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Vol. XIV, No. 22 4 November 2010
Gold Medal to the Society of Jesus. As announced in our previous Bulletin, from October 27 to 30 Father General was in Spain on the occasion of the closing of the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Francis Borgia. The high point of the visit was in Gandía, hometown of Borgia, where the Mayor of the city conferred the Gold Medal to the Society of Jesus for "the mark left in Gandía with its continuous work in favour of improvement, and for its work in favour of the rights and the promotion of the dignity of man." Delivering the medal to Father General the mayor then added: "It is impossible to explain and understand the history of Gandía in modern times until our days without the concrete presence of the Society of Jesus among us." During the Eucharist, presided by Father General in the cathedral, in the presence of the Provincials of Spain, about 70 priests and a large public, and thanked the mayor and the city and remembered the life and the message of St. Francis Borgia hoping that we all, following in his example, "will be able to choose our model of life correctly."
Visit to Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. From October 31st to November 13th Father General is in Latin America to participate in the XXI Assembly of CPAL, the Conference of Latin American Provincials. The Assembly is taking place in Asunción, Paraguay, from the 2nd to the 6th of November. In a communiqué of the secretariat of CPAL we read: "Main focus of the Assembly is the PAC (Common Apostolic Plan) of CPAL for 2010-2020. They will be specified and voted strategic actions referring to each of the six priorities focused in the General Assembly held last May in Guatemala (cf. Bulletin n. 13, June 21). Other themes on the agenda are the rules of CPAL and the discussion of a Protocol to face emergency situations such as those we currently experience in Haiti and Chile jointly." Participants to the Assembly were Provincials and Superior Generals pertaining to the Conference, the two Assistants of Father General for Latin America, representatives of the Society of Jesus in Caraibi (Jamaica, Guyana, French Canada and Haiti). The general coordinator of Fe y Alegría International Federation was also invited. In all, there are 31 participants.
The meeting with the Jesuit bishops of Latin America, personally invited by Father General, will be very important. The idea, proposed by Father Nicolás to the bishops, is to "reinforce links of brotherhood between us and to receive suggestions from you who have been called to a service into the Church which allows you to look at the Society from a privileged perspective. With this letter I invite you to a meeting with me and the other Jesuit bishops of Latin America who will be able to come, to be held on November 6 at the Spirituality Center of the Holy Martyrs in Asunción, Paraguay." The Bishops invited were twenty (1 cardinal, 1 archbishop, 9 bishops and 10 emeriti). Eleven answered and took part, coming from seven different countries. This initiative was an idea of one Peruvian bishop, a college companion of Fr. Nicolás.
Finding himself in this part of Latin America, Father General took advantage of the occasion to visit some Jesuit works in the Provinces of Paraguay, Argentina-Uruguay and Chile. The visits in the different countries followed similar agendas: Meetings with the Jesuits, in which Fr. Nicolás speaks about the situation of the universal Society, listens to the problems of the single Provinces, answers to the questions, visits some of the most important Jesuit works according to the time allotted during each visitation. Meetings with lay collaborators who share with the Jesuits the Ignatian spirituality, with alumni/ae of our schools and with relatives and friends of the Society are also part of Father General's agenda.
From the Curia
JRS: On-line retreat. Here is a press release by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). "This November 14th we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the founding of the JRS. We recall fondly Father Pedro Arrupe's sound advice to "pray, pray much" as he encouraged the struggling first generation of JRS team members in Southeast Asia to bring the overwhelming challenges of their new apostolic work to the Lord in prayer. Three decades later, we once again invite our JRS family-current and former staff members, Jesuits, friends and colleagues-to reflect prayerfully on the ways in which we discover the presence of God in our ministry with refugees and displaced persons. During the next 30 days we invite you-day by day-into an experience of "prayerful storytelling" as we share with you the grace-filled stories of God's powerful love for all of us in JRS. Each day of this on-line "Thirty Day Retreat" will offer us the opportunity to reflect prayerfully on the situation of refugees through the lens of The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. For more information: www.jrs.net/retreat
Jesuits at the Synod. Fr. Željko Paša (Croatia) noticed that in the Bulletin of October 20 we made an error and omitted a name: Fr. Ghassam Sahoui is from Syria and not Lebanon; and also, among the Jesuit participants to the Synod there was also Fr. Željko Paš: he was invited some days before the opening of the sessions.
- The Holy Father has nominated as Consultors to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, among others, Father Dieter Böhler, of the German Province, professor of the Faculty of Theology of Saint George in Frankfort (Germany) and Father Joseph Carola, of the New Orleans Province, professor of Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
- Father General has named P. Yoshio Kajiyama new Provincial of the Province of Japan. Father Yoshio was born in 1955, and entered the Society of Jesus in 1980 and ordained a priest in 1990. He currently serves as Superior of the Kojimachi Residence in Tokyo and as Socius to the Provincial.
