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Introduction.

Good to be together as Jesuit family. Thank you for gathering today to glorify the Lord for the marvels he did and continues to do through Ignatius and to each one of us. God of Ignatius is a laboring God in this world, in history, in each of us and in all of us - leading us to our flourishing and guiding the creation to its fullness. God and we have the same enterprise, originating from God and moving towards God in an ever becoming process.

Confiteor.

God our Father and Mother, we appreciate you as our creator and rejoice in being your ‘children’ created in your image and likeness; recreate us today and every moment of our lives to discover your beauty and goodness and realize you  - the ‘principle and foundation’ of our lives. Lord Have Mercy.

Lord Jesus, you’re the beloved of your Father and you rejoiced in being just that, doing your Father’s will. Make us sons and daughters after you recognizing that our true flourishing is in doing your will. Give us your grace to seek and accomplish your will with joy and magnanimity. Christ have mercy.

Spirit of the Risen Lord, come to us today, mould and shape us that we may find God in all and in all God, Lord have mercy.

Ignatian Gift

The time of Ignatius has some parallel with our times. At that time, the colonial powers compelled by reasons within and propelled by the industrial revolution spanned across the world to colonize and to expand. The missionaries followed them to spread the gospel and the church. Even as Europe was colonizing the globe, and church was expanding, internally church was immersed in scandals of pomp and luxury, political intrigues and clerical power. Martin Luther responded to this and caused the second division in the church, and at the same time initiated major reforms within the church and across the ecclesial map of the time. The Catholic church owe much to Martin Luther for initiating much needed reforms, even though it cost a division; Ignatius walked a different and narrow path.

Today we are witnessing unprecedented ‘globalizing trends’ through technology and neo-liberal market economy, introducing a new kind of colonization of peoples and cultures. Church is undergoing a scandalous phase of pedophilia/sexual abuse and financial mismanagement, across the world and in our own country.

Can Ignatian perspective throw some light into this situation? Pope Francis seems to think so and his Ignatian ways seem to confirm that.

Ignatius, a court official turned soldier, shattered by a bullet received during a petty war between two local kingdoms of Navarra and the French army at Pamplona (Spain), was taught by God. In and through these exterior ‘events’ Ignatius was led to perceive interior movements within him. That led Ignatius through a period of soul-searching, through extreme forms penance and fasting. He came through it a transformed person, with a tool in hand, that was deeply personal and yet truly universal; this tool of the Spiritual Exercises contained a pedagogy, a method capable of initiating reformation, within and without, slow and steady, and within the church.

How did Ignatius make a differene? He had a double tangential approach, or a process approach, with definite goals in view.  The first was a process of inner transformation through interior freedom, saying no to all inordinate attachments to health, riches, honour, long life etc,having God as the only absolute. The second was a process of building up a horizon of the kingdom of God as thepoint of reference, having the two standards, as the measuring yard.  Not  a gospel of prosperity, promising riches and wealth, power and pleasure, but a true flourishing of the human person and human family through dying to self-will, self-love self-interest.

This double tangential process approach is profoundly based on the two biblical/theological principles: I  God is dealing with each individual in and through the interior movements of the persons, in unique manner in each one’s lives; ii)God is laboring in this world for his kingdom in and through all realities, inviting us to join his enterprise. The first insight earned him scrutiny and prison a few times.

Today as we celebrate his feast, we are invited to embrace this double processes: join the enterprise of God laboring in this world in and through all circumstances, persons, events and movements. Even in the darkest of moments and situations, God is laboring and we are invited to decipher him and join his enterprise. Secondly we are invited to a contemplative way of reviewing daily what is happening to us and how the Spirit is leading us through our interior movements. In both processes, we need to adopt a discerning attitude to check on our growth interior freedom and to discover a God laboring in and through all things/persons and events.

