In a letter to all major superiors dated 25 February, Father General announced the reorganization of the Archivium Historicum Societatis Iesu (ARSI) and of the Institutum Historicum Societatis Iesu (IHSI). After recounting the work of a committee of experts this past year, Father Nicolás writes, "The archival materials of the Society preserved in the ARSI are a rare and extraordinarily valuable treasure for comprehending the Society's history, spirituality, and self-understanding. At the same time, increasing interest in Jesuit history during the last two decades reveals the importance of our archives for learning about and understanding many dimensions of not only our own history but also Church and global history during the past five centuries." Based on the recommendations of the committee, Father General continues, "Therefore, additional policies and procedures will be put in place that further protect and conserve this unique and precious resource. Changes will include the appointment of a full time director who has the specialized training and skills that the ARSI requires today and in the future.
More fundamentally, I have decided that the ARSI should be reconstituted with an expanded mission. In order to respond to the signs of the times, the mission of the IHSI has evolved and changed since the editors of the Monumenta Historica Societatis Jesu moved from Madrid to Rome in 1930. Thus, the inevitability of adjusting the IHSI's mission to meet the needs of the Church and Society in our own day comes as no surprise. In particular, at this moment in time, we need to recognize the special role the Society can play by giving increased attention to the history of the Church in regions where it is developing rapidly. To make the best use of our men and resources, I have decided that many of the tasks previously accomplished by the IHSI will now be carried out under the auspices of the new ARSI (...) I have asked six Jesuits in Rome to prepare a plan that restructures the organization of the ARSI and the IHSI and takes into account the demographic shift that is happening in the Church and the Society. While encouraging all the Conferences to consider establishing local historical institutes, I want the reorganized ARSI to give special emphasis to assisting the formation of two new historical centers that will promote the study of the history of the Church and Society of Jesus in Africa and Asia. It is my hope that a strong network of Jesuit historical institutes throughout the world will promote the historical studies needed for the Society's ever more profound service of the Lord and the Church."
In a letter to all major superiors dated 26 February, Father General presents the 2009 FACSI Report. We now present some of the general data of that report. "In the year 2009 says Father General in his letter - we were able to distribute € 1,028,066.00 to help fund 39 projects from various provinces and continents... I received 48 project proposals in 2009. Of these, 39 were accepted, in whole or in part, by the committee which I appointed to study them". From the attached report one can also see the types of projects that were funded. "This year, the largest disbursement of funds was to the pastoral, spiritual and parochial sector which received 36.60% of the total amount. The second largest disbursement was to the intellectual apostolate and education which received 34.79%. Third in rank were projects with a social character, 12.95% of the total amount. From the geographical point of view, in 2009 the largest number of projects submitted and approved was from Africa... and I am particularly pleased by this because, as we know, this continent is a priority for the Society after the 35th General Congregation. Africa is followed by South Asia, Southern Latin America, and finally by other countries and continents, in particular Central and Eastern Europe." To this must be added the emergency response and it will be listed in the report.
From the Curia
- From 8 to 17 March, the JRS International Advocacy and Communications Network will hold their annual meetings in Rome. The first meeting (8 -12 March) will explore the style of JRS advocacy, and seeks to help regional offices develop advocacy strategies. In the second meeting, communications staff will receive training on media planning and photojournalism. Based on the objectives set by the advocacy officers, the communications network will also develop an action plan for 2010 - 2011.
