Vol. XX, No. 05 March 7, 2016
Father General visited the Provinces of Andhra, Gujarat, and Madurai from 21 February to 5 March. Father Lisbert D'Souza (Regional Assistant for South Asia) and Father Antoine Kerhuel (Regional Assistant for Western Europe) accompanied him on the journey. Father D'Souza shared some of the highlights of the journey.
Andhra: 21 February 2016
We arrived at Andhra Loyola College [and] the fun began. We had four Hindu students chant prayers and offer us a vessel with a coconut to touch. This was a traditional Telugu welcome, we were told. In the early afternoon Father General met with the Jesuits of the area. His talk centred on the preparation for General Congregation 36. Later in the afternoon, he addressed the staff and students of the College - over 5,000, on the football field. Here he focused on the aim of Jesuit education to help students grow and enable them contribute to a new humanity. This, he said, calls for forming relationships, interaction, a search for depth, a sense of humour, and time for play and sports (where one learns to interact within a system of rules).
Andhra: 22 February 2016
Father General spent this day doing what he enjoys most - interacting with those in formation. He had a session with the Collegians (24 from 5 Provinces) studying at Andhra Loyola College and then with the Andhra Province novices (12 of them but all in the first year) at the novitiate at Nagarjuna. The talk to the Collegians was built around the triptych: depth, creativity and life in the Spirit. The sharing with the novices encouraged them to give themselves unreservedly to what they do. "Strive always to serve", said Fr General, "and you will always be happy, as you will always find ways to serve. If, on the other hand, you ambition position or want to do what you think will make you happy, your desires will always hold you to ransom."
Trichy: 28 February 2016 (a light moment)
The first formal encounter was with the staff, students and alumni of St Joseph's College, Trichy. There was something of a contretemps as two young women welcomed Fr General with the traditional red spot (kunkum) and sandalwood paste on the forehead. One of the women held up a tray with flowers and a bowl of sugar grains and someone whispered, "Put it in your mouth". Father General obediently picked up a flower and was about to put it in his mouth when another voice said, "Not the flower; some grains of sugar." Fr. Antoine Kerhuel, who was next in line, profited from Father General's near mishap and sailed through the ceremony with French aplomb! In his address, Father General made two key points. The first was to stress the special contribution to the formation of students made by female teachers, presumably to help develop sensitivity and Emotional Quotient. The other was that Jesuit education seeks to help the students, Hindus, Christians, Muslims etc. to each be what he or she is, a good Hindu, Muslim, etc. but in depth; for in depth there is truth and this truth resides within us. Education helps to bring this depth dimension to light.
Madurai: 1 March 2016
At the Provincial's Curia in Ahmedabad Father General met with 43 scholastics from nine different provinces studying at St Xavier's College, Ahmedabad. Father General spoke about the importance of opening ourselves to collaboration with others. This was also the thrust of Pope Francis in encouraging "synodality" for he wants to work alongside others. We too must seek partners for our shared mission, which is the mission of God. Speaking of the need of depth, Fr General stressed reading habits and then expressed satisfaction that some scholastics were taking up dance. He observed that this was a great way to express the joy of life and related this to the joy and life he saw in different parts of Africa. Asked what his three greatest consolations and disappointments were, Fr General said there were persons who were totally available for mission and those who held back, respectively; communities that gave witness to our mission and those that were divided; and apostolically, communities of insertion and when such communities collapsed and Jesuits gave up this form of solidarity with the poor.
FROM THE CURIA
VATICAN RADIO: New structure in the mission of the Society of Jesus
On February 29 2016, Father Federico Lombardi and Dr. Alberto Gasbarri ended their long and fruitful mission at Vatican Radio, as Director General and Administrative Director respectively. Having fulfilled the mandates for which they were appointed, the end of their duties also marked the disappearance of the positions of Director General and Administrative Director at Vatican Radio. Vatican Radio will now fall under the new Secretariat for Communication, created by Pope Francis on 27 June 2015 with the aim of restructuring and streamlining all Vatican communications.