God of Ignatius is struggling with us and laboring in this world,  tobirth a new world. Hatred, divisive ideologies, mob lynching, lies, majoritarian hegemonies and falsified narratives shall not discourage us to join the enterprise of a laboring God. As D.2. No.6 of GC 35 says: “starting from the contemplation of the incarnation, it is clear  that Ignatius does not sweeten or falsify painful realities. Rather he begins with them, exactly as they are – poverty, forced displacement, violence between people, abandonment, structural injustice, sin – but then points to how God’s Son was born into these realities; and it is here that sweetness is found. Tasting and seeing God in reality is a process. Ignatius had to learn this himself through many painful experiences.”…..No.7. “Similarly today the Society, in carrying out its mission, experiences the companionship ofthe Lord and the challenge of the cross. Commitment to ‘the service of faith and the promotion of justice, to dialogue with culture and religions, takes Jesuits to limit-situations where they encounter energy and new life, but also anguish and death – where the divinity is hidden. The experience of a hidden God cannot always be avoided, but even in the depths of darkness when God seems concealed, the transforming light of God is able to shine. God labours intensely in this hiddenness. Rising from the tombs of personal life and history, the Lord appears when we least expect, with his personal consolation as a friend and as the centre of a fraternal and servant community. From this experience of God laboring in the heart of life, our identity as ’servants of Xt’s mission rises up ever anew.” We shall never stop our mission of reconciliation and justice.

Happy Feat Feast of Ignatius, the pilgrim.

George Pattery SJ

POSA

 

31 Jul 2018 - 07:18

Pope Francis sent a message to participants in a July 26-27 conference in Sarajevo, on the theme, “A Critical Time for Bridge-Building, Catholic Theological Ethics Today.”

By Robin Gomes

Pope Francis is encouraging Catholic men and women in the field of theological ethics to be passionate about dialogue and networking in order to remove the walls of division and build bridges of fraternity everywhere in the world. 

The Pope’s encouragement came in a message to participants in a 2-day conference in Sarajevo,  Bosnia and Herzegovina. on the theme, “A Critical Time for Bridge-Building, Catholic Theological Ethics Today.”    Some 500 Catholic moral theologians from 80 countries are attending the July 26-27 meeting, organized by the Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church (CTEWC) network.

Commenting on Sarajevo, the Pope said that in today’s environment of tension and division marked by fear and forms of regression, the city of bridges calls for the need to build new paths of closeness between peoples, cultures, religious, visions of life and political orientations.

Ecological challenge

The Pope noted that certain aspects of the ecological challenge can create grave imbalances not only in terms of the relationship between man and nature, but also between generations and people.   In this regard, he said, the issue of migrants and refugees can foster ethical and theological reflection, even before inspiring suitable pastoral attitudes and responsible and carefully planned political policies.

In this backdrop, the Holy Father said individuals and institutions need to assume a renewed leadership to help find and put into practice a more just way for all of us to live in this world as sharers in a common destiny.

Network of persons

The Pope commended the CTEWC  proposal to create a network between persons in various continents to engage in theological ethical reflection to help find new and effective resources that will help mobilize action that is compassionate and attentive to tragic human situations,and concerned with accompanying them with merciful care.  But for this to happen, the Pope said, all the theologians themselves need to build bridges among themselves, to share ideas and programmes, and to develop forms of closeness. 

30 Jul 2018 - 18:32

St. Ignatius Loyola was born in 1491, one of 13 children of a family of minor nobility in northern Spain. As a young man Ignatius Loyola was inflamed by the ideals of courtly love and knighthood and dreamed of doing great deeds.

But in 1521 Ignatius was gravely wounded in a battle with the French. While recuperating, Ignatius Loyola experienced a conversion. Reading the lives of Jesus and the saints made Ignatius happy and aroused desires to do great things. Ignatius realized that these feelings were clues to God’s direction for him.

Over the years, Ignatius became expert in the art of spiritual direction. He collected his insights, prayers, and suggestions in his book the Spiritual Exercises, one of the most influential books on the spiritual life ever written. With a small group of friends, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus, or the Jesuits. Ignatius conceived the Jesuits as “contemplatives in action.” This also describes the many Christians who have been touched by Ignatian spirituality.

On the Feast Day (31 July) we wish you all a very Blissful Day. May St. Ignatius continue to inspire and guide the world...!

30 Jul 2018 - 15:26

Meet the Indian Jesuit priest-scientist who recently discovered that Milky Way had a ‘sibling’ galaxy

In an interview with Scroll.in, Richard D’Souza SJ explains the significance of the findings he and Eric Bell made at the University of Michigan.

