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Vol. XV, No. 10 5 May 2011
Father General has appointed:
- Father Jude Odiaka Provincial of the North-West Africa Province. Father Odiaka, who has just completed his Tertianship, was born in 1970, entered the Society of Jesus in 1990 and was ordained a priest in 2003.
- Father Mieczyslaw Smyda, of Polish origin, Provincial of the Central Brazil Province. Father Mieczyslaw, currently director of Colégio Santo Inácio of Rio de Janeiro, was born in 1957, entered the Society of Jesus in 1973 and was ordained a priest in 1984.
From the Provinces
AUSTRALIA: A new school in 60 years
A new Jesuit school will open its doors in the Sydney suburb of Redfern later this year, the first Jesuit school to be established in Australia in 60 years, and one that goes to the very heart of Jesuit teaching: equality and opportunity for all. Providing service to Aboriginal students, the primary school, tentatively named Jarjum College, will identify children who have fallen through the cracks and who are not attending school regularly due to various reasons of disadvantage. The school will provide students with opportunities to learn in a more informal setting, in order to open up more options for them in the future. It has been sponsored by St Aloysius' College, Milsons Point, but will now stand alone as an independent Jesuit school. Foundation principal Beatrice Sheen says she's honored and excited to be involved in this potentially life-changing project. But she's ever mindful that the school's success will depend to a large extent on the support of the people it serves. "This college belongs to the community, the people, and that's how I want it to be run", she says. Jarjum will offer short-term assistance to at-risk children, returning them to the mainstream schooling system wherever possible. But Beatrice concedes that once the community's precise needs are revealed, the model may change.
BOLIVIA: Journalist of FIDES killed
The Inter American Company of the Press (SIP) invites Bolivian officials to provide accurate information about the assassination of journalist David Niño de Guzmán, chief editor of the news agency Fides, run by the Jesuits in Bolivia, who was found dead on 21st April along the banks of Orkajahuira river in La Paz. "We urgently need to take all possible leads to find those responsible of the murder," said Gonzalo Marroquín, chairman of SIP, in a statement from the headquarters of the organization in Miami. From the United States even the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPI) has joined the SIP asking for "a comprehensive investigation about the event." According to Bolivian press agencies - reported by Italian Misna agency - the body of the journalist, who died on 19th April, had wounds from explosive. At the moment there are no concrete hypothesis about the reasons for the murder nor about the authors. Deploring the killing, even the Bolivian Episcopal Conference asked the authorities to "shed light on this tragic event as soon as possible."
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Towards a Culture of Human Rights
Many civil and religious organizations in the island of Española, with the support of representatives of the European Union, launched the project "Towards a culture of human rights and peaceful coexistence on the Haitian-Dominican border." The plan, which will last three years, will contribute to strengthening the Jano Siksè border network, engaged in the work of human rights promotion and defense all along the border between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The social organization works on both sides of the island and is assisted by committees of communities located in the border area. The coordination of the project will depend on Solidaridad Fronteriza of Dajabón and the Jesuit Refugee and Migrant Service of Jimaní on the Dominican border; and on Solidarité Fwontalye of Wanament, the Jesuit Refugee Service and the Grupo de Apoyo a Refugiados y Repatriados, Fond Parisien, Ganthier, of Haiti. Jesuit priests and directors of various organizations working in both countries participated at the launch of the project.
INDIA: Jesuits against corruption
The Indian Church, deeply involved in the struggle against corruption, is sending clear messages to the national politics on the urgency of "bringing morals into public life so as to be at the service of the citizens and contribute to the common good". Even the Indian Jesuits belonging to the Social Acton Secretariat have published and sent to the Government authorities a Memorandum in 9 points which offer concrete proposals in the struggle against corruption. Following a non-violent protest by Christians last month, the Government has accepted these protests and agreed to the creation of a commission of ten members to draft a Bill against Corruption. The Indian Jesuits in their Memorandum propose the institution of an independent authority against corruption in every State of the Indian Union, called the Lokpal and a Federal Coordinating Centre completely separated from both the bureaucracy and politicians. Its enquiries into cases of corruption, notes the text of the Jesuits, should not run for more than a year, and the process of law should be completed in another year. Public officials who are found guilty should compensate the State. Compensation should also be paid to the citizens, who because of the corrupt behavior of these officials, have suffered damage. The anti-corruption authority will be always at the service of the citizens and in this way will contribute to the common good. The members of the Lokpal, continues the Memorandum, will be chosen by the people, and not by politicians, in a procedure of the greatest transparency.
