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Fr. General's message for World Day of Refugees 2017
I wish to begin by expressing my gratitude, and how deeply moved I am, to have this opportunity to share with you this moment of reflection and prayer.
This moment presents an important invitation to the Society of Jesus to accompany, with its few resources, and to share in the anxieties and hopes of the refugees here in Italy and everywhere in the world. As you may be aware, I come from Latin America, a continent in teeming with millions of refugees and migrants for the same reasons that we have heard in the moving testimonies of Asiz, Dhurata, Mortezza, Mirvat and Edelawit.
I have encountered similar situations on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, where I lived for ten years before being called to Rome. I met entire families that had been forced to abandon everything to save lives threatened by injustice and violence that has taken hold of our societies. I met children and young people who had been forced to become soldiers and to participate in wars so far away from their dreams, thoughts and desires. But importantly, I also encountered the generosity of many families who welcomed the refugees as brothers and sisters in search of a new life. I came across some schools, teachers, Christian communities willing to lend a hand to the new arrivals. Through these encounters, I became more and more aware of the challenges states face in facilitating the legal integration for refugees, which would grant the refugees access to job opportunities and personal development. I have witnessed the human pain resulting from abuse by police bodies and human traffickers.
Therefore, the efforts of closely accompanying the refugees and migrants, particularly the young and vulnerable, are close to my heart. I wish to encourage and promote efforts that ensure the protection of life and the hope of the child and adolescent refugees, especially those recruited by traffickers to convert them into the so-called baby-traffickers.
It is necessary to promote citizens' movements that put pressure on states and governments of Europe and other parts of the world in order to create safe access to legal channels for children and teenagers forced to leave their homes, their countries, and many times, even their families to make a future elsewhere. The absence of these channels adds new dangers to the path of migrants and increases the injustice suffered by those who have had to flee their homeland. The absence of adequate protection, the difficulty of access to humanitarian visas and efficient policies of social inclusion nourishes one of the greatest scourges of humanity in our times: human trafficking. And that is what we heard in the testimonies of young people today.
The political development of Europe has created multiplicity of public institutions that aim at protecting the rights of people, especially children and young people. The increasing flow of migration challenges these institutions to ensure that there is reliable and adequate protection for many who arrive each day to knock on the doors of European countries seeking to be included and not excluded. Europeans, children of a culture that claims human rights as a sign of human and social progress, are invited by migrants to deepen their human and political conscience to demand that governments create reception systems, with facilities adequate and conveniently located throughout their territories to ensure a humane reception of migrants, especially to young people.
Europe and all other migrant receiving countries should become a source of pride by creating the circumstances in which those who come find human conditions to rebuild their lives and young people can dream about their future with the ability to make it happen if they too will put in the necessary effort.
Dear friends, we are gathered here today in Gesù Church in honour of so many migrants and refugees who are struggling to rediscover the worthiness of their human life. I invite you all to step up your effort to make our societies places of genuine welcome to those who are suffering because of the need to migrate.
Thank you so much.
Father General meets Rome based Jesuits
More than 200 Jesuits from communities around Rome braved the January 7 cold to come to the Curia Generalizia to meet with Father General Arturo Sosa. At the beginning of every year, Father General hosts the Jesuits based in Rome to wish them well in the coming year. This year was particularly special because for some of the Jesuits, it was their first personal encounter with Father Sosa. In his usual manner, Father Sosa shared a light moment with each of the guests. There are over 400 Jesuits currently residing in Rome, spread across the International Roman Houses and communities of the Italian Province.
Epiphany in the Curia
The Magi have slowly been trickling into the Curia Generalizia in the past few weeks. First to arrive was Father Victor Assouad (PRO), the new Regional Assistant for Western Europe. He was followed by Father John Dardis (HIB), Assistant ad Providentiam and General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning. Father Claudio Paul (BRA), Regional Assistant for Latin America South has also arrived in the Curia. On January 4, the winds of Epiphany blew in Father Vernon D’Cunha (BOM), Assistant ad Providentiam and Regional Assistant for South Asia. Other new members of the Curia Generalizia community include Father Anselm Ekka (RAN), Assistant Treasurer General, and Fathers Joseph Xavier (MDU) and David Holdcroft (ASL), both of whom are joining the Jesuit Refugee Service International Office in Rome.
Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach has died
Rome (Sunday, 27 November 2016): Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, has died. He died in Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday, November 26, 2016. He was the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, serving from 1983 to 2008. Born on 30 November 1928, Father Kolvenbach entered the Society on 7 September 1948. He was ordained on 29 June 1961. He pronounced his final vows in the Society on 15 August 1969. On 13 September 1983, on the first ballot, he was elected the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
As a young man, lived most of his teen years during the German occupation of the Netherlands. He would later note that experiencing war was not an uncommon experience in the formation of a Superior General. It was the experience of Ignatius at Pamplona, and the experience of his predecessor, Pedro Arrupe, who witnessed the dropping of the atomic bomb. Father Kolvenbach also lived in the midst of war in Beirut as a professor of linguistics and working with refugees in Lebanon.
In an interview with the Jesuit run America Media in 2007, Father Kolvenbach noted that while living in the midst of war emphasizes the fragility of human life, the sound of a bird singing after a night of terror announces that "death will never have the last word in the Creator's will."
Father Kolvenbach spent many years in academic life, primarily teaching linguistics in Lebanon. He was named the Vice Provincial of the Near East, made up of the regions of Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. In 1981, he was appointed as Rector at the Oriental Institute in Rome, a position he held until his election as Superior General.
Upon his election, Kolvenbach carried out his responsibilities with energy and compassion. He visited as many Jesuit provinces and individual Jesuits as he could. His was a calming presence in the midst of the many questions the Jesuits faced both within and outside the Church. In 1995, he presided over the 34th General Congregation of the Jesuits, which addressed issues including the mission of the Society in the modern world and the impact of the revision of Canon Law.
In February 2006, Kolvenbach informed the members of the Society of Jesus of his intention to step down in 2008. His resignation was accepted at the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Shortly after General Congregation 35, Father Kolvenbach returned to Beirut, where he worked as a librarian until his death.
Pope Francis’ Visit to the Congregation
There is a well-established tradition that on the occasion of a Jesuit General Congregation, the Holy Father meets with the delegates. Since most of the time this happens as an audience in the rooms of the Vatican, it is not the first time that the pope himself choose to meet the Jesuits as they are gathered in the General Congregation in the curia of the Society. So this Monday, 24 October, Pope Francis came discreetly to the curia and was greeted by Father General Arturo Sosa and the superior of the curia community, Father Joaquín Barrero.
These two accompanied him into the aula, and the Pope participated in morning prayer with the delegates. The theme of the prayer, the good shepherd, had been chosen for the occasion. The Ignatian tradition reflection made a reference to Fr. Franz van de Lugt, who made himself pastor of his own in Homs, Syria, until he was killed by the insanity of war. The members of the Congregation prayed for Pope Francis, as he often requests of all those he meets.
Pope Francis came to the General Congregation with a message. He gave an encouraging speech that set a direction. The speech gave a good idea of the manner in which he is coming to see the service of the Church and of the world that the Society of Jesus can offer, a relevant way connected to his own ministry. His whole intervention was characterized by an openness to what lies ahead, a call to go further, a support for caminar, the way of journeying that allows Jesuits to go toward others and to walk with them on their own journey.
To start out, quoting Saint Ignatius, the Pope recalled that a Jesuit is called to converse and thereby to bring life to birth "in every part of the world where a greater service of God and help for souls is expected." Precisely for this reason, the Jesuits must go forward, taking advantage of the situations in which they find themselves, always to serve more and better. This implies a way of doing things that aims for harmony in the contexts of tension that are normal in a world with diverse persons and missions. The Pope mentioned explicitly the tensions between contemplation and action, between faith and justice, between charism and institution, between community and mission.
The Holy Father detailed three areas of the Society's path; we will come back to each of them in the coming days.
These three last words of the Pope's speech are graces for which each Jesuit and the whole Society must always ask: consolation, compassion, and discernment.
A "group outing" to the beauty, history and Christian adventure
Almost all the delegates to the General Congregation and many members of the supporting teams left the General Curia to travel to the Vatican Museums, a twenty minute walk. Father Adolfo Nicolás was among them for his last night in Rome before leaving for a new mission of his Jesuit life. For two and a half hours, the delegates enjoyed a visit organized especially for them, outside of business hours. With treasures from different parts of the world, the Vatican Museums are considered the largest after the Louvre in Paris.
First, some praise for the excellent logistics of the organization. Our large crowd was divided into a dozen groups of 20 to 25 people, each led by a professional tour guide offered by the institution. One could choose to participate in a group in English or Spanish. A sophisticated Wi-Fi system allowed each group to hear, with an earpiece, its own guide on a specific frequency. In addition, the groups did not follow the same route to avoid congestion. A successful planning!
The museum director, Antonio Paolucci, with Father General at his side, welcomed the Jesuits and said he was honoured to provide an opportunity for them to enjoy a cultural moment in a place where art meets history and Catholicism. This introductory gathering was held in the hall between the Pauline Chapel and the Sistine Chapel. It is in this room that the cardinals, during a conclave and before entering the Sistine Chapel for the vote, share information informally; one could almost see it as the hall of murmuratio! The frescoes around us stressed primarily the Renaissance Church’s desire to for recognition as a political power. It is a context that seems far from the mind of Pope Francis, but it is a part of history that we need to know and to face.
Each group then left with its guide. Because of the Jesuit character of the visitors, the Redemptoris Mater chapel, decorated by the Jesuit artist Marko Rupnik and his team at the Centro Aletti, was accessible: the visitors discovered the rich illustration of the history of Redemption, through the giant mosaics. The two chapels, the Pauline and Sistine, where several famous artists practised their art – particularly Michelangelo – captured the attention of all groups. We must emphasize the quality of the guides who talked about arts and artists, but we also able to set what we could admire in its historical context and in connection with the different symbolic and spiritual currents evoked.
All participants in this tour would like to thank the ministers and the kitchen staff of the houses were they stay for having prepared for a full meal for them when they came back, around 10 PM.
A few reactions :
“Faces from the Frontiers” – by John Dardis, SJ
When you look around the aula at the General Congregation or share meals with people, it all seems quite ordinary. At first. You see a group of Jesuits - priests and brothers, smiling, joking, eating, having serious conversations, praying. Their dress is ordinary - in fact some could do with a new shirt or two! - with a wide assortment of styles and no uniformity except for official occasions. St Ignatius would approve.
But when you get to know the people and learn their stories you see something different, something quite amazing and inspiring.
There is Francisco de Roux, from Colombia, who has been involved in the peace talks there between the rebels and the government. Then there is José Minaku, the Provincial of Central Africa. His territory, so rich in its traditions, not to speak of its mineral wealth, has been torn by the conflict in the Kivu region near Rwanda and Burundi. Dany Younes is the Provincial of the Near East. His province includes Syria, Turkey, Lebanon. He has to accompany and support his men and those who work alongside them as they deal with the war in Syria, instability in Turkey and the over one million refugees who have arrived in Lebanon. One of his men, Frans van der Lugt was murdered just about 18 months ago in Homs. You can meet Jean Baptiste Ganza, Regional Superior of Rwanda-Burundi, who lost most of his family in the genocide back in 1994 and who is helping to build a new Jesuit region with reconciliation and mutual understanding as foundations. I've met up again with Korean Jesuit In-don Oh - I first met him a few years back just outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia, a country that had suffered so much under Pol Pot. Tony Corcoran is Superior of the Russian Region and Ukraine where a torturous war still rages. Hung Pham, from the Southern Province of the USA, is the son of Vietnamese refugees who left in the 1970s as boat people. The Regional Superior of Nepal is among us - Boniface Tigga. That country is still coming to terms with the aftermath of the earthquake there. And then the new Fr General, Arturo Sosa, an expert in Political Science who has worked for years at the political frontiers in Venezuela and now has come to lead the Society of Jesus to new frontiers.
All of these men represent frontier ministry. Frontiers where Jesuits are somehow at home; where they can be creative; can love; can serve; can give their lives if necessary. And what is most impressive is that they are not special. They represent the thousands back home who are quietly working away while all of us here are speaking, sharing, praying, dreaming...and imagining new ways of serving at the side of Jesus as he heals and liberates people today.
And finally, the most recognised frontier face, Pope Francis himself. He will soon address the Congregation from his perspective at the frontiers of the Church. What will he say? What directions will he indicate? One thing for sure is that he will keep us moving, draw us forward, point out new challenges. We're looking forward to it.
Who helps the General to govern?
Since the General Congregation in the coming days will have the task of identifying the people who will form the government of the Society, in these early days of the "ad negotia" phase, thought is focused on the structure of the central government of the Society. Several presentations have been offered to the delegates to allow them to reflect on the current structure of the General Curia.
In particular, the presentations traced the historical development of the role of the assistants, and the demanding job of identifying their current job-description. Four General Congregations (GC1, GC31, GC34, and GC35) reflected and defined the role of the assistants.
At present, the governance of the Society comprises the Assistants ad Providentiam and Regional Assistants. The Assistants ad Providentiam are four and they take care of Father General, his lifestyle, his health, his manner of governing, so that he can properly carry out his mission of leadership. Regional Assistants help the General in the universal government, considering their specific geographical area. Together, they constitute the board of the General. The efforts at renewal of the Curia in recent years have been carried out keeping in mind that Ignatius himself invited the Society to take care that the central government would not become a bureaucratic office but maintain the awareness of being a means to grow the body of the Society in service of God and of the Church.
Another topic of discussion was the situation of the conferences in the world. Several aspects have been taken into account: the enormous diversity of shape due to the different historical origins, the relationship between them, the connection with the central government, and the relationship with the provinces. Currently there are six conference in the world: Africa and Madagascar, Asia Pacific, South Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America.
To continue their work on these topics, the delegates manifested an interest in hearing the opinion of their new Superior General.
A First Encounter with the Press
Just a few days after his election, Father General Arturo Sosa met with some 70 journalists in the aula of the General Congregation, his baptism to this kind of event as Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He was introduced by Fr. Federico Lombardi who mentioned that the new General had been part of the 33rd General Congregation in 1983 as the youngest delegate. Fr. Lombardi emphasized the good relationship between Fr. Sosa and the previous General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás. He noted that Fr. Sosa was the first non-European General of the Jesuits.
In his initial remarks, the new Superior General stated that he was at peace, that although he certainly did not expect to be elected, he was confident in God and ready to serve the Society of Jesus and the Church in this new role. He also mentioned how grateful he was, on behalf of the whole Society, to his predecessor, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, who had given himself entirely to his service; he mentioned that the previous Superior General will be returning serve according to the instructions of his superiors, as any Jesuit does whatever his responsibilities has been within the Order. Finally, he stated that this General Congregation was not expected to change the direction the Jesuits have been involved in for decades now, that is, the service of the faith and the promotion of justice. Rather, there is a need to find the best and most efficient ways to serve today in a diversified and multicultural world and in a context that is asking for multiple types of collaboration.
There were some 40 minutes available for questions from the journalists. There were a dozen questions asked from media members from a number of countries among them Spain, Chile, Argentina, France, the USA and Italy.
The first question was not unexpected: what would the new General say about the situation of his country, Venezuela? Fr. Sosa acknowledged that he had spent a large part of his academic life studying and commenting on the political life of Venezuela. He explained briefly how a country that was living only on the income from one natural resource, within a system entirely managed by the government, could not easily live a true democracy. On the other hand, he insisted on the fact that a large part of the population is hoping for new bridges between all so that a real dialogue could start in view of building something that would profit all.
Two or three questions were related to Pope Francis, his expected relationship with him and more broadly the relationship of the Jesuits with the pope whom they vow to serve. The General was also asked if he liked to be considered "the Black Pope". To this last question, he answered that he was not fond of this designation. He explained that since the beginning the Jesuits have wanted to respond to the popes' requests to serve where there was need, because they believe in the universal vision the pope has as universal pastor. He also mentioned that he had several opportunities to meet the present Pope, first during the 33rd General Congregation, then within the context of his work with the social centres in Latin America, in Argentina, and more recently in his duties as Delegate of the Father General for the Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works. Their encounters have always been cordial and fruitful.
Father General was also asked about the way he was elected, the reasons for the resignation of his predecessor and the fact that he was elected for life, about his priorities, about the main challenges the Jesuits are now facing. To each one of these questions he shed light on the meaning of his function and moreover on the commitment of the Jesuits to contribute, humbly, and through their attachment to Jesus, to the building of a world that would give the priority to each human person.
The Congregation continues after the election...
For the first two weeks of October, the attention, not only of the Jesuits but also of many people, was centred on the election of the new Superior General of the Jesuits. Now that Father Arturo Sosa has been elected, what will the Jesuits gathered for the General Congregation do for the next several weeks together at the General Curia?
On Monday morning, October 17, the delegates gathered again in the Aula. The first to speak was the newly elected Father General; he underlined once again the legacy that his predecessor, Father Adolfo Nicolas, leaves behind. Fr Sosa remarked that Fr Nicolás had requested to absent himself from the work of the Congregation, so as to give it complete freedom: he added, of course they could count on his prayers. The outgoing General will enjoy a short break before starting his new ministry in the Philippines. Fr Sosa then sketched an overall picture of the work that remains to be done.
The Secretary of the Congregation, Fr Orlando Torres, then outlined in more detail what the next stages of the Congregation will involve. One of the most important tasks of the Congregation is to provide the new General with "assistants". In Jesuit jargon, they are spoken of as "assistants ad providentiam", charged with the task of ensuring the good running of the Society, and of an 'admonitor', a close companion who mainly looks after the health of the Superior General, understanding the term 'health' in a broad sense.
Following the recommendations of the Coordinating Committee, it was proposed to the Assembly to postpone the election of the assistants. We believe that it is preferable for this election to take place once the Congregation has fulfilled another important task: updating the governance structures of the Society at the universal level, in order to achieve the greatest possible apostolic effectiveness.
