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Vol. XIX, No. 18 November 9, 2015
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
2nd November, 2015
Father General, Adolfo Nicolás, accompanied by Fr. Fratern Masawe, Assistant for Africa, and Fr. Douglas Marcouiller, Assistant for Canada-USA, arrived in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Monday, 2nd November. He was met by the Provincial, Fr. Joseph Afulo, Fr. Odomaro Mubangizi, Fr. Fidelis Udahemuka, and members of the Notre Dame Jesuit Community. After a brief rest, he presided over the mass for the final vows of Fr. Odomaro Mubangizi, SJ. The Mass was attended by members of the Christian Life Community, Missionary of Charity Sisters, and other religious and friends.
In his homily, Fr. General touched on three main points; firstly, God calls collaborators who communicate his words. He explained that, Jesus needs collaborators to express God's message. Hence, the messenger never has a personal message. That, according to Fr. General, is how the Pope presents himself. 'He has no personal message. If he had one he would be speaking of the greatness of the priesthood and all the things that the priests and seminarians seem to say. He speaks of service and that the shepherd has to smell like the sheep; he has to be close and accompanying the sheep in the daily task. This is what we all hope for ourselves, that we are good shepherds. The work has no limit therefore it requires the whole person.'
Secondly, he touched on the 'mystery of the call.' How God calls us is a mystery and how one hears the call is mysterious. 'We have to respect the mystery and the final vows is the end of this mystery. Here, a person professes before all of us chastity and obedience. God has very mysterious ways. Even when we discern very carefully, there are some things we cannot explain. That is why we need what they call, in Asia, the third eye. It is the third eye that I wish all our formators had because it is the third eye that sees the heart of the person. When I get the reports for final vows of our men, and see only exterior things such as 'he goes to mass every day,' I am uneasy because that says nothing. I know people that go to mass every day and they cannot forgive. So we pray that all of us have this 'third eye.'
Lastly, he touched on the beatitudes. He explained that the content of the beatitudes require insight. 'The beatitudes is one of the messages that needs total dedication, total trust in God and insight. In Buddhism they try to break through the logical thinking; by breaking our way of thinking we begin to think like God spontaneously. That the natural thing is to react like the beatitudes. This is the call, I have no doubt. The beatitudes should come from the heart that they produce such an insight that we cannot but be poor, humble and merciful, and hunger for social justice. This is the message of all the encyclicals of the Pope. So we pray today that not only Fr. Odomaro but all of us present, can become witnesses of this gospel of the heart; this gospel that is going to change us. Like the bible says, the word of God is sweet in the mouth but bitter in the stomach, because it changes us.' He concluded the Mass by asking the congregation to pray that this is true for all of us and that 'our brother Odomaro also becomes our witness.'
After Mass, Fr. General blessed the corner stone of the proposed main hall for Galilee retreat centre.
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
3rd November, 2015
Father General, accompanied by Frs. Fratern Masawe, Douglas Marcouiller, Joseph Afulo, Odomaro Mubangizi and Atakelt Tesfay, visited Bahir Dar city, where the Jesuit school, Abay Mado Catholic Academy is located. Abba Groum Tesfaye and Bishop Lisane-Christos Matheos received the guests at the Airport before proceeding for a brief tour of the city. The guests visited St. Giorgis Orthodox Church Compound where Fr. Pedro Paez's residence is located. They also had a chance to enter the more than 400 year old house. Thereafter, they drove to Abay Mado School, where they were received by all the pupils each wanting to shake Fr. General's and each of the guests' hand. After the warm welcome, the guests proceeded for a brief tour across the school compound before visiting some of the classrooms. Fr. General then had a briefing session with the school director, Abba Groum Tesfaye, on the way forward. After the meeting, the guests joined the pupils for a group photo. Together with Bishop Lisane-Christos Matheos, Bishop of Bahir Dar, the guests had a chance to share a meal with the teachers and the parents' representative.
During the speeches, Fr. Groum and Bishop Lisane-Christos gave a brief history of how the school came to be established. Fr. Atakelt Tesfay, former school Director, was then presented with a gift from the school. At the end of the visit, Father General encouraged the guests to become like giraffes because giraffes have big hearts. 'The giraffes have higher point of view. I have a lot of books on leadership. Everything I am reading on leadership says that the leader needs to have a vision and the ability to communicate that vision to his collaborators. This also applies to the director of the school and anyone who wants to be a leader. So let us become giraffes.'
Father General then blessed the foundation stone for the proposed Jesuit residence. The concluding remarks and prayer were done by Bishop Lisane-Christos, who then, alongside Abba Groum, saw the guests off to the airport. Upon arrival, Fr. General and the team celebrated Mass, presided over by Fr. Masawe, at the Jesuit residence in Addis Ababa, followed by diner.
The following morning, 4th November, Father General and the team left for Wau, South Sudan.
