Vol. XIX, No. 01 16 January 2015
Letter of Father General on Re-creating the Apostleship of Prayer. On January 3rd 2015 Father General has written a letter to all Society on Re-creating the Apostleship of Prayer. "As we celebrate the Nativity of the Lord in this season, I cannot help recalling our personal and apostolic life depends greatly on the importance we give to our prayer, which should be centered on our mission and on direct contact with the world that surrounds us. Pope Francis reiterates this in many ways for all the faithful, and he does so quite directly and particularly for us in the Society. In a number of personal meetings I have had with him, he has fervently urged that we persevere in prayer as the most valuable resource for our apostolic mission and our personal wellbeing. Encouraged by this counsel of the Pope, I want to remind you today, on the titular feast of the Holy Name of Jesus, of the Society's commitment to the Apostleship of Prayer. As is well known, this movement of ecclesial prayer was born in the bosom of the Society 170 years ago, and from the start it possessed a profound missionary sense and was intimately united to prayer for the intentions of the Pope. Over the years, the Popes have confirmed the Society in this ecclesial service which seeks to promote prayer as an apostolic activity of the faithful." Then he adds: "In an effort to recover the original richness of the devotion, a few years ago I proposed to those responsible for the Apostleship of Prayer that they undertake a process of renewal for this ecclesial service." After recalling the previous efforts at renewal, Father General stresses that: "I am aware that re-creating the Apostleship of Prayer will be a long process, which will inevitably require personal conversion on the part of all of us involved in it. Its great strength is that it makes an effort to provide a simple, effective, and fresh way for people to offer the whole of their lives to the Lord from a missionary and apostolic perspective. I urge the whole Society to embrace this proposal with enthusiasm and to implement it with dedication. Its aim is to create a global network of prayer for the needs of the Church and the world." The letter ends with some recommendations tom the Major Superiors.
Visit to Asia. From January 13 to 16, 2015, Fr. General has visited the Chinese Province. The visit began in Hong Kong, from January 13 to 14, where Fr. General met the Jesuits of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as our collaborators, the Archbishop and the Nuncio. On January 15 and 16, Fr. General will visit Taipei, where he will meet the Jesuits and our collaborators. From January 17 to 25, Fr. General will be in Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. For the first two days of his visit, he will participate in the closing celebrations of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Jesuits in Vietnam, receiving the final vows of a good group of young Vietnamese Jesuits, and concelebrating at the closing Eucharist for the anniversary. From Jan 19 to 24, Fr. General will then attend the Assembly of the Major Superiors of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP). Among the many themes to be discussed during the Assembly, a review of the Apostolic Plan of the Conference for the next five years, and the preparation for GC 36, will certainly be among the more important topics.
FROM THE CURIA
The Death of Mgr Joseph Pittau. After a life spent in the service of the Church and the Society of Jesus, Mgr. Joseph Pittau passed away on 26 December, 2014 in Tokyo. He was 86 years old. In a telegram sent to Father General, Adolfo Nicolás, Pope Francis described Mgr. Pittau as "an exemplary minister of God who lived for the sake of the Gospel" and he recalled "his generous apostolic mission in Japan." Mgr. Pittau spent 29 years of his priestly ministry in Japan before being called to Rome. He returned to Japan 2003. Mgr. Pittau was born in Villacidro, Sardinia, in 1928. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1945, and was ordained a priest in 1959. While in Japan, Fr. Pittau served as professor and dean at Sophia University, in Tokyo, before being appointed Provincial of the Japanese Province. In 1981 Pope John Paul II appointed him coadjutor of Fr. Dezza, the papal delegate for the Society of Jesus after the resignation of Father Pedro Arrupe due of ill health. He remained in Rome until 2003 serving in various capacties. In 1998 Pope John Paul II appointed him bishop and Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education. In a statement from Vatican Radio Fr Federico Lombardi called him a great heir, of our times, to the Jesuit tradition that promoted the inculturation of the Gospel in the East.
FROM THE PROVINCES
BOLIVIA: Fe y Alegría Trains 10,000 Teachers
The popular movement for education, Fe y Alegría has embarked on a project for improvement of quality of education (SMCFyA) in Bolivia. The project is part of an international effort that Fe y Alegría is working on. It is aimed at reinforcing principles and values in students, so as to expand the opportunities and capabilities of the poorest in society. In Bolivia SMCFyA has targeted about 100 educational centers and covering up to 10,000 teachers nationwide. As a result, thousands of families and students in both rural and urban areas stand to benefit. The project aims at awakening Human and Christian values in all the stakeholders to the educational process (parents, students, teachers and members of the community). The hope is that ultimately this will produce citizens who can effect positive change in society. Since its beginning in 2005, SMCFyA it has been carried out in all of Latin America.
CAMEROON: A Street Named After Jesuit Father Eric de Rosny
A Street in Cameroon's largest city, Douala, has been named after a Jesuit priest. Located close to the Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Bonamoussadi, La Rue Père de Rosny, has been named after French Jesuit Eric de Rosny who has spent 45 years in Cameroon. In 1981, De Rosny published Les yeux de ma chèvre (The Eyes of my Goat), a work that chronicled his five year long initiation into ethnic Douala by a nganga (a sorcerer-healer). De Rosny opted to undergo the initiation after realizing that "something" was eluding him in his contact with children, even those who had been baptised and were attending College Lieberman, a Catholic boarding school where he taught English, and more so with their parents. He had come to a conviction that this was due to what he called "culture of origin" gap until one night when his attention was drawn to loud drumming. When he inquired about the drumming, he learnt that the source of the drumming was a sorcerer-healer at work. Intrigued, in 1970, with the permission of his superiors, he began his "eye opening" initiation which would allow him to see what ordinary eyes cannot see and to communicate with powers that are revealed only to those who know how to invoke them. Later, he would participate in rituals where he invoked the spirits and healed the sick.