- On March 17th the new Advisory Council for the Secretariat of Ignatian Spirituality will hold its first meeting. The Council was recently appointed by Father General to assist the Secretariat to better respond to present and future needs of the Society, its members and apostolic works with regard to its spiritual tradition. We wish to announce that the first issue of 2010 Review of Ignatian Spirituality (no.123), has been published; it explores the topic, "Spiritual Challenges and Ignatian Insights in Times of Crisis". The Review is published three times a year in English, Spanish and French and may be found at www.sjweb.info/cis/index.cfm
Father General has appointed:
- Father Stephan Kiechle the next provincial of Germany. Father Kiechle is 49 years old, earned a doctorate in Theology from Paris, has served as student pastor, novice master and manager of the counselling centre "Offene Tür" in Mannheim. He is a well known author on Saint Ignatius and the history of the Jesuits. He takes office as provincial on the First of September. In his letter of appointment, Father General expresses his gratitude to the present provincial, Father Stefan Dartmann and encourages him to complete his term of office with the same determination and competence which he has shown in recent weeks concerning the work of the commission on the prevention of child abuse in the work of the German province.
- Father Jan Adamik the next Provincial of the Province of Bohemia. Father Jan is currently superior of the Jesuit community in Ceská Tešín and director of the retreat house. He was born in 1962, entered the Society of Jesus in 1990 and was ordained priest in 2001.
From the Provinces
CHILE: The Jesuits after the earthquake
Our brethren in Chile inform us that none of the Jesuits, their relatives, our collaborators and our students died in the earthquake that affected the country on February 27. In the meantime, many Jesuits and lay collaborators have been working with Oficina Nacional de Emergencia, collecting food, blankets, clothing and coal from around the country. The Jesuits are already elaborating a reconstruction plan, which will involve major human and financial efforts. With regard to damages to Jesuit houses and works, they are fairly serious. However on March 1st there was not yet a specific list, due to communication difficulties. Our college in Concepción, epicentre of the earthquake, suffered structural damages; although the main building is still standing, the day nursery moved by one meter. There were cracks all over the building. In addition, even though our schools and works in other towns, like Tirúa, Santiago, etc. were damaged, none collapsed. This is all the information we have received.
ITALY: Andrea Pozzo, Painter and Architect
The exhibition, Admirable Illusions: Andrea Pozzo, Jesuit painter and architect, opened March 5th at Palazzo Poli (Palazzo della Fontana di Trevi, Via Poli 54, tel. 0039-0669980257) in Rome. It is being promoted by the Pontifical Gregorian University as well as other Italian and international institutions for the third centenary of the death of the Jesuit artist who was born in Trent in 1642 and died in Vienna in 1709. An amazingly well-rounded person, architect, painter, decorator and art theoretician, Brother Pozzo is considered one of the most extraordinary artists of the European baroque, especially regarding perspective drawing. He was a founder of an academy of painting at the Roman College, the original name of the present day Gregorian University. Pozzo's most famous masterpieces are in Rome including: the altar of the tomb of Saint Ignatius in the Church of the Gesù; the trompe-l'oeil dome, the altar of Saint Luigi Gonzaga and the frescos on the ceiling in the Saint Ignatius Church. The art of perspective, used by Pozzo and made famous by one of his treatises, is the main theme of the exhibition which is powerfully exemplified by the wood model of the altar of Saint Luigi Gonzaga in the church of Saint Ignatius. The exhibition also presents the so-called "ephemeral creations": some drawings representing design systems for Quarantore, (Forty Hours' Devotion) "sacred theatres set up in Jesuit churches during the solemn exposure of the Blessed Sacrament", and a group of unpublished drawings from a private collection, attributed to a pupil and close collaborator of Pozzo. The exhibition is open until May 2.
HAITI: Towards Reconstruction
Some weeks after the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, the local Jesuits formed a "committee of reflection and action" not only for immediate help, but especially to plan a reconstruction program. On February 21st the committee held a conference in front of many scholars, representatives of ONG working in the country, members of associations, educators, religious, volunteers of human rights agencies, students, etc. The aim was to reflect on the first reconstruction projects, thanks also to documents prepared by a special commission. The debate was carried out in an atmosphere of tolerance, freedom and respect. "The committee of reflection and action", says the final communiqué, asks to take into consideration all the efforts done until now", and inform "those who have to take decisions, that today's opportunities risk to be lost without an appropriate realization methodology." It underlines that "from the beginning of the drama, citizens of every class have shown an extraordinary solidarity, perseverance, decision and heroism. Government and armed forces, equally pained, were nevertheless taken unawares and began to react only some days after the calamity." The committee continues its work, and periodically inform about the achievements and the programs to carry out.
