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Vol. XV, no. 4 7 March 2011
From the Provinces
ARGENTINA: The Flag of Cordova Inspired by the Society
The Argentine province of Cordoba introduced its flag with the "Jesuit sun" as a proof of the importance the Congregation had in his history. The new flag is the result of the competition "Buscando la bandera de Córdoba", organized to draw a flag which could represent "the identity" of the town. In the competition participated 2000 students of public and private schools which submitted 752 projects. The winning design was realized by INARCE, Instituto Argentino de Ceremonial y Relaciones Públicas of Cordoba. The flag, which contains the silhouette of the sun in the emblem of the Jesuits, with 32 rays - 16 straight and 16 wavy, placed alternately - coincides with the "Inca Sun or The Sun of May" which is on the Argentine national flag. It reflects the political, social, cultural, educational and religious importance of the Society of Jesus, which throughout history gave to Cordoba a patrimony which at the end of the year 2000 UNESCO declared World Heritage. The symbol IHS with the 32 rays, traditional monogram of the name of Jesus, was adopted by St. Ignatius of Loyola and became the symbol of the Society of Jesus.
AUSTRALIA: Going where God leads
From baptism to first vows in just five years: this is the length of time it took newly vowed Jesuit Andy Nguyen to fulfill his vocational calling after becoming a Catholic in 2006. At the ceremony of his first vows, in Australia, there were two important figures in his life, both of whom had traveled from the United States for the occasion: his mother Thien-Kim Pham, and his best friend and classmate at university in Houston Juan Perez-Wheeler, his closest friend outside the Jesuits. Andy said his first vows were not a reflection of any accomplishment on his part, but rather the result of God's work in his life. "I feel confirmation, gratitude and consolation that this is where God has taken me. It wasn't my doing. All I could give was my availability. God took over and took me to this point." Andy is now ensconced at Jesuit Theological College in Melbourne, where he will study philosophy and theology.
BRAZIL: Award to Fe y Alegría
The best 2010 initiative of Espírito Santo's State: with this reason Fe y Alegría won the Annual 2010 Award established by CUFA, Central Única de Favelas do Brasil. The award was created to focus on initiatives born inside brazilian favelas which contributed to the evolution of this reality, and wants to identify those which brought a new significance to these new forms of living together. Fe y Alegría participated in the competition with its Cultural and Sports Center in Nova Esperança district in Cariacica, and it was chosen as the best initiative of the State. Now the center, along with other 27 finalists, will compete for the national award for the best Brazilian initiative. The center, with the help of German collaborators, offers a human and sports formation to 160 children and adolescents in trouble in the second most violent town of the region.
CANADA: An exhibition for the 400 years of Jesuit presence
On the occasion of the celebrations for the 4th centenary of the arrival of the Jesuits in Canada (1611-2011) the staff of the Archives of the Canadian Jesuits organized a commemorative exhibition which was previewed at Maison Bellarmin in Montréal: "To tell the Jesuit adventure in Canada, we decided for an exhibition which shows spirituality, social relations, physical development and intellectual work of the Jesuits as Ignatius described in the Constitutions. The exhibition The Jesuits, companions of the world (1611-2011) underlines the four centuries of their presence in Canada. Instead of organizing a chronological exhibition, the staff of the Archives decided for a thematic presentation (...). And it is thanks to apostolates such as missions around the world, education, social works, press, spiritual exercises that the Jesuits became companions of the world (...). We tried to show the work of the Society in these four centuries, both with everyday objects and with documents taken from the archives, books or art works, testimonies of the Jesuit work in Canada."
IVORY COAST : News from the Theologate
The socio-political crisis that erupted after the second round of the presidential elections took a turn for the worse in February 2011. The two presidents, Gbagbo and Ouattara, recently radicalized their positions. Clashes between armed groups are more frequent and growing in intensity, particularly in the densely populated neighborhood of Abobo. One counts several dead every day. Given the situation the community of the Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus in Abidjan, met on the 25th of February, in order to assess the impact this has on its life. Acknowledging that security was becoming precarious, particularly for its foreign students, decision was taken to suspend the classes for a month. The academic programme of the year had to be readjusted in order to organize this period. The language course and pastoral stage usually held in July and August are therefore anticipated to this month of March. The Jesuit students of the 1st and 2d year have been sent to neighbouring Ghana for those courses. Jesuit students of the 3d year remain in the Theologate of Abidjan to complete their end-of-studies written assignment, under the guidance of their formatores and permanent professors of the ITCJ.
