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Vol. XIX, No. 09 May 5, 2015
Three scents of a Jesuit
In his mission of accompanying and strengthening his brothers, Father General recently visited the West African Province. Speaking at a gathering of Jesuits in Cameroon, Father General took a moment to appreciate values that Africans hold dear, respect for life and love of life. Father General further sketched an image of a Jesuit as a man in constant search of understanding and meaning. Every Jesuit is engaged in a world that is in constant flux, a world that poses questions and challenges on a daily basis. A Jesuit, Father General argued, may have some answers to some of these questions and challenges, but is never satisfied. Such a Jesuit wears three scents-the scent of the sheep, the scent of the library, and the scent of the future. In all this, Father General asks Jesuits to revisit their relationship with the poor of God. One of the challenges facing the Society today is finding ways to help the Universal Church benefit from the values of various cultures. To this end, Father General called on Jesuits pay particular attention to three dimensions of our Jesuit life today: Depth (both in studies and in spirituality), Creativity (learning new techniques that help us in accompanying men and women in their search for truth), and Life in the Spirit (without which we have no depth).
FROM THE PROVINCES
AUSTRALIA: New Eyes on the International Jesuit (Brian McCoy, SJ)
I am writing this from Rome where I have been meeting with 14 other Major Superiors from Jesuit Provinces around the world. We are quite a mixed bunch from the universal spread of the Society of Jesus, and some come from or work in places where other faiths, such as Islam and Hinduism, are dominant. This colloquium offers us a deeper understanding of the issues facing the universal Society, and the opportunity to study more intensely the commitments and duties of a Provincial regarding the care of others (cura personalis), care for our works (cura apostolica), and community and apostolic life, from legislative, financial and organisational perspectives. We also have the opportunity to understand the General Curia, its many offices and secretariats, and to visit the international Roman houses. Apart from workshops on being a Provincial in today's Society, this gathering with Fr General has helped us appreciate the wider Church and Jesuit 'family'. (www.express.org.au)
BELGIUM: JESWEB Meeting
Thirty-one Jesuits and lay colleagues from all over Europe and beyond met for three days in Drongen, Belgium for the annual Jesuit Webmasters (Jesweb) meeting. Originally a gathering of webmasters of the European Conference, the meeting has expanded to include webmasters from other conferences. This year included participants from Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Canada-USA conferences. The highlights of the meeting were two keynote speakers, Mr Sim D'Hertefelt who gave a talk on "How Internet challenges the Church," and Mr Marco Amicucci who spoke about "Knowledge Management." Additionally, a number of workshops were lined-up for participants to choose from. These included: Online spiritual retreats on the web; Podcast: Praying with volume; Mobile Apps - Know-How; Teamwork management; SJDigital, Ignatian and 'Churchy' webs (Web design); You talkin' to me? Communicating with you public, multi-platform, multi-voice; Finding the lost sheep or tending the flock - developing content for different audiences.
BRITAIN: A Great London Marathon
Thirty-eight brave souls pounded 26.2 miles of London streets on Sunday, April 26 to raise money for Jesuit Missions. The fastest time by a Jesuit Missions runner was Ian Grey in under 3:18. Polish Jesuit Mateusz Konopinski, who is living in the Mount Street community during his studies in London, was running his fourth marathon. He was pleased with his time of 3:36:18. After crossing the finish line runners were taken to nearby Farm Street Church where they were treated to well-earned applause from their supporters and Jesuit Missions staff as well as hot showers, massages and a delicious meal. Jesuit Missions is hoping to raise in excess of £70,000 from the marathon this year to contribute to projects promoting health and education in Zimbabwe-Mozambique, South Africa and Guyana. (www.jesuit.org.uk)
CALCUTTA: Saint Xavier's Global Earth Summit IV
The Saint Xavier's Global Earth Summit IV, a 3 day International Conference on Global Climate Change and Water Disasters, concluded on 29 March 2015. The conference, the first of its kind where Jesuits from around the world participated, discussed the threats posed by the twin threats facing mankind - Global Warming and Climate Change - and ways and means of creating a response system with a view towards their mitigation. The special emphasis of the conference was on water - whose boon and bane has risen to sharper focus as a direct and perhaps most threateningly potent fallout of the changing climatic patterns.
GUYANA: Seeking the Lost Sheep
Two Jesuit priests have visited remote areas of Guyana, where the Catholic communities have been without a pastor for eight years. The South American country is a Region of the British Province. Fr Amar Bage SJ and Fr Marlon Innes SJ undertook the arduous trip to Matthew's Ridge and Arakaka in North West Guyana. While at Matthew's Ridge, they celebrated Mass in the primary school because the church building had collapsed. The small congregation of seven women, one man and a girl of seven years of age was increased when three local children were baptised. "It is said that there was a large number of Catholics," said Fr Amar. "Most of the time, the church was full and on feast days - like Christmas and New Year - there was no space in the church. But today all are scattered and lost. There could be many reasons. But one of them is: they were left like sheep without a shepherd. They didn't have a priest for almost seven to eight years. Old trained PLAs (parish lay assistants) and church leaders had died and the young generation was left with no training." (www.jesuit.org.uk)
USC: Jesuit Schools Network of North America
The board of directors of the Jesuit Secondary Education Association (JSEA) voted today to establish the Jesuit Schools Network of North America. The Jesuit Schools Network will replace JSEA as the organization charged with providing services and programming to the 80 Jesuit pre-secondary and secondary schools in the U.S. and Canada. Prior to the founding of the Jesuit Schools Network, Jesuit schools were affiliated with the Society of Jesus through their membership in JSEA and through their relationships with their local Jesuit province. The Jesuit Schools Network combines both roles in one organization, a historic new paradigm where Jesuit schools are networked within a province and with a central networking organization. (www.jesuits.org)
ZIMBABWE-MOZAMBIQUE: Jesuit Communications Launches Radio Programmes
The Jesuit Communications office recently partnered with the State broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, to present Catholic programs on national radio. The format of the daily devotions (for a five minutes slot) comprise a reading of the day and a short reflection. The Sunday programmes are sermons based on one of the readings of that particular Sunday. So far, several younger Jesuit priests have been taking turns to give words of encouragement to the nation.