ITALY: In honour of Father Kino
Segno, in the Province of Trent, the birthplace of Fr Eusebio Francesco Chini (Kino) has taken the initiative to Celebrate the 3rd death centenary of its native son and fellow citizen (see Yearbook 2011, pp 11-12) with a pilgrimage held last March in Mexico and in the United States of America, which visited the places where the missionary carried out his activity. June will see the debut of the Musical which recounts the life and works of Fr Chini. The stage will be the Piazza of Segno, the place of his birth, as also the place from where he left to cross the ocean. This will be the first of several other initiatives which will join those already taking place in Central America which considers Fr Chini a Saint. "Our missionary", as Alberto Chini, President of the Cultural Association named after the Religious says, "reached America in the last part of the 17th century, and worked assiduously, helping the people and sharing their daily difficulties. He preached the faith, taught them to cultivate the land and raise livestock; he fought side by side with the peasants against Spanish domination, thus becoming a symbol and a point of reference to the people. When, at the start of the 20th century, the Diaries and the Letters of this Jesuit were re-discovered, they re-confirmed what the people of Sonora and Arizona recounted for centuries". As part of the celebrations programmed will be an International Meeting where different aspects of the figure of Fr Eusebio Chini will be the object of study.
RUSSIA: Father Ciszek Towards Beatification
The cause of beatification of the Servant of God Father Walter Ciszek (1904-1984) is almost completed. The Jesuit, who wrote books such as "With God in Russia" (or: "He leads me"), spent 23 years of his life in the Soviet Union, five of them in Lubjanka prison in Moscow, and 10 in labor camps in Norilsk and Abakan, Siberia. In prison, in labor camps, but also as a free man, he devoted himself to listening to people, giving spiritual exercises and administering the sacraments. The Jesuits of the Russian Region are working together with the postulator in Rome to collect testimonies about his life during that time. Fr. Michael Desjardins will be the promoter of Fr. Ciszek's cause in Russia. Among the documents seized recently a very important one is that delivered to Krasnoyarsk by Claretian priest Antoni Badura, who had a file of documents with all personal data of Fr. Ciszek. This file was handed over to him by KGB in 1990 as a souvenir! The photo taken from KGB archives shows prisoner n. 1908 with a pseudonym. As a precaution, Fr. Ciszek's books have not been published in Russia yet, but now, after almost 50 years, they are ready for publication.
SPAIN: The oldest Jesuit school in the world
The Nuestra Señora de Montesión School, in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) is one of the oldest Jesuit school in the world, founded by five Majorcan Jesuits the 23rd of August 1561, five years after the death of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. The school has been actively involved in the education of young minds ever since, and has played an important role as a centre of culture on the island. This year marks 450 years since the humble beginnings of Nuestra Señora de Montesion, and the school has made an all-out effort to celebrate this milestone. On the 23rd of February, the anniversary was inaugurated in the newly-refurbished conference room. Many relevant political and ecclesiastical authorities, as well as members of the school community and alumni, attended the opening ceremony. The ceremony began with the speech of Fr. Joaquín Barrero, Assistant of Father General for Southern Europe: The Jesuits and Education: Now and in the Future, and ended with the speech of Father Peter Llobell, Director-General of the school. Students collaborated in the event with inspiring musical performances, and later joined the rest of the community in a cocktail & dinner which were hosted at the magnificent school cloister. Over the next few months, activities in store include a number of concerts, a charity dinner and a filming of a movie.
SPAIN: Catechesis on-line
To prepare the youth for the coming World Day of Youth (WDY) in Madrid 2011, in which Pope Benedict XVI will participate, the Society of Jesus offers an on-line catechesis on the web-page of Project MAGIS (www,magis2011.org). This is in 12 steps and offers pilgrims the possibility to follow and complete the stages, which offer a call to reflect on their own life. The steps published up to now are Ambition, Faith, Radicality, Ideals and Mission. The same page of the website, which is visited from the youth of the five continents, offers also Videos with proposals from Magis, and a variety of material from other countries like USA and Ireland. There are also competitions, "Poster Magis", and "The logo of the World". The latter is the first to be launched: it's an invitation to the participants to create a photo with the image of Magis in some part of the world. The photos continue to come in to the Central Office from the most varied locations, such as London, Jerusalem, Kenya or Boston.
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A slide show about the visit of Father General to of Father Generals' visit to the Central African Province (April 26th - May 1st). Click on:"sjweb Media".