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    Vol. XV, no. 7 21 March 2011

    Father General


    Visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey.  Father General will be in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey from March 21-28.  The first stop will be in Syria: starting in Damascus where Father General will have an initial meeting with the Jesuits at our residence focusing on "Our mission in Syria"; a second meeting will be held in Homs on the collaboration with laity and our work with young people. Also foreseen is a meeting with the civil authorities and with representatives of various Christian churches. The visit will conclude on March 23rd with the ceremony of the last vows of Fr. Nawras Sammour. From the afternoon of March 23rd until March 26th Father General will be in Lebanon starting from Tanaïl (house for spiritual exercises and farm). The morning of March 24th various meetings are planned at Collège Notre-Dame in Jamhour, while the afternoon will be devoted to Université Saint Joseph. On March 25th, the feast of Annunciation, in Beirut there will be the last vows of Fathers Dany Younès and Nabil-Ghaly; then a visit to the Hospital Hotel Dieu and, in Jamhour, the meeting on Christian-Muslim "Ensemble autour de Marie, Notre Dame". On March 26th , in Beirut, there will be the "Regional Day of Lebanon Jesuits", during which each community will present its works and its challenges, and Father General will then offer his comments and directives. On the 27th and 28th of March Father Nicolás will be in Turkey, especially in Ankara, where he will have two meetings with the Jesuit community in which he will present the three centers of the Society's apostolate in this country: the spiritual and pastoral centre, the social centre and the interreligious and intellectual dialogue centre. He will then conclude with perspectives and expectations for the future. The afternoon of March 28th he will return to Rome.


    From the Curia

    Meeting of African and Madagascar Assistancy's Socii. The meeting of the Socii of the Assistancy of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) took place at the General Curia in Rome from March 15th to the 19th.  Ten Jesuits from different Provinces and Regions of English and French languages were present. Fr. Jean Roger Ndombi, African Assistant, defined the aim of the meeting in this way: In addition to updating and information, the purpose of this meeting is, first, to let JESAM Socii familiarize themselves with the administrative and bureaucratic system of the General Curia and, second, to come to know Jesuit brethrens working at the Curia. The meeting is also an opportunity for exchange and friendship."  The Secretary of the Society and the Procurator General helped the participants in the study of the various aspects of the work of the Socii, especially with regard to the procedures contained in the various documents, many of which have been renewed and revised after the last General Congregation as, for instance, the Practica Quaedam, the "Legal-Practical Manual of the Society", the "Complementary Norms", Acta Romana, etc.


    Meeting of English Speaking Treasurers. The meeting of English speaking Provincial and Regional Treasurers will be held at the General Curia in Rome from March 20 - 25.  There will be 24 participants coming from different countries and continents. The main reason for the meeting is the formation of Jesuit treasurers, as well their lay collaborators, to understand the Society of Jesus's poverty and its way of proceeding regarding the administration. Here are some of the topics on the agenda: The General Treasurer Office and the organization of the General Curia: structures, processes, services, information; contributions to FACSI; legal and financial structures; the acquisition and sale of assets; Canon Law and permissions to be asked to the Holy See; the budget preparation; financial planning and investments. During the study days plenary sessions and workshops will be alternated. 


    The Society in Numbers. The Statistics of the Society of Jesus worldwide have been just published. The various tables present its composition as of January 1, 2011. The total number of Jesuits is 17.906: 12.737 priests, 1.535 brothers, 2.850 scholastics and 784 novices, with a decrease of 341 members from 1st January 2010. The various tables show the actual situation of novices, scholastics, brothers, priests; comparison among Assistancies; changes happened last year, etc.  This year the statistics have been enriched by many graphs that offer a more precise geography of the Society around the world.  For more information you can consult the complete document in the "documents" section (for Jesuits only) of the Society's webpage (www.sjweb.info).


    From the Provinces

    AMERICA: Celebrations in Honor of Father Kino

    From the 19th of February to the 19th of March celebrations were held in Tucson, Arizona, and in Sonora, Mexico, 'to honor the life and legacy of Fr. Eusebio Francisco Kino ", or Chini, according to a different spelling (see the Yearbook of the Society of Jesus  2011, pp. 8-12: "The missionary on horseback"). Many were the religious and cultural events in both regions. Three hundred years after his death, the memory of this Jesuit born in Segno, Trento Province, Italy, is still alive in the two countries where he worked.  Fr. Kino created a chain of catholic missions in northwestern Mexico and in southern Arizona. Born in 1645, he arrived in Sonora in 1687 and made his first visit to what is now Arizona in 1691. In addition to founding about 25 Missions and converting thousands of native Americans, Kino brought great changes in lifestyle and economy of the region. He introduced metal tools, brought fruit trees and cereals from Europe, including wheat and citrus. This proved to be very important because cold-resistant. The missionary became one of the first livestock farmers in large-scale and taught dozen of native Americans to become the first cowboys of the region. For more information: Arizona, www.padrekino.com; Mexico, www.kino300.org.    