Then, a member of the Commission on Governance, Fr. Mark Raper, presented the issues that have arisen in the preparatory works of the plenary assembly. Without going into detail on the content of those works or the different presentations, the Congregation is being asked to reflect and analyse the relationships between the General Curia, the Jesuit Provinces and the Conferences, with a view to better service.
Fr Raper proposed to the delegates to take some time for personal reflection and schedule time for meetings by geographical groups (called "Assistencies") in order to prepare possible decrees concerning the organisation of the central Governance of the Society. After presenting the contributions from these meetings, and taking into account the opinion of some experts, it is expected that in the following days decisions can be made on these issues.
Once this is accomplished, the Congregation will be able to identify and elect the Assistants to work with Fr. General within the new governance structures.
First Homily of the new General
A few days ago, in this very Church of the Gesù, where the remains of St. Ignatius and Pedro Arrupe are laid to rest, Fr. Bruno Cadorè invited us to have the audacity of the improbable as the distinctive stance of persons of faith, who seek to bear witness to such faith in the complex reality of human life. He invited us to leave behind our fear and to row out into the deep, as a kind of attitude for being at once creative and faithful during the General Congregation.
Certainly, the audacity that we need in order to be servants of the mission of Christ Jesus can flow only from faith. For this reason, our gaze is directed first of all to God, since you have only one Father, and He is in heaven, as the passage from the Gospel which we have just heard reminds us. And as the Formula of the Institute reminds us at paragraph no .1: "Let (the Jesuit) have before his eyes, as long as he lives, before anything else, God, and then the form of this his Institute." In fact, it is the whole heart that we wish to have in tune with the Merciful Father, the God who is only Love, our Principle and Foundation - the heart of each of us and also the heart of the body of the Society.
If our faith is like that of Mary, Jesus' own mother and the Mother of the Society of Jesus, our audacity can go even further and seek not only the improbable, but the impossible, because nothing is impossible for God, as the Archangel Gabriel proclaims in the scene of the Annunciation (Luke 1:37). It is the same faith held by St. Teresa of Avila, or St. Teresa of Jesus, whose memorial we celebrate today. She too, without fear, entrusted herself to the Lord in order to undertake the improbable and the impossible.
Let us ask, therefore, for this faith from the Lord, so that we, as the Society of Jesus, can also make our own the words of Mary in her response to the extraordinary call that she received: "Behold the servant of the Lord: Be it done to me according to your word." Like Ignatius and the First Companions, like so many Jesuit brothers who have fought and who fight today under the banner of the cross, in service only to the Lord and to his Church, we too desire to contribute to that which today seems impossible: a humanity reconciled in justice, that dwells peacefully in a well-cared-for common home, where there is a place for all, since we recognize each other as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters of the same and only Father.
For this reason, we reaffirm even today the conviction of Ignatius as he wrote the Constitutions: "Since the Society of Jesus was not instituted by human means, it is not through them that it can be preserved and increased, but with the all-powerful hand of Christ, our God and Lord; in Him alone must our hope be placed."
With our hope placed in God and in God alone the General Congregation will proceed with its deliberations and it will contribute to its duty to preserve and grow this whole body (Const. 719).
The preservation and growth of the body of the Society is tightly bound to the depth of the spiritual life of each of its members and of the communities in which we share life and mission with our companions. At the same time, it is necessary to have an extraordinary intellectual depth in order to think creatively about the ways in which our service to the mission of Christ Jesus can be more effective, in the creative tension of the Ignatian magis. To think about ways of deeply understanding the unique moment of human history in which we are living, and to contribute to the search for alternatives for overcoming poverty, inequality, and oppression. To think so that we never cease posing pertinent theological questions, and so that we continue to deepen our understanding of the faith that we ask the Lord to increase in ourselves.
We are not alone. As companions of Jesus we too want to follow the journey of the incarnation, to identify ourselves with the human beings who suffer the consequences of injustice. The Society of Jesus can develop only in collaboration with others, only if it becomes the least Society that collaborates. Let us be attentive to the linguistic pitfalls here. We want to increase collaboration, not just to seek that others collaborate with us, with our own works, only because we don't want to lose the prestige of the position of who has the last word. We want to collaborate generously with others, inside and outside of the Church, in the awareness, which comes from the experience of God, of being called to the mission of Christ Jesus, which doesn't belong to us exclusively, but which we share with so many men and women who are consecrated to the service of others.
In the journey of collaboration, with the grace of God, we will also find new companions to increase the number, always much too small no matter how great, of collaborators who, along with the others, are invited to be part of this body. There is no doubt about the need to increase our prayer and our work for vocations to the Society, and to continue the complex commitment to provide the formation that makes of them true Jesuits, members of this multicultural body that is called to testify to the richness of interculturalism as the face of humanity, created in the image and likeness of God.
Let us, therefore, today make our own the words of the Apostle Paul: may the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded toward one another according to the example of Christ Jesus, so that you may give glory to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart and one voice. (Rm. 15:5-6)
In the Church of the Gesù in Rome, October 15, 2016
(Original in Italian)
In the Rooms of St. Ignatius
On Saturday morning, before the first Eucharist presided over by the new Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, a short and discrete ceremony took place at the Gesù, in the chapel of the rooms of St. Ignatius, the Camerette. The New Superior General was accompanied by a member of the General Council, Fr. Joaquín Barrero, by the archivist of the Society, Fr. Brian Mac Cuarta, by two electors, Father Bienvenido Nebres (the oldest of the electors) and Brother James Edema (the youngest elector). A deacon also accompanied them. Our photographer was also present.
After a moment of silent prayer, an excerpt from the Gospel of Saint Matthew was read. In this passage, Jesus reminds his disciples that they have only one 'Master' and that the greatest among them must be their servant.
In the same spirit, Father Bienvenido Nebres reminded the new General of the qualities he must possess, according to what St. Ignatius described in the second chapter of Part IX of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. Particular attention was drawn to the following words:
"Do not seek esteem or honour from men, but rather seek to be pleasing to the Lord alone.
At the end of this reading, Father Nebres and Brother James Edema, presented to the General the Formula of the Institute and the book of the Constitutions with these words:
"Receive the Formula of our Institute and the Book of the Constitutions of which today you have become the custodian: be attentive to the universal welfare of the Society so that with the grace of God and of your good governance, this apostolic body entrusted to your care may persist and grow in charity and at the service of Christ and of the Church his spouse."
In silence, the small group joined the large number of concelebrants, downstairs, for the beginning of the Mass of Thanksgiving.
Mass of Thanksgiving presided by the new General
The afternoon of Friday, October 14, after the election, the congregation members were able to take a well deserved break. They met this morning at the Gesù Church for the second time in two weeks. They had the joy to be around their new Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa, who therefore had the opportunity, in his homily, to offer for the first time a spiritual message inspired by the Holy Scripture.
The first reading was taken from the wisdom tradition, the book of Sirach. It emphasized how the search for wisdom provides the intelligence and opens the way for just decisions. Whoever has this wisdom coming from the Lord will spread it to all nations. Psalm 88 reminded that the Lord is pleased by the fidelity of his servant. An excerpt from the letter of St. Paul to the Christians of Rome exhorted them to avoid causing scandal and division, but mainly to show perseverance and hope by doing everything for the good of their neighbour. In the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus invited his disciples to be watchful at all times.
In his homily, the new Superior General first recalled that a few days earlier, at the opening of the General Congregation, the Master of the Dominicans had invited the Jesuits to the audacity of the improbable, something that characterizes a person of faith. Fr. Sosa was even more daring: referring to Mary, he opened the way to the audacity not only of the 'improbable' but also of the 'impossible', because "Nothing is impossible for God", had said the angel Gabriel.
The General added: "We ask the Lord for that kind of faith, because we can make it our own, as Society of Jesus, the faith expressed in Mary's words in response to receiving the extraordinary appeal: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, all be done according to thy words.' As Ignatius and his first companions, like so many brothers who fought and lived under the banner of the cross in the service of the Lord and his Church, we also want to contribute to what seems impossible today: a humanity reconciled in justice, living in peace in a common house well kept, where there is room for everyone because we recognize that we are siblings, son and daughters of the same and unique Father."
Father General then stressed the fact that we are not alone to accomplish this task; we do it in collaboration. Not only that of collaborators in our works, but by making ourselves collaborators of people, inside and outside of the Church, who are involved in a mission that is not ours exclusively, a mission we share with many men and women dedicated to the service of others.
Father Arturo Sosa SJ, 31st General of the Society of Jesus
The 36th General Congregation has elected Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, of the Jesuit Province of Venezuela as Superior General.
Father Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela on 12 November 1948. Until his election, Father Sosa has been Delegate for Interprovincial Houses of the Society in Rome, as well as serving on the General Council as a Counsellor. He obtained a licentiate in philosophy from l'Università Cattolica Andrés Bello in 1972. He later obtained a doctorate in Political Science from l'Università Centrale del Venezuela, in 1990. He speaks Spanish, Italian, English, and understands French.
In 2008, during General Congregation 35, Father General Adolfo Nicolás appointed Father Arturo Sosa as General Counsellor, based in Venezuela. In 2014, Father Sosa joined the General Curia community and took on the role of Delegate for Interprovincial Roman Houses of the Society of Jesus in Rome, which include: the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Vatican Observatory, Civiltà Cattolica, as well as international Jesuit colleges in Rome.
Between 1996 and 2004, Father Sosa was provincial superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela. Before that, he was the province coordinator for the social apostolate, during which time he was also director of Gumilla Social Centre, a centre for research and social action for the Jesuits in Venezuela.
Father Arturo Sosa has dedicated his life to research and teaching. He has held different positions in academia. He has been a professor and member of the Council of the Andrés Bello Catholic Foundation and Rector of the Catholic University of Tachira. He has pursued research and teaching in the field of political science, in various centers and institutions, as the Chair of Contemporary Political Theory and the Department of Social Change in Venezuela at the Faculty of Social Sciences.
In 2004, he was invited as a visiting professor by the Latin American Studies Center at Georgetown University in the United States while he was a professor in the Department of Venezuelan political thought of the Catholic University of Tachira.
While Father Sosa election as superior general completes one of the main tasks of GC 36, the group's work is not over. Now the delegates will tackle matters of mission, governance and the state of the Society. Topics may range from the Society's changing demographics to challenges in worldwide ministries, to the Jesuit response to a rapidly changing world, environmental concerns, poverty and violence.
The Mass of the Holy Spirit or "The Holy Eucharist in view of the election"
The day of the election of the future General, the electors gather to celebrate the Eucharist; they invoke the Holy Spirit once again that he inspire them at the moment of the vote which will commence immediately after the celebration.
This year, the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit will be presided over by Fr. James Grummer, who until the election of the new superior general, is acting as vicar general of the Society after the General Congregation accepted of the resignation of Father Adolfo Nicolás. The opening monition of the celebrant clearly speaks about the intention, which has reunited Jesuits. Thus: In this Holy Year, during which the entire Church is called to live the grace and the tenderness of the mercy of God, we are invited to pray without ceasing to the Holy Spirit that he favor Christian unity and that he give us the courage to throw ourselves forward, generously, in requesting the intercession of our blessed martyrs, baptized in blood for the love of Christ and of his Church.
The Liturgy of the Word stresses the importance of the Holy Spirit. In the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, the Apostle recalls that the gifts of grace are varied but that it is always the same Spirit who acts. All things considered, "each receives the gift of the manifestation of the Spirit for the good of all." The gospel, it places us at the Cenacle, when the disciples are reunited in prayer. They harbor fear, but Jesus appears to them and saying "Peace be with you." He also says to them "Receive the Holy Spirit."
After the celebration of the Eucharist, the electors will return in silence to the aula where, after a last admonition from one of the Assistants ad providentiam, Fr. Lisbert D'Souza, the vote for the election of a new General of the Jesuits begins.
Fr. Orlando Torres SJ, Secretary of the Congregation
Today, October 7th, the electors voted for three major officials of the General Congregation.
Father Luis Orlando Torres, a Jesuit from Puerto Rico and a member of the USA Central and Southern Province (UCS) was elected Secretary of the Congregation. At present he is the rector of the Jesuit Community of Collegio Internationale del Gesù in Rome.
The first Assistant Secretary is Father Agnelo Macarenhas from Goa Province. He is also the Under Secretary of the Society at the General Curia in Rome.
The second Assistant Secretary is Father Francisco Javier (Patxi) Alvarez from the Spanish Province. He works in the General Curia as Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology.
Their principal task is to prepare, throughout the Congregation, the Acts of the Congregation, and all the official documents that will be used by members in the Aula.
Not the same tongue, but the same language - Interview with Arturo Sosa, SJ
One may wonder how this group of men from hundreds of countries, gathered in this beautiful hall, can truly understand itself, given that each person brings with himself a cultural baggage that necessarily influences his understanding, the way he interacts, and the way he intervenes. We met with Father Arturo Sosa, a Venezuelan, and we asked him this question.
If cultural differences are real, those gathered at the General Congregation also have a common baggage, the one linked to their experiences of the Spiritual Exercises and their practices of discernment. They have a great desire to hear the same voice, that of the Holy Spirit. This is also what has been felt in recent days, leading to the first major decision taken by the meeting: to allow more time before starting the four-day murmuratio that will lead to the election of Father General. This exercise has made space for the Spirit and, perhaps surprisingly, led to an unanimous decision that involved a change in the program that had been planned by the Coordination Committee.
Even when it is true that the CoCo [Coordination Committee], responsible for the proper functioning of the work, should make proposals, the Formula of the Congregation allows for much flexibility for members to organize their work. The common feeling that has been experienced – gradually formed by listening to the Spirit in the days that we have just experienced – has pushed members to ask for time enough before the Murmuratio begins. We are 212 electors; those of us who know the most electors, upon starting the process, know at most only a third of them. Some do not personally know anyone since they have not had the chance to participate in this kind of international meeting of Jesuits. We have clearly expressed the need for more time in order to grow in mutual knowledge.
There was already, in the method that we have used, a procedure that encouraged this knowledge of each other. Ten times we have found ourselves in a group of a dozen or so of companions, and every time we have met some new companions. But these gatherings of 90 minutes were somewhat short, after all. If English is understood by the vast majority of participants, it is often the 2nd, 3rd or 4th language of many; the same goes for Spanish or French. It is not sufficient therefore to use a common tongue [fr. langue –lit, tongue] for the type of work that falls to us; we must arrive at a common language [fr. langage]. This is our challenge: to use a common language that will allow us to listen to each other while, at the same time, allow the Spirit to speak. Indeed, the Holy Spirit does not speak directly; he always speaks through human voices, through each one of our voices.
Therefore, we have found it important to take time to ensure that we find a common language that will allow us to make decisions that are the expression of the Spirit’s inspiration in us; this is what we call, in the language of the Society, “the will of God.”
Eucharist in Saint Peter's Basilica
This morning, Friday, the members of the Congregation with the staff members had to wake up early. To begin the day, they all took the short trip from the General Curia to Saint Peter’s Square. They walked under heavy rain: was it the blessings of heavens pouring on them?
They went first through the Holy Door of the Year of Mercy. This jubilee year promulgated by Pope Francis opened on 8 December 2015 and will soon draw to a close, on 20 November 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. This tradition linked to jubilee years refers first of all to Jesus himself, who said, “Whoever enters through me will have Life” (John 10:9). The symbol of the door implies, too, the invitation to take a step forward and to leave something behind. This process is meaningful at the moment when Jesuits prepare to elect a new general superior.
The electors then celebrated the Eucharist in the “Chapel of the Cathedra” or of the chair of Saint Peter. The window representing the light shed by the Holy Spirit fits perfectly the context of the General Congregation. This chapel is located directly behind the main altar of the Basilica. Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, the oldest member of the Congregation, was the main celebrant.
In his short homily, the celebrant underlined the relations between Peter’s experience with Jesus and ours, as companions of Jesus. Making a reference to the place where we were, St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as the basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu, in Jerusalem, he described the scenes of the denial of Saint Peter, of his profound grieving after his fault and of the breakfast on the shore of the lake, when Jesus, after his resurrection, invites his disciples to share a meal with him. What comes out of the three scenes – and can inspire us – is Jesus’ love for his disciples. To this love we are invited to respond, like Peter did: “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.” On the occasion of this first Friday of the month, we are invited to let the Love of the Heart of Jesus to touch our own hearts.
The first session in the aula and Father Nicolás’ resignation
The members of General Congregation 36 had the opportunity to participate, during the preceding days, in information sessions about their work and technical environment in the aula, including the use of the electronic tablets through which they are getting access to the majority of the working documents and materials. Therefore, on this Monday morning, at 9:00 a.m., they were all set to begin the work of the Congregation in earnest.
On the feast day of Saint Francis Borgia, patron of the General Curia, Fr. James E. Grummer invited the assembly to stand and invoke the Holy Spirit by singing the Veni Creator. Immediately after, he invited Father General to say a few words. Fr. Nicolás stated that he was handing over the facilitation of the Congregation to Fr. Grummer and that he had chosen him to be the Vicar General of the Society for the time before the election of a new General. Father Nicolás then opted to leave the rostrum and to sit among the other members of the Congregation. The assembly went on with the prayer. Every day, it is possible to pray along with the members of the Congregation since the prayer of the aula is available to all in the "prayer room" section of the website gc36.org.
Father Grummer then introduced the team of copy secretaries who take notes of everything that is said during the Congregation. Then, each one of the simultaneous translators introduced himself specifying the languages he would handle. A word was said about the IT team. At that time, the assembly was ready to start its official business, the first step being to recognize that everyone was present and that the Congregation was "complete". The media team of the Congregation left the room because all the Congregation work is done in camera.
Later during the first morning, Father Nicolás submitted his resignation to the General Congregation. After deliberations, the Congregation voted to accept Father Adolfo Nicolás resignation as Superior General of the Society of Jesus. From that moment on, Fr. James Grummer took the responsibility of the Society of Jesus as Vicar General.
