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Vol. XIV, N. 11, 19 May 2010
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Father James McCann Rector of the Pontifical Oriental Institute. He will assume this responsibility in mid-September 2010. Born in the United States in 1949, Father James entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus in 1967, and was ordained a priest in 1979. He earned a licentiate in theology from Centre Sèvres in Paris, a Master degree in Russia and East European Studies from Yale University, and a doctorate from Princeton University in Political Science with a specialization in Russia and Eastern Europe.
Father General has appointed:
- the following Jesuits as Dialogue Advisors (Consiglieri) for:
1) Ecumenical dialogue with other Christian communities:
- Oriental: Milan Zust (SVN) member of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
- Protestants: Thomas Rausch (CFN) theology professor, Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles.
2) Inter-religious Dialogue:
- Judaism: Jean-Pierre Sonnet (BML) Professor Hebrew Bible, Gregorian University
- Islam: Christian Troll (GER) Emeritus professor, Sankt Georgen, Frankfurt
- Buddhism: Aloysius Pieris (SRI) Director, Tulana Research Center, Colombo Sri Lanka
- Hinduism: Noel Sheth (BOM) Professor, Jnana-Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune, India
- Indigenous religions in the Americas: Xavier Albó (BOL) CIPCA, La Paz, Bolivia
- Indigenous religions in Africa: Kemboly Mpay (ACE) Professor, Philosophy Faculty, Kinshasa, DR Congo
These advisors will constitute the Secretariat for Ecumenical & Inter-religious Dialogue for the Society, replacing a single Secretary in the Curia. The Secretariat will be a consultative group conversant with the ongoing dialogues among diverse faith communities. Each advisor will remain in his present work and location rather than moving to Rome. All the advisors will gather in Rome once a year to meet together with Father General for discussions on developments in ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue, and the Society's involvement in them. Each advisor is appointed for a term of three years.
- Father Guillermo Rodriguez-Izquierdo Gavala, Provincial of Betica Province, in Spain. Father Guillermo was born in 1940, entered the Society of Jesus in 1956 and was ordained a priest in 1970. Presently, he is a member of the Sacred Heart Jesuit Community in Seville;
- Father Jean-Marc Biron, Provincial of French Canada. Father Jean-Marc was born in 1943, was ordained a priest in 1967 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1990. He is presently the Director of Manresa Spirituality Center in Québec;
- Father José Alberto Mesa of the Colombia Province, new Secretary for Secondary Education. Fr. José Alberto was born in 1969, entered the Society of Jesus in 1979 and was ordained a priest in 1992. He is presently Superior and Rector Colegio San José in Barranquilla.
Father General has confirmed the appointment of:
- Father Sunny Thomas Kokkaravalayil Superior of the Jesuit Community at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome; he began on the 14th of May. Father Sunny, who was acting Rector of the Institute and Superior of the Community, is native of Kerala Province (India); he was born in 1964, entered the Society of Jesus in 1989 and was ordained a priest in 1998.
From the Provinces
AUSTRALIA: Revisiting the Jesuit Story
"Our Jesuit history and its implications for the future of pastoral ministry" was the theme of a meeting held at the beginning of May in the Jesuit residence of Sevenhill, in Australia. A group of Jesuits and lay people from ten Jesuit parishes attended. The conference began with an introduction about Sevenhill and the history of the first Jesuits arrived from Austria. The storytelling continued with a presentation of the broader mission of the Jesuits within the universal Society of Jesus. The afternoon included a presentation exploring the characteristics of Jesuit parishes, with each parish giving presentations on how they are living out a particular characteristic. For the parishes it was an occasion for sharing between them, as Father Dwyer said: "We are no longer isolated parishes working in different cities. The networking has gone over the years in these conferences, but you really saw the strength of it in this one." Speaking about the number of lay people leading sessions at the conference he said: "That wouldn't have been the case some years ago. They're now giving great leadership in all areas of pastoral ministry."
BANGLADESH: New Jesuit Community
A new Jesuit community, Nobojoyti Niketon (Home of New Light) has been established north of Dhaka as an answer to the call from the Catholic Bishops and particularly from the archdiocese to contribute to the spiritual growth and development of its people. About 400 Catholics including 10 priests attended the opening ceremony. Archbishop Paulinus Costa of Dhaka presided at the Mass. "This center will preach the spirituality and idealism of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the country. It will sponsor conferences and retreats for priests and religious in the country and abroad. I think it will significantly help the Church grow more in spirituality," the Dhaka archbishop said. The center, a six-story building, will be a free consultation center for people from all religions and a formation house for candidates in religious life. "We hope it will enhance vocations among Catholic young people of the area," said Father George Pattery, Provincial of the Calcutta Province.