FROM THE PROVINCES
INDIA: Ensuring the dignity and rights of the marginalized
Building Lok Manch (Peoples' Forum) is an initiative of Jesuit social centers in India to ensure dignity and rights of the marginalized at the national level. They are a partnership of 100 Organizations (50 Jesuit and 50 lay organizations) enhancing access to entitlements provided by National Acts such as National food security Act and Water, sanitation and hygiene. They will mobilize 300,000 households, and capacitate around 5,500 local leaders in 13 States (involving 15 Jesuit provinces in India). On 18-21 September 2015, all the Social Action Coordinators met at Mumbai to discuss the details of the initiative. They were able to bring in more clarity and workout different ways and means of implementing Building Lok Manch in the most effective way.
CAMBODIA: Jesuits respond to Laudato sì
After the release of Laudato sì in May and the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific's response in July, the Jesuits in Cambodia met to reflect on the Holy Father's encyclical and how they can respond to his call through their ministries. They noted; "The Pope's letter speaks poignantly to us in our present time and place. Last year, Cambodia ranked first in the world for the highest rate of forest loss between 2001 and 2014, with the effect of this suffered by the poorest..." The gathering went on to pledge that "we, as individuals and as one community, commit to responding to the Pope's call through changes in our own lifestyles and through our ministries here in Cambodia. We also commit to accompany and help poor communities which are directly facing the effects of a changing climate, especially indigenous groups such as the Kuy people. This ministry may not be possible for us all, but surely we support and encourage those for whom it is."
ROME: Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology
From November 16th - 20th, an international meeting will be held in Loyola (Spain) with the title "Networking for Justice". It will bring together the core groups of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN), the Social Justice Delegates of all Conferences of the Society of Jesus, representatives from the Xavier Network and other global networks of the Society. This meeting has been convened by the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology of the Society of Jesus and is part of a major commitment to promote global networking as a means to promote social justice. The purpose of the "Networking for Justice" meeting is to evaluate to what extent networking in the Society of Jesus has favored the fulfillment of its mission in the struggle for justice. It aims to identify and communicate the main lessons learned and to propose concrete measures to further enhance this way of working. In order to generate a constant updating on the meeting, a website Networking for justice has been just launched. There will be an intensive course of information online prior, during and after this important gathering. Following this aim, a newsletter subscription has been habilitated so those who are interested in the network of the Society of Jesus in the world can subscribe and be timely updated. For more information, see this video.
HONDURAS: International Rafto prize for Honduran Jesuit
On November 1, Fr. Ismael Moreno Coto, (better known as Padre Melo), a radio activist and human rights campaigner, received the 2015 Rafto Prize in Bergenn, Norway. The prize is awarded in recognition of his use of the media in defense of freedom of expression and fundamental human rights in Honduras. Padre Melo is a fearless spokesperson who works tirelessly to investigate and communicate the reasons for the violence and abuse committed against vulnerable groups in society. He leads two important human rights organizations in the city of El Progreso in Honduras: Radio Progreso and Equipo de Reflexión, Investigación y Comunicación. He also founded the Honduran edition of the regional journal Envío and the Honduran journal A Mecate Corto, both of which analyse topical social problems.
GOA: Memorial to first Lithuanian Jesuit in Goa
The first Lithuanian to arrive in India did not come by flight or road, but bravely endured five months on a ship to spend a few months in Goa. He was, in fact, a Jesuit priest who disembarked in Goa on August 22, 1625, traveling 9,091.2 km from his motherland. Almost 400 years later, a memorial stone bearing Andrius Rudamina's name has been erected in the courtyard of Se Cathedral in Old Goa in the presence of the Lithuanian ambassador to India. Reciprocating the gesture, a monument dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and his closest associate Lithuanian-born Herman Kallenbach is expected to be unveiled in Lithuania later this year. Although Rudamina had a short stay in Goa, he earned the reputation of being a compassionate and truly devoted man who tended to the sick and elderly.
Over these last two years there has arisen amongst some members of the Ignatian family a real concern about the way young people are being drawn into a violent fundamentalism in a perversion of religious faith.
There is a deep desire amongst young people to commit themselves to a cause, often amidst a cultural context within which there is ingrained hopelessness, despair, and hedonism. Pope Francis has issued a challenge to young people not to lose hope, saying that the saddest thing is to see a young person who has, as it were, retired into hopelessness.
A key ingredient of the vow formula of Jesuits and some members of the Ignatian family is the 'care of youth'. It is grounded in the vision of the Principle and Foundation of the Exercises that we are created to praise, reverence, and serve, Christ Our Lord. It is elaborated in that call to mission and service of the Call of Christ the King and exalted in the contemplate when we come to see all things as coming from and returning to the Father in and through the work of Christ in the world.
As we search for new ways to share the inspiration and encouragement of the love of God at work in our world we offer this prayer to the Jesuit and Ignatian families throughout the world.
you have placed at the heart of our vocation
a special care for young people.
Give us we pray hearts and minds
that are attuned to the contemporary
needs of young men and women.
Inspire us with your love and grace
that we might share that inspiration.
Cause us to be signs of that hope and joy
which you so desire to share with all people.
May we encourage young people
to walk the path of peace, justice and service
without violence and hatred;
so that they in turn may be a source
of inspiration and hope to others.
A Prayer proposed to the entire Ignatian Family from some members (Sr. Gill Goulding, C.J., John O'Brien, S.J., Edmund Lo, S.J., and Matthew Charlesworth, S.J.) at Regis College, Toronto, ON, Canada