October 04, 2005
The Jesuits in South Korea, which was recently made a province by Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, are preparing to boost the presence of their men in other Asian countries.
Fr Matthias Chae SJ said Fr Kolvenbach asked us to "generously send men to other countries, especially in Asia, to promote Gospel justice in dialogue with culture and with persons of other faiths, as well as to discern and respond to the spiritual and social needs we face in Korea."
The Korean Jesuits have already sent two of their men each to Cambodia, China, Japan, and Taiwan, and one each to Myanmar, the Philippines, and Thailand.
"The Jesuits' major mission," said Fr Robert McIntosh SJ, vice-provincial of the Korean Province, "is the apostolate of words—such as catechism and prayer." He said so far the Jesuits in Korea have concentrated on intellectual formation and now the new province will seek to develop other aspects of the mission. [Source: www.asianews.it]
At a recent art fair in ’s-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands, some alabaster portraits of Ignatius and Xavier were up for sale. The plaques, in their original gilded frames, each 11.5 x 9.5 centimeters, were identified by the art dealer as from Mechelen and dated from the seventeenth century.
In art history no comparable pieces are known except perhaps the portraits of the same saints from 1742 executed in lava rock by the Dutch sculptor Walter Pompe (1703-1777). These are presently in a Jesuit community in Bruges, Belgium. Because of the subjects, the material, the rarity, and the reasonable price, the Dutch Province of the Society of Jesus bought the two art works.
The alabaster plaques were done by an unknown artist from the first quarter of the seventeenth century in the Southern Netherlands.
Fr Fernando Cardenal SJ recalled the excitement he felt 25 years ago when the Nicaraguan government charged him with organizing a national literacy campaign.
"I was delighted but very scared," said Fr Cardenal. "I knew it was going to be a very complicated task."
Fr Cardenal coordinated the National Literacy Crusade, during which Nicaragua's illiteracy rate dropped from an estimated 51 percent of the adults to 12.9 percent. Some 100,000 young Nicaraguans taught more than four times that many adults to read and write in less than half a year.
Now, Nicaragua's adult illiteracy rate has crept back up to nearly 34 percent, the second-highest rate in the Western Hemisphere after Haiti, according to the latest figures from the UN Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.
In June, the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education passed a decree saying that, before graduating, all secondary school students had to teach at least one person to read and write.
However, after criticism from students, parents, and experts like Fr Cardenal, the Education Ministry opted to make the literacy work optional for students.
"Freire wrote that every educational act is an act of love, and love can't be forced," said Fr Cardenal.
Fr Cardenal and other veterans of the National Literacy Crusade have mounted a mobile museum of their historic campaign; it is touring Nicaragua for the next several months.
"We want to recapture the spirit with which the youth carried out the literacy campaign," said Fr Cardenal. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
Rumors of a Vatican instruction excluding most gay men from seminaries or ordination have sparked concern among superiors of men's religious orders in the United States; New York Jesuit Provincial Fr Gerald Chojnacki, in a late September letter, said he feared "the great harm this will cause many good priests and the Catholic faithful" if the Vatican does issue such an instruction.
"We know that God does not discriminate," he said. "We know that gay men have felt God calling them to serve the church as priests and religious. We know that gay men have felt those calls confirmed by prayerful and legitimate discernment processes. We know that gay men who have responded to the call have served the Church well as priests and religious—and so why would we be asked to discriminate based on orientation alone against those whom God has called and invited?"
He said the US Jesuit provinces "have had, for a good number of years, a policy of nondiscrimination as to sexual orientation for entrance into the novitiate. We look for a person's ability and capacity to live a chaste life whether he is homosexual or heterosexual."
A press release from the New York provincial office after the letter became public said the letter "was intended to be an internal communication" and Fr Chojnacki would not be available for interviews.
"It is his strong desire and clear preference to be in dialogue with other religious superiors, with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men leadership, and with the bishops of the Church around this issue," the release said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
At a September conference marking the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's document Perfectae Caritatis on consecrated life, Fr Paolo Molinari SJ, who served as an expert at the council and as a consultant to religious orders rewriting their constitutions in the council's wake, said the document "gives a vision of religious life understood as an affective relationship with Christ and, therefore, as a total giving of self to him in order to share his life, his way of thinking, acting, loving, which explains why priority is given to the spiritual life and the spirit of prayer in the life of a religious.
