Vol. XIX, No. 08 27 April 2015
On Saturday, a few minutes before noon, a massive earthquake struck Nepal. The epicenter of the quake, which registered 7.8 on the Richter Scale, was approximately halfway between Kathmandu and the town of Pokhara in central Nepal. Deaths and destruction have been reported from as far away as Tibet, Bangladesh, north India and Bhutan, but the major damage has been here in Nepal. The 68 Jesuits of Nepal, along with other religious communities and the Vicariate of Nepal, are fortunate in that we suffered no loss of life or serious injury. There has been some damage to buildings at our institutions. When the risk of after-shocks has passed, we will assess the situation more closely, in order to assure the safety of those we serve. The prayerful support, and material assistance of our brother Jesuits and their colleagues, the wider church, and of the public, will be of enormous help to us as we provide aid to those in immediate dire need, and begin to help Nepal recover from the devastating impact of the earthquake.
For more information: http://sjweb.info/imagesnews/nepalquake1.pdf
Fr. Boniface Tigga, SJ
Frontiers of fear
Since January 2015, it is estimated that 2000 people have died by drowning in the Mediterranean Sea whilst trying to reach Europe. Dozens more suffer major injuries in their attempts to cross the border between the Moroccan town of Nador and the Spanish enclave of Melilla. Many of the victims include unaccompanied minors. It was this desperate situation that led the European Jesuit social delegates to choose Nador for their annual meeting. In light of what they witnessed in Nador, they have issued the following statement.
We are Jesuits and partners from all over Europe involved in social justice and advocacy. We met here precisely because we are called to go to the frontiers, especially where the suffering of people is most evident. We chose to be here in order to express our solidarity with the local Jesuit team working in Nador. Borders between Northern Africa and Southern Europe are frontiers of suffering, violence and human rights violations. The heavily armed security fence between Nador and Melilla is a tragic by-product of "Fortress Europe". We are concerned about the lawlessness at this crossing point, evidenced by the increased use of physical force by security personnel.
Alongside the suffering, we have witnessed compassion and solidarity of men and women of all faiths and nationalities united by their commitment to support these young African migrants. We have been particularly moved by the care given to female victims trapped by human trafficking.
As a result of our meeting, we:
In addition to our present engagement with migrants within Europe, we therefore express our desire to increase collaboration with Jesuits in Africa in responding to challenges posed by borders.European Jesuit Social Delegates
Restructuring of the Pontifical Oriental Institute
To help improve the service that is rendered to the Eastern Churches through the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, as Vice Chancellor, has started a process of restructuring of the Institute.
According to statues of establishment, the mission of the Pontifical Oriental Institute is: "To promote a deeper understanding of Oriental Christianity, ancient and modern, as well as the concrete reality in which it is situated, thus establishing mutual understanding between Western and Eastern Christians" (Statutes, art. 3, b). This mission faces new challenges in modern times.
To help ensure a smooth restructuring process that causes as little disruption as possible to the academic program of the Institute, the following have been assigned the tasks of running the institution: Father Samir Khalil Samir as Pro Rector, Fr. Sunny Kokkaravalayil as Pro Dean of the Faculty of Eastern Canon Law, and Father Edward Farrugia as Pro Dean of the Faculty of Oriental Ecclesiastical Sciences.
The restructuring will be a long and complex process which will require the involvement of the academic community of the Pontifical Oriental Institute, other institutes and universities under the care of the Society of Jesus in Rome, as well as the universal body of the Society.