Meet the Indian priest-scientist who recently discovered that Milky Way had a ‘sibling’ galaxy

Fr. Dr. Richard D'Souza SJ

A recent intergalactic discovery making headlines across the world has an Indian connection. Earlier this week, it was widely reported that scientists Richard D’Souza and Eric Bell of the University of Michigan had deduced that the Milky Way once had a sibling, which was devoured by the neighbouring galaxy of Andromeda about two billion years ago.

The findings were published in the Nature Astronomy journal on July 23 and have grabbed attention for their potential to change our understanding of how galaxies merge and evolve over time.

When two galaxies are drawn together by gravitational pull, they stand the risk of colliding. In such an event, the larger one usually subsumes the smaller entity. Andromeda, the largest galaxy of the Local Group of which Milky Way is also a part, was long believed to have gobbled up several small galaxies over the years. Using computer simulations, D’Souza and Bell deduced that one of the galaxies that Andromeda merged with was in fact a massive one, the third-largest in the Local Group after the Milky Way.

The researchers have proposed that the stars of this shredded galaxy ended up surrounding Andromeda, giving it its outer faint stellar halo, and its intriguing satellite galaxy, M32. Scientists have for long being trying to decipher how M32 was formed, as it is a rare compact elliptical galaxy (unlike the Milky Way, which is spiral) that is rich with stars. The new findings propose that the undestroyed core of the cannibalised galaxy went on to form M32.

Described in media reports as Milky Way’s sibling or sister, the lost galaxy has been named M32p. The findings are interesting not only because they indicate that M32p’s core survived the collision, but also that the disk of Andromeda remained intact despite merging with such a large galaxy. This goes against traditional scientific belief that collisions between entities of this size would dramatically impact the structure of the surviving galaxy.

D’Souza, the lead author of the paper, comes from the Indian state of Goa, where his family still lives. He is doing his post-doctoral research at the University of Michigan. D’Souza is also a Jesuit priest and is a staff member of the Vatican Observatory, an astronomical institution supported by the Roman Catholic Church.

D’Souza has had a long and illustrious academic record and has studied an interesting mix of subjects. He was born in 1978 in Pune and spent his early years in Kuwait. In 1990, he moved to Goa, where his family still resides, and joined a Jesuit school. He did his BSc in Physics from St Xavier’s College, Mumbai, followed by an MSc at the University of Heidelberg in Germany. He then returned to Pune and got a second Bachelor’s degree in Philosophy, followed by one in Theology. He got his PhD in Astronomy from the Ludwig Maximilian University is now doing his post-doctorate from the University of Michigan.

In an interview with Scroll.in, D’Souza talks about his interesting academic graph, how his religious and scientific pursuits inform one another, and what his discovery means for the future of the Milky Way. Excerpts:

For a layperson, how would you explain your recent discovery? 
My research centres around how galaxies grow through mergers. Over the course of its lifetime, a galaxy like Andromeda, our nearest big neighbour, is thought to have merged with hundreds of smaller galaxies, due to the attractive forces of gravity. These smaller galaxies are destroyed in the process due to tidal forces of gravity leaving behind a trail of stellar debris (like ‘crumbs’) around the main galaxy called its stellar halo.

By studying the stellar halo of a galaxy, I have developed a technique of inferring the size of the largest galaxy that was destroyed in the process. This is similar to guessing what a small child has eaten after looking at the ‘crumbs’ and mess scattered on the floor around it!

Observations over the last decade have shown that Andromeda has the largest stellar halo for any galaxy its size. We realised that to build such a large stellar halo, Andromeda must have merged with a really large galaxy. We can best understand this through a business analogy. Just like companies, galaxies also grow through mergers. Now a company can grow moderately in size by merging with other smaller companies. But if a large company wants to make a major spurt in growth, it needs to negotiate a merger with another significantly large company. Similarly, based on observations of Andromeda galaxy’s large stellar halo, we inferred that it merged with a significantly large galaxy (1/4th its size) not too long ago.