Fr. Bruno Cadoré, OP, to the Jesuits: The faith of audacity – the faith of the humble servant
The 215 members of the Jesuit General Congregation 36 celebrated Mass at the Church of the Gesù on October 2, to launch the Congregation. The main presider was Father Bruno Cadoré, the Master of the Order of Preachers (also known as the Dominican Order). The relationship between the Dominicans and Jesuits goes back to the conversion of Saint Ignatius, who would ask himself, "If Saint Dominic did such and such, why can I not?" Additionally, there is a tradition that when the General of the Jesuits dies, the Master of the Dominican Order is invited to celebrate the Eucharist. In this case, Father Cadoré was invited to preside at the Mass to launch the Congregation, which will accept Father Adolfo Nicolás' resignation as Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Father Nicolás along with the General Counselors and all the other electors were present. Also present was a large number of Jesuits who live and work in Rome.
Father Cadoré, delivered a homily inspired by the Scripture readings of the day, the 27th Sunday of Ordinary time. These were excerpts from the prophet Habakkuk, from second letter of Saint Paul to Timothy and from the 17th chapter of Saint Luke's gospel.
Father Cadoré began by drawing attention to the apostles' request to Jesus: "Lord, increase our faith!" This is the mindset that is needed at the beginning of this General Congregation. The homilist explains: "This faith is necessary - even if it remains as modest in appearance as a mustard seed - because it is about daring to aim for the improbable: 'you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you'. It is even more necessary, because it is to understand that, even if we aim for the incredible, it is about daring to say: 'we are unworthy servants: we have only done our duty'! An assembly such as yours (...) will without doubt move between the duty of constantly calling the Society to dare the audacity of the « improbable » and the evangelical willingness to do it with the humility of those who know that, in this service where the human engages all his energy, « everything depends on God".
This audacity to aim for the improbable was Ignatius' characteristic at the time he founded the Least Society of Jesus. Is it still possible in our time of crisis, while violence in so many forms is experienced? It is possible, says the Dominican to the Jesuits, if it is "this audacity to make heard through your commitments, your words, your solidarity, the always unexpected voice of the One in whom the world hopes, who reverses death and establishes life, the One to whom you seek to give the greatest glory?" It is only possible if it is solidly founded on Paul's advice to his friend Timothy: "To find the strength and creativity of fidelity in the breath in which the Spirit holds us as he leads us to encounter and to listen to the other, who creates a well of compassion in the heart of the person, who consolidates the unbreakable alliance with those who are entrusted to us."
Finally, Fr. Cadoré insists on the fact that if the faith the apostles need has to be characterized by audacity, it has to be, at the same time, the faith of the humble servant, the faith of a life truly given for others. "Of what, precisely, are you the servant? Of a table, a table of sinners, a table of welcome for all to which are invited the blind and the lame, Pharisees and publicans, adulterers and good people. Your founder, Ignatius, prayed like this: 'Lord Jesus, teach us to be generous, teach us to serve You as You deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and to ask for no reward save that of knowing we are doing Your will'. Is this not an invitation, once more today, to place ourselves, all of us, at the service of this table?"
On Monday, October 3, the 215 electors will gather in the Aula of the Congregation to begin the first session of the plenary session of General Congregation 36. Father Adolfo Nicolás is expected to present his resignation on the first day of the Congregation.
What is a General Congregation?
In the 476 years since its founding, the Society of Jesus has convened only 35 general congregations. The 36th General Congregation will convene in Rome on October 2, 2016. A general congregation is always summoned on the death or resignation of the head of the Society - the Superior General - to choose his successor, or when the General decides action is needed on serious matters that he cannot or does not want to decide alone.
Chest of Relics
All along its history, the Society of Jesus has given the Church many Saints and Blessed, among whom not a few were martyrs. Since the ‘Chiesa del Gesu' is the Mother Church of the Jesuit Order, an important number of relics is kept in its sacristy and most of which are kept in very simple containers.
Original Manuscript of the Exercises restored
The oldest manuscript of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius has been restored. Over the years, acid had corroded the paper inks, perforating many pages and threatening the preservation of the document. Complete with the handwritten notes by Ignatius Loyola, the manuscript was presented at a conference held at the Gregorian University in Rome. Father Ignacio Echarte, the Secretary of the Society, represented the Society at the conference. Melania Zanetti of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, explained the painstaking process that resulted in the restoration of the manuscript. The project was funded by the Fundación Gondra-Barandiarán de Getxo, Bizkaia, a province in the autonomous community of the Basque country. The restoration was designed by Carlo Federici of the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice and the Vatican School of Library Science. The restoration was commissioned by the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, where the manuscript is now safely kept.
Father General's Visit to San Salvador
From April 30 to May 6, Father General traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador, for a joint meeting of the Jesuit conferences of Latin America and Canada-USA. One of the major discussions of the meeting centered on reflecting on how best the Society can serve the Church in the Caribbean region. In his address to the gathering, Father General focused on the importance of moving towards a universal mission. Serving a common mission, Father General observed, begins from acquiring knowledge about different regions, which will in turn lead to collaboration. It requires building networks, reflecting on common apostolic priorities, and eventually establishing common apostolic projects. The meeting ended with visits to the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero in the Cathedral of San Salvador, the hospital chapel where Romero died, and a visit to the site of the martyrdom of the Jesuit priest, Rutilio Grande.
JesWeb Meeting in Germany
The annual JesWeb meeting (for web masters and editors of online Jesuit productions) took place at Heinrich Pesch Haus in Ludwigshafen, Germany from 11-14 April. Although JesWeb is officially a gathering of the European Jesuit Conference, it has in recent years attracted participants from other parts of the world. This year, there were representatives from all the six Jesuit conferences. The participants exchanged experiences and shared updates on their work. In addition, media teams of MAGIS Poland and General Congregation 36 gave updates of the communication strategies for the two events.
The Curia Community celebrates the Jubilee of Mercy
The General Curia community recently marked the Jubilee Year of Mercy with three important events. The highlight of the events was Friday, March 18 when the community made a pilgrimage through the Holy Door of Mercy at St. Peter's Basilica, before celebrating mass at the tomb of Saint Peter in the Vatican Grottoes. The previous Sunday, March 13, members of the Curia Community celebrated mass at Regina Coeli prison, led by the community superior, Father Joaquín Barrero, who regularly visits the prison on Saturdays and Sundays. Finally, on March 20, about 30 homeless people housed in the Dono di Misericordia dormitory joined the community at the table of lunch. The Dono di Misericordia dormitory located at the General Curia was Father General's gift to the Holy Father as a place of temporary shelter for the homeless.
Andhra: 21 February 2016
We arrived at Andhra Loyola College [and] the fun began. We had four Hindu students chant prayers and offer us a vessel with a coconut to touch. This was a traditional Telugu welcome, we were told. In the early afternoon Father General met with the Jesuits of the area. His talk centred on the preparation for General Congregation 36. Later in the afternoon, he addressed the staff and students of the College - over 5,000, on the football field. Here he focused on the aim of Jesuit education to help students grow and enable them contribute to a new humanity. This, he said, calls for forming relationships, interaction, a search for depth, a sense of humour, and time for play and sports (where one learns to interact within a system of rules).
VATICAN RADIO: New structure in the mission of the Society of Jesus
On February 29 2016, Father Federico Lombardi and Dr. Alberto Gasbarri ended their long and fruitful mission at Vatican Radio, as Director General and Administrative Director respectively. Having fulfilled the mandates for which they were appointed, the end of their duties also marked the disappearance of the positions of Director General and Administrative Director at Vatican Radio. Vatican Radio will now fall under the new Secretariat for Communication, created by Pope Francis on 27 June 2015 with the aim of restructuring and streamlining all Vatican communications.
AP: Click to Pray, the new app to pray with Pope Francis
Click to Pray presents something different each of the 365 days of the year. You can join millions around the world from different cultures and languages in praying for the universal challenges confronting humanity. "Click To Pray invites men and women around the world to accompany Pope Francis in a new digital way, with the hope that the continents unite in prayer for the great challenges of the world and the mission of the Church as expressed in the Pope's intentions," said Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, International Director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer).
Arrupe Place wins 2015 Community Wellbeing Award
Following the nomination of the Parramatta City Council, Arrupe Place was presented the 2015 Community Wellbeing Award by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Run by the Jesuit Social Services, Arrupe Place was established in early 2015 by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). This initiative was started to provide practical support to people seeking asylum, especially in Western Sydney, to face basic challenges and to avoid being isolated. The Shelter Project Coordinator, Maeve Brown said: "This award is a fitting tribute to the Shelter Project Team, both volunteers and staff, for their dedication, compassion, and hard work." Brown acknowledged and thanked the support of all the JRS partners in Arrupe Place.
Fr. Ellacuría’s Archive is included in the Documentary Heritage list
The Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (MUPI) (Museum of the Word and the Image) reported that UNESCO has included the archive of the Jesuit Father Ignacio Ellacuría as part of the documentary heritage for Latin America and the Caribbean. The delegate of the Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as director of the MUPI, Carlos Henríquez Consalvi, recently gave the certificate to the Rector of the Centro American University (UCA), Fr. Andreu Oliva, the current successor of Fr. Ellacuría. Fr. Ellacuría was murdered November 16th, 1989 during the Salvadorian civil war, together with other Spanish Jesuits, a Salvadorian Jesuit, and two women. The archive is of philosophical and theological interest, but it also contains documents and materials of Fr. Ellacuria's thoughts on the political situation in El Salvador and Central America in the eighties and early nineties.
SJES - Networking for Justice
From November 17th-20th, fifty-five Jesuits and collaborators gathered in Loyola, Spain for a meeting organized by the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat. The meeting brought together the various networks of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) to share their experiences, and plan for better engagement in the social apostolate. Speaking in an interview at the meeting, Fr. Francisco Javier Álvarez de los Mozos, Secretary for Justice and Ecology said: "There are many global apostolic challenges for the Jesuit and Ignatian family. I dream that we can become a large and much better structured body serving the needs of the poor in the world. Networking is a must today. It respects local autonomy while at the same time allowing us to work together for a common cause."
Coetus Praevius Meeting
The Preparatory Commission (Coetus Praevius) for GC 36 met in Rome from Monday 31st August until Saturday 12th September. The task of the group was to draw up an agenda for the upcoming General Congregation. Read More >>
St Ignatius hospitality students serve up Middle Eastern feast
On August 31st, seven female students of the Saint Ignatius' College Adelaide Senior School prepared a Middle Eastern menu for the lunch of the staff. These girls were part of the Jesuit Service and Hospitality course, an integrated learning subject that was activated last year, as part of their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Stage 2. In this course, the students learn how to cater, serve and organize an event and this was the occasion to test the skills learned during the course. The students were delegated the responsibility of the organization, while they experimented and selected recipes under the direction of a renowned Adelaide Chef and their teacher, Rosa Matto. The money raised in this event was donated to Jesuit Mission Australia.
Illustrated book on the Society of Jesus will be launched in the Pateo do Collegio
On the occasion of the 475th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of Jesus, September 27th 2015, the Pateo do Collegio in partnership with the Edições Loyola will launch an illustrated book entitled Jesuítas: uma pequena história ilustrada. The book, written by the Jesuit Father Gerardo Cabada Castro and illustrated by Luiz Boschi Grecco with watercolor paintings, is about the history of the Society of Jesus, starting from the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola to the election of Pope Francis. The project, which started during the bicentenary of the restoration of the Society, is mainly targeted at bringing the Jesuit story to children. That is because most Jesuits who are involved in education and formation, are convinced that children are the ones who will build a more human and just world.
GC36 - Coetus Praevius
Preparations for General Congregation 36 have begun in earnest with the first gathering of the Coetus Praevius (Preparatory Committee) in Rome from August 31 to September 12, 2015. The committee is comprised of two representatives from each of the six Conferences of Africa and Madagascar; Latin America; Canada and United States; Europe; South Asia; and Asia Pacific. Father General Adolfo Nicolas and Father Douglas Marcouiller from the General Curia in Rome are also members of the Coetus Praevius.
Centenary of the Eucharistic Youth Movement
I am glad that we could organise together with the EYM Italy team the Centenary of the Eucharistic Youth Movement in Rome. The EYM is present in 56 countries all over the world and very different from each other. The previous Director, Fr Claudio Barriga, SJ, was very helpful in weaving the international network of this youth movement. This international meeting in Rome was also important for testing our unity in diversity.
Australian Jesuit highlights parish role in climate action
Fr Gregory Jacobs SJ, parish priest at Holy Family Parish at Mount Druitt, New South Wales, Australia says the parish can play an important role in climate action.
Educate Magis: Inspiring global connections among Jesuit Educators
Over the past few years the ambition and desire by many to work as a "universal body with a universal mission", as recommended by General Congregation 35 have come to fruition and begun blossoming all over the Jesuit world. One area where this has become particularly apparent is in the education sector. Amidst the preparations and as a continuation of the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education (ICJSE) in Boston, 2012 and the International Seminar on Ignatian Pedagogy and Spirituality (SIPEI) in Manresa, 2014 various initiatives and projects were born in the spirit of global Jesuit education and networking. One of these is Educate Magis, an idea which was born at the ICJSE and has been coming to life since.
The Camino Ignaciano
Those who desire to make the pilgrimage can walk or cycle their way across Spain, embarking on the same trip that Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus, completed after his conversion in 1522.
During the week of 13-17 July JRS has sponsored a Leadership Competency Workshop for new regional, country and project directors. The goal of the workshop has been to help develop leadership and managerial skills in new JRS leaders. Specific topics included: Ignatian spirituality, growth in self awareness, motivation of and creating effective teams, decision making skills, and working with stakeholders.
Socii of ALS, ALM, EMR (Spanish Group) Meet in Rome
Though the meetings of New Provincials, Treasurers, and Conference presidents are quite regular in Rome, Socii are rare specious. In contradiction to their rare appearance in the General Curia, they do almost all the communications between the local Provincial Curia and the General Curia Rome. Normally the Socii meet in their own respective conferences with input session from the Secretary of the Society. However, this time the Socii were called to Rome.
There are 18 participants from Latin America and Sothern Europe, mainly from the Spanish speaking region. The Regional Assistants along with Secretaries accompany the Socii during this meeting which began on 29th June. On top of the sessions with the Secretary of Society on regular communicative matters and the revised "Practica Quaedam," there are also sessions with the Procurators, Archivists, and the General Treasurers.
The Socii will also have a chance to visit some of the Ignatian Rome especially the Rooms of St. Ignatius and La Storta before they conclude on 4th July.
Celebration of two Jubilees
Curia celebrated the Jubilees of Frs. Eugenio Costa (ITA) and Louis Boisset (PRO) both completing 50 years of priesthood. The Community congratulated and thanked them for their services to the Society. Fr. Eugenio is working in the curia as Secretary for the Sothern European Assistancy while Fr. Louis Boisset is the Secretary for the Western European Assistancy. Both charms the curia with their unbeaten simplicity, affection and wisdom.
Sudden demise of Fr. Severin Leitner, SJ Shocks the Curia
It was shocking to receive the news this evening that Fr. Severin Leitner, the Regional Assistant and council member of Fr. General for Central and Eastern Europe, passed away while trekking on the Gran Sasso mountains in Aquila, Italy. According to the message received, he fell off the mountain while reaching a height of 2800 meters. Details of the incident are awaited.http://www.blitzquotidiano.it/cronaca-italia/severin-leitner-gesuita-di-70-anni-e-lalpinista-morto-sul-gran-sasso-2204506/
Fr. General Arrives in Cameroon
On Sunday, April 26, 2015 the Province of West Africa had the honor of hosting Father General Father Adolfo Nicolas and the General Assistant for Africa Father Fratern Masawe for a brief visit to Douala.
They arrived at Douala International Airport at 16:40, Cameroonian. They were met in the airport lounge at 17.10 by Father Provincial and a few other Jesuits. After about thirty minutes, the delegation left the airport for the Provincial House in the neighborhood of Bali. They were offered the dignity of a police escort. At the Provincial House, Father General met Jesuits from Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville.
Father General then interacted with the gathered Jesuits, who introduced themselves informing him what ministries they were involved in, and so on.
This presented an opportunity for some Jesuits to get to know Father General, and for him to put names to the faces of some companions.
Fr. Tcheumtchoua Nzali William Fils, SJ
Nepal Jesuits Call for Support to Earthquake Relief Work
Fr. Boniface Tigga, SJ, the Regional Superior of Nepal Jesuits, has made an appeal to the friends and well wishers around the world to support the Jesuit Relief work in Nepal after the devastating earthquake on 25th April 2015. The emergency work will include temporary shelters and supply of food and other necessities for the victims who have lost their houses. The probable target of the Jesuits would be to attend the people in the far remote villages where it is hard for anybody to reach. This will be finalized after discussing with Government officials and other collaborating groups. At present the schools and other institutions have opened their ground for the shelters. Many are stranded on the open ground as the aftershocks are still occurring and the damaged houses are not safe to return to. The medical care has to be reached outside Kathmandu too. The Jesuits have set up an information desk at Kathmandu who could be contacted for directing your valuable donations and support.
You may contact the Nepal Jesuits via:
The official information desk for Nepal Jesuit Earthquake Relief work office
Phone: 00977 - 9808744007
Read the Press release from Nepal Region Superior:http://sjweb.info/imagesnews/nepalquake1.pdf
The Colloquium for the new Provincials
The Colloquium for the new Provincials (English speaking) has begun on 13th April 2015 at the General Curia Rome. There are 17 Provincials participating in the meeting. The colloquium, will offer them a deeper understanding of the issues facing the universal Society, the opportunity to study more intensely the commitments and duties of a Provincial regarding cura personalis, cura apostolica, community and apostolic life, from legislative, financial and organizational perspectives. The meeting gives Father General the prospect of knowing better his closest collaborators and bringing them up to date on the projects he is carrying forward in accord with the directives of the General Congregations. The new Provincials will also have the opportunity to understand, the General Curia, its many offices and secretariats, and have the occasion to visit the international Roman houses. The meeting will continue till Saturday 25th April.
