Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

February 22, 2007




"God on Your Pod" Nets a Million

A project set up by London-based Jesuit Media Initiatives to offer daily prayer in MP3 format has surprised even its creators by clocking up a million downloads in just nine months.

www.pray-as-you-go.org was launched in March 2006, offering a 10-minute prayer session with music and scripture every weekday. The sessions, in MP3 format, can be downloaded free from the web site, or subscribed to as a "podcast". Users can listen to them at a computer, or transfer them to a portable MP3 player and find a moment of prayer and reflection during their daily routine.

Peter Scally, Director of Jesuit Media Initiatives, notes that "Pray-as-you-go seems to be tapping into a real need that people feel in their lives - the need to pray." [Jesuits in Europe: News Bulletin #110]

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Chicago Province Offers Online Lenten Reflections

During a recent gathering of representatives of the Chicago Province, the communications office of the province recorded interviews with several Jesuits about topics ranging from Jesuit vocations to how the Society serves the Church, especially through the Curia, universities, and communities in Rome. As of Ash Wednesday, both video webcasts and audio podcasts of these interviews were nade available on the Province website to view or download.

The current offerings include

"The Province is excited to offer these professionally produced webcasts as part of our ongoing effort to offer Ignatian spirituality to our friends and supporters as well as to highlight both the Jesuits of the province and their ministries" said Jeremy Langford, director of communications for the Chicago Province.

For more information or to download the webcasts, visit the Chicago Province website: www.jesuits-chi.org [Chicago Province Development Office]

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New Superior Appointed in Belize

The provincial of the Missouri Province, Tim McMahon, SJ, appointed Jeff Harrison, SJ, as the next superior of the Jesuit Community of Belize.

Beginning July 31, Fr Harrison will take over as superior of the Jesuits of Belize, which is under the jurisprudence of the Missouri province. He spent eleven years in the classroom, campus ministry, and service projects program at St. Louis University High School and as superior of the St. Matthew Jesuit Community. Until the appointment goes into effect, Daniel White, SJ, will continue as acting superior. [Missouri Province Memo 07/03]

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JRS Eastern Africa Holds Meeting for Key Advocacy Staff

This past January Jrs in Eastern Africa held a three-day meeting to reaffirm the need enhanced inter-departmental cooperation and the need to understand the latest developments in refugee education.

During the meeting, JRS evaluated the role of the national advocacy focus points, their relationship with the regional advocacy officer, and the success of their activities in 2006. Representatives from each country also presented their planned activities for 2007, and three cross-cutting issues were selected: durable solutions for refugees with an emphasis on voluntary repatriation, gender violence with an emphasis on women's and girls' rights, and peace building.

"Advocacy runs as a red thread through all our programs in the region. In 2007, more attention will also be paid to really empower the refugees and IDPs to be their own advocates. Getting certain vulnerable refugees involved is a first step but it is not enough" said JRS Eastern Africa Regional Advocacy Officer, Anne Peeters. [JRS Dispatches No. 207]

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Irish Jesuit Priest Teaches Natural Family Planning in Malawi

Father Dick Cremins, SJ, founded the Famli AIDS Cultural Change Program, a church-based non-governmental organization that teaches Natural Family Planning (NFP) in Malawi's rural villages. Famli runs an AIDS education program that reaches the mostly semi-literate and poor villagers and talks to them about the disease in terms they find meaningful.

The Famli program connects with the villagers because family health is the reason behind its existence. That's a value people understand, said retired teacher Alan Moses Kumalembe. "It's not narrowly focused on reproductive health, and one of its projects is a vegetable garden aimed at demonstrating the importance of proper nutrition in the villages."

Fr. Cremins says his program subtly shifts the Malawian sense of marriage. The Famli program requires husbands and wives to take the course together, as a couple. NFP becomes one area of their lives in which the couple shares responsibility rather than assumes separate roles. Instead of simply telling men that they must be faithful in their marriages, Famli gives couples a basis for that fidelity in marriage. Famli graduation ceremonies, he said, are just about the only place you will see couples holding hands.

Supporters say it concretely demonstrates that married couples share a life together and encourages them to build on that sharing. Last year Famli held graduation ceremonies for more than 2,000 couples in the Lilongwe district. [Catholic Information Service for Africa no. 743]

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World Social Forum: Signs of Hope Ahead

The 7th World Social Forum was held in January in Nairobi, Kenya, and a number of Jesuits and lay partners took part. Around 100 participants came together for the forum and a pre-forum Ignatian Family Encounter (IFE) event, including a large contingent from Africa. The rest of the participants were drawn from many corners of the world.

In a message to the participants at the IFE, Father-General Peter Hans Kolvenbach said there were many signs of life and hope in Africa, with Jesuits and other apostolic partners continuing the struggle to build a future for the people. He listed the efforts of the Jesuit Refugee Service; the steps taken to promote peace and the establishment of the Hekima Peace Institute, the role of various social centers in the struggle for better governance, the work of AJAN in favor of those suffering from HIV/AIDS, and some recent initiatives for international advocacy as being among these signs.

Fr Kolvenbach said the apostolic identity of the Jesuits was to be "servants of Christ's mission," invoking the foundational experience of Ignatius at La Storta. "This vocation 'to be placed' with Jesus carrying his Cross is also a profound call to be with those who are today crucified, abandoned and marginalized," he said. Father Kolvenbach's full address is available at www.sjweb.info/sjs [Jesuits in Europe News Bulletin #111] Up


Refugee Numbers Fall in South Africa

In an annual meeting held between Jesuit Refugee Service country directors and Regional Director Sister Joanne Whitaker, RSM, it was acknowledged that all countries in the region are experiencing a decline in the number of refugees and asylum seekers, with an exception of South Africa.

Falling numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in the region were largely attributed to the lasting peace in Angola, as well as positive developments in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

One of the positive side effects of falling numbers of refugees and asylum seekers in southern African countries has been a greater willingness on the part of these states to consider offering refugees, unable or unwilling to return home, long-term immigration status to facilitate their integration into local communities. These refugees would in turn be afforded rights comparable to citizens of these countries. This new position is in stark contrast to the view taken by states that were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of refugees living within their borders in years past.

"It is much easier for a country, say Zambia, to think about absorbing 20,000 people who have been there most of their lives than it was to think about absorbing 200,000 Angolans", said JRS Southern Africa Regional Advocacy Officer, Michael Gallagher SJ. [JRS Dispatch no. 208]

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Around the Campuses

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Remembrance of Things Past

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From the Editors

JesuitUSA News is brought to you by Company Magazine. The newsletter is free and available to all interested persons. Spread the word. Persons can subscribe to the Newsletter in one of several ways:

Once subscribed you can manage your own subscription -- delete yourself, change your email address, or even indicate that you will be "out of the office" for some specific period of time. Other correspondence, especially comments, suggestions, complaints, or queries, should be sent to [email protected] Please include your name and your email address in all correspondence. The editors of this newsletter are Richard VandeVelde SJ and Maureen Ryan. They recommend the following useful web links as items of Jesuit interest.


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AMDG


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