Andromeda galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/via Wikimedia Commons

Andromeda galaxy. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/via Wikimedia Commons

How many years was this finding in the making? And what was the nature of your research work before that? 
We started thinking of this project about a year and a half ago!. Last year around this time, we began writing it up, and we were mostly done within six months. The review process through the Nature Journal took an additional 6 months. Previously, for my PhD at the Max Planck Institute in Germany, I focused on obtaining deep observations of the stellar halos of more distant galaxies.

How does this discovery change our understanding of the universe? University of Michigan’s press release says that this could “alter the traditional understanding of how galaxies evolve”. Could you elaborate?
It was traditionally thought that such large mergers would destroy the disks of galaxies converting them to spheroidal elliptical galaxies. We now know that the disk of the Andromeda galaxy survived this particularly large merger, though we don’t know exactly why. So, this finding upsets a major paradigm in our understanding of galaxy evolution. One thing we can take away is that the disks of galaxies are more resilient that previously thought. We hope that this finding motivates further studies to understand in what particular circumstances do the disks of galaxies survive such large interactions.

What is the significance of the fact that Milky Way had another sister galaxy? How is a galaxy qualified as a sibling galaxy? 
The Andromeda and the Milky Way galaxy are relatively close by, and are the largest members of the ‘Local Group’ of galaxies. Astronomers have long studied the Local Group including its smaller members, and thought they knew their local neighborhood pretty well. We now realise that there was another galaxy out there (which we call M32p) which was almost half the size of the Milky Way and which was destroyed by Andromeda. This comes as a complete surprise! It makes M32p the third largest member of the Local Group. The next smallest member, the Triangulum galaxy, is at least eight times smaller than the Milky Way. So indeed, M32p was a long-lost sibling finally found. We joked among ourselves that it was ‘the missing family member’ nobody wanted to talk about.

Could studying the M32p shed more light on our galaxy?
The Milky Way currently has a large satellite galaxy called the Large Magellanic Cloud, which will merger with it around one-two billion years in the future. Although the Large Magellanic Cloud is much smaller than M32p, astronomers were worried whether the disk of the Milky Way would survive the merger. Andromeda and M32p have now taught us that the Milky Way will survive this merger.

Some scientists have talked about the likelihood of Andromeda colliding with the Milky Way some billion years from now. Does Andromeda’s consumption of M32p suggest more about that in any way?
The Andromeda galaxy is moving towards the Milky Way at about 110 km/s, and will eventually collide with it in about four-five billion years. Eventually, our galaxy will be part of the stellar halo around the Andromeda galaxy. Moreover, since both galaxies are large and comparable in size/mass, we suspect that Andromeda may not survive the collision, and may transform into an elliptical galaxy. This is just how the Universe is and how the forces of gravity work. We must remember that within a similar time frame, our own sun will turn into a red giant star, expand in size and make the earth inhabitable. That may be a far more immediate concern!

Richard D'Souza/via Facebook

You have studied theology, philosophy and physics. That’s an unusual and fascinating range of subjects. How do these fields differ and intersect?
Yes, the study of philosophy and theology gave me a chance to broaden my thinking. Philosophy taught me how to critique the science I learned in University including its assumptions and adopted worldview. Theology helped me reflect on deeper issues which motivates all of us humans: where do we come from, where are we going, and what is the meaning of life? Although I enjoy science, it is a bit restrictive and limited in its approach; philosophy and theology equipped me with tools to think and reflect on a broader set of issues and problems.

The Catholic Church has historically taken a stance that is somewhat antithetical to science. It is unusual, though not unheard of, to have scientists who are also priests. How do your religious and scientific beliefs interact?
It is rather unfortunate that the Catholic Church has historically made a number of mistakes with regards to the sciences, especially when it felt its power and doctrine threatened. However, it must also be emphasised that the Catholic Church in its own way through the development of Universities in Europe but also through the number of its clergy actively involved in the sciences down the centuries has contributed to its development. This part of the narrative does get left out!

I do not see any fundamental contradiction between my religious and scientific beliefs. They actually go hand in hand. My religious beliefs tell me that God created the world as something good according to some laws. This fundamental assumption assures me that the laws of nature are constant, and are actually worthy of being studied. This is why the sciences prospered in the West, as opposed to other cultures where the gods and hence one’s understanding of reality were more capricious and whimsical. For me studying the Universe helps me learn more about its creator. Hence for me, studying astronomy, the stars and the galaxies is an ultimate form of worship.