- In our Bulletin of March 5 we announced the appointment of Fr. Jan Adamik as Provincial of Bohemia. Due to health problems, Father Adamik was unable to assume that office. Father General has asked Fr. Hylmar Frantisek to continue his service as Provincial of Bohemia.
From the Provinces
A demonstration for distributing grain to the poor free of charge was helped by a Jesuit group. A West Bengal farm laborers' union called upon the Jesuit-run Udayani Social Action Forum to help organize the demonstration. The public outcry sparked from the fact that grain, enough to feed some 100 million people, rots each year in inadequately maintained government warehouses. The Supreme Court of India on August 12 ordered the government to distribute the food grain to the poor free of charge instead of allowing it to rot. The government responded in September saying that such free distribution is not possible but that it would distribute 1.2 million tons of grain over the next six months. This sparked a demonstration before a government granary in Burdwan district to pressure local government bodies to distribute grain to the poor, because the government's welfare schemes for poor people "seldom reach the needy," said Jesuit Father Irudaya Jothi, director of Udayani's Right to Food campaign.
IRELAND: Calvin and Loyola
"Living in union with Christ in today's world: the contribution of John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola". This was the title of the conference held recently at the national Catholic Seminary in Maynooth, near Dublin. The participants were a number of Catholic and Presbyterian scholars and attendees. Calvin and Loyola were contemporaries in the College de Montague of the University of Paris, though it is not known if they ever met. Their religious positions became so polarized in subsequent years that it is surprising to find how much they had in common. Ignatius had twice been imprisoned by the Inquisition in Spain for teaching a piety in which the Inquisitors smelled a Protestant whiff. He spoke of himself as a pilgrim, searching, he was a mystic, and his spirituality was centered on Christ in a way that makes sense to other Christian seekers. Among the lecturers there were two Irish Jesuits, Tom Layden and Laurence Murphy. In the two-day conference, Tom Layden and Presbyterian Tom Wilson led an experiential exercise: a welcome interlude of quiet reflection. Laurence Murphy explored the contrasting missionary perspectives of Calvin and Loyola. The whole Conference enabled a meeting of minds and hearts across the denominational divide, and in that meeting the informal encounters over meals and walks contributed as much as the formal talks.
ROME: Thirty Years of the Jesuit Refugee Service
"Frontiere in armonia. Suoni e sguardi dal mondo." (Frontiers in Harmony. Sounds and Sights of the World). This is the initiative organized by JRS, Centro Astalli and Fondazione Magis under the patronage of the Italian Province of the Society of Jesus to celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the foundation of JRS and the 400th centenary of the death of Matteo Ricci. The 40 musicians of the orchestra Sonidos de la Tierra - a fruit of one of the musical projects carried out by the Jesuits in the camps of the Jesuit Refugee Service in various parts of the world in favor of children of poor families - will hold concerts to promote a world of peace. These celebrations will begin on November 9 at the Pontifical Gregorian University with a "lectio magistralis" by Father Mark Raper on the commitment of the Jesuits for refugees and the inauguration of a photographic exhibition on Pedro Arrupe, founder of JRS. On November 13, a concert will be held by Sonidos de la Tierra at the Basilica of Santa Saba in Rome for the celebration of the 400th centenary of the death of Matteo Ricci. The next day an Eucharistic celebration presided over by Fr. Nicolás will be held at the Gesù Church, with music from Europe, Asia and South America referring to the time of Ricci and Latin American Reductions. The mass will be followed by a concert by Sonidos de la Tierra. www.jrs.net - www.centroastalli.it - www.magisitalia.org - email@example.com.
SPAIN: The Centenary of St. Francis Borgia closes
On October 28, Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, presided over in the collegiate church of Gandía the Mass on the occasion of the closing of the 500th anniversary of the birth (1510-2010) of St. Francis Borgia. He will take advantage of this trip to visit some places of the Jesuit Province of Aragon. The Borgia year has been full of events, both civil and religious, organized by the municipality of Gandía and the Province of Valencia, with the collaboration of the Society and especially the Jesuits of the Province of Aragon. Among the events there were exhibitions, concerts of different musical types, dramas, restoration of buildings, publication of books, processions with the picture of St. Francis Borgia, novenas and Masses. The last event was the International Symposium "Francis de Borgia (1510-2010). Renaissance Man, Baroque's Saint," help in Gandía from 25th to 27th October and in Valencia from the 4th to the 5th of November. The symposium was focused on St. Francis Borgia and his influence on the politics, religion, art and culture of his time, and put together historians and researchers of Spanish and European universities.
