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Vol. XIII, N. 13 July 6, 2009
Trip to the Philippines and Indonesia.
From 11 to 14 July Father General will visit the Philippine Province to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the return of the Jesuits to the country (see further on) and the founding of what is today the Ateneo de Manila University. In 1768, the Jesuits of the Philippine Province, 154 in all, were expelled by order of King Charles III of Spain. They returned almost a hundred years later, in 1859, with the intention of evangelizing the southern island of Mindanao. Besides undertaking this pioneering missionary work, in December of the same year they assumed responsibility for the Escuela Pia, later renamed Ateneo Municipal. The present day Ateneo de Manila University has a student population of over 18.000. The Sesquicentennial Anniversary Eucharistic celebration will be held on July 12; Father General will be the principal celebrant. About 4.000 people, including 200 Jesuits, are expected to participate. The next day Father Nicolás will deliver the keynote address on: "Issues and challenges in Jesuit education today" before a group of Jesuits and their lay collaborators from the five universities, one college and other schools of the Philippine Province. That evening Father General stay at Arrupe International Residence; the international scholasticate houses more than one hundred men in formation, coming from all the provinces of East Asia as well as the novices of the Philippine and Chinese Provinces. On July 14 he will meet Jesuits and lay partners working in spirituality and social centers, seminaries, parishes and chaplaincy programs. Time has been set aside for him to visit friends in Manila: the staff of the East Asian Pastoral Institute, where he was director for six years, and the staff of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania, which he led as president for three years before his election as Superior General of the Society.
On July 15 Father General will leave Manila for Yogyakarta, Indonesia, where he will stay until July 21. From July 16 to 19 he will attend the meeting of the Major Superiors of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania, and on July 17 he will meet the "Brothers' Circle" of the Assistancy who will be having their biannual gathering at that time. The visit will be also celebrate the 150th anniversary of the "modern" Jesuit presence in Indonesia ("modern", since Saint Francis Xavier had already served in what is today Indonesia in the 16th century). In 1859, two Dutch Jesuit missionaries landed in Batavia (today known as Java). Those humble origins have blossomed into the largest Province of the Assistancy with 348 Jesuits as well as 77 Jesuits in the two dependent regions of Malaysia-Singapore and Thailand. The official celebration of the event will be held on July 20th, and will be presided over by Jesuit Cardinal Julius Darmaatmadja, archbishop of Jakarta; The Eucharist will be celebrated in Bahasa Indonesia, the local language, while Father General will deliver the homily in English. The previous evening he will have dinner with nearly 500 Jesuits and friends, family members and collaborators, and will address them on the themes of mission and collaboration. On the evening of July 20th Father Nicolás will meet about 200 Indonesian Jesuits. On July 21st he will meet with the Provincial of Indonesia and his consultors before returning to Rome.
From the Curia
New Undersecretary of the Society. Father Ralph da Costa, of the Karnataka Province (India) has been appointed under-Secretary of the Society of Jesus. He will replace Father Juan Andrés Llauger, who will return in his home Province of Aragon. Father da Costa is 69 years old, former Rector of De Nobili College in Poona and presently works at Prerana, the Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Bangalore. He will takes office in September.
New Secretary for the Spanish Provinces. Father Luis López Yarto, of the Castile Province has been appointed the Regional Secretary of the South European Assistancy for the Spanish Language, replacing Father Llauger. He will continue his ministry as Spiritual Director at Saint Robert Bellarmine College in Rome.
New ARSI Director. Father Marek Inglot of the South Poland Province is the new director of Archivium Romanum Societatis Jesu (ARSI). He replaces Father José Antonio Yoldi, the director ad interim. Father Inglot will continue to live and teach at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Video-Conferences. The General Curia is testing a video-conferencing system. Father Claudio Barriga, delegate general director of the Apostleship of Prayer and of the Eucharistic Youth Movement (MEG), had a "virtual" meeting with the managers of the five national offices of MEG (Canada, Chile, Egypt, Paraguay, Poland and Rome) to prepare for the 2012 international meeting of the Movement. A few small difficulties were experienced but the "experiment" was deemed a success as Father Bariga tries to coordinate the work of MEG in 43 countries that speak many languages. A room in the General Curia is being equipped for vide-conferences. This will enable Father General and the members of the Curia to participate in "virtual" meetings and consultations with Provincials and others throughout the world.
Father General has appointed:
- Father Mario Alberto Torres Regional Superior of Puerto Rico. Father Torres is 39 years old, a Jesuit for eighteen years and a priest for eight years. His academic formation took place in France and United States. In 2002 he became president of Colegio San Ignacio in San Juan, Puerto Rico and has been a member of the Regional Consultors group since 2007.
- Father Viktus Gintaras Provincial of Lithuania-Lettonia. Father Gintaras was born in 1942, joined the Society in 1982 and was ordained a priest in 1991. He is presently director of Saint Francis Xavier School in Kaunas.