COLOMBIA: Defending Father Javier Giraldo
For several weeks, and especially at the end of April, a number of threatening messages were written as graffiti across Bogotá against Father Javier Giraldo, a member of the Centro de Investigación y Educación Popular, Center for Investigation and Popular Education (CINEP). It is believed that these threats are in response to Father Giraldo's recent investigations that reported on nearly 200 crimes and murders committed since July 1996 by the Colombian National Army, paramilitaries and guerrillas in the Comunidad de la Paz de San José de Apartado. In addition, he has been a vigorous defender of human rights and has denounced the criminal actions of armed groups, the majority of which remained unpunished. A press release from CINEP stated, "We reject these threats against Father Giraldo, who has defended human rights and has denounced the pattern of impunity toward crimes against International Humanitarian Law that have occurred and continue to occur in Colombia; we call on the government to clear up the situation and offer protection to those who are threatened." The Colombian Provincial, Fr. Francisco de Roux, said, "In the face of this smear campaign to destroy him, we want to clearly affirm that Father Javier Giraldo is a man of high moral integrity, one who seeks the truth, an untiring champion of outcasts, a defender of human dignity, a man convinced of the fact that the State has to be at the service of all people's life and integrity."
INDIA: Saint John de Britto Statue
Following a recent visit to Portugal by Father Cyril Antony Samy, responsible for the Shrine of Saint John de Britto, in Oriyur, India, the Jesuit Community of Soutelo, Portugal, decided to offer to the shrine a wooden image of Saint John de Britto, about two meters in height that was carved in Braga. The shrine marks the site of the martyrdom of the Portuguese Jesuit saint. This is especially symbolic as the Portuguese Province responds to requests for assistance made by Father Cyril. He was quite moved by the offer of the statue of Saint John de Britto and said it will be displayed for veneration by the faithful at the shrine in Oriyur. St. John de Britto 1647-1683), was a Portuguese Jesuit missionary in India, martyred for the Catholic faith.
ITALY: Centenary of the Pontifical Biblical Institute
"100 years at the Service of the Word", was the theme for the concluding week (3 - 8 May) of the centennial year of the Pontifical Biblical Institute. The year began on the 9th of May 2009. It has been an occasion to "reread" the Bible in a pastoral, liturgical perspective and in relation with other religions. The first session of the final week was organized by the students and devoted to the 12th Synod of Bishops centered on God's Word. It was opened on the 3rd of May by Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture. The second session (6 - 7 May) was organized by the professors of the Institute on the topic: "Today's themes of exegesis." The week ended on Saturday, 8 May with an all-day celebration. It began with Mass at Saint Ignatius Church presided over by Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus and vice-chancellor of the Institute. Many priests, scholars and representatives of other religions coming from all over the world participated in the celebrations.
PERU: Adecco Games 2010
More than 15 colleges participated in the Adecco games organized every year by the Consortium of Sport Associations of Catholic Colleges (Adecco), whose president is Brother Florentino Dorado, S.J. The delegations departed from Plaza de las Tres Culturas, in the center of Piura, and proudly marched beneath the colored standards of their colleges while the Colegio San Pedro Chanel band from Sullana accompanied them with music. The parade was lead by a delegation from the Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, champions of 2009 Adecco Games in basketball, football and swimming. When the group arrived at the Jerónimo Seminario y Jaime theater, Sister Alejandrina Puelles, coordinator for Pastoral Ministry of the Colegio Nuestra Señora de Lourdes, delivered the keynote address and Brother Florentino Dorado officially opened the 2010 edition of these annual games.
USA: Bike Trek for Poverty Awareness
Father Matt Ruhl, S.J. (MIS), pastor of Saint Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, Missouri, inspired after reading of the Catholic Charities USA Campaign to reduce poverty, decided to combine his passion for the poor with his passion for cycling. He is promoting an innovative plan to reduce poverty and thus was born: Cycling for Change. He and 12 other riders will begin a 5000-mile bike ride on Memorial Day, 31 May that will wrap up on Labor Day, 6 September, in Key West, Florida. During the 100-day challenge the Cycling for Change team will stop in several places, including an Indian Reservation, a prison in Louisiana, and an area of New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina. Communities along the route will be encouraged to spotlight local poverty issues and to raise funds to benefit local poverty-reducing programs.