Father General Visits the Holy Land
From March 27 to April 6 Father General, Nicolás was in the Holy Land to visit the community of Jesuit brothers and to celebrate the Easter Tridum in those places where our Lord walked and so rich in inspiration. It is the first time that a General of the Society of Jesus visited the Holy Land who was accompanied by Fathers Antoine Kerhuel, Assistant for Western Europe, Michael Kolarcík, Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute Rome and Arturo Sosa, Delegate for Interprovincial Houses.
Socii of US-Assistancy Meet in Rome
From 24 to 27 March, nine Socii from Canada and United States held their annual meeting at the Curia in Rome. The Socii of US-Assistancy usually come together in Rome every third year for their annual meeting. This time, besides the regular input sessions from Offices of the Curia, they also had a hand on training on Communication Strategies for the preparation of GC 36 and a special session on the new Practica quaedam. Fr. Jesús Rodríguez, S. J. the secretary of the USA Assistancy co-ordinated the group.
The Delegates of the Jesuit Formation – Europe
The Delegates of the Jesuit Formation in Europe had a half day meeting with Fr. General at the Curia on 25th of March. There were 19 participants including the Fr. John Dardis, S.J., the President of European Jesuit Conference. The group discussed various stages of Jesuit Formation and clarified questions with Fr. General with regard to the new challenges faced within and outside the Society. The regular meeting was held at Collegio Bellarmino. Fr. José Magadia , S.J. the General Assistant for Formation, had to leave the group after two days due to the medical appointment.
Meeting on Centers of Ignatian Spirituality
On Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, the Curia hosted 15 experts in the Spiritual Exercises and Jesuit "studies." The purpose of the gathering was to continue and deepen their understanding of the work being done to advance serious study and training in the field of Ignatian Spirituality, and to propose ways to promote interest in our spiritual tradition, Jesuit history and collaboration among these programs. Fr. General has encouraged, for some time now, the sharing of resources between long -establishing programs and institutions and those where efforts are only now being launched.
The New Provincials Meet in the Curia
The Colloquium for new Provincials (Spanish speaking) has begun on 2nd March 2015 at the General Curia Rome. There are 12 Provincials participating in the meeting. The colloquium, will offer them a deeper understanding of the issues facing the universal Society, the opportunity to study more intensely the commitments and duties of a Provincial regarding cura personalis, cura apostolica, community and apostolic life, from legislative, financial and organizational perspectives. The meeting gives Father General the prospect of knowing better his closest collaborators and bringing them up to date on the projects he is carrying forward in accord with the directives of the General Congregations. The new Provincials will also have the opportunity to understand, the General Curia, its many offices and secretariats, and have the occasion to visit the international Roman houses. The meeting will continue till 14th Saturday.
Fr. Alexis Premkumar, SJ released after eight months in captivity in Afghanistan
After more than eight months in captivity, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is delighted by the announcement of the release of Fr Alexis Prem Kumar. JRS is immensely grateful to the Indian government for its role in achieving his release.
"The last eight months have been a long and difficult period of uncertainty for Fr Prem's family, friends and colleagues. You cannot imagine our relief that he is now home, safe and sound. We are aware of the tireless efforts at many levels to achieve his release and we are grateful for the consolation we have received from the prayerful support of countless friends - including those of the school children from the school where he was kidnapped," said Fr Peter Balleis SJ, JRS International Director.
See more at: JRS NEWS
Fr. General welcomes the First Cardinal of Myanmar
Fr. General welcomed Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Myanmar's first Catholic Cardinal, at the Curia today. Cardinal Bo aims to work toward peace and reconciliation between the country's divergent religious groups, in the present time of increasing intolerance toward religious minorities. The relationship between the Jesuits and the local Church in Myanmar goes back to 1958, when the Maryland Province sent seven Jesuits there at the request of the Catholic Church in Myanmar. Even after facing an expulsion in 1966, the Jesuits returned in 1998 and continued to support the mission in Myanmar till today. The ordination of Wilbert Mireh, the first Myanmar Jesuit priest, in 2013 has given a clear identity to Jesuit Presence in the country.
Fr. Theodore Overberg completes 50 years in the Society of Jesus
The entire Jesuit Curia in Rome gathered yesterday in the domestic Chapel of the Annunciation to thank God for the gift of Fr. Theo and for his great contribution to Society of Jesus for the past 50 years.
Born in the Netherlands, Fr. Overberg's family emigrated to Australia while he was still a child, and he was brought up just outside Ballarat, where he was educated by the Christian Brothers.
He entered the Society of Jesus in 1965, and was ordained in 1978. He served first as Vice Rector of Aquinas College at the University of Adelaide, then as Rector there, before transferring to St Thomas More College in 1997.
He served as Rector here for two years, then took up the post of Master of Novices for the Australian Jesuit province. Fr. Overburg returned to Perth in 2009, where he continued to serve as the parish priest of Holy Rosary Church in Nedlands.
Fr. Theo has been appointed Regional Secretary for the Asia Pacific Assistancy by Father General and has been on this post from mid-March 2011.
Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) meets in Rome
The annual meeting of the Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) is being conducted at the Curia this week. The group of eight Jesuit major superiors comes together annually to discuss the universal Society's mission in Rome with Fr. General and his Delegate for the Roman Houses. The new Delegate, Fr. Arturo Sosa presented his report and the challenges of Roman Houses (DIR). The other topics includes, education, formation and fund raising under DIR. The major input sessions are conducted by Civiltà Cattolica, Vatican Radio, Pontificio Istituto Orientale.
Father General in Vietnam
17 January , 2015 Father General arrived the Vietnam Province to participate in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jesuit in Vietnam. He was accompanied by the Regional Assistant, Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, and also by Fr. General's Regional Assistant for Western Europe, Fr. Antoine Kerhuel. One day before the closing Mass of the Jubilee, Father General presided the Mass with the members of Vietnam Province and received the final vows of 11 Jesuit priests and brothers at the chapel of Saint Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate.
- Chình Tràn, S.J.
Society of Jesus marks 400 years in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: More than three thousand people participated in the concluding Eucharist marking the arrival of the first Jesuits in Vietnam 400 years ago. Fr. General joined the group of 15 Bishops and Jesuits of Vietnam in making this great occasion a key event in the history of the Society of Jesus.
The Jesuits who arrived in Vietnam soon after the death of Matteo Ricci in Beiging in 1610, were inspired by his style and began to make friendship with the local people by learning their language and culture. For instance, the works of a French Jesuit, Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660), led to the adoption of Romanized script for the Vietnamese language which is still used today.
Though the suppression of the Jesuits was brought about one and half century after their arrival initially, in 1957, the South Vietnamese government invited them to help develop universities, followed by requests from bishops in Vietnam to assist in training local clergy.
Fr. General Arrives in Hong Kong
13 January 2015, the first day of the arrival of Fr. General along with two of his Assistants, Frs. Antoine Kerhuel and Daniel Huang, commenced with visiting Jesuit places and meeting the Jesuits of Hong Kong and Macau. Fr. General is on a two weeks long visit to the Asia Pacific; during which he will visit the provinces of China and Vietnam. He will be participating in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jesuit in Vietnam. He will also attend the conference of the Provincials of the Asia Pacific. (Photo courtesy: Daniel Huang).
The 36th General Congregation
The 36th General Congregation will begin with the Eucharist, celebrated on the evening of 2 October 2016. The first plenary session will take place on 3 October 2016, the Feast of St. Francis Borgia, at the General Curia in Rome.
"Meditating on the call of the Eternal King, what do we discern to be the three most important calls that the Lord makes to the whole Society today?"
Rev Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.
The Colloquium for the New Provincials 2014
The Colloquium for the newly appointed English-speaking Provincials began on 1st December at the Curia in Rome and will continue until 13th Dec. The group, guided by Fr. Antoine Kerhuel, has 15 participants. Fr. General will be addressing the group on the challenges and new directions of the Society and he will also attend the presentation of the Province by each member.
“Opening doors to the displaced is not only a Christian, but a human value,” says Fr. General.
20 Nov. 2014: On the on thirty-fourth anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, had a conversation with Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, Director of the Holy See Press Office, on the theme of Hospitality on the Frontiers. . It was organized by JRS and Centro Astalli. The three main points discussed were : 1) Reception and hospitality of refugees and displaced people, 2) Reconciliation, 3) Access to education for every children of the world.
While indicating the emergency of Reconciliation and need for education of every child to build communities of peace and respect, Fr. General underlined the responsibility of each of us to be hospitable to the displaced, "We Jesuits believe that opening one's door to the displaced is not only a Christian value, but a human one. Our understanding recognizes the claim that all of us have to be welcomed, not because we are members of a specific family, race or faith community, but simply because we are human beings who deserve welcome and respect."Reade More at JRS website:
"Brazil as one Province, is like the times of Anchieta," says Fr. General.
Sunday, November 16, marked a historic moment for the Jesuits: the creation of the new unified province of Brazil and the installation of Father Renato John Eidt, as the Provincial. The ceremony was held at Rio de Janeiro (RJ). "We are at a historic moment because Brazil will be as it was in the times of Anchieta, a single province after having had a very creative story to be three provinces and one region," said Father General during a conversation. "We formed a new province, with a new structure in order to respond to new challenges."Read More (Portuguese)
Brs. Affonso Wobeto and Ivan Pavin leave the Curia for New Missions
Saying farewell to two of our veteran community members wasn't easy for the Jesuits at the General Curia. Br. Affonso Wobeto, belonging to Province Brazil, was earlier appointed to serve in the curia from 1975 to 1979. His later appointment as secretary to Fr. Adolfo, the Superior General, lasted 6 years starting from 2008. Curia community members are ever grateful to his fraternal love and simplicity and also for the beautiful Garden he left behind on the Curia terrace. He is been replaced by Br. Lauro Edit of the same province. Br. Ivan Pavin had been an integral part of the curia from 1978, completing 36 years as he left for his home province, Croatia, last Saturday. His absence does create a vaccum in the Curia corridors and especially near the laundry and the Chapel. His meticulous service as the Sacristan and the person in-charge of managing the laundry has been highly appreciated not only by the community members but also by the guests at the curia. Fr. General expressed his gratitude to both of them during the farewell lunch at the community before their departures. The community wish them all the best for their future endeavours.
Jesuit Brothers of Europe meet the Pope and conclude their meeting in Rome
The three days meeting of more than thirty Jesuit Brothers from European Jesuit Conference was concluded yesterday with the Eucharistic Celebration presided by Fr. General. Participants in the meeting were privileged to attend the Society's celebration of its Restoration at the Church of the Gesù (27th Sept) and to have the opportunity to greet Pope Francis personally in the Chapel of the Nobles, where Pope Pius VII's Bull was promulgated. Fr. General attended most of this meeting and gave his carefully considered perspectives and thanked the Brothers for their unique contribution to the Society of Jesus. During the meeting, the Brothers shared on all aspects of their vocation and expressed gratitude to God for this happy occasion. John Dardis SJ, CEP President, presented the opportunities and challenges for the Society in Europe today. The part that Jesuit Brothers play in the apostolate was clarified with a historical perspective from Alan Harrison, SJ.
200th Anniversary of the Reconstitution of SJ with Pope Francis
Pope Francis celebrated a special liturgy of thanksgiving in the Church of the Gesù in Rome on Saturday, to mark the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus. Please find, below, Vatican Radio's English translation of the prepared text of the Holy Father's homily for the occasion.Homily of Pope on 27th September 2014 at Gesù
The Holy Father will Preside over the Thanksgiving Liturgy of the Reconstitution Anniversary
On the occasion of the 200th Anniversary of the Universal Reconstitution of the Society of Jesus, The Holy Father, Pope Francis will be presiding over the Thanksgiving Liturgy held at the Church of Gesù, Rome, on 27th September 2014 at 4.50 pm (Roman time).
The event will be telecast live by the Vatican Radio for the universal participation of Jesuits, friends and benefactors of the Society of Jesus. Here is the YouTube link for the standby telecast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1tmyy3sl_g
You can also download the Booklet from sjweb following the link: http://sjweb.info/documents/2014Restoration/libretto12.pdf
Changes in the Central Government of the Society
On October 3, Fr. Miguel Cruzado Silveri (PER) will begin his service as Regional Assistant for Southern Latin America and as General Counselor, thus relieving Fr. Marcos Recolons (BOL) of his posts in the General Curia.
On December 3, Fr. Douglas Marcouiller (UCS) will begin to serve as Regional Assistant for the United States and as General Counselor. Fr. James E. Grummer will relinquish the office of Regional Assistant but will continue to serve as Assistant ad providentiam, General Counselor, and Admonitor of Fr. General.
Conference Presidents meet in Rome
This year, the annual meeting of the Presidents of the Jesuit Conferences held at the Curia includes two new members, Fr. George Pattery for South Asia and Fr. Timothy Kesicki for USA. The meeting began on 12th September, will continue till 18th . Fr. General is mostly present in the meeting. Among other regular topics of the discussion they will be looking at the issues coming up for the G. C. 36. According to Fr. John Dardis, they will also be discussing matters concerning financial sharing between Conferences and the formation of young Jesuits.
Pope appoints Fr. Robert J. Geisinger, S.J. to the post of Promoter of Justice
Pope Francis has appointed Fr. Robert J. Geisinger SJ to the post of Promoter of Justice for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). He takes over from Fr. Robert W. Oliver, who has held the position since Jan. 3, 2013.
Fr. Geisinger has served as the General Procurator for the Society of Jesus and is a member of the Chicago Province. Fr. Oliver, of the Archdiocese of Boston, has been appointed Secretary to the Vatican Commission for the Safeguarding of Minors.
The Promoter of Justice is often referred to as the CDF's ‘chief prosecutor' and is charged with investigating canon-law offenses that are regarded as being the most serious, including crimes against the sanctity of the Eucharist, violations of the seal of confession and allegations of the abuse of minors by clergy.Vatican Radio
Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations Meet 2014
The Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations began their annual meeting of 2014 in Rome on 8th September. Fr. General will attend the 4 days meeting. The participants , each of whom is responsible for a confessional or religious group, are: Milan Žust (Oriental churches), Thomas Rausch (Protestants), Jean-Pierre Sonnet (Judaism), Heru Prakosa (Islam), Gregory Sharkey (Buddhism), Noel Sheth (Hinduism), Felipe Jaled Ali Modad Aguilar (Indigenous religions in the Americas), Kemboly Mpay (Indigenous religions in Africa), John B. Mundu (Indigenous religions in India) and Claudiu Ciubotariu ('secretary for the meeting'). After going through the usual reports from individual areas of concern, the group will focus on the role of the family and marriage in other traditions, in view of the next extraordinary Synod of Bishops.
Fr. General Participates in a Jesuits' Meet at Brussels
On August 15-17, Fr General took part in a meeting of Jesuits from the Province of South Belgium and Luxembourg (BML) and from the Province of France (GAL) who gathered in Brussels with many of their partners in mission (religious and lay people). Fr General invited the 450 participants to realistically and creatively reshape the mission of the Society in this European cultural area which is deeply marked by secularisation and which is also threatened by so many factors of exclusion. This meeting took place in the context of the ongoing "rapprochement" between both Provinces.
Tertian Instructors Meet the Pope
A weeklong meeting of 26 Tertian instructors from around the globe is being held at the Curia these days. Fr. General has been present throughout plenary sessions. He also guided a day of recollection for them at the Church of Gesù on last Wednesday. On 7th August, the group had the privilege of concelebrating the Holy Eucharist with Holy Father, Pope Francis at Domus Sanctae Marthae in Vatican. The meeting is coordinated by Fr. José Cecilio Magadia, SJ (Assistant for formation), while the inputs are from Fr. Robert Geisinger, Fr. Orlando Torres, Fr. Robert Danieluk, and Fr. James Grummer. The group is examining current situation of tertianhip in various parts of the Soceity and the role of the formators in facing the concerns. They will also deepen their knowledge on Vows. Some input sessions will highlight the context of the anniversary of the suppression and restoration of the Society of Jesus.
European Jesuits in Formation (EJIF) Meet in Rome
The Jesuit General Curia is quite alive these days, having young men running around the corridor.23 scholastics, representing all the provinces in Europe and one from Indonesia, participate in the EJIF meeting held in Rome this year. 200 years had passed since the re-establishment of the Society of Jesus and EJIF is particularly committed to accept Father General invitation to look at this anniversary "with a desire to learn from our history, and as an occasion for spiritual and apostolic renewal". The meeting include input sessions by Fr. Jim Grummer, Fr. Robert Danieluk and Fr. John Dardis while Fr. Thomas Layden direct their retreat at Galloro. Fr. José de Pablo accompany them throughout the meeting and the retreat.
The group had the rare opportunity to be with Pope Francis twice within a span of three day, while they were at lunch with the Holy Father on 31 July in the curia and then again on 2nd of August, on the feast of Peter Faber, at St. Martha having Mass with Pope Francis. They had an afternoon session with Fr. General which ended with a special Mass at curia community chapel. Fr. Joe Daoust has been the main overseer for their meeting to make sure that they are all well looked after .
Feast of St. Ignatius, Lunch with Holy Father
The Pope joined the community for the meal in the refectory, then in the recreation room for coffee, for friendly conversation, and to greet each one personally.
The seven siblings - the brothers and sisters - of Fr Paolo dall'Oglio, were also guests at the meal. Fr dall'Oglio was abducted in Syria one year ago. The Pope consoled them with words of comfort. Present, too, was a group of EJIF (European Jesuits in Formation) scholastics. They are holding their annual gathering at the General Curia these weeks.
Heythrop Celebrates 400 Years
The second day of the Heythrop 400th anniversary celebrations started early on Friday morning with Mass at Farm St Church said by Fr General Adolfo Nicolas SJ who had travelled from Rome for the occasion. He preached to a very busy church a moving sermon on St Matthew 6:21 "for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also", and observing that the key to Ignatian spirituality is the continuous learning from experience to listen to the heart.