What drew you to studying religion and going on to become a priest? 
I studied at a Jesuit school in Goa, and grew fascinated with the Jesuits there. It was there that the roots of my vocation began. Moreover, their long history of working in the sciences was a huge draw for me.

Where does astronomical research in India stand today? And do you have plans to return, after completing your post-doctoral research at Michigan?
There a number of excellent astronomical centers in India today, especially in Pune and Bangalore. Traditionally, the research in our country tended to be more theoretical, but that is quickly changing. Observational advances usually require larger investments, especially in terms of money and resources. Optical astronomy today is driven by new observational data, which in turn depends on having access to the right telescopes, instruments and resources. I think our Indian scientists would be able to much more cutting-edge progress if the Government invests more in instrumentation.

After my postdoctoral research in Michigan, I plan to return to the Vatican Observatory. I am open to opportunities to do research and collaborating with scientists in India!

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.

30 Jul 2018 - 04:06

 

World Assembly of Jesuit Universities, at University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain, from 8-12 July  
The University of Deusto hosted the World Assembly of Jesuit Universities from 8 to 12 July 2018 in Bilbao. This event was attended by more than two hundred Jesuits from Jesuit universities and institutions of higher education from around the world. Indian delegation was one of the biggest with about 50 Jesuits. 

Chaired by the Fr. General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, sj, this event was attended by over 200 representatives, who met under the motto "Transforming our world together" to reflect and examine some of the key challenges faced by Jesuit and other universities..

Accompanied by Arturo Sosa, the Basque president Iñigo Urkullu and the Deusto rector José María Guibert, King Felipe VI of Spain presided the official inauguration of this event which included speeches by the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Guiseppe Versaldi and Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. Other participants in the Assembly were Pedro Duque, Spanish Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, the Secretary of Higher Education of the Society of Jesus, Michael Garanizi, the political expert Pankaj Mishra from India and the economist Gaël Giraud SJ.

The decisions for the new board of administration of the IAJU were discussed and new possibilities for cooperation between universities, regional networks and the international association were analyzed. The Assembly of Jesuit Universities has been organised into six thematic areas. These subjects were discussed and debated in groups in order to put forth some projects at the end of this event. They will shape the areas of action for Jesuit education centres in the future.  

There will also be moments full of symbolism, such as the signing and establishment of the new International Association of Jesuit Universities-Network of the IAJU in the Loyola Sanctuary. This association will provide the entire network of Jesuit universities with a clear legal status, structure and stability. It will give new impetus to the universities of the world.

The main Jesuit universities in the world, such as Georgetown University, Santa Clara University, Loyola Chicago, San Francisco University, Pontificia Gregoriana (Italy), Xavierian University Bogotá, Iteso (Mexico), Catholic University of Córdoba (Argentina), Ateneo de Manila University, Sophia The University of Tokyo will take part in this world assembly. The first two assemblies were held in Mexico (2010) and Melbourne (2015).

The University of Deusto was chosen as the venue for the 2018 event of a select group of candidates around the world. Therefore, the celebration of the event here recognizes and supports the University of Deusto and the city of Bilbao, while the creation of the Association opens a world of new possibilities for the internationalization and networking of Deusto with universities around the world. 

Useful information

·  The largest global university network, in 54 countries

·  210 universities

·  800,000 students

·  450,000 lecturers, researchers and staff

·  5,000,000 alumni

http://iaju.deusto.es/media/

http://iaju.deusto.es/?utm_campaign=shareaholic&utm_medium=email_this&utm_source=email

 

27 Jul 2018 - 06:20

After losing their migration routes to forest clearances, elephants in Bangladesh pose a deadly danger to displaced people.

Posted on July 25, 2018, 7:01 PM

 
 
A vendor sells items to people beneath a road sign reading "Elephant Crossing Point" near Kutupalong in September 2017. Elephants have killed 13 people in camps since August 2017. (Photo by Piyas Biswas/ucanews.com)

Dhaka: 

Rohingya couple Yakub Ali and Anwara Begum survived the deadly military crackdowns in Myanmar's Rakhine State in October 2016 and August 2017 that left scores of their persecuted community brutally abused and murdered.