     

    CONGO D.R.: Fifty years of Congo-Afrique Magazine

    The magazine Congo-Afrique, with the title Documents pour l'Action, was born fifty years ago, in January 1961, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  The editor was the venerable «Bibliothèque de I'Etoile», of blessed memory. Then the name changed into Congo-Afrique in 1966, renamed Zaire-Afrique in 1971 and then back Congo-Afrique in 1997. "The magazine, writes its director, Father Ferdinand Muhigirwa, is the only scientific monthly in the Democratic Republic of Congo that has been published continuously for fifty years: fifty years of information and reflection, of African news, of literary stories, of creative fidelity for the progress and development of Congo and Africa through the vicissitudes of political regimes. With its ten numbers per year Congo-Afrique totaled about 500 issues. For a magazine to reach the milestone of fifty years is to remember the work done with patience and perseverance, along the years and decades, to offer the intellectuals of the Democratic Republic of Congo and also outside of it, reflections and studies able to direct their action in the political, economic, social and cultural field. In this year of its golden jubilee the magazine enters the digital era. Work is in progress, in fact, for the preparation of the pdf version of the texts since 1961 to offer them to subscribers in Europe, Asia and Latin America." 

     

    JAPAN: The Jesuits and the Earthquake

    In a letter of March 14 the Provincial of Japan reassures the whole Society that "our Jesuits and their works did not suffer serious damage, because we are not present in the north of Tokyo. The houses and schools in Tokyo and Kamakura were violently shaken by the earthquake, but had no permanent damage. The cross on top of the tower of our St. Ignatius Church in Tokyo was almost completely detached from its base and hangs threatening to fall down. So the area below was cordoned off for safety." The rest of the letter confirms the serious damages caused by the violent earthquake and the disastrous tsunami that followed, as well as the fears caused by the damaged nuclear plant. 

     

    ITALY: Church and Information 
    "To be herald of the Good news, to offer valid messages in a world in which people come into contact with an unstoppable flow of information, words and pictures, and where to select the news is always more and more difficult." This is the duty of Catholics involved in the information world according to Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, in a recent conference on "Church, communication and information" at the Jesuit Istituto Sociale in Turin. Who spread a news is called to responsibility, said Father Lombardi, "he has to refer to a real fact, and has to be careful in how to say things: in these years I learned that there is no news that one cannot speak about, but you must find the right way." Even the users are called to "assume a critical stance that allows to balance misinformation."  Father Lombardi has also considered social network: "They answer to a fundamental need for relationship - he said - but you have to ask yourself what kind of quality characterizes these new relationships." Of course "we must pick up the potential offered by technology, without forgetting that its use is related to the formation of the person, who has to be educated to look for truth and to become a critical and responsible person."

     

    ITALY: Popoli Magazine on iPad

    Popoli, the international Jesuit magazine, is now also on iPad. From Apple Store and iTunes Store it is possible to download freely the application and the February issue, with a selection of articles, enriched by multimedia contents. In the coming months the product will be further refined and will assume the form of a bimonthly: every issue will contain the best of reports, surveys, reviews and columns published in the two issues of the printed edition. "Popoli - says the director, Stefano Femminis - is the first Italian catholic magazine to develop an application for iPad and one of the first in Europe. The ambition is to be able to tell also with new languages and tools that technological evolution put at our disposal the way in which the Gospel is lived today and announced in a changing world. For the same reason since some months Popoli renewed its website and it is present in the major social network (Facebook e Twitter). International monthly of the Italian Jesuits born almost hundred years ago, Popoli deals with the southern part of the world, human rights, development, immigration, intercultural and interreligious dialogue.

     

    SPAIN: Rezandovoy

    The Spanish version of  prayasyougo, the webpage opened some years ago by the British Jesuits, is online. Prepared by the new pastoral and internet office (www.pastoralsj.es), on March 9th, Ash Wednesday, Rezandovoy began to publish every day and put at the disposal of netsurfers a mp3 prayer to download or listen online. The news of the birth of http://www.rezandovoy.org/ was spread widely during the month of February so that interested people could start using it since the first day. "We believe that it can be a very useful material for personal prayer, for many people of all ages and conditions," said Fr. José Maria R. Olaizola in presenting the project and inviting all interested people to send comments, requests of information and material to: oficina@pastoralsj.org

     

    SPAIN: 50 Years of ICADE Institute

    In the presence of Prince Felipe of Spain and of the Spanish Minister for Education was held recently the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of ICADE, the Catholic Institute for management and business administration of the Pontifical University of Comillas. In his speech the Prince of Asturias and heir to the throne of Spain highlighted as "excellence, discipline and good work" converted the institute in a landmark of prestige both inside and outside the country. He then stressed the importance of having businessmen with a good university formation and the need to encourage young people to undertake business ventures, initiative and spirit of excellence. In the actual context of economic crisis Don Felipe remarked as essential "the valuable service to the progress and welfare of the university that directs his goals towards the formation of our entrepreneurs in favour of innovation." Then he thanked teachers, students and personnel of ICADE for their contribution to the history of this institute whose characteristic is to offer a total and valuable formation, to promote critical thinking, to ensure universality to its projects and to renew his commitment to the intellectual mission. At the end he handed over the medals of the fiftieth anniversary to three veteran teachers of ICADE and to the Club of businessmen created years ago by some alumni to promote the integration of new generations into the business world.


    New in SJWEB

    - Two new slide shows about the visit of Father General to India (26 February - 12 March 2011). Click on: "sjweb Media".