Fr General then opened the conference at Senate House by reminding those assembled of the significant contribution Heythrop College has made over the past four centuries, attributing its unique longevity to the institution's ability to adapt to radically changing circumstances in order to serve the greater glory of God and his people. He picked out two particular features of Jesuit education: the spirit of collaboration; and the emphasis on the cura personalis - care of the whole person, which enables students to develop as reflective members of society. These were themes which were developed in discussion throughout the day.
(Sent by Jane Hellings)
International Commission on Jesuit Higher Education (ICJHE)
19th June; the ICJHE has begun the yearly review on the developments and challenges to higher education around the globe. The representatives of the sis regions will be joined by Fr. Fr. Friedrich Bechina, under-secretary for the Congregation for Education, who will talk about the work of the Congregation and how we might cooperate to advance the Church's mission in higher education. Among other agendas, Committee will discuss about the international meeting of university presidents and other leaders scheduled for July 2015, in Melbourne, Australia.
Visit to Portugal
From 1 to 4 June, Father General visited the Portuguese Province. He was involved in a number of meetings: on collaboration in mission (Lisbon), on leadership (Coimbra), and on education at the College in Caldinhas. He also met the teaching staff of the Faculty of Philosophy in Braga, with whom he explored the relationship between faith and culture. In Lisbon, he opened a conference organized by the Foundation of the East. Its subject was "The Restoration of the Society of Jesus in Portugal and the East." Well known international historians took part in this symposium. Both in Lisbon and Oporto, Father General presided at Eucharists for many university students and young adults. These are associated with the pastoral centers which the Society conducts in these places. In contrast, the Eucharists in Braga and Coimbra were restricted to Jesuits. Father General took part in a Province Consult, at which he received detailed information about the Province. He paid courtesy calls on the bishops of the places he visited. The visit certainly achieved the aims which Father Nicolás proposed: these were to meet his brother Jesuits and their lay collaborators. His words greatly encouraged and inspired all. They served to expand the apostolic and geographical horizons of the Province. One mark of the Province of Portugal has always been its generous missionary vocation.
Jesuit Refugee Service director kidnapped 34 km from Herat city
Rome, 3 June 2014 - The Jesuit Refugee Service confirms that on Monday afternoon its country director, Alexis Prem Kumar SJ, was abducted by a group of unidentified men in western Afghanistan.
"We are deeply shocked by Prem's abduction. We are in contact with all the relevant authorities and doing everything possible to ensure his safe and speedy return. Meanwhile, our prayers are with Prem and his family and friends at this difficult time", said Jesuit Refugee Service International Director, Peter Balleis SJ.
Forty-seven year old Indian national Prem Kumar had accompanied teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for the returnee refugees in Sohadat village, 34 km from the city of Herat. He was kidnapped from the school as he was about to return to Herat. Source: jrs.net
GC36 to be Convoked by the End of 2014
In a letter - with today's date - to the whole Society, Father General announces that at the end of this year he will convoke the General Congregation 36 to be held at the end of 2016. Therefore the meeting of Provincials originally scheduled for January 2015 in Yogyakarta and convoked on 12th March of this year is cancelled.
Fr. General Attends CPAL
After the brief visits in Venezuela and Cuba, Fr. General has moved on to Mexico for participating in the Latin American Provincials' meeting (CPAL) which will finish on 10the May. The CPAL will focus on the re-configuration of provinces in Latin America, while also looking at the possibility of establishing common centres of Philosophical formation.
Fr. General's address at the Social Park while visiting the Catholic University of Andrés Bello, Venezuela has received much highlight, as he was expressing his appreciation and hopes for such an initiative to bring socio-cultural unity among all types of people. His address has been published at the university website under the title, "The Sky is the Limit." Here is the link to the pdf in Spanish: Fr. General at Social Park
JESAM Plenary 2014
The conference of Jesuit Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) met in the Curia in Rome from the 29th of April to the 2nd of May 2014. This meeting was preceded by a one-day meeting of the "Commissio Mixta" 3 members of the European Conference (CEP).
The main purpose of this plenary session will be to study the future of our formation centers in Africa with respect to the changing national policies on Higher Education in some countries. The meeting dealt also with a number of issues including solidarity in formation, restructuring of provinces and regions, the Jesuit Historical Institute Africa (JHIA).
Fr. General arrives in Guyana
On Friday, 25 April, Father General began his journey in British Guyana. After a night in Barbados, he arrived in Georgetown at noon on 26 April. Visits to apostolic works of the Society, and a meeting with Jesuits and their collaborators followed. More news will be coming up.
Thanksgiving Mass for the canonization of Jose de Anchieta
24 April, Thursday, the church of St. Ignatius, Rome, was filled with hundreds of Brazilian devotees and well wishers when Pope Francis arrived for the thanksgiving Mass for the recently canonized St. Jose de Anchieta. Fr. General was at the forefront along with the president and bishops of the Episcopal conference of Brazil in welcoming the Pope. The Holy Father celebrated Mass in Portuguese, surrounded by many Brazilian bishops and priests , including Cardinal Raymundo Damasceno Assis , Archbishop of Aparecida and Cardinal Odilo Scherer, the Archbishop of Sao Paulo.
Jose de Anchieta was called by all the "Apostle of Brazil." During his homily , Pope Francis emphasized on the joy of the Gospel as a result of the Risen Christ. "The force of attraction of the disciples of Jesus and Jose de Anchieta, " said the Pope, "was an example of the joy of the Gospel."
Jesuit Fr. Frans Van der Lugt’s brutal murder in Syria mourned by Pope, fellow Jesuit
Pope Francis has publicly mourned the "brutal murder" of his Jesuit confrere Fr. Frans van der Lugt . Speaking at Wednesday's General Audience in Rome, the Pope appealed for an end to the conflict and spoke of his "profound pain" on hearing the news of Fr. Frans' killing, and the on-going trials of "the many people who suffer and die in that tortured country, my beloved Syria."
Source: Vatican Radio
Image: Tony Homsy, SJ
The Commissio Interprovinciale Permanens (CIP) started their 3 days meeting with Fr. General in Rome. Issues being discussed include: collaboration among Roman academic institutions, young Jesuits studying in Rome, and evaluation of the CIP and of the DIR since GC 35. Attending the meeting as an observer will be Fr. Arturo Sosa (VEN), recently named to become DIR Delegate next Fall.
Updates on Fr. General’s Visit to Asia Pacific
16 Jan 2014: Fr. General gave a speech on Jesuit education to a packed auditorium of administrators, faculty and staff of the Jesuit University in Seoul, Sogang. Fr. General received a standing ovation at the end of his speech, a very rare occurrence at Sogang. At the reception after Mass, he was besieged by requests for photos for almost an hour.
18 Jan 2014: Fr. General arrived in Dili, East Timor. He is warmly greeted at the airport by Jesuits, candidates, and students of the new Jesuit high school he will bless, the Collegio Santo Inacio Loiola. They were led by Fr. Mark Raper, the President of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and the Regional Superior of East Timor.
19 Jan 2014: After meeting the Jesuits of East Timor, Fr. General received the final vows of Fr. Violanto da Costa Soares in the presence of Fr. Violanto's family and his brother Jesuits. Fr. General's also met with the families of our East Timorese Jesuits.
Source: Facebook updates from Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, SJ
Fr. General Arrives in Seoul
Fr. General along with Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, SJ, Assistant for Asia Pacific, has arrived in Seoul today as he begins his four days visit to the Korean Province. Besides the normal meeting with Jesuits and Collaborators, Fr. General will also meet the Local bishops and the newly nominated Cardinal , the Archbishop of Seoul, Andrew Yeom. Fr. General will be moving on to East Timor to attend the Assembly of the Major Superiors of the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. During the visit to East Timor, Fr. General will be the guest of honor at the inauguration of the Jesuit Education Project of East Timor, a new high school and a teaching training college, the planning of which already began during the time of Fr. Nicolas as Major Superior of East Timor.
Homily of Pope Francis on 3rd January 2014
Concelebrating with the Pope were Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and Cardinal Agostino Vallini, Vicar General of his Holiness for the diocese of Rome; the Bishops: H.E. Monsignor Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., Secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; H.E. Monsignor Yves Boivineau, Bishop of Annecy, and Vicar General, H.E. Alain Fournier-Bidoz; Minister General of the Jesuits, Father Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., with some General Counselors and seven young priests from different Conferences of the Society of Jesus and one from Italy.
Pope Francis to Celebrate Eucharist at the Church of the Gesù on January 3.
18, December 2013: Fr. Federico Lombardi has announced that Pope Francis will visit the Church of the Gesù in Rome to celebrate Mass on January 3, 2014, the titular feast of the Society of Jesus. The Pope will concelebrate the Holy Mass at 9 a. m. with his fellow Jesuit brothers in Rome. This will also be an occasion for thanksgiving for the entry of Blessed Peter Faber into the catalogue of Saints, which took place yesterday. Fr. Lombardi has also said that the Holy Father, while conversing with Fr. General Adolfo Nicolas SJ, Superior General of the Jesuits, commented that he was the first to pray to the new Saint at the moment in which he signed the decree of canonization.
Senior Scholars in Intellectual Apostolate Meet
On 12 December 2013, ten of the expected group of 11 senior scholars began their meeting in the presence of Fr. General at the Curia this morning. This is the second in the series of meetings of scholars held in Rome at the invitation of Fr. General. Representatives from different parts of the world include nine Jesuits and a lay collaborator. They are: Dr. Vivien Amonkar (IND, Microbiology), Francis Clooney, SJ (NYK, Hinduism), José Mariao Francisco (PHI, Theology), Job Kozhamthadam, SJ (DEL, Philosophy of Science), Bernard Muhigirwa (ACE, Education), Inacio Neutzling, SJ (BRM, Sociology), Josef Schuster, SJ (GEN Moral Theology), Nicolas Standaert, SJ (CHN, Sinology). The meeting is coordinated by Fr. Antoine Kerhuel SJ, Assistant for Western Europe, Fr. Gerald Blaszczak, SJ, Secretary for Service of Faith and Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ, Secretary for Higher Education. Fr. General gave his inputs before the group began their sharing with him. The meeting will conclude on 14 December.
Holy Father Meets the Superiors General
Fr. General was busy organizing and attending the 82nd General Assembly of the Union of Superiors General in the Salesianum in Rome from 27 to 29 November.
Pope Francis announced that 2015 would be a year dedicated to consecrated life, adding: "Thank you for what you do and for your spirit of faith and your service. Thank you for your witness and also for the humiliations through which you have had to pass".
Click to read the full News on : www.vidimusdominum.org
Fr. General Appeals for Immediate Help to Philippines
Fr. General has asked me to communicate to all the Major Superiors the letter which Fr. Antonio Moreno, Provincial of the Philippines, has written regarding the present situation his country is going through. A response from the part of the Society to this letter is in line with the circular letter that Fr. General wrote to the Major Superiors on 12 March 2012 (Circular 2012/03), entitled "The service of the Society of Jesus in times of disaster".
Read the Letter from the provincial of Philippines here
Younger Scholars in Intellectual Apostolate Meet in Rome
Fr. General took part in a three-day sharing session by seven representatives of Younger Scholars from all the Conferences, plus two lay collaborators. The meeting was coordinated by Fr. Antoine Kerhuel SJ, Assistant for Western Europe, Fr. Gerald Blaszczak, SJ, Secretary for Service of Faith and Fr. Michael Garanzini, SJ, Secretary for Higher Education. The session was intended to give Fr. General a clearer idea about how younger scholars consider the contribution of the Society to the intellectual apostolate (research, education, and publications). They also evaluated the integration of Ignatian Spirituality and the impact of Jesuit ideals in the socio-cultural dimensions of the intellectual apostolate. In December 2013, there will be another session of the Senior Scholars involved in the intellectual apostolate to deepen the discerning process.
Jesuit Brothers Attend Mass with Pope
On 30 October 2013 - the day before the feast of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, patron of Jesuit Brothers - eighteen Jesuit Brothers from various houses in Rome along with Fr. General had the honor to participate and serve at the altar during the Mass presided by Pope Francis at the domestic chapel in Domus Sanctae Marthae at the Vatican. Br. Affonso Wobeto , SJ, personal secretary of Fr. General, organized this special gathering with the Pope in view of the upcoming feast of Jesuit Brothers on the 31st of October. Perhaps a first of this kind, the Brothers felt honored and inspired by the loving and caring gesture of Pope Francis. His homily reflected the importance of having the door of the Church open for the poor and needy according to the example of St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, a Jesuit Brother who served as a porter in a Jesuit College for forty-six years, welcoming everyone at the door as if it were Christ Himself. The Holy Father took time to greet each Jesuit Brother personally after the Mass and thanked them for their service to the Church while he reminded them to be the "Door," the mediators, of bringing people into the Church.
European Provincials Meet
18 October 2013. The Conference of the European Provincials (CEP) began a week-long meeting this morning in the Curia in Rome. The Conference, composed of three Assistancies, is the biggest in the Society and has about 40 participants in this meeting. Fr. General will be attending the entire meeting while the three Assistants of Central-Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and Western Europe will accompany him. Fr. John Dardis, S.J., President of the Conference, gave a special welcome to Fr. General and the new participants. He also gave homage to the late Fr. Peter Bujko, S.J. who passed away in September this year.
Fr. General visits U. S. A.
Fr. General's two-week official trip to the U.S. concluded on Oct. 12. He had a full schedule on a trip that took him to Boston, New York, St. Louis and Chicago. During the trip he met many Jesuits and lay collaborators of each Province, and spent time with scholastics, novices and students from schools and universities. The highlight of the trip was his historic meeting with Presidents and Board Chairs of all 28 Jesuit Universities in the U.S. Throughout his meetings, Father General encouraged Jesuits to seek greater depth and avoid distraction, while maintaining the pursuit of reaching out to the new frontiers where human suffering calls for our greater involvement.
A brief report on his visit to the U.S is posted on:http://jesuits.org
Listen to Fr. General’s homily in the Madonna della Strada Chapel at Loyola University, Chicago on 12 October 2013: Jesuit Voces
The Socii of EOC Meet in Curia
The meeting of the Western European Assistancy (EOC) Socii is taking place in the Curia. As in past years, the meetings serve to orient the Socii to the works of the international Society, facilitate communication between the Provincial offices and the Roman offices, and provide updating on matters related to Practica Quaedam and other pertinent matters. Father Antoine Kerhuel, S.J., Regional Assistant of EOC, is coordinating the meeting.
473rd Anniversary of the First Approval of the Society of Jesus
On 27 September 2013 evening, the Jesuits in Rome gathered at the Church of Gesù for concelebrating Eucharist commemorating the 473rd anniversary of the first approval of Society of Jesus in 1540. Fr. General attended the service while Fr. Severin Leitner, SJ, the Assistant for central and Eastern Europe, presided over the celebration and preached the homily recalling the key points at the time of the approval. The celebration ended with a refreshment gathering in the courtyard of the college of Gesù. A short video of the celebration can be found at: http://youtu.be/Plqw32y2Zvc
Tempo Forte Starts with Triple Jubilee in the Curia
22rd September 2013, was a rare occasion in the Jesuit Curia, Rome. We had three Jubilarians being congratulated in the Curia. Br. Antony Crasta had the privileged opportunity to celebrate his 50 years in the Society along with Fr. General and Fr. Eugenio Costa, both completing 60 years in the Society of Jesus. Fr. General, the main celebrant at the Eucharist, congratulated Br. Antony Crasta in a very personal and touching manner. Br. Antony, hailing from Karnataka Province in India, volunteered to work in the Kohima Region, Northeast India, before joining as the Assistant General Treasurer in the Curia in 1985.
Fr. General and his council member have entered the "Tempo Forte" and will finish it on 26th September.
Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations meets
The Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations held its annual meeting with Father General from September 9 to 12 at the Curia. This time the meeting was also graced by the presence of Cardinal Jean Luois Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious dialogue. The Advisors who attend the meeting are Mpay Kemboly (ACE), Advisor for African Traditional Religions, Felipe Jaled Ali Modad Aguilar (MEX), Advisor for American Traditional Religions, Thomas Rausch (CAL), Advisor for Protestant Churches, Gregory Sharkey (NEN), Advisor for Buddhism, Noel Sheth (BOM), Advisor for Hinduism, Jean-Pierre Sonnet (BML), Advisor for Judaism, Christian Troll (GER), Advisor for Islam, Milan Zust (SVN), Advisor for Orthodoxy and Eastern Churches and Gerald R. Blaszczak(Secretary for the Service of Faith). Each Advisor presented a brief report on the general situation of relations with the group for which he is responsible, and on the Society's involvement with that group over the past year. In addition, the Advisors shared their responses on how each of this religions or traditions understands "faith", as asked by Fr. General.
Fr. General visits Colombia and Ecuador
11 August 2013, Fr. General along with Fr. Gabriel Ignacio arrived in Colombia to visit the Province of Colombia and take part in the 8th World Congress of Alumni of the Society. During his stay in the Colombian Province from August 11 to 14, he will go to the cities of Cartagena, Bogotá and Medellín. On August 15 he will participate in the Alumni Congress to be held at the Colegio San Ignacio de Medellín, and on August 16, he will travel to Ecuador for the visit to that Province. On August 17 and 18, he will remain in the city of Quito and on August 19 and 20 will visit the city of Guayaquil. He returns to Rome on August 21. In both Colombia and Ecuador, Father General will have several meetings with Jesuits, with students from our schools, with apostolic collaborators and friends and benefactors of the Society. His trip includes meetings with the Apostolic Nuncio of each country and with the Archbishops of each of the cities visited.
Feast Day Mass with Pope Francis
31 July 2013: It was very inspiring moment for all to see and be with Pope Francis at the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola. There were about 800 participants, including 200 Jesuits in the Church of Gesù during the Mass. The full text of the Pope's homily and media outputs are published on sjweb.info; Homily of Pope Francis
Pope Francis Meets With Jesuit Astronomers at Castel Gandolfo
July 14,2013. The Jesuit astronomers were excited to tweet a series of messages around the world when Pope Francis visited the offices of the Vatican Observatory and had lunch with the Jesuit Community at Castel Gandolfo. During lunch, they talked about the activities and projects of the Vatican Observatory and at the end of the visit the Pope signed the parchment that contains the signatures of all the Popes who have visited the Vatican Observatory. The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest astronomical research institutions in the world given to the care of the Jesuits.