JESUITS: Report on the changing Jesuit geography
Jesuit Father Thomas Gaunt, executive director of the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate at Georgetown University, recently conducted research on global changes within the Society of Jesus. Fr. Gaunt takes an in-depth look at how membership in the Society of Jesus has changed over the past 30 years. Based on the proportional changes over time in entrance, dismissal and death of Jesuits for the "developed world" and "developing world," he observes that the proportion of men entering the Jesuits has steadily increased in the developing world, while the proportion from the developed world has steadily decreased. He also notes that "over the course of 30 years the Society of Jesus worldwide will have 'flipped' in its geographic composition from two-third / one-third division of developed to developing world, to the reverse." For the full report of Gaunt's findings, read http://nineteensixty-four.blogspot.com/2011/02/changing-jesuit-geography.html
LATIN AMERICA: Silver Anniversary for CURFOPAL
With the 2011 edition (from March 14 to May 31) CURFOPAL, the ongoing formation course for Latin American Jesuits, celebrates its 25 years of existence. The first session of the program opened in 1987, following the recommendations of Latin American Provincials to respond to a request of ongoing formation with an interprovincial work made by the then Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach. He exhorted them to organize a course of spiritual renewal to put into practice the recommendations expressed by Father Arrupe on his "relation on ongoing formation" (1981, n. 3). The Provincials' initiative anticipated what was later recommended by the Complementary Norms on ongoing formation. The course, which has been attended by 554 Jesuits so far, allowed them to update on topics as biblical theology, Christology, the social doctrine of the church, the social and ecclesial reality, especially in Latin America; to study the Spiritual Exercises and some parts of the Constitutions in order to deepen the Ignatian charism and our identity in the light of the decrees of the last General Congregations; to strengthen their spiritual life by strengthening the relationship with Christ in personal and communitarian prayer; to live together sharing with others various aspects of the Province of origin. The new director, Fr. Luis de Diego, for the jubilee edition will focus on the emotional and spiritual dimension and on a "re-reading of the last fifty years of the Society of Jesus with an eye to the future."
SUDAN: Jesuits open an Agricultural school
As previously written in the January issue of our Bulletin, the Society of Jesus is present in South Sudan with three communities: in Rumbek, where since long Jesuits are running professional training courses in electronic and computer sciences, thanks also to the contribution of parishes and local university; in Wau, where not long ago they re-opened Loyola High School; and in Juba, the South capital, where two Jesuits are working at the Catholic University and at the Major Seminary. Now, in Rumbek is going to be inaugurated MAJIS, the multi-disciplinary and agricultural Institute of Jesuits in Sudan. Its purpose is to teach young Sudanese how to cultivate land and to raise cattle. Father Francis Njuguna, project supervisor, says that the Institute will be located in Akoljal, a village 10 kms from Rumbek, on a land donated by the local community. The school will be open to "young people of good will" and will offer practical courses on agricultural production and cattle-breeding. Classes will last one year, and will be divided in three phases, for groups of 100 students at a time. The Institute will be a great contribution to the new country which is emerging after the referendum of past January.
The price of a Jesuit
Three hundred years ago, with Penal Laws at their stiffest in Ireland, the bishop of Kerry recorded the scale of rewards for priest-hunters. It was: £ 30 for a simple priest; £ 40 for a Vicar-General; £ 50 for a bishop; and £ 50 for a Jesuit. This inflated price reflected the Protestant ascendancy's exaggerated fear of Jesuits, because of the Society's international network. An Irish Jesuit superior acting through his General could even nudge the English into moderating the treatment of Catholics in Ireland, and that was seen as a threat by the minority government in Dublin.