SPAIN: Zaragoza, Pignatelli's autographic letter
An unexpected present arrived at the Archive of the Curia of the Province of Aragon from the College of El Salvador in Zaragoza. It is an autographic letter of St. Joseph Pignatelli dated September 1st 1801, when he was Master of Novices in Colorno, Italy, and his appointment to Provincial of Italy (1803) was approaching. Clement XIV in 1773 had suppressed the Society and many Jesuits were exiled or scattered in Italy while others continued their religious life in White Russia thanks to Catherine II who did not accepted the suppression of the Society of Jesus in her territories. In the letter St. Joseph Pignatelli, with a kind and respectful manner, informs Fr. Luigi Panizzoni, at that time Provincial of the Society of Jesus in Italy, about his personal situation and that of his brethrens in Colorno. The letter is a copy of the one sent to Domingo Esparza, living in Civitavecchia, regarding a visit of Esparza, who had been his companion in the novitiate in Tortosa (Tarragona, Spain). Fernando J. de Lasala, S.J., transcribed its content and examined the historical background.
USA : Film on Matteo Ricci
Jesuit Father Jeremy Clarke, an assistant professor of history at Boston College, premiered his film "Beyond Ricci: Celebrating 400 Years of the Chinese Catholic Church," which he wrote, produced and directed, at Boston College on October 7. The film tells the story of Ricci's life and Jesuit Father James McDermott assisted Fr. Clarke with the work. Running 53 minutes, the documentary starts off in Macau and from there it followed Ricci's journey in China and then describes his accomplishments, such as his skills in cartography and translation and his knowledge of Chinese culture. The film then goes on to show how Catholicism has grown in China since Ricci's arrival in the late 16th century. The documentary was both an educational as well as a passionate project for Fr. Clarke and his team, he said. Fascinated with Ricci since his youth, Fr. Clarke wanted to properly acknowledge the fact that 2010 is the 400th anniversary of Ricci's death. "I wanted to tell the story of his life, and, in doing so, celebrate the life of the Catholic Church in China today," Fr. Clarke said.
VENEZUELA: Hunger strike for Brother Korta
Jesuit Brother José María Korta, 81, founder of the Indigenous University of Venezuela (UIV) and working since many years with his country's indigenous people, started on October 18 a hunger strike in front of the administrative building of the National Assembly. The act is a protest for the non-definition of country's policy regarding auto determination of indigenous' lands, especially those for Yukpa ethnic group, and for the release of his leader Sabino Romero, kept in prison, and his right to be judged by his natural judges. With this action Brother Korta wants to obtain that the process goes on, get a positive result and means a fundamental change in the government's policy about indigenous people. Two other persons joined Br. Korta in his hunger strike: Ramón Sanare, his companion in many fights and professor at the UIV, and Dr. Liminwu. With their strike they support the family of Sabino Romero and the members of Yukpa ethnic group. Also representatives of other ethnic groups and students of UIV have joined the group of strikers. Support to them was given by various organizations (religious, university, indigenous, human rights, civil society, popular groups, etc.). Fr. Arturo Peraza, Jesuit Provincial for Venezuela, in a communiqué referred about the situation and gave his support to the prophetic act of Br. Korta. On October 25 Br. Korta stopped the hunger strike after having received President Chavez 's promise regarding his demands. In a letter the Provincial of Venezuela declared that "the strike was stopped not because problems were resolved, but because a way for dialogue was opened to find out solutions together with the many subjects involved". For more information you can refer to the blog of Centro Gumilla: http://sicsemanal.wordpress.com
The 4th centenary of Matteo Ricci's death
Matteo Ricci and Pope Benedict. There is remarkable resemblance between the missionary method of Matteo Ricci in the seventeenth-century China and the dialogue between Christianity and cultures proposed today by Benedict XVI, writes journalist Sandro Magister. In the important speech given in London at Westminster Hall on September 17, Benedict XVI stated in the clearest of terms: "The objective norms governing right action are accessible to reason, prescinding from the content of revelation." And he continued: "The role of religion in political debate is not so much to supply these norms, as if they could not be known by non-believers, [...] but rather to help purify and shed light upon the application of reason to the discovery of objective moral principles." Insistence on the positive relationship between faith and reason is one of the hallmarks of this pontificate. But even before he was elected Pope, Joseph Ratzinger had insisted on it repeatedly. For example, in the memorable debate he had with the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas in Munich in 2004. On that occasion, Ratzinger said that rational principles accessible to all should be at the basis of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. And he made reference to China: "What for Christians has to do with the creation and the Creator, in Chinese tradition would correspond to the idea of celestial order."
Italian President Napolitano pays homage to Matteo Ricci. The president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, during his visit to China from the 27th to the 29th of October, visited the exhibition dedicated to Matteo Ricci in Macau, and paid homage to his grave in Zahalan cemetery in Bejing. "The visit of President Giorgio Napolitano, declared Gian Mario Spacca, president of Marche Region, is for us a reason for pride and a sign of big consideration for a cultural initiative which contributes to reinforce our links with China, in the year in which we celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Italy and the Chinese Popular Republic." Italy is also getting ready to celebrate the Chinese Cultural Year. The exhibition "Matteo Ricci, an Encounter of Civilizations in Ming's China," inaugurated on August 7 in Macau and displayed in Bejing, Shanghai and Nanking, was a huge success in terms of visitors.