Fr. General Leaves for MAGIS 2013, Brazil
July 11th Thursday, Fr. General has left for Brazil this morning. He will be visiting the Provinces of Northeast Brazil till 16th July. On 14th he will participate in the celebrations of MAGIS 2013, in Salvador, on the occasion of the World Youth Day. He will be visiting the Southern Brazil from 16th to 20th July and will return to Rome on 20th.
Italian Novices Visit Fr. General
There was a cheerful applause for the nine novices and their novice master, Fr. Carlo Chiappini, from Genova, at lunch in the Curia on Sunday, 07 July 2013. The group included seven first-year novices and two second-year novices. They arrived at the Curia for a short visit and to greet Fr. General following their attendance of the Papal Audience of Seminarians and Novices held at the Vatican this past week. They shared their experiences of the Papal Audience with Fr. General and the community members during a short social hour after lunch.
Jesus and Jesuit Saints among the Refugees!
18th June 2013. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) marked the World Refugee Day with a spectacular 12 minute video projection comprised of 200 photos on the façade of Gesù, the principal Church of the Society of Jesus in Rome, where the statues of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, along with the emblem of the IHS - all merged to provide the background for the projection. This event will continue between 8 pm until midnight every day until June 21. An ongoing exhibition of photos from around the world depicting the theme "Sanctuary and Sustenance" will be on display inside the Church. This exhibit includes a speech given by Laura Boldrini, President of the Italian Parliament, and a message from the Rev. Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ., the Superior General of the Society of Jesus. On the actual day marking World Refugee Day, a press conference at the Vatican Radio took place, followed later that evening by the celebration of Holy Eucharist at the Church of the Gesù, presided by Card. Antonio Maria Vegliò, President of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People. Fr. Peter Balleis, SJ, international director of the JRS, addressed the gathering which included shared remarks by Fr. Ziad Hilal SJ(Syria), Doctor Mauro Casinghini, National Director of the Italian Rescue Corp of the Order of Malta and Chiara Peri of Centro Astalli. Some glimpses of the program can be seen on: http://youtu.be/DZ6Nxzh_PzI
Be Men of the Frontier
14 June, 2013. Dialogue, discernment and frontier, were the three words focused by Pope Francis this morning, during a private audience with the community of the "Catholic Civilization"(Civiltà Cattolica), the magazine of the Jesuits founded in 1850. The Pope asked in particular to the writers of the fortnightly, directed by Father Antonio Spadaro SJ, to be "men of the frontier", committed to build bridges not walls. Therefore, urged them to engage in dialogue with those who do not share the Christian faith. The homage was addressed to the Pope by Rev. Fr. Adolfo Nicolás SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Courtesy: Vatican Radio
The Pope meets students of Jesuit Schools
07 June, 2013. There were about nine thousand people including, students, educationists, Parents, Ignatian youths and Jesuits from Italy and Albania in the Paul VI hall in the Vatican for the special audience with Pope Francis. His message to the future generation stressed on the point of taking up the special task of uplifting humanity from the present situation of economic and power struggle to social relationships. He answered many personal and general questions from the students representatives. More information and video clips will be available on the site:http://www.dalpapa.it/
Workshop of English Speaking Treasurers
Twenty four treasurers from various provinces of Asia, Africa and America have begun their workshop on 20th May 2013, under the direction of the office of the General Treasurer in the Curia, Rome. This is the second workshop held in the Curia within this month, having the first one finished a week ago for the Spanish speaking group. A brief description about the nature and motives of the workshops can be found in our News bulletin published on 7th May 2013. Click to Read.
Fr. General Visits Castille
On 5th May 2013, Fr. General was welcomed by a church full of people in Valladolid, a city near his birth place, as he began his visit to the province of Castille, in Spain. On 6th morning he visited Bishop Ricardo Blazquez, before meeting the superiors of the Jesuit communities and the project managers in Colegio San José where he also presided the Eucharist. A full account of his visits will be available at: www.visitageneral.infosj.es
450 years of Ignatian Lay Communities (CVX CLC)
0n 28 April 2013, at the church of St. Ignatius, Fr. General celebrated Eucharistic with the pilgrims of the Ignatian Lay Communities from various parts of Europe. This was the occasion of the 4th Stage of the European pilgrimage marking the 450th Jubilee Year of Grace of World CLC from March 25th 2013 to March 25th 2014. The World Assembly will take place from 30th July till 8th August, 2013 in Lebanon.
In 1563, Jean Leunis, SJ started the "Prima Primaria" in the Roman College. This became the first community to which the many Marian Congregations (or Sodalities of Our Lady) were affiliated all over the world. These lay communities were instrumental in preserving and transmitting the Ignatian charism in all areas of life, a role which became all the more invaluable during the suppression of the Society of Jesus. In 1967, the Prima Primaria transformed itself into CLC and thus continues its uninterrupted transmission of the Ignatian charism among the laity. This Jubilee is an important occasion for the whole Ignatian family. Especially, we also reflect on and celebrate our 450 years of collaboration with the Society of Jesus and the many fruits this collaboration has produced. More information can be found on their website:CVX CLC
Fr. General in Southern Africa
Father General received a warm welcome by the Provincial, Fr. Emmanuel Mumba, Fr. Klaus Cieszynsk , the honorary chaplain at the airport and Fr. Charles Chilinda, the director of Loyola Productions, on his first ever visit to Zambia-Malawi Province. The young girls presented him with flowers. He is attending the Conference of Jesuit Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar (JESAM) before visiting other missions in Southern Africa.
Thanks to God for the election of our new Pope
In the name of the Society of Jesus, I give thanks to God for the election of our new Pope, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, S.J., which opens for the Church a path full of hope.
The Colloquium for New Provincials Begins
The Colloquium for the newly appointed English-speaking Provincials began on 4 March at the Curia in Rome and will continue until 16 March. The group, guided by Frs. Antoine Kerhuel and Orlando Torres, has 14 participants from 6 Conferences. After examining the challenges of the new guidelines and of Fr. General's De Statu Societatis, the group will turn to interprovincial and international collaboration. The regular introduction to topics of Provincial Administration and an introduction to the offices of Father General's Curia will take place as usual.
Prayers for the Conclave
The Jesuit Curia in Rome began special prayers for the Church in anticipation of the Conclave. A prayer service in the domestic chapel of the Annunciation was held soon after the Holy Father's resignation became effective, at 8:00 p.m. on 28 February. A special lamp was lit at the beginning of the prayer and will continue burning day and night until the new Pope is elected. This, too, is an occasion to remind all Jesuits around the world to prayer for the particular needs of the Church at this crucial time.
Fr. General expresses gratitude to the Holy Father
Fr. General has expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father, through a letter to the whole Society of Jesus. He said that the announcement of the Holy Father's decision to resign is received with great respect and admiration for his spiritual freedom, his humility and his deep love for the Church. He appealed to the whole Society to recommit itself to the mission the Holy Father has entrusted to the Society. Read more. Read more...
Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) meets at the Curia
The annual meeting of Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) began on the 4th of February 2013 at the Curia. This eight member Commission of Major Superiors will evaluate the progress of the previous year's recommendations to Fr. General. The importance and effectiveness of the Pontifical educational institutions run by the Society is a key topic for this year's discussion.
The Council of the International Jungmann Society for Jesuits and Liturgy
The Council of the International Jungmann Society for Jesuits and Liturgy (a group of Jesuits of free professional association) met in Rome, in the General Curia, from January 10 -12, to prepare his next Biannual Congress that will be in Mexico City on June 2014. The Council also met with the Liturgical Commission of the Society of Jesus and greeted the Father General. Father Cristóbal M. Orellana, S.J. (MEX), is the President of the Jungmann Society.
Video on the Boston Assembly of the Jesuit Secondary School Apostolates Published
From July 29 through August 2, 2012, for the first time in the history of the Society of Jesus, with the encouragement of Father General, hosted by Boston College High School and under the guidance of the International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education, the leaders of our secondary schools from around the world assembled in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. This video offers a brief glimpse of the inspiration felt in Boston. Hopefully, the enthusiasm that created such positive energy at the ICJSE will continue to call us to seek collaborative opportunities within our incredible network.
A document on International Jesuit Networking is released
The first ever conference on Jesuit Networking was held in April at Boston College. On 17th December, a document on International Jesuit Networking has been released for Jesuits and our institutions worldwide. You can download it and check out other papers on the topic at Jesuit Network Website
Three Groups Meet at Jesuit Curia
Conversation on Jesuit Higher Education in the United States: Sixteen representatives of Jesuit higher education in the U.S. have begun their meeting with Fr. General this morning in Rome.
A second group is the Commission for the Revision of Studies,which includes one Jesuit representative from each Conference.
The Administrative Council of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS)i is the third group meeting at the Curia today.
Fr. General Meets the Jesuits in Slovakia
On 23rd November, Fr. General arrived in Slovakia. He began his meeting in Prešov and later visited the Novitiate in Ružomberok. The plan of his visits till 29th of November is mentioned in the last issue of our News Bulletin.Click to read.
At the opening of the 43rd Congress of Fe y Alegría, Cochabamba.
Fr. General Says, "'Social frontiers' are visible through poverty and the 'generational frontiers' require to define strategies "how to educate in the 21st century" because the way to relate to the young people has been changed."For further information
Fr. General addresses the Universities in Peru
Fr. Adolfo Nicolás says that Jesuit education must sustain quality education on four pillars: free education, interaction with the world, universal and a clear vision of history.For further information
Jesuit General meets with businessmen
Lima, Oct. 31. Father General of the Society of Jesus, Adolfo Nicolás SJ, met this morning with a group of businessmen close to the Order, at a breakfast which was held in the premises of the College of the Immaculate in Surco. The Jesuit Superior General addressed them a few words that were preceded by interventions entrepreneurs Fernando Zavala, former Minister of Economy and Finance and Oscar Espinosa, CEO of Ferreyros, both Jesuit alumni.
After the words of entrepreneurs, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, noted that there is a concern "to reduce the suffering of the majority." "We have to move forward to put the country in line with the Kingdom of God, in which everyone has the opportunity to live a life without fear or oppression." Said Jesuit Superior. For more informationFor further information
25th Assembly of the Conference of Latin American Provincials
Father General in Peru
Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, SJ arrived at the city of Lima, on Sunday October 28, to attend the 25th Assembly of the Conference of Latin American Provincials. The Provincial of Peru, Fr. Miguel Cruzado SJ, went to welcome him at the airport and drove him to the community at the College of the Immaculate Conception, where Father General will be staying these days. On Monday 29, morning, Fr. General met with the Jesuits of the Caribbean Project, which brings together the Provinces and Regions of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Jamaica, Guyana, and Haiti. At noon, Fr. General met the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, greeting, as he frequently does, the ecclesiastical authorities of the places he visits. In the afternoon, Fr. General began to meet individuals from various Provinces of Latin America.
The canonization of St. Jacques Berthieu,S.J.
Fr. General Invites the Archbishop of Canterbury
Last Wednesday , Oct. 10, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, was Fr. General's guest for lunch at the Curia. Archbishop Williams, the Primate of the Anglican Communion, had been invited by the Holy Father to address the Synod for the New Evangelization. This was, in fact, their third luncheon together. When Fr. General visited the British Province two years ago, he was the Archbishop's guest at Lambeth Palace.
Fr. General's Intervention at the Synod, 10/10/12
A New Evangelization has to learn from the good and not-so-good points of the First Evangelization. I come from a tradition of Evangelization and Spirituality that encourages "Finding God in all things".
I am afraid that we, missionaries, have not done it with sufficient depth and, thus, have not enriched the Universal Church as the Church could expect from us. We have looked for Western signs of Faith and Sanctity and have not discovered how God had been at work in other peoples. This impoverishes all. We miss important clues, insights and discoveries.
We have learnt from the past as effective for communicating the Gospel: The way of humility, the awareness of human limitation when it comes to expressing the Spirit, the simplicity of the message, generosity and joy in acknowledging goodness and holiness, our life as a factor of credibility, forgiveness and Reconciliation, the message of the Cross in our own self-denial.Download Full Version PDF (English Translation)
Fr. General Welcomes Synod Members
On October 8, Father General welcomed the Superior Generals of various religious congregations participating in the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization at the Jesuit Curia. He also had a short meeting with them prior to the luncheon. Fr. General is participating in the Synod as one of the representatives of the Union of the Superior Generals of Religious Congregations.
The official commemoration of Fr. Beyzym's centenary, Poland.
Fr. General with the Media in Poland
First approval of the Society of Jesus
The Jesuits in Rome concelebrated the Holy Mass on 27 September 2012, in Gesù, in honour of the first approval of the Society of Jesus. Fr.Daniel Huang, General Assistant for Asia Pacific, was the main celebrant. 'Regimini militantis Ecclesiae' was the papal bull promulgated by Pope Paul III on September 27, 1540, which gave a first approval to the Society of Jesus
Fr. General Visits Poland
Fr. General is on a seven days visit to Poland from 23rd to 30th September 2012. He is accompanied by Fr. Severin Leitner, the new Assistant for the Central and Eastern Europe.
Presidents of the Conferences meet in Rome
Presidents of the six Conferences of the Society of Jesus began their meeting with Fr. General on 17th September in Rome. The meeting will continue till 20th. The agenda of the meeting has been published in the last issue of our News Bulletin(Vol. XVI, N. 13)
Secreteriat for Dialogue and Ecumenism meets
The annual meeting of Fr. General's counsellors for Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue, is being held in General curia, Rome, from 5th to 8th September 2012.
Fr. General Attends the Funeral Service of Card. Martini
Message of Pope Benedict XVI at the funeral service of Cardinal Martini on 3rd Sept. 2012.
The Church remembers Cardinal Martini
Italian Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a renowned biblical scholar and former archbishop of Milan, died Aug. 31 at the age of 85 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. After six years in the Holy Land, where he had retired to continue his studies biblical scholar, in 2008 he returned to Italy and was treated at Gallarate for Parkinson's disease that affected him for 16 years. However he continued his work and released several books and until recently held a column in the newspaper "Il Corriere della Sera" of Milan. In last June, Pope Benedict XVI met him in private during his visit in the Archdiocese.
Born in Orbassano, near Turin, Italy, Feb. 15, 1927, Carlo Maria Martini entered the Society of Jesus in 1944, was ordained a priest July 13, 1952, and took his final vows as a Jesuit in 1962. The cardinal, a biblical scholar, never held a parish post. With doctorates in theology and biblical studies, he was a seminary professor in Chieri, Italy, 1958-1961; professor and later rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, 1969-1978; and rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University from July 1978 until his December 1979 appointment to Milan.
Homage to Card. Paul Shan Kuo-hsi
Cardinal Paul Shan Kuo-hsi, the oldest of the three Chinese members of the College of Cardinals, died in a hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, on August 22, after a six-year struggle with cancer. Cardinal Shan was born in Puyang, in north-eastern Henan province on 3 December 1923. He joined the Jesuits in Beijing in 1946 and took his first vows there in September 1948, but was sent out of mainland China to study for the priesthood just before the Communists came to power in 1949. Following his priestly ordination in the Philippines, he was sent to study at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Afterwards he was sent to work first in Vietnam and then in Taiwan where he spent the rest of his life, serving as bishop first in Hwalien and then Kaohsiung. John Paul II made him a cardinal in 1998 - the fifth Chinese cardinal in the history of the Church. That same year Shan was "General Relator" at the Synod for Asia, and in 2007 Pope Benedict appointed him a member of the papal Commission for the Church in China.
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Fr. General Celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
July 31, 2012, Fr. General was the main celebrant at the Church of Gesu in Rome where the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus, was celebrated. The Church was surprisingly full even though most of the Romans were on vacation.
Fr. General's homily focused on the need for revising the life style of the Western world in the present economic crisis. He highlighted experience of being 'welcomed back' to the family roots of his human origin in Africa, during the Congregation of procurators in Nairobi and used it to stress the unity of Humanity as one family.
After the Mass, the procession went to the tomb of St. Ignatius inside the church and the traditional prayer 'Take and receive' composed by St. Ignatius, was recited by all the participants. It was a moment of reawakening the dynamism and spirit of the founder Father for all the Jesuits who concelebrated with Fr. General.
Fr. Vincent O' Keefe, SJ
In Memory of Fr. Vincent O' Keefe (1920-2012)
Father O'Keefe was born in Jersey City on January 10, 1920, entered the Society on August 14, 1937 in Wernersville, was ordained on August 24, 1950 in Louvain (Belgium) and pronounced final vows on August 15 1954 in Woodstock. After his time of formation, he was professor of fundamental theology at the Woodstock theologate. Being rector of the « Collegium maximum » at Fordham University, he participated in General Congregation XXXI, at which he was elected Assistant ad providentiam (June 29, 1965). During General Congregation XXXII he was elected General Assistant and General Counselor (15 February 1975). In the early days of Father Pedro Arrupe’s illness, and in accordance with the Constitutions , he was appointed Vicar General (August 10, 1981). At the end of General Congregation XXXIII (1983) he returned to his Province of New York.
Interviews from Cp70
Fr. General Leaves for Nairobi
Fr. General, along with Fr. Ignacio Echarte (Secretrary of the Society) has left for Nairobi this morning to attend the Congregation of Procurators. Both Fr. General and the Secretary will be returning to the curia on 18 July 2012. Fr. Adam Zak has taken charge as Vicario ad tempus till 4th July. After Fr. Zak leaves for Nairobi, there will be no Vicario ad tempus in the curia and the entire government of the Society will be in Nairobi till 18th July. However, during these period Fr. Jesús Rodríguez (Secretary to General assistant USA) will take care of the official works in the curia. Jesuits all over the world are requested to pray for the Congregation of the Procurators, as the members begin their eight day retreat on 29th June and proceed with their scheduled sessions from 9th July. Updates on the Congregation of Procurators will be posted on http://www.sjwebcp70.com/
Fr. General makes annual Spiritual Exercises
From June 9, Saturday, until sunday evening June 17, Fr. General will make his annual Spiritual Exercises as personal preparation for the Congregation of Procurators. He will leave for Nairobi on June 27th and return to Curia on 18th July.