CENTRAL AMERICA: "Nativity is Hospitality"
The challenging experiences of migration in Central America, and the urgent need for provision of quality health care inspired the Jesuit Network for Migrants in Central America (Red Jesuita con Migrantes Centroamérica) to begin the "Nativity is Hospitality" series. It is a digital animation consisting of 4 chapters of about 3 minutes each, combining interdisciplinary research, the use of new technologies and popular education texts to create an awareness campaign that draws the public's attention to the various issues of forced migration. The work draws inspiration from Christmas themes, Bible passages, and testimonies of migrants from all over Central America to create and promote a new awareness of Christmas, with focus on values of solidarity and hospitality. With new songs and magnificent interpretations, viewers are led to a greater understanding of the painful causes and consequences of migration. It is estimated that more than 5 million people have left their country of birth in Central America, which is roughly equivalent to 12% of the region's total population.
INDIA: Chief Minister Celebrates Christmas with Jesuits
The Chief Minister of West Bengal, a State in India with 90.32 million population and Kolkata as its capital, Ms Mamata Banerjee celebrated Christmas with the Jesuits and their staff and students on December 24, 2014. She unveiled the crib at St. Xavier's College and attended Christmas programmes put up by the Xaverian Academy of Dance and Music at the College auditorium. She spent almost two hours in the campus. The Principal Father Felix Raj talked about the chief minister's act two years ago when she allotted 16.64 acres of land in Rajarhat, New Town to the College for its second campus. Mamata, an associate member of the Xavier's alumni association, said: "I want to have an education hub in the state and I want St. Xavier's to lead the way... Whatever help you need we will give you." Father Felix Raj presented Mamata with a small statue of the Holy Family, which she promised to keep on her desk.
SOUTH SUDAN: Education and Hospitality to Refugees
In a visit to the conflict-affected region of South Sudan, Bishop Daniel Adwok underlined the importance of education and hospitality for refugees living in the border district Maban (Upper Nile). In his first visit in more than four years, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Khartoum spent an intensive few days meeting public officials, parish representatives and refugees. Both refugees and host community members welcomed him wholeheartedly. "Today you are here in this land, in exile, but the people of Maban can remember that not too long ago they were the ones who had to flee to the North or to Ethiopia seeking for a safer place. Thus true hospitality is very important," said Bishop Adwok to a group of refugees and parish representatives. Prior to its separation from Sudan, people from Maban were being hosted across the border. These roles have been reversed, as Maban now hosts more than 130,000 refugees from Blue Nile State in Sudan. Bishop Adwok, who spent time visiting the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) projects, underlined the importance of meeting both refugee and host community needs and fostering a welcoming environment. See more at: http://www.jrs.net
SPAIN: "They Cannot Hold Back the Spring"
Two social centers in Spain, Cristianisme i Justícia and entreParéntesis presented at the end of year reflections in a single document highlighting the concerns and hopes that arose in the year 2014. Divided into four themes, the document deals with ecclesial, economic, political, and international relations questions. The documents underscores the challenge that the current economic crisis has had especially on people in the lower income brackets, and emphasis that the resulting inequalities pose a threat to social cohesion. Additionally, the document reflects on the challenge of implementing the democratic model in many places, as well as the apparent fatigue with responding to social needs in Africa, as evidenced by the seeming lack of in the Ebola outbreak. The west's inability to deal with the challenge posed by Islamic State was another challenge of 2014. However, not all was gloom and doom in 2014. The process of renewal started by Pope Francis stands out as a great sign of hope for the future of the Church. In many places, there has been an opening up of the social capital, as well as an openness to propositions of political reform driven by civil society. And citing Pope Francis, the document calls for the respect of human dignity and access to the common good, appealing especially to those who do not want to give up their privileged status in society. The document concludes, "We believe that the Lord of history, through the lights and shadows of ordinary events, continues to carry out his salvation to the whole of humanity. With this conviction, we wish to conclude by making our own the words of Pope Francis in No. 218 of the Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium: 'The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised.' These are words that illuminate our reality, make clear our resolve, reinforce our choices and strengthen our commitment for 2015." For more information, please visit: www.cristianismeijusticia.net.
SPAIN: Document on Justice and Solidarity
In December 2014, the first ever Province inter-sectorial commission met at the offices of Entreculturas in Madrid. The aim of the meeting was to deepen reflection on the document that calls for the finding of new perspectives on demands on justice and solidarity for social transformation in the world. The document will target first people in Ignatian environments, and later society in general. Ultimately, the document will have practical recommendations for every sector. It will be accompanied by an awareness campaign on the concept of solidarity as common good. In 2015, a group of experts will further elaborate the content and methodology of the document in order to give a clearer vision of how Faith and Justice should be more present in our works. This is important because if we want to influence the world and draw attention to the value of human dignity, solidarity, and justice; transformation must begin with us. In this way our service for the common good will be better placed.
Training Workshop for Provincials Socii. From June 29 to July 4, 2015, a training workshop for Socii of Provincials will be held at the General Curia. The Socii of the two Latin American Assistancy, of the Southern Europe Assistancy and those who can manage Spanish, Portuguese or Italian languages are invited. It will be an excellent opportunity to update the tasks of this mission, especially in what regards the correspondence with the General Curia and the management of Province files, considering the new edition of Practica Quedam. Responsibles for the workshop will be the Secretary General and Fr. Benjamín Crespo, Regional secretary for the two Latin American Assistancies. If any Provincial wants his Socius to participate, please send an email to Fr. Crespo: email@example.com