The 4th centenary of Matteo Ricci's death
Ricci's Biography. Thirty years after Ricci's death one of his Jesuit brothers, Giulio Aleni from Brescia, wrote a biography in Chinese. For the first time, this book has been translated into Italian with Chinese text on the opposite pages; it was introduced in Macerata, Matteo Ricci's birthplace, in May during the Ricci celebrations. The book is entitled: La vita di Matteo Ricci scritta da Giulio Aleni (1630) (The life of Matteo Ricci written by Giulio Aleni - 1630). Father Gianni Criveller, a member of The Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), oversaw the translation and wrote, " While Ricci and Aleni never met, their lives are deeply connected. Perhaps no one except Aleni is closer to Matteo Ricci in personality, formation, spirituality, brilliance, electivity, erudition, zeal, style and missionary method".
Matteo Ricci died in Beijing on the 11th of May 1610. This day was marked by many events worldwide that once again underline, as if there was a need, the importance of this missionary in the history of evangelization and relations between China and the Western World. As an example, we list here below some of these events.
Beijing. A solemn liturgy was celebrated in the South Cathedral with the performance of a Mass for four voices composed by young Italian Jesuit, Luca Uggias, presently studying in China. The cathedral was built where Matteo Ricci raised a small chapel in 1605. The same Mass was performed on the 9th of May in the cathedral in Macau.
Shanghai. As announced in our 5 May Bulletin, the DVD version of the Grand Ricci, the Chinese-French Encyclopedic Dictionary, published some years ago in printed form, was unveiled at the Shanghai Museum, before many civil and religious representatives.
Taipei. The National Central Library in Taiwan organized a long series of events as a mark of respect for Ricci, to remember his contribution to the cultural exchange between East and West and for reinforcing Library's commitment to public service. On January 30th the National Central Library and the Ricci Institute in Taipei signed an agreement for academic collaboration. Ricci Institute entrusted to the library more than 30,000 volumes that will be offered to the public for consultation. The event was labeled "one of the most satisfying moments of the last decade of cultural exchange at international level."
Vienna. An international symposium took place in Vienna, Austria the 10th and 11th of May. It was organized by Vienna University and the Missionary office of the Austrian Province of the Society of Jesus. Scholars from China, Austria, Germany and Switzerland offered papers on themes such as the influence of Matteo Ricci in geographical studies in China; Matteo Ricci in the historiography of missionary behavior in China; 400 years of Chinese history and the Jesuits. They also touched on contemporary topics including, Jesuits in present day China and the social work of the Church in China.
Macerata. Ricci's hometown, celebrated "Friendship's Days" on the 8th and 9th of May. More than 250 Chinese working or studying in Italy participated. The days concluded with a solemn Eucharistic celebration broadcast by Italian television throughout the country. The choir for the Mass hailed from the Beitang's cathedral in Beijing. The celebrations ended on the 11th of May with a Mass celebrated in Macerata's cathedral and presided over by Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, bishop Emeritus of Hong Kong.
Florence. On the 10th and 11th of May, an international conference was held in the main hall of the University of Florence. It was organized by the departments of Languages, literature and Comparative Cultures of the Faculty of Humanity, in collaboration with the chair of Portuguese and Brazilian literature of the University of Florence, Camões Institute in Lisbon, Fundação Macau in Macau and other institutions that study China.
Genova. A meeting on: "A Jesuit scientist at the Ming's Court", was held at the Palazzo Ducale. A number of scholars offered insights on Matteo Ricci and the challenges facing China today. As noted earlier, the Italian Ministry of Economic Development will establish a Genova - Tianjin corridor for merchandise traveling across the Mediterranean Sea named for Matteo Ricci.
Milan. On the 15th of May, the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME) organized an international meeting entitled: The door to friendship. Bishop John Tong Hon, bishop of Hong Kong was among the participants. It was the occasion to officially unveil "a new intellectual biography", ,Matteo Ricci: Mission and Understanding by Father Gianni Criveller, Hong Kong missionary and organizer of the meeting. The meeting was associated with several exhibitions, such as the one "Vestments of Good Government", presenting the uniforms worn by scholars and imperial officials, which were adopted by PIME's missionaries in accord with the "method of adaptation" (inculturation) put forward by Matteo Ricci.