Fr. General Leaves for Romania
Fr. General, accompanied by Frs. Adam Zak and Joaquín Barrero, has left for visiting Romania on19th morning. He will return to Rome on 21st after meeting the priests, religious and lay collaborators in Romania besides attending the 10th anniversary of Centro Manresa in Cluj.
Social Apostolate Coordinators Meet
Sjweb launches video page
18 new Provincials in Rome
On 30thof April, the General Curia will welcome 18 new provincials belonging to six different conferences. They,in the presence of Fr. General, will reflect on important themes such as, the governmentof the provinces, the account of conscience and personal guidance, the animation of community, the participation in the reality of the local Church, the frontier mission and interprovincial and international collaboration. The meeting will end on 12th May.
Advisory Team for Development Resources meets in Rome
The first meeting of the Advisory Team of the Assistant Treasurer for Development Resources (ATDR) concluded on Thursday 13 April. The meeting reviewed the impact indicators and verifiers to assess the performance of the Development Offices of the various provinces where the Flagship Project has been implemented.These indicators will be the instrument of evaluation of the strategic plan 2011-2013 of the Rome office. The proposalfor the May 6 and 7, 2013 meeting includes formulation of a Code of Ethics to Accept Donations for the Society of Jesus for different relief funds (Arcas) and the Bill of Rights of Donors.
Meeting between the General Council and CLC
On Tuesday, 27 March 2012, Fr. General and his Council met with some members of the Executive Council of Christian Life Community (CLC). The purpose of this meeting was to explore how these two Ignatian bodies in the Church could continue their close collaboration. There was exchange of gratitude and appreciation for the constant support to one another. Then the members of the meeting looked into the various dimensions through which CLC, as a Lay Apostolic Body, could carry the Ignatian charism into all the areas such as their daily life, apostolic involvement, and responsibility for institutional works. Final discussion was on the oncoming celebration of the 450 years Jubilee of Ignation communities in the year 2013.
The renovated Chapel in General Curia
Thanks to a generous gift to Fr. General for the purpose of renovating the Curia’s domestic chapel, the community celebrated its reopening and blessing on March 28th. This renovation includes a magnificent mosaic depicting the Annunciation, designed by Fr. Marko Rupnik SJ and his collaborators.
IAJBS Board Meeting in Rome
The International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS) had its Board meeting at the General Curia, Rome, on March 8-9, 2012. They had an interaction with Father General to understand his expectations from the IAJBS, besides to deliberate on other regular agenda. IAJBS, started in 1993, is a global network of administrative academic leaders from Colleges, Universities and Institutes committed to management and business education. These are designed to prepare men and women for leadership in the management professions in a global economy. This education is focused on justice, leadership, profession and vocation, and deeply committed to Ignatian principles.
Father General in India (2)
Fr. General in Asia Pacific (2)
Fr. General in India
Father General is visiting the South Asian Assistancy from February 15 to March 1st. He is accompanied by the Regional Assistant, Fr. Lisbert D’Souza, and also by Fr. Marcos Recolons, Regional Assistant for Southern Latin America. Father General will attend the Jesuit Conference of South Asia in Jamshedpur, and will also briefly visit the Jamshedpur Province and the neighbouring Provinces of Ranchi and Hazaribag as well. This visit will be Fr. General’s first experience of the Church in the tribal belt of Central India, where efforts at inculturating the liturgy have been effective and well accepted.
New General Assistant for Africa
Father General has appointed Father Fratern Masawe General Counsellor and Regional Assistant for Africa (AFR) succeeding Father Jean Roger Ndombi. After being Provincial of East Africa and President of JESAM, Father Masawe is currently in his sabbatical year. The change will take place next September. Father Fratern was born in 1956, entered the Society of Jesus in 1978 and was ordained a priest in 1987.
INDIA: Attack on a Jesuit College
Fr. General in Vietnam
Father General in Asia Pacific
New Regional Assistant for Central-Eastern Europe
Visit to the Betica Province (2)
Visit to the Betica Province
Committee for the Mission
Conference of European Provincials
Visit to France (2)
Visit to France
Fr. General at the Loyola Province
Visit to Spain
Jesuit Provincial one of the ten best leaders of Colombia
Trip to Spain
Trip to Spain
Visit to Canada
Social Apostolate meets in Havana
Global Ignatian Advocacy Network
Jesuits in Syria call for national unity
Father General in Madagascar
Fr. General in Congo
Military attack Jesuit Community Abidjan
Letter from Abidjan
Father General in Great Britain
Father General in the Middle East
Report from the Provincial of Japan
Visit to Syria, Lebanon and Turkey
Restructuration Curia & Congregation of Procurators
Father General in India (3)
Father General in India (2)
Fr. General in India
Visit to Jamaica
Criteria for the Selection of Jesuit Candidates
Remembering Pedro Arrupe
Father General in East Asia
Jesuits stay in Sudan during the Referendum
Father General in Egypt
Young Jesuit killed in Kinshasa
Jesuits and the climate conference in Cancún
Father General in Latin America
Father General in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile
Gold Medal to the Society of Jesus
Visit to Spain
Fr. General in Switzerland
Jesuit Higher Education meets in Rome
Father General in Belgium
Father General in Belgium
First “Congregation of Procurators” outside Europe
Counsellors for interreligious dialogue and ecumenism meeting in Rome
Father General is in Sweden
Fr. General in Russia
Death of Fr. Paul Locatelli
Task Force on Ecology
Fr. General in Russia
Quebec Jesuit school wins right to teach ethics from religious perspective
Young Jesuits inspired by Afghan mission
Jesuit soccer fan warns on World Cup betting
Death Threats against a Jesuit in Colombia
Appointments at the Gregoriana in Rome
Pope Benedict XVI has appointed François-Xavier Dumortier, S.J. the next Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, to take office September 1, 2010. Fr. Dumortier (° 1948) was director of the 2nd Cycle and President of the Centre Sèvres in Paris. From 2003 until 2009 he served as Provincial Superior of the French Province of the Society of Jesus.
Father General has appointed Marc Rotsaert the superior of the community of the Gregoriana in Rome, to take office half February 2011. Fr. Rotsaert (°1942) was twice provincial of the Northern Belgian Province and is President of the Conference of European Provincials since 2000. He is also General Councillor of Fr. General.
Father General in Central America
After his participation at the Jesuit Higher Education Conference in Mexico, Fr. General will visit from April 24-30 the Provinces of Central America (El Salvador, Nicaragua and Panama) and of the Antilles (Dominican Republic and Haiti).
Jesuit higher education conference in Mexico
On April, 22-24, 2010, Jesuits and colleagues in Catholic, Jesuit higher education from around the world will gather with Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, at the Universidad Iberoamericana, the Jesuit University in Mexico City. Archbishop Jean-Louis Bruguès, O.P., secretary for the Congregation for Catholic Education, will also be addressing the conference participants. The title of the conference is: Networking Jesuit Higher Education for the Globalizing World: Shaping the Future for a Humane, Just, Sustainable Globe. Its purpose will be to enhance Jesuit higher education globally to better serve students, society and the Church. Topics will include Catholic, Jesuit identity and mission, theology and culture, ecology, and poverty. One outcome is to establish global network to continue addressing global challenges together through the internet.
Beatification of Bernardo de Hoyos
On Sunday April 18, in Valladolid, Spain, Fr. Bernardo de Hoyos (1711-1735) will be beatified. He is considered the first apostle of the Sacred Heart in Spain. Fr. General Adolfo Nicolás and the provincials of the Spanish provinces of the Society of Jesus will be present at the beatification ceremony.
An interview with Nepal’s Jesuit Bishop
In Nepal, 75 percent of the population is Hindu. Christians number only 2.5 percent, and Catholics number only 7,000. In 2007, Benedict XVI elevated Nepal to the status of an Apostolic Vicariate and appointed its first bishop, Jesuit Anthony Francis Sharma.
On request of the Major Superiors of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania and their President Fr. Mark Raper, Fr. General has approved the new name “Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific” (CAP) of this Conference. Conference means the cooperation structure of a certain region. This has to be distinguished from an Assistancy, a geographic area. Subsequently, the former Assistancy of East Asia and Oceania is now to be called “Assistancy of Asia Pacific” (ASP).
New Jesuit provincial in Germany
Father General has appointed Father Stephan Kiechle the next provincial of Germany. Father Kiechle is 49 years old, earned a doctorate in Theology from Paris, has served as student pastor, novice master and manager of the counselling centre “Offene Tür” in Mannheim. He is a well known author on Saint Ignatius and the history of the Jesuits. He takes office as provincial on the First of September.
In his letter of appointment, Father General expresses his gratitude to the present provincial, Father Stefan Dartmann and encourages him to complete his term of office with the same determination and competence which he has shown in recent weeks concerning the work of the commission on the prevention of child abuse in the works of the German province.
AJAN Coordinator appointed at Justice and Peace
Fr. Michael Czerny SJ, 63, founding coordinator of AJAN, The African Jesuit Aids Network, has been appointed as personal assistant of the new head of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Ghanese Cardinal Peter Turkson, 61.
Father General Visits Sri Lanka and Pakistan
Earthquake in Haiti
News about the earthquake in Haiti is coming very slowly.
Everybody is under shock, writes Kawas François, delegate of the (French Canadian) Provincial. The communications are cut (road, telephone etc. ).
“I was surprised by the earthquake before the residence of Sofa-Green. The people of this community go well but under shock. Except Nono who is not yet entered. We have spent the night on the court of the residence. A very strong shock around midnight.
I have not yet news of the novitiate. It appears that Biassou has not been struck according to a correspondence of Éric with the Canadian novices. I cannot yet get contact with them. I neither have news about Ouanaminthe. What we have seen is indescribable. Everywhere dead people and collapsed houses in all areas of the capital. Until now the deaths were in the street and in the rubble.. Aid can not yet arrive and the authorities on the spot are totally surpassed.”Read more
New President of the European Provincials
Fr. General has appointed Fr. John Dardis as new President of the CEP, the Conference of European Provincials. He will succeed Fr. Mark Rotsaert who started this office in October 2000 while he was provincial of the Northern Belgian Province (BSE) and went the first full time President of the CEP. John Dardis is presently Provincial of the Irish Province (HIB) and will take office after the General Assembly of the CEP in October 2010 in Bad Schönbrunn (HEL).
Death of Fr. Jean-Yves Calvez
Fr. Jean-Yves Calvez sj died suddenly in the night of January 11 due to a heart attack. Fr. Calvez was a very appreciated philosophy professor and stayed in Rome with Fr. Arrupe whose general assistant he has from 1971 till 1983.
Father General visits South Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe
Father General is visiting South-Africa, Kenya and Zimbabwe from the 11th to the 21st of December.
Jesuits at the Climate Conference in Copenhagen
Two Jesuits from OCIPE in Brussels, José Ignacio Garcia (CAS) and Jacques Haers (BSE), are present at the COP15 Climate Conference in Copenhagen as NGO observers, part of a team of Franciscans International. They keep up a blog, with posts in English and in Spanish, reflecting their personal reflections and experiences. This blog can be visited at: http://ignatianeconet.wordpress.com.
German embassy denounces beating of priest by Zimbabwe troops
Harare (ENI). The German embassy in Harare has sent a strongly worded letter of protest to the Zimbabwe government after some of its soldiers beat up a Jesuit priest who has lived in the country for most of his life and was rushing a boy to hospital. "The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany ... wishes to express its utter consternation about a violent attack on Father Wolfgang Thamm SJ, by four junior members of the Zimbabwean army on 15 November 2009 at the city of Banket," read part of the letter. According to the letter, Thamm, a German citizen in his late sixties was driving and was then stopped "without apparent reason" by soldiers near the military barracks at Darwendale Clinic in Banket, nearly 100 kilometres northwest of Harare.
Harare (ENI). The German embassy in Harare has sent a strongly worded letter of protest to the Zimbabwe government after some of its soldiers beat up a Jesuit priest who has lived in the country for most of his life and was rushing a boy to hospital. "The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany ... wishes to express its utter consternation about a violent attack on Father Wolfgang Thamm SJ, by four junior members of the Zimbabwean army on 15 November 2009 at the city of Banket," read part of the letter. According to the letter, Thamm, a German citizen in his late sixties was driving and was then stopped "without apparent reason" by soldiers near the military barracks at Darwendale Clinic in Banket, nearly 100 kilometres northwest of Harare.
Father General visits Slovenia
Father General visited Slovenia from the 6th to the 8th of November. After courtesy visits to the Archbishop and the Apostolic Nuncio, he has met the Jesuits of the Slovenian Province at Saint Joseph Spirituality Center. During the afternoon a Eucharistic celebration has taken place at Dravlje church to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Province.
Conference of European Provincials statement on forced migration
During their General Assembly in Malta, from October 18th to 20th, the Jesuit Provincials of Europe reflected on some aspects of the tragic situation of refugees, asylum seekers and forced migrants. The Assembly was also very aware of the serious burdens faced by a small country which is disproportionately exposed to the pressures of such migration. The attached statement therefore calls for the full respect of the rights of such forced migrants by single governments and by the European Union, and also calls for the burdens of receiving such migrants to be fairly shared.read the statement
read the statement in french
read the statement in italian
Father Generals visit to Malta:
Look at the Website of the Maltese province
Fr General visits Ireland
Father General visits Croatia and Hungary
From the 4th to the 9th of September Father General Nicolás visited Croatia and Hungary to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of these two Provinces.
Jesuit college in Kolkata begins 150th anniversary year
St Xaviers College in Kolkota, India, celebrated the beginning of its 150th year of education on January 21 by unveiling a new building which includes a state-of-the-art library. In 2006 St. Xaviers became the first college in the state of West Bengal to gain autonomy, and it has steadily expanded the scope of its activities, with emphasis on research in energy and environment, security, and peace, inter-religious and inter-cultural understanding. Autonomy means the school has the right to develop its own syllabus and conduct exams and publish the results; degrees for St Xaviers students still come through Calcutta University with which the Jesuit school has been affiliated since 1862. The alumni of St Xaviers have been taking steps in collaboration with the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) to improve the education sector in West Bengal with special focus on the primary education.
Photos of the blessing of the new building are available on the St Xaviers website: http://www.sxccal.edu/jan09/index.html
Spanish Judge to investigate murders of Jesuit in El Salvador
Madrid Judge Eloy Velasco has decided to investigate 14 Salvadoran military officers for the 1989 murders of six Jesuits at the University of Central America. The Inter Press Service web site reports that Judge Velasco stated that under the principle of universal jurisdiction he is competent to investigate 14 members of the Salvadoran army for their alleged participation in the Nov. 16, 1989 murder of the six priests, their housekeeper and her 16-year-old daughter.
Velasco’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed in November by two human rights groups, the Spanish Association for Human Rights (APDHE) and the San Francisco-based Centre for Justice and Accountability (CJA). The investigation is a "sign of hope against impunity," according to lawyers and activists.Read the full story.
Fifty years of television and media production in Taiwan
Kuangchi Program Service and the Guanachi Cultural Group, the radio-TV production center and the publishing house of the Jesuits of Taiwan, celebrated 50 years of service to evangelization. In 1958 Fr. Philip Bourret, S.J., an American Jesuit who had foreseen the great prospects mass media held in terms of social progress and evangelization, founded the Kuangchi Recording Studio (today Kuangchi Program Service), for the production of radio and TV programs. Taiwan television technology was then quite primitive, especially Catholic TV. Kuangchi began doing radio programs and building the technical capacity of what has become one of the largest production centers in the country. In 1961, ‘Kuangchi Cultural Audiovisual Program Service' registered as a not-for-profit organization under Taiwan's Ministry of Education. Its mission was to be a media production center dedicated to training professional broadcasting personnel and producing programs beneficial to society.
In the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the evangelization of Taiwan, the department of social communications of the Bishop Conference of Taiwan has asked the Kuangchi program Service to prepare a series of multimedia products (DVDs and CDs) for the apostolate of evangelization. Kuangchi Program Service's productions have received numerous prizes for excellence, such as Taiwan's coveted Golden Horse and Golden Bell awards. Among them are KPS' science series-Summit and Mr. Science & Miss Technology; KPS' children's series-Remarkable Professor, Popcorn, and House Angels; and KPS' documentary film on Cambodian refugees-Beyond the Killing Fields.
In half a century the people of Kuangchi Program Service and Guanachi Cultural Group have made a noteworthy contribution to social, cultural and religious education following the principles of truth, goodness and beauty.
Jesuit Cardinal-Theologian Dies
Avery Cardinal Dulles SJ passed away on December 12 at Fordham University's Murray-Weigel Hall in New York City. He was ninety years old.
"Cardinal Dulles was man of tremendous intellectual rigor whose teaching and writing contributed greatly to the vibrancy of Catholic intellectual life," commented the President of the Jesuit Conference, Jesuit Father Thomas H. Smolich. "Yet for a man with so many gifts, he never viewed himself as anything more than a poor servant of Christ," Smolich added. "In this way, he called all of us into a more intimate relationship with the Lord he so dearly loved."
"Dulles was part of the new generation of theologians following Vatican II who brought a fresh approach to ecclesiology," said Jesuit theologian Father Kevin Burke, president of the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. "In addition, he began to pay particular attention to the amazing burst of theological creativity among Jesuits that appeared around the time of the Council. To my knowledge he is the first to write about and probe the question of whether the distinctive resources of Ignatian spirituality open up unique paths for doing theology in the modern, and now post-modern, world."
