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Vol. XIX, No. 04 March 5, 2015
Father General has appointed:
- Fr. Stefan Dartmann (GER) as new rector of the German and Hungarian College. He takes over from Fr. Benedikt Lautenbacher (GER). Fr. Dartmann was born in 1956, entered the Society of Jesus in 1978 and was ordained a priest in 1986. His previous assignments include parish priest of Saint Eugenia in Stockholm (1986-2004), Provincial of Germany (2004-2010), and Director of the Foundation for Solidarity with Churches of Central and Eastern Europe (2010-2015). He will take office as rector on 31 July, 2015.
FROM THE PROVINCES
BRITAIN: 40 to run Marathon for Jesuit Missions
An unprecedented team of 40 runners is preparing to run the 2015 London Marathon to raise funds for Jesuit Missions (JM). This year's runners include a father and son partnership in the shape of Austin and Jonathan Lafferty from Mount St Mary's College in Derbyshire, along with the College's Chaplain Fr Simon Ellis. The London Marathon will take place on Sunday 26 April. "Our yearly ritual involving canvassing for runners, sending reassuring emails, and sharing training tips has culminated in a full team of enthusiastic runners hoping to raise some vital funds for the work of Jesuit Missions overseas," says Laura Howley from the Jesuit Missions office in Wimbledon. Over the years, JM runners have raised thousands for causes such as primary school education in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, bursary support in South Africa, rehab facilities in Guyana in South America and emergency assistance for refugees in conjunction with Jesuit Refugee Service. Further funds will enable Jesuits around the world to continue their work alongside the poor and the marginalized.
CAMBODIA: Responding to Changing Needs in Cambodian Society
Banteay Prieb, a Jesuit vocational training centre in Cambodia, is launching an education program for people with intellectual disabilities next month. The program, which begins with 11 students, builds on the centre's 23 years of experience serving people with physical disabilities as a result of war, land mines, polio and accidents. The vision of this program is one of inclusion: "Our mission is to develop the life skills of people with intellectual disabilities so they can live independently and be self-reliant," said Fr Greg Priyadi SJ of Jesuit Service Cambodia, which runs Banteay Prieb. "Our goal is to create an environment which is conducive to active participation of people with intellectual disabilities in community life."
CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: The University Centre
The Jesuit run, Centre d'Information, d'Education et d'Ecoute (CIEE - Information, Education and Listening Centre) at the University of Bangui organized a ceremony for its peer educators to mark the start of the academic year despite the insecurity that plagues the Central African Republic (CAR). Since northern rebels seized power in the capital - which they later lost - in early 2013, CAR remains politically and economically unstable. The history of the country has been interspersed with political jolts, leading to institutional instability that weighs heavily against development. In the capital Bangui activities unfold according to the rhythm imposed by armed groups. When there is a crisis, everything is paralyzed but when things are calmer, life resumes its course. As Bangui is currently calm, daily activities that had declined have quietly started again. It was in this climate that the Centre d'Information, d'Education et d'Ecoute organized their events on 7 and 8 January. A cultural activity was held on 7 January and the big event to launch the academic year followed the next day. This annual ceremony is very significant for the CIEE because it is the time when the peer educators of its info-health clubs receive their kits and are thus officially sent on their mission. This year, the theme was: "AIDS will not come to me, and even if it does, I will not transmit it."
INDONESIA: Winning With a Focus on Inter-Religious Dialogue
A short film produced by Indonesian Jesuit production house SAV Puskat has won first prize in the 5-minute video category of the SIGNIS Asia Media Awards. "Dancing of Life" is about inter-religious dialogue in daily life as lived by the villagers of Demangan, Wedomartani and Sleman in Yogyakarta Province. The film's central message is Many faiths, but one mission: love each other. "We chose to make this film about inter-religious dialogue because we live in a society where there are so many differences. We should learn to respect to each other and promote what is good for the whole of society. Our media should showcase more examples of peaceful life in society rather than sensationalize issues such as violence caused by extremists. So when our staff had the idea to make this video, I encouraged them to do it," said SAV Puskat director Fr Yosephus Iswarahadi SJ on receiving the award. See the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yf4K_STAxCo#t=12
ROME: Centre for Child Protection
The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) of the Pontifical Gregorian University has moved from Munich to Rome. Cardinal Sean O'Malley - Archbishop of Boston and President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors - in his keynote address at the inaugural event spoke about the need for a global effort in preventing the sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable persons. Cardinal O'Malley read a message from Pope Francis expressing his hopes and best wishes for the CCP.
TAIWAN: Walking with the Youth
The decision some years ago within the Chinese Province to set up a youth ministry in Taiwan is bearing fruit. What began with a monthly youth mass at the Magis Youth Centre in Taipei has grown into a full-blown program with workshops in Ignatian spirituality, counselling, recollections and retreats, movie nights, and exposure trips. Within months of the first youth mass in September 2013, the numbers increased to the point that a new venue had to be found. On average, more than 120 youth now attend the monthly youth mass at the Tien Centre, and with each Mass there are a great number of newcomers. The monthly Mass and gathering is organized by the youth for the youth, with the liturgy adjusted to better engage the young people. During the Mass, participants also act out the Gospel as inspired by the challenges of their daily lives, and there are group reflections.