They crossed the border into Bangladesh from Maungdaw in October last year with two daughters and a son to find sanctuary at Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, which now shelters about 400,000 Rohingya.

But the family's dream of starting life all over again came crashing down on Jan. 19 when a wild elephant trampled 45-year-old Yakub to death and destroyed their makeshift tent.

"We were woken by the screaming of people nearby and, before we realized what was going on, a huge elephant smashed our tent. My husband died in the attack and I got injured while fleeing with the children," Anwara, 40, told ucanews.com.

Yakub was the sole breadwinner for the family as a day laborer for humanitarian groups supporting up to one million refugees huddled in overcrowded camps in Cox's Bazar.

"Now we are surviving completely on mercy relief from aid groups," Anwara said. 

About 300,000 refugees were in the area before August 2016. The two crackdowns forced an exodus of more than 770,000 Rohingya to Bangladesh, according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

The massive influx of Rohingya saw more than 1,200 hectares of forest land cleared for shelters for refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh's most popular tourist destination thanks to the world's largest unbroken sea beach.

Cox's Bazar's Ukhiya and Teknaf subdistricts are known for lush green coastal forests and natural habitats for rare wildlife species including birds and Asian elephants. Ukhiya and Teknaf houses all the refugee camps and they cut through the crossing points and migration routes of elephants from Myanmar to Bangladesh and vice versa.

This human-elephant conflict has seen 13 refugees killed in elephant attacks since August last year, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

Clearing of forests for human habitation has endangered wildlife in the area including elephants, according to Ali Kabir, divisional forest officer in Cox's Bazar.

"If you live in an elephant's habitat, the inevitable is not unexpected. Thousands of hectares have been cleared and refugees collect 800 metric tons of firewood from the forest every day. We fear that if deforestation continues at this rate there will be no more forest left out by the end of 2019," Kabir told ucanews.com.

Kabir said the cutting of trees must stop and refugee settlements that blocked traditional elephant migration corridors need to be relocated to keep refugees safe from elephant attacks and deaths.

The UNHCR and IUCN carried out a joint survey covering 70 square kilometers of Cox's Bazar. It revealed a traditional elephant migration route has been completely blocked due to new refugee settlements, and about 35-45 Asian elephants are living in the forest of the southern part of Cox's Bazar. There are about 93 migratory and 96 captive Asian elephants in Bangladesh, and they are critically endangered, according to the IUCN.

"Elephants always follow traditional path for migration, and the blocked crossing point was a bridge for them for movement between Rakhine and Cox's Bazar. Now, elephants are trying to find the lost corridor by entering camps from various sides, and casualties are taking place," IUCN country representative Raquibul Amin told ucanews.com.

The IUCN and UNHCR have formed 30 elephant response teams of 10-12 people in the camps. They are also setting up 92 elephant watchtowers, more response teams and training.

"We have set up 26 watchtowers and others are being constructed. We would like to form 46 teams and offer training to about 500 people," Amin said.

Two persons are on duty at the watchtowers at night and early morning, when elephants usually move, and they warn others when they spot an elephant. Then the team tries to make the elephant return to the forest.

Teams have successfully tackled seven elephant intrusions to the camps in recent months, Amin said.

"This is a temporary solution, and we are not sure how long this protection system can work. We need to work more on it and see if we can come up with a permanent solution," he added.

Panic among refugees over elephant attacks has reduced if not vanished, said James Gomes, regional director of Catholic charity Caritas Chittagong, which is active in refugee camps.

"Even one month ago, people had sleepless nights fearing elephant attacks. They had never faced such a threat and didn't know what to do. The situation is better but refugees are still vulnerable, and more work needs to be done to sort out an effective plan ," Gomes told ucanews.com.

Back at her reconstructed tent in Kutupalong, Anwara Begum says she can sleep well with her children now. "I am less frightened because I know there are guards watching over elephant movements," she said.

Source: UCAN

26 Jul 2018 - 08:49

Pope Francis appeals for the security and dignity of migrants

After praying the Angelus before thousands gathered in St Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis appeals to the international community on behalf of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.

