychology and pedagogy, and a number of other subjects. Each afternoon was devoted to personal study. A number of female religious congregations, as well as the Society of Jesus supported this training initiative. Five scholastics, four in philosophy and one a junior, took part in the program. They sacrificed their holidays to correct the texts which were written every day.
MALTA: Human Rights Award to JRS
The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Malta has been identified as one of three finalists shortlisted for the Václav Havel Human Rights Prize 2014. The panel, that selects the prize winner, also named B'Tselem as a finalist: this organization works in East Jerusalem, in the West Bank, and in Gaza. It defends the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians. The third finalist is the Azerbaijani human rights activist, Anar Mammadli. The Václav Havel Award for Human Rights is an international award established in 2013 by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE). It recalls the memory of Václav Havel, the former President of Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. The jury consists of the President of the Parliamentary Assembly and six others, independent experts in human rights issues. Individuals, non-governmental organizations, and institutions working to defend human rights are eligible to be nominated. JRS Malta specializes in the areas of legal assistance and social work for refugees and asylum seekers. JRS Malta provides healthcare and psychological support for them. It also raises awareness about refugee and asylum seeker issues in schools, as well as offering them spiritual support.
ROME: The Pio Brasiliano is Imparted to the Brazilian Bishops
This past 30 September, the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB) took over the direction and management of the Pontifical College Pio Brasiliano, who for 80 years has been under the direction of the Society of Jesus. The College, which is responsible for the academic and pastoral formation of diocesan priests from Brazil, had celebrated the 80th anniversary in April 2014. A Eucharist celebrated by the Archbishop of Aparecida (SP) and president of the CNBB, Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis, and concelebrated by the new rector, Father Geraldo dos Reis Maia, and the new leadership team, highlighted the handing over ceremony. In attendance at the liturgy were the Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Adolfo Nicolás, and Fr. Marcos Recolons, Father General's delegate to the Pio Brasiliano. During the ceremony, Cardinal Damasceno stressed the importance of the mission of the Pio Brasiliano and thanked the Jesuits for the work done during the many years of the life of the college. After the celebration, in College's Salão de Atos, the official documents were signed and a photo exhibit of former rectors inaugurated, along with a commemorative plaque of thanksgiving to the Jesuits.
URUGUAY: The Jesuits and the Guaraní
The relationship between Jesuits and the Guaraní Indians in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries is explored in an exhibition organized by the Museum of Pre-Columbian and Indigenous Art (MAPI) in Montevideo. MAPI's Director, Facundo de Almeida, enumerated that the exhibition consists of twenty three polychrome wood panels from the erstwhile Jesuits missions. These panels are now found in museums, churches, and private collections in Uruguay. But there are also two hundred objects retrieved from archaeological excavations near San Francisco de Borja di Yí, in the Uruguayan districts of Durazno and Florida. There was once a thriving indigenous community of eight thousand Guaraní Indians living in the area. As well as these artifacts, the exhibition presents written and audiovisual materials which offer an insight into the indigenous people, as well as into the relationship between the Society of Jesus and the native peoples. The "Eastern Missions" were in a region which is today covered by parts of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Jesuits arrived there in the seventeenth century. They established a community in the area, and they lived in close proximity with the Indians. The indigenous people began to settle, and the Jesuits taught them effective farming techniques and livestock breeding. From 11 to 26 September, the exhibition was held at the Vatican Museum in Rome. It then moved to the Ethnological Museum of Hamburg (Germany) where it will remain until March next year. In April 2015, it will be mounted at the Museo Valenciano de la Ilustración y la Modernidad (Spain).
ZIMBABWE: 50 Years of Silveira House
Silveira House, a Jesuit center for Development and Social Justice in Harare, has just celebrated fifty years of faithful and fruitful partnerships, concentrating on communities of the poor in Zimbabwe. Founded in December 1964 by Fr John Dove SJ, who died in June this year at the ripe age of 92, the center has been at the heart of the social transformation agenda in the country. It helped Zimbabweans negotiate their way during the volatile liberation struggle, the transition to a new Zimbabwe, the hardships of the post-independence state, and the ever challenging fight against poverty. In 1964, Fr Dove's first program at the center was to teach 'civics' - a word which in effect meant 'politics.' It was based on the methods of the former Sodalities, to see, to judge and to act, itself a process in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. Over time, industrial relations was added to civics, followed by farming co-operatives, youth work, women's clubs, and a number of other programs. Appropriate technologies were always part of this formation. Before Independence, Silveira House provided a location for nationalist leaders, including President Mugabe, to discuss their ideas with ordinary citizens. After independence, trade unionists, like the late former President of Zambia, Fredrick Chiluba, and the former Zimbabwean Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, were also trained at the center, specializing in effective industrial relations. Fr Gibson Munyoro SJ, the present Director of Silveira House, spoke with joyful anticipation during the golden jubilee celebrations in the grounds of Silveira House. "This is a joyful day indeed. We are celebrating fifty years of social justice work, fifty years of community development work, and fifty years of accompanying people from rural and poor urban areas, from poverty to some dignity . . ."
1814-2014 RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE SOCIETY
Bicentennial: Historical Congress and Ceremony in Brig (Switzerland). On 4 September 1814, the inhabitants of Brig, a rural town in the Swiss Canton of Valais, and the religious community of some professors there, recognized, that as early as 1805, the people of the region had accepted the official Restoration of the Society of Jesus in the German-speaking world. This was the reason why on 4 and 5 September, exactly 200 years later, an historical congress was held in Brig, in the very College which the Society was forced to leave in 1847, but which still bears its original name, Spiritus Sanctus. It was a very successful event, the result of fruitful collaboration between the Swiss Province of the Society of Jesus and the Rector of the College. The aim of the congress was mainly to recall the main actors and the circumstances of that Restoration, and it did so from a variety of points of view. These included the history of Valais and Switzerland, and events in the reconstituted Society. The focus was especially on documents of ARSI (the Historical Archives in Rome), on the contributions of the Spiritual Exercises, and on the canonical implications of the Restoration. Account was taken of the contribution which Brig gave to the development of theology and of Jesuit identity in the nineteenth century. The Restoration was a time of some uncertainty, but also a time of considerable innovation. It was an event which encouraged many people, clergy, and politicians. A present-day perspective featured in the presentations. Contributions were given by the Vice-Chancellor, Fr Severin Leitner SJ, Father General's Assistant for Central and Eastern Europe in Rome, Bruno Brantschen SJ, a former student of the College, Viola Amherd, a member in the national Parliament, and Pascal Couchepin, the former Swiss Minister of Economy. In the presence of the College's student body, they discussed some of the challenges which today face national policy in Switzerland and the Society of Jesus.
New E-Mail Addresses for Jesuits in USA. By the end of March the Jesuit Conference and all of the USA Provincial Offices will be using the email domain "@jesuits.org". As a result, all USA Jesuits will have a lifetime email address-typically FirstInitialLastName@jesuits.org. E.g. John Smith's email address will be firstname.lastname@example.org (further naming conventions are in place in case more than one person would have the same address.) This means that the 2015 USA Assistancy Catalog will show only the @jesuits.org email address for each man, and any USA Jesuit can be reached at his @jesuits.org address for the rest of his Jesuit life. Email sent to that address will be automatically forwarded to whatever email address that Jesuit usually uses. One of the benefits of the lifelong national email address will be that email address lists will not become outdated. A Jesuit will be reachable through the same email address his entire Jesuit life no matter where he is missioned. Please note that USA Province Office staffs will also use @jesuits.org email addresses.