UNITED STATES: California Province Looks Towards China
The California Province is reviewing the "Malatesta Program" hoping to continue the person-to-person exchange it fosters. The program's objective is to promote academic collaboration in the areas of theology and allied disciplines through an exchange of faculty and graduate students at three California Jesuit universities and those at selected Chinese universities. In particular, it seeks to support the development of religious studies programs in China and to enhance the state of theological investigation there and at the California Jesuit universities. The idea began in the 2006-2007 academic year after two faculty members from the Jesuit School of Theology were invited to lecture in China, where they met faculty from several prestigious mainland universities who expressed enthusiasm for academic exchanges. The program is named after Jesuit Father Edward Malatesta, a biblical scholar who died in Hong Kong in 1998. He was one of the first priests from outside China to teach at Sheshan Seminary in Shanghai in 1989 and had contributed 20,000 books to the seminary's library.
The 4th centenary of Matteo Ricci's death
Youth Pilgrimage to Macerata. During Holy Week (Wednesday, 31 March - Sunday, 4 April) Father Vincenzo Sibilio is organizing a pilgrimage to Macerata, birthplace of Matteo Ricci, designed for young people ages 16 to 30. It will recall the fruits of the Easter mysteries in the life of Matteo Ricci. The pilgrimage consists of a 20 kilometer a day march with the first hour in silence. Each day will begin with a period of prayer and a few points of meditation. Groups of 10 - 12 people of the same age, will be headed by a facilitator; all groups will following the same itinerary. At the end of each day there will be an opportunity to share reflections on the day's prayer experience. The Jesuits of Bologna are preparing two spiritual booklets for the pilgrimage, one for those 16 to 19 years old, another for those 20 to 30 years old. For more information please write to: email@example.com
Matteo Ricci at UNESCO in Paris. UNESCO celebrated the 400th anniversary of Matteo Ricci's death with a symposium and the opening of an exhibition. More than 700 people convened for the celebration on February 16 at UNESCO's headquarters in Paris. The event began with an introduction by Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the laity, entitled: On friendship, a method for the encounter. Reflections on Matteo Ricci's experience. The cardinal noted how the Jesuit earned admiration both in China and in Europe "for having opened the road to the encounter of two cultures, accomplishing something no one had done before." The day continued with the screening of a documentary film by Gjon Kolndrekaj, Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit in the Reign of the Dragoon and the opening of the exposition Father Matteo Ricci: at the service of the Lord of Heaven. The exhibition will travel next to Lisieux, where it will remain until June; in September it will move to Korea, as a perpetual sign of the dialogue among peoples fostered by Matteo Ricci.
Australia, Matteo Ricci Star in a New Film. In 2009 two Jesuits, Father Jeremy Clarke from Australia and Father Jim McDermott from the United States, traveled to China to film a documentary to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Ricci's death. With a camera, tripod and little else, these two Jesuits traveled the length of China, retracing the footsteps of Ricci and other pioneers of the early Chinese Church. The 60 minute film features famous cities and historic sites, including the old Jesuit observatory and the cemetery where Ricci is buried. The film is a celebration of the 400 year history of Chinese Catholicism and was launched on the 26th of February at Saint Ignatius College, Riverview, Australia.
Summer English Course in Poland. From 28th of June to 27th of July 2010 in Krakow there will be a Summer English Course for scholastics, priests and brothers; American Jesuits will be their tutors. The purposes are: to gain proficiency in the English language (with a strong emphasis on conversation), to promote friendship, and to foster mutual understanding among Jesuits from different provinces throughout Europe and the U.S. The overall cost of 700,00 € and includes all meals, accommodations, activities, and excursions. For further information Kamil Rogalski (firstname.lastname@example.org).