From the Provinces
PHILIPPINES: The return of the Jesuits
The solemn ceremony to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the return of the Jesuits to the Philippines was held on June 14th in Manila, with the participation of His Eminence Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales, D.D., Archbishop of Manila, and Father. Jose Magadia, Provincial of the Philippines. In addition to dignitaries and friends there were students of our schools, past and present, wearing the uniforms of their institutes. In his homily Father Magadia shared a historical perspective: "On the morning of June 14, 1859, exactly 150 years ago, ten Jesuits of the Aragon Province disembarked from the ship, Luisita. After a long trip of several months duration, suffering the discomforts and uncertainties of travel in those days, they finally landed at their new destination." Some months later, on December 10th of the same year, 1859, they assumed responsibility for Escuela Pia, later renamed Ateneo Municipal. It was the foundational unit for the present-day Ateneo de Manila University. "We need new missionaries," continued Father Provincial, "able to use the new means of communication, able to sing and listen to the music with young people, who understand the language of government and politics, who can be able to use new technologies and who will not wonder by new ideas and orientations." Celebrations continue with conferences, concerts, exhibitions of arts and sciences and the launch of a commemorative volume. They will culminate with Father General's visit (see top of bulletin).
INDIA: Meeting of Association of Jesuit Business Schools
The 15th World Forum of the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools was held in June at the Xavier Labour Relations Institute, directed by the Jesuits in Jamshedpur, India. The three-day international event showcased a variety of speakers from the academic as well as the industrial worlds. Among the participants were deans, directors and senior professors from business schools in USA, Europe, Asia Pacific and India. They exchanged their experiences and opinions on the necessity of giving major attention to sustainable development through social projects designed to alleviate poverty.
In his keynote address, Mr. Y.C. Deveshwar, emphasized the invaluable contribution to be made by Jesuit Business Schools in spreading education and awareness in the area of sustainability. Among other things he said: "The Jesuit schools could engage in meaningful research, in collaboration with business and industry, to find innovative solutions that address the sustainability challenger for a new economy. The fruits of this research would not only help corporate recipients, but also be valuable inputs to influence government policies beneficial for all."
ITALY: Letture review closes
Letture, the review of cultural information, literature and entertainment has closed after 105 years of publication. It was founded by Bishop Giovanni Casati in 1904 in Milan in order to "offer moral information on books to catholic readers." In 1946 the Jesuits of Centro San Fedele took over publication until 1994. That year it was given to Periodici San Paolo so as to keep "its spirit more up to date and enlarge its journalistic interests," wrote director Don Antonio Rizzolo, in the lead article of the final issue. The reasons for closing are essentially economic. "Every year" the editor, Don Rizzolo continues, "we faced annual deficits." Famiglia Cristiana, is still going strong, but it was unable to support Letture. In an economic crisis, the first expenses that families cut are those for the culture. "It was not possible to underwrite the deficit any longer; there are no other reasons. I want to underline the positive aspects Letture had, during the administration of the Jesuits and later; it had a significant cultural role in the Italian literary, musical and film panorama. The review is available in many libraries. The letters which arrived are testimony to the interest and affection of our readers. There is now a vacuum because Letture offered in one place a panorama of information and reviews by well-known names in the literary, film, musical and cultural arenas in Italy... Always presented in a moderate, balanced, well qualified manner."
MEXICO: Anniversary of the death of Fernando Consag
Among the initiatives to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the death of Fernando Consag, Jesuit explorer and founder of many missions on the peninsula of Baja California, Mexico, there is the proposal to name the boulevard entering Ensenada, the third most important town of the Mexican state of Baja California after him. The Croatian Jesuit founded the mission of Saint Gertrud, discovered that Baja is not an island, opened missionary apostolates, began the cultivation of grape and wrote the first document on the flora and the fauna of the peninsula. Among the celebrations there are a series of conferences and other events that will begin in September on the day of his death and will last till December; they will conclude in the town of San Ignacio, where he is buried.
ROME: Meeting on Astronomy
In the framework of the International Year of Astronomy, an international symposium promoted by the Vatican Observatory was held at the end of June at the Conference Center of the Istituto il Carmelo" at Sassone near Rome. The theme was "Astronomy; A Stimulus to Dialogue on Humanity's Common Concerns." The event brought together alumni and professors of the past eleven Vatican Observatory Summer Schools that began in 1986. Vatican Radio noted, "the intention of the theme is to underline the important role of astronomy for the scientific observation and the life of ancient societies, its geographic, spiritual and of orientation role, plus the consciousness of the common affiliation to the universe; that unifying element, transmitted to all through celestial contemplation." The discussion started from the reflection on the role of astronomy and astronomers during the centuries, with the purpose of recovering what has been lost of that role and what is necessary today to launch a common approach to new challenges. During the meeting the participants examined the specific contribution given by astronomers to the dialogue among people of different culture through the transmission of their knowledge of the Universe; a contribution for drawing up positions and making a fruitful comparisons possible.
TAIWAN: A Mammoth Bibliography
Over the last thirty years Father André Lefebvre, a Canadian Jesuit teaching psychology at National Taiwan University and several other university of the nation, among which Fu Jen Catholic University, has been carefully cataloguing the research in the area of "transpersonal psychology." The result of his endeavor is a giant bibliography, totaling more than 22.000 entries spanning more than 1.100 pages. The bibliography is available online, free of charge, at a website sponsored by the Taipei Ricci Institute and Renlai monthly: http://www.erenlai.com/index.php?aid=2492&lan=3
"Transpersonal psychology", Father Lefebvre explains, "adds the spiritual dimension ("spiritual" in a broad sense, i.e. either in a religious sense or not) as an essential part of the human potential, an insight already found in all cultures, while incorporating and confirming all the positive contributions of behavioral psychology, Freudian psychology and humanistic psychology." The bibliography, that will be regularly updated, deals with psychological insights found in all spiritual traditions, the psychology of death and dying, studies on creativity, ecological and peacemaking concerns in psychological studies, among other topics.