Pope Francis has expressed his desire to entrust to the Society of Jesus with the management of Vatican Radio in the new communications structure of the Holy See. In September 2015, the Holy Father appointed Fr Andrzej Majewski as Director of Programs at Vatican Radio. With the departure of Fr Lombardi from the radio, Fr Majewski is now the head of a team of more than twenty Jesuits who have committed themselves to continue offering the service of communicating the Gospel, the Pope's and the Church's messages through easily accessible multicultural, multilingual, pluralistic multimedia and digital productions. With 85 years' experience of Jesuit presence at Vatican Radio, Father General and the Jesuits who are currently missioned to Vatican Radio are exploring ways of effectively participating in the complex process of restructuring one of the most important means of communication of the Vatican.
In the restructured structure of Vatican Communications, Father Federico Lombardi remains head of the Holy See's Press Office and Spokesperson of the Holy Father.
SJES: Justice in the Global Economy (Special Report)
Since the beginning of his Pontificate, Pope Francis has repeatedly called both the Church and the larger society to turn their attention to issues of justice in today's global economy. This is the challenge taken up in this special report, to reflect on how current economics are affecting inclusion and sustainability and to explore ways in which economics can better respond to the needs of the poor and the environment. The Jesuit Secretariats for Social Justice and Ecology and for Higher Education assigned this task to a Task Force of experts that have produced the document. It has been published as PJ 121: download pdf...
AP: Click to Pray, the new app to pray with Pope Francis
The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) continues to bring innovation into the Church for a new generation. Now Click to Pray (both on the web and mobile app) invites men and women throughout the world to join in prayer for the intentions of Pope Francis to address the challenges facing humanity. Following the release of the first video series starring a pope, now Francis is back in the news with the launch of the Click to Pray application, an effort to gain prayer support from people around the world for his monthly intentions. In addition, he wishes to promote daily prayer on behalf of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer).
FROM THE PROVINCES
CZECH REPUBLIC: Meeting of MAGIS organizers
On Saturday, February 13th, a preparatory meeting for MAGIS 2016 took place in Brno. It was attended by Czech leaders of MAGIS experiments and their helpers, Jesuits and lay collaborators. The meeting followed the structure of a typical MAGIS day, with a Morning Prayer and focus of the day, activities, MAGIS circle and mass celebrated by the Czech Provincial Josef Stuchly. Polish Jesuits from the MAGIS 2016 central team led the meeting, the general program coordinator Waldemar P. Los and Marek Firlejczyk who is in charge of the experiments coordination. There will be five Ignatian experiments in the Czech Republic: a pilgrimage on the footsteps of Jesuits in central Bohemia, spiritual exercises with film in a Jesuit retreat house, an ecological experiment in an old Franciscan monastery nearby Prague, a theatre experiment "Experience Bible through action" and a Living Stones experiment in Jesuit churches in the centre of Prague.
JRS: Tell us the routes
JRS Europe has set up a new communication project, "Tell us the routes" which aims at highlighting the individual voices, hopes and dreams of people seeking a new, safe life in Europe. The project has been entrusted to Danielle Vella and Darrin Zammit Lupi. Danielle is a consultant at the international office of JRS, and very committed to letting the voices of the refugees be heard, as already attested in diverse publications of hers. Danielle, together with Darrin, a Maltese photojournalist, will travel with the refugees along their routes.
ROME: Missionaries of Mercy
On Ash Wednesday, Pope Francis marked the Extra-ordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy by sending out missionaries of mercy throughout the world. Among them are four Jesuits; Fr. Wendelin Köster SJ (German Province), Fr. Lluís Victori SJ (Spain Province), Fr. Anthony O'Riordan SJ (Ireland Province), and Fr. Richard Shorthall SJ (Australia Province).