“Isn't this what happens and can be verified in the souls of two people who are called by God to unite themselves in marriage?” he asked.
The priest said poverty, chastity, and obedience are the means through which religious express the absolute priority of their relationship with Christ.
Like religious, he said, "people who, with maturity, enter into marriage and live it in a Christian way do so in response to a true vocation, therefore, under the influence of the Holy Spirit.
"If religious are able to see the reality that surrounds them, they can draw upon what they see; in the presence of married couples who truly love each other in accordance with God's plan, they have a precious example and great stimulus for responding to their own vocation in terms of their interpersonal relationship with Christ the Lord," he said.
Loving Jesus with "an undivided heart," Fr Molinari said, means loving all the people Jesus loved, particularly the poor and the weak. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
Pope Benedict XVI nominated Australian Jesuit Fr Daniel Madigan and two US university professors, Sandra Keating of Providence College and Lamin Sanneh of Yale Divinity School, to be part of the Vatican's Commission for Religious Relations With the Muslims, which promotes Catholic-Muslim dialogue.
The institute Fr Madigan heads includes a strong focus on the study of Islam and is designed particularly for students who will be involved in interreligious dialogue on behalf of their dioceses, religious congregations, or faith groups. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
The president of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic, conferred a Croatian decoration to Fr Antun Cvek SJ for his charitable commitment to the poor and disadvantaged people in Croatia, particularly in the city of Zagreb.
Fr Cvek is known as a humanitarian worker, and he is president of two charity organizations, "Kap dobrote" (A Drop of Goodness) and "Zaklada Biskup Josip Lang" (Bishop Josip Lang Foundation for Elderly People). Two years ago he also received the Annual Award of the City of Zagreb handed to him by the mayor. [Source: Jesuits in Europe]
On September 26, Fr Simon Harak SJ was arrested in front of the White House along with several dozen protestors, including Cindy Sheehan, the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq, whose vigil outside President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas, drew national attention during the summer, for failing to move on when ordered to by police during a protest against the war in Iraq. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]
On October 23, Chilean Jesuit Fr Alberto Hurtado SJ, will be canonized and made a saint. The Maryland Province has put together web pages at www.mdsj.org/hurtado/ that include his biography, selected writings, and reflections by Fr John Swope SJ.
The new web site www.makingthepartswhole.com is an "online spiritual community" and is maintained by the Chaplains’ Office at the College of the Holy Cross. It offers spiritual resources to the extended family of the college and to anyone interested in learning how to use Ignatian tools for prayer, reflection, and discernment according to Katherine McElaney, director of the Office of the College Chaplains.
The University of San Francisco (USF), the city’s first and oldest university, is celebrating its 150th birthday and is kicking off a year-long celebration in October. USF is almost as old as the city itself, and it has been an integral part of San Francisco’s growth and transformation since it first opened its doors in 1855.
The theme of the sesquicentennial is "Legacy and Promise." USF began as a one-room building with three students and has grown into a university with 8,000 students located on 55 acres. USF's anniversary web sit is at www.usfca.edu/150years/
Fr Edward Kinerk SJ announced that he will step down as president of Rockhurst University in June, 2006. Fr Kinerk has been president of Rockhurst since 1998.
A search committee has been formed to appoint his successor, who will become the 14th president of the university.
Spring Hill College kicked off the yearlong celebration of its 175th anniversary in September. To complement the celebration, Spring Hill archivist Dr Charles Boyle has organized an extensive exhibit of photos from the college’s history; the exhibit is open to the public. The college has also launched an anniversary web site at www.shc.edu/175.
Senator Barack Obama Addresses Boston College Community
On September 16, Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill) addressed some 4,000 members of the Boston College community at the university’s First-Year Academic Convocation. During summer orientation, freshmen had received a copy of Obama’s book Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.[Photo credit: Suzi Camarata]
[Sources: University of San Francisco, Rockhurst University, Spring Hill College, Boston College]
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