The son of U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, he was raised a Presbyterian but converted to the Catholic faith while a student at Harvard College. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Dulles entered the Society of Jesus and was ordained on June 16, 1956. He held a doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome and was a Jesuit for 62 years.
The author of 23 books and more than 800 articles, Dulles was President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society. He taught theology at Woodstock College and the Catholic University of America, and was the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, New York. He was also a member of the International Theological Commission and the U.S. Lutheran/Roman Catholic Dialogue and a consultor to the U.S. Bishops' Committee on Doctrine.
During a 2005 interview with National Jesuit News, Cardinal Dulles commented on the past contributions of Jesuits such as Robert Bellarmine and Edmund Campion to the history of Catholic thought: "Jesuit spirituality instills a passion for the service of Christ's Kingdom and a readiness to struggle against opposing forces. The Jesuit course of studies, which involves assiduous formation in philosophy and the human sciences as well as in theology, has turned out priests well qualified to defend the faith." Though far too humble a man to ascribe those comments to himself, they could easily apply to Cardinal Dulles. In 2001, Pope John Paul II elevated him to the College of Cardinals, making Dulles the first American theologian to be named a Cardinal deacon.
Jesuit university in Manila launches legal education center
MANILA, Philippines - On Dec. 10 Jesuit-run Ateneo de Manila University launched Wednesday a legal education and research center named after Fr. Joaquin Bernas SJ, dean emeritus of the Ateneo Law School (ALS) in Makati City. Bernas was a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission that drafted the present Philippine Constitution.
The Center will be a special unit of the Ateneo's law school and will provide a venue for continuing legal education programs by holding legal education series, undertaking legal researches, and producing legal publication on current, relevant and important legal issues.
Bernas served as Dean of Ateneo Law School, President of Ateneo de Manila University from 1984 to 1993, a Member of the Constitutional Commission formed by then President Corazon Aquino in 1986, a Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, and a Director of the Philippine Stock Exchange.
Upon his retirement as Law Dean in 2004, Bernas was conferred the position of Dean Emeritus at Ateneo School of Law. He continues to teach Constitutional Law and Public International Law to law freshmen and sophomores. He enjoys high credibility as an unbiased and independent legal expert and is a frequent resource speaker in legal conferences and workshops.
He has authored several law books and law articles published and widely-used by Filipino lawyers and law students. His published works are often cited in decisions penned by justices of the Philippine Supreme Court and judges of lower courts.
Mother reunited with sons with JRS' help
A miraculous chain of events involving the Jesuit Refugee Service has resulted in the reuniting of a Rwandan refugee with the three sons she was separated from three years ago. Antoinette, who arrived in Australia six months ago, was a last-minute replacement guest speaker at the JRS Melbourne Cup Luncheon.
A story about the luncheon - and Antoinette's speech - subsequently appeared on the JRS website. A few days later, a lawyer in France, who had been acting on behalf of three young Rwandan asylum seekers, searched for Antoinette's name on the internet and came across the JRS article. He contacted the Director of JRS Australia, Fr Sacha Bermudez-Goldman, and, after a brief conversation, ascertained that his clients were indeed Antoinette's sons. For the full story, click here to go to the Australian province web site:
Jesuit schools in India apply for central university status
Jesuits in India are working on a plan to bring their institutions of higher education under one roof. They have applied to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to grant "Central University status" to the 60+ colleges that the Society of Jesus runs in India.
"The central university status will provide us a single-window functioning capability wherein, all the institutes running under the Society of Jesus will work under an umbrella management. We have applied for the status and have been conducting meetings with the ministry to follow it up," said Vincent Braganza SJ, co-ordinator of Jesuit Educational Association for Higher Education, a wing of SJ, which is handling the proposal initiatives.
Jesuit priests killed in Moscow will be buried in Ecuador and Germany
A requiem mass will be celebrated in the Moscow Immaculate Conception Cathedral on Nov. 5 to pray for Father Victor Betancourt and Father Otto Messmer, Jesuits who were found murdered in their apartment in Moscow on Oct. 28. On Nov. 3 the congregation at St. Louis Church will pray for the deceased priests who did pastoral work in that church in addition to other responsibilities. After these services the bodies will be sent for burial to Ecuador and Germany, the Russian Catholic Bishops' Conference told Interfax-Religion Saturday.
The bodies of the two Jesuits were found stabbed in the apartment located at Petrovka, 19, building 5, which is owned by the religious order. According to a statement from local prosecutors quoted by the Reuters news agency, the two "had skull and brain injuries. Forensic experts have established that they died more than a day before."
The motive for the murders remains unclear.
Betancourt, a native of Ecuador, was a professor of theology. Messmer, a Russian citizen from an ethnic German family, was the senior official of the Society of in Russia.
Two Jesuits murdered in Moscow
On Saturday 25 October, Father Victor Betancourt, an Ecuadorian Jesuit working in the St. Thomas Philosophical, Theological and Historical Institute in Moscow, was killed in his home. Two days later, after returning from a trip abroad, Father Otto Messmer, Superior of the Russian Region, was also killed in the same place. On Tuesday 28 October, alarmed by the fact that he hadn't heard from the two men, a fellow Jesuit who lives in another community went to visit them at home. On finding the dead bodies, he immediately contacted the police.
The police investigations have yet to come to any firm conclusions about cause of these violent deaths.
Father Otto Messmer, son of a Catholic family of German origin and a Russian citizen, was born on 14 July 1961 in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. He entered into the Society of Jesus on 1 September 1982 in Vilnius and was ordained a priest on 29 May 1988 in Riga. He took his final vows in Novosibirsk on 7 October 2001 and was appointed Superior of the Independent Region of Russia of the Society of Jesus on 13 October 2002. Two of his brothers are Jesuits: Monsignor Nikolaus, Bishop of the Kyrgyzstani city of Bishkek, and Hieronymus, from the German Province.
Father Victor Betancourt was born on 7 July 1966 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He entered into the Society of Jesus on 14 September 1984 in Quito and was ordained a priest in the same city on 31 July 1997. He undertook his Jesuit training in Argentina, Ecuador, Germany and Italy. In 2004, he defended his doctoral thesis in Theology in the city of Rome. Since 2001, he had been responsible for those considering a vocation as Jesuits and at the time of his death he was a theology professor in the St. Thomas Philosophical, Theological and Historical Institute in Moscow.
Father General, Adolfo Nicolás SJ, issued an appeal to all Jesuits to provide assistance and support to, and demonstrate their solidarity with, the Jesuits of the Russian Region in this difficult moment. He expressed his closeness to families of the deceased and thanked the Church for issuing its condolences as soon as the news of the tragedy was made public.
Father General Nicolás urged the whole Society to pray that our fellow Jesuits rest in eternal peace and for an end of all forms of violence.
Jesuit ordained a bishop in Vietnam
On Oct. 7 Cosme Hoang Van Dat, SJ was ordained a bishop and installed as the ninth Bishop of the Diocese of Bac Ninh, Vietnam. The Principal Consecrator was Bishop Peter Nguyen Van Nhon of Dalat, the president of the Vietnam Conference of Catholic Bishops. Twenty-one bishops took part, including Cardinal Paul Joseph Pham Dinh Tung, retired Archbishop of Hanoi; hundreds of priests and religious and over ten thousand faithful joined the ceremony.
Bishop Cosme Hoang was born on July 20, 1947. After he and his family fled to the south in 1954, following the Communists' takeover of the north, he joined the Jesuits in 1968. Two years later he began his philosophy and theology studies at Pius X Pontifical Institute in Da Lat. He was ordained a priest on June 5, 1976. He served in a variety of leadership roles within the Society of Jesus and provided pastoral care for patients with leprosy. Following advanced studies in spirituality in France in 2002 he was spiritual adviser at Hanoi Major Seminary until the new appointment.
Bac Ninh is a suffragan diocese of Hanoi archdiocese, 30 kilometers northeast of Ha Noi, with an area of 24,600 square km. The diocese has 43 priests, 268 nuns, 39 seminarians, and 127,734 faithful among a population of 7,181,000 people.
Thousands seek refuge from violence in Orissa, India
The Christian community of the state of Orissa has been at the centre of international attention after sporadic episodes of violence against Christians. Large scale attacks and brutality against Christian communities by Hindu fundamentalist movements have not stopped since 23 August, when the murder of a Hindu leader by Maoists was blamed on Christians. The aggression has been directed against Tribal and Dalit Christians whose houses and entire villages have been burnt, and the inhabitants beaten, raped and tortured, resulting in the death of about 40 people. Churches, schools, religious houses and social centres have also been destroyed.
Australian Jesuit named to head Asian Catholic News Agency
Australian Jesuit Fr Michael Kelly has been appointed as director of the Bangkok-based Asian Catholic news agency, UCAN. UCAN was launched in 1979 to provide information on the Catholic Church and Catholic concerns in the Asian region. It is the largest Catholic news service in Asia and one of the biggest in the world.
"I'm looking forward to learning and sharing," said Fr Kelly.
"There's a lot we can learn from the fastest changing region in our world, and there's a lot we can bring to it given Australia's technological developments over the last decade particularly in relation to the web."
As well as his experience in traditional media, Fr Kelly will bring to UCAN extensive experience in harnessing new technologies.
"The Church's mission is to reach out to people where they are with the message of Jesus, in a way that's relevant and applied to their lives. The access to the web for many people across Asia is through hand held devices. That represents a completely new challenge in communications, and it's one that I look forward to exploring and responding to in coming years," Fr Kelly said.
Day of Prayer and Fasting for Orissa
On 27 August, Pope Benedict XVI called for an immediate end of these acts of violence. He invited "religious leaders and civil authorities to work together to restore among the members of the various communities the peaceful coexistence and harmony which have always been the distinguishing mark of Indian society."
Cardinal Varkey Vithayathil C.SS.R., major archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro-Malabars and president of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India, called all the dioceses of his country to observe a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday 7 September, so as to express "solidarity with all the victims and prayer for all our missionaries in India, who are facing most trying and difficult times for the sake of the Gospel."
The president of the Italian Episcopal Conference (CEI), took up the appeal launched by Benedict XVI, and used September 5, the memorial day of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta in the liturgy, to call Italian dioceses to observe the day of prayer and fasting in solidarity with Christians in India.
Jesuits attacked as part of anti-Christian violence in India
The cook fled the residence in fear of the attackers who also destroyed the Bhagvan Ashram, a Christian oprphanage. Hindu leader Swami Lakshmananda Saraswati spearheaded the attacks against the Christians as part of his decade-long effort to force people to leave Christianity and become Hindu.
Two weeks later the violence escalated when Saraswati was killed at an ashram on August 23, along with four other activists from the hardline Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) party. Claims by the VHP that Christians were to blame for the deaths acted as a trigger for the killing spree, although Maoist guerillas have since claimed responsibility for the murders. Reports said that about 30 Maoists opened fire on the ashram. A spokesman for the People's Liberation Guerrilla Army said it had targeted Saraswati, who had campaigned against conversions and the killing of cows, for 'fascist activities'.
The revenge killings have been indiscriminate: 19-year-old Hindu Rajni Majhi was burned to death by a mob who attacked the Christian-run Missionary Orphan Centre in the Bargarh district. Some of the 150,000 Christians in the Kandhamal area have been sheltered by Hindu neighbours, but about 5,000 are believed to have sought refuge in the forests, with up to 10,000 under guard in camps set up by the government.
The death toll is uncertain until police regain control over the district, but estimates are that over 20 people were killed, including some who were burned alive. Thousands of other Christians fled their villages to seek refuge in the forests after a wave of religious “cleansing” destroyed their homes. Rev. Babu Joseph, spokesman for the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of India, said: 'They are living without food or drink and even there they are being hunted down by these people. I have spoken to nuns and priests who are hiding in the forests. 'They said that it was a horrifying experience. Groups arrived at their villages carrying guns, swords and homemade weapons and even small bombs, which they used to blast the places. The groups targeted every Christian house in their villages. The people had a list of the Christian houses and institutions and none were spared.' The Church said nearly 3,000 houses had been destroyed, most of them owned by Christians. More than 60 churches were burned down and at least half a dozen convents.
Anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus
Jesuit named to head New York City Campaign Finance Board
Second Iñigo Film Festival held in Sydney, Australia
Fordham Establishes New Campus in Central London
“Our agreement with Heythrop College not only brings all of Fordham’s London programs under one roof, but will allow us to offer a richer undergraduate curriculum to our students,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham.
“Equally important, the agreement gives Fordham a base from which to collaborate with other Jesuit institutions in the United States,” he continued. “Using Heythrop, we hope to work with more of our sister institutions to expand Jesuit higher education in London.”
Fordham University London Center will welcome students from all of the University’s schools, and will afford students access to offerings from other academic programs in the city. Fordham also hopes the Center will become the London location for all the member institutions of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
A constituent college of the University of London, Heythrop was established in 1614 in Belgium by the Society of Jesus, and was relocated to England during the French Revolution. It moved to central London in 1970, when it joined the University of London.
Jesuit education leader to address University of Scranton grads
Slovenia honors Jesuit missionary-astronomer in China
The exhibition in Ljubljana (10 - 24 April 2008) announced the start of a two year project Hallerstein (from March 2008 to December 2009), which has been planned for the Culture Programme (2007-2013) of the European Community, Cultural Cooperation with and in third countries. The project combines cultural heritage, performing arts and new media technologies. Events will take place in Maribor, Ljubljana, Vienna, Lisbon, Braga, Prague, Shanghaj, Nantong and Beijing. In the frame of the project, researches, symposiums, workshops and intermedia performances will be performed. At the end of a project a book and dvd Hallerstein will be released.
The exhibition's central figure was the renowned astronomer Ferdinand von Hallerstein - Liu Songling (1703 - 1774), a Jesuit missionary, scientist, inventor, mathematician, cartographer and diplomat, who was born in Ljubljana but lived for 35 years in China. He went to Beijing in 1739, where he worked for 32 years at the Emperor's astronomical observatory (as its head for 28 years) and was awarded the title of Mandarin of the third grade. In addition to observing the stars and creating the calendar, he was in charge of the creation of an astronomic instrument or "sphere displaying the starry sky" and of the "great armillary sphere" that was completed in 1754, and was the largest such instrument at the old Beijing astronomical observatory. He also discovered a new comet in 1748.
Death threats against Jesuit project in Colombia
Cardinal Dulles steps down as Fordham University’s McGinley professor
In his presentation Cardinal Dulles reconfirmed his faith, his orthodoxy, his spirituality and his commitment to the Society of Jesus. He also offered a final word against the materialism, relativism, subjectivism, hedonism, scientism and superficial anti-intellectualism he said is found in modern society.
"Western thought," he said, "followed in the path of cognitive realism for many centuries before the revival of agnosticism in the Renaissance." The cardinal repeated Pope John Paul II's admonition that philosophy should seek to "resume its original quest for eternal truth and wisdom."
The grandson of a Presbyterian minister, Cardinal Dulles entered the Catholic Church in 1941 while studying at Harvard Law School. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he joined the Jesuits in 1946 and was ordained in 1956. He has written 22 books, and was honored by Pope John Paul II who made him a Cardinal on February 21, 2001.
Cambodia Mission celebrates Easter
The Cross, the Crescent and the Ballot Box
Panel discussions included dialogue between Tariq Said Ramadan, renowned Professor of Islam at St. Anthony’s College at the University of Oxford, and Father John P. Langan, S.J., Cardinal Bernardin Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University. In addition, the conference will welcome prominent keynote speakers, including Professor Saad Eddin Ibrahim, founder of the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies at the American University of Cairo (Egypt) and one of the Arab world’s most prominent spokespersons on behalf of democracy and human rights; and Penda Mbow, professor of history at Cheikh Anta Diop University (Senegal), and one of the world’s leading voices as concerns the rights of women in Islamic societies.
“Policymakers and academics talk extensively about the need to strengthen the rule of law and democracy abroad,” explains Peter J. Schraeder, professor in the Department of Political Science at Loyola University Chicago and conference coordinator. “However, this is one of the first international conferences to bring together world-renowned Catholics and Muslims to highlight the neglected role of religion in such undertakings.”
Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira fights indifference
The Portuguese Province of the Society of Jesus, realising that missionaries and missionary work face new challenges today, created the Gonçalo da Silveira Foundation in 2003 to support the Jesuit missions in Africa and East Timor. FGS director, Teresa Paiva Couceiro, explains: "The mission's paradigm has changed from words to action. Nowadays evangelisation is more the construction of the Kingdom of God, incarnate in all different understandings of reality, knowing that the fight for justice and development of all human beings is the main goal. On the other hand, changing social context, the advantages of more efficient international contributions and the great diversification of resources to support the development of the least developed countries impose and allow new answers."
Currently FGS supports several projects in Africa and East-Timor (Dili) and is member of the Portuguese platform of Development NGOs and the Portuguese platform for Darfur. To read more about their work (in Portuguese), see the website: http://fgs.org.pt.
Jesuit doctor in United States receives Social Justice Award
Relaunching SJweb – the official Society of Jesus web portal
It is a "dynamic" site that allows users to quickly draw the information they want from a database. The design has been purposefully kept simple so that it is fast as well as easy to navigate. The biggest new feature is the development of a powerful search engine that indexes both documents and stories in the database.
The site draws its content from the Curia Generalizia in Rome, but the design emphasizes the Society of Jesus around the world and offers links to material on province, parish and school sites as well as material from the Curia. In addition to offering copies of Father General Kolvenbach's speeches and presentations, SJweb now serves as a Knowledge Base with articles from past issues of the Review of Ignatian Spirituality and Promotio Iustitiae as well as essays on Christian-Muslim dialogue. It offers directories for province offices, Jesuit communities, educational institutions, journals and magazines, book publishers, web sites as well as information about all Jesuit saints and blesseds.
SJweb's relaunching is timed for the buildup to General Congregation 35, for which the part of the site reserved to Jesuits—Ad Usum Nostrorum—will serve as a major tool for distributing information about the congregation and allowing electors to access information no matter where they live in Rome during the congregation.