Vol. XIX, No. 15 September 22, 2015
FROM THE CURIA
New editor for Jesuit historical publications
As successor to Norman Tanner SJ (editor, 2012-15), Dr. Camilla Russell is editor of the Jesuit historical publications with Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu (ARSI). These include the journal Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu, and various book publications. An Australian, she is based in Rome and also holds teaching roles at the Gregorian Pontifical University and Roma Tre University. Dr. Russell is the author of the monograph, Giulia Gonzaga and the Religious Controversies of Sixteenth-Century Italy (Brepols, 2006), as well as a number of articles on Jesuit history, and the religious and cultural history of early modern Italy. Currently, she is completing a collective-biographical study of Italian Jesuits in the first century of the Society of Jesus.
Pope Francis has appointed:
- Brother Guy Consolmagno (MAR) Director of the Vatican Observatory. Brother Consolmagno was born in 1952 and entered the Society in 1989. He is a planetary scientist who has studied meteorites and asteroids as an astronomer with the Vatican Observatory since 1993. Brother Consolmagno replaces Father Jose Funes (ARU) who has been director since 2006.
FROM THE PROVINCES
The Call of the Holy Father
On Sunday 6 September, Pope Francis made the following call, "may every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary in Europe take in one refugee family." He added that the two parishes in the Vatican itself would each welcome a refugee family. "Faced with the tragedy of tens of thousands of refugees who are fleeing death by war and by hunger... the Gospel calls us to be neighbours to the smallest and most abandoned," said the Pope, who asks that welcoming refugee families be part of the build-up to the upcoming Jubilee Year of Mercy, which will begin this December.
Responding to the Migrant Crisis -Italian Province
In response to the call of the Holy Father for a concerted effort in responding to the current refugee crisis, the Italian Provincial, Fr Gianfranco Matarazzo, has invited the Jesuits in Italy to seriously consider the possibilities of welcoming a refugee or refugee family in our communities or facilities of our communities. The province has invited communities to work with local civil authorities in responding to the current refugee crisis. As other European provinces are doing, Father Matarazzo says the Italian Province of the Society of Jesus will render more support to the Jesuit Refugee Service project of Centro Astalli, while at the same time exploring ways of opening a reception centre for asylum seekers and other refugees.
Responding to the Migrant Crisis -JRS Austria
Michael Zammit SJ, Regional Director for JRS in the Middle East, was visiting Austria when many refugees arrived in early September. "I was there at noon when a train from the frontier pulled in full of refugees. There were a lot ordinary people who were there to welcome the new arrivals. I saw one Austrian family with two young girls going around distributing chocolates. Another young boy with his father was coming from McDonald's with a tray full of coffee. The Jesuits here are doing a wonderful job. All the communities are receiving at least one refugee family. One night at 11 pm, the director of the Cardinal Koenig house received a phone call from Caritas to see how many refugees he could receive. He said he could receive about a hundred people in several big halls in the house."
Responding to the Migrant Crisis -JRS Europe
The Jesuit Refugee Service already serves tens of thousands of refugees in Europe. In Italy, JRS helps more than 30,000 refugees each year, cooking hot meals daily, offering medical and legal aid, helping children with school supplies, providing language classes, and more. In Malta, an island in the Mediterranean Sea where many refugees land, JRS helps refugees who are in detention or living in the community. In Romania, JRS provides legal aid, housing, language classes and more to refugees including Syrians. In Macedonia, JRS has a safe house for refugee families. In Germany, for those threatened with deportation, JRS offers specialized legal aid. In Portugal, JRS offers training to resettled refugees in skills like care for the elderly so they can get jobs. JRS Portugal is a member of a movement providing answers about legal issues and other support, so that local groups who offer to help refugees can effectively welcome them.
Responding to the Migrant Crisis -European Jesuit Conference
The president of the European Jesuit Conference has written a letter in which he invites Jesuits across Europe to respond to the Holy Father's call for action about the refugee crisis. In his letter, Fr John Dardis suggests concrete steps that must be taken in responding. He writes, "I encourage Major Superiors to consider how best to advocate, in the countries of their Provinces or Regions, for a policy that is humane, in solidarity and open. Superiors may wish to invite Jesuits in formation to volunteer in a refugee shelter as part of their weekly apostolate. Can our schools run seminars of awareness for teachers, parents, pupils and in some cases can open their doors to house some refugees? Some of our universities have centres for human rights or for migration or have experts on Catholic social teaching. We need to use this expertise now in our analysis of this situation. Can some of these come together, perhaps co-ordinated by JRS, to reflect and to plan action? Can our parishes organise a 'Sunday of solidarity' where a refugee or a representative of one of our JRS offices in Europe is asked to speak at Masses?"
Ireland: New 'Spirituality Institute for Research and Education' launched
Michael O'Sullivan SJ announced the establishment of a new Spirituality Institute for Research and Education at a public event on 22 June in Milltown Park, a launch timed to coincide with the centenary of the birth of Thomas Merton. The aim of Spirituality Institute is to raise awareness of spirituality as an applied academic discipline. Fr. O'Sullivan explained, "We are trying to keep spirituality studies going in Ireland", and referred to the warning some years back that Ireland not only needed to be recapitalised financially but also spiritually. Fr. O'Sullivan has founded Institute along with Dr Bernadette Flanagan PBVM, his colleague in the school of spirituality in All Hallows College. Both were previously on the staff of Milltown Institute. The Institute has already negotiated to have an MA in Spirituality on offer to students under the auspices of Waterford Institute of Technology by Autumn 2016, and hopes that in time doctoral research will become accredited too.
Zambia-Malawi: Loyola Jesuit Secondary School
On 8 September 2015, the newly constructed Loyola Jesuit Secondary School opened its doors to 144 new students. Development Director of the school, Fr Peter Henriot says, "We are locating the school in Kasungu, a poor rural area 120 kilometres outside of the capital, where there is a great shortage of good schools. Loyola Jesuit Secondary School will be a grant-aided school, run in cooperation with the Government of Malawi, which will pay teachers' salaries and provide some other resources. This will mean much lower fees will be charged than at a private school." Fr Henriot adds that, "At a time when gender equality is so essential to integral development, it is a co-educational school with the goal of 50-50 enrolment of girls and boys. Education for girls will involve many from poor families. As a boarding school, we will aim to provide 25% of the places for girls and boys from the local area of Kasungu. We hope that many of these will be graduates of the grant-aided primary school that our Jesuit parish has recently set up to offer educational opportunities to the poor in the area."