After reciting the Angelus at noon on Sunday with thousands of the faithful gathered in St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis made an appeal regarding “the shipwreck of boats laden with migrants in the waters of the Mediterranean” which have been reported in the news in the past few weeks.

“I express my pain before this tragedy,” he said. He then assured his thoughts and prayers both for the migrants involved, and for their families.

He concluded directing a strong appeal to the international community asking them to “act decisively and immediately so that similar tragedies might be avoided and to guarantee the safety, respect for human rights, and the dignity” of all those involved.

25 Jul 2018 - 09:27

JCAP major superiors meeting in Nagasaki
The JCAP major superiors began their assembly in Nagasaki today (July 16).  The five-day meeting is also an opportunity to learn about the Jesuit history in the host province and the local context.  This time the learning began a day earlier with Sunday Mass in the Shrine of the Twenty-Six Martyrs of Japan.  The 26 martyrs were a group of Catholics executed by crucifixion on February 5, 1597.  Three of the martyrs were Japanese Jesuits – St James Kisai, St John Soan de Goto and St Paul Miki.

A tour of the Twenty-Six Martyrs Museum and Monument followed.  The museum's collection includes important historical articles from both Japan and Europe such as original letters written by St Francis Xavier and examples of "fumie" or treading images. Every year from 1629 to 1857, Nagasaki residents were forced to go through a ritual of stepping on bronze images of Christ or Mary to prove they were not Christians. 

Fr. George Pattery SJ (POSA) is attending the meeting representing the South Asia.
 

19 Jul 2018 - 16:54

It was a week during which the momentum of the global Jesuit education network was very much evident.  For the education secretaries of the six Jesuit Conferences, the Secretary for Education and those working in the secretariat, the recent International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education meeting was an opportunity to understand the state of Jesuit education in the world, talk about the projects of the Education Secretariat and discuss initiatives that support the construction and consolidation of the Jesuit schools network.

“It’s always inspiring to meet with the other education secretaries and to discover all the good work that’s being done all around the world. There’s so much diversity in our Jesuit schools, but it’s also amazing that we share a common underlying mission and set of Ignatian values,” said JCAP Education Secretary Fr Johnny Go SJ of the meeting held in Rome from May 23 to 26.  “I always learn so much meeting with these Education Secretaries and hearing about the different ways that our schools are facing the challenges of our work of education today.”

Fr Go shared with the group that for the past two years, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP) has been conducting IGNITE (Ignatian Initiative for Teacher Excellence) workshops regularly – three a year – for teachers, staff and school leaders. The newest projects being developed include a teacher volunteer programme among Jesuit and Ignatian schools, and a student video conferencing project that will promote interculturality and global citizenship.

JCAP is also sponsoring the II Colloquium JESEDU-Jogja 2020, when schools from all around the world will gather at Sanata Dharma University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia to learn from one another and to explore working more closely together as a global network.

“It has been a wonderful week of work with the Commission,” said Assistant for Special Projects Rafael Galaz. “I think there is a common feeling of the special momentum in the global network at the moment which was evident when each member presented a report with the featured news of his/her region.”

The topics covered included the development of Educate Magis, a platform aimed at connecting schools and allowing for global collaboration at the service of the mission, and the evaluation and follow up of the Action Statement of the International Congress of Jesuit Education Delegates(JESEDU-Rio2017).  With new inputs from JESEDU-Rio2017, the Commission resumed the discussion on the Education Delegate’s role at the Province level and began the process to find agreement on some common fundamental requirements for the job. They also continued the conversation about associated/partnered/endorsed/companion schools as they are classified in each region.

The Commission also took time to reflect on Fr General Arturo Sosa’s invitation to discern the Universal Apostolic Preferences for the mission of the Society in accordance with the decrees of General Congregation 36 and related documents.  The result of their discernment will be presented to Fr General.

Fr José Mesa SJ, Secretary for Education, was not able to be in Rome for the meeting but joined the delegates virtually, which was a new and positive experience.

“I think it’s fair to say on behalf of the Commission that we ended the meeting feeling challenged to keep working hard, but also very reassured by the fruitful results of this period,” said Galaz.

At the end of the meeting, the Commission celebrated the Eucharist in the Camaretas also known as the “Room of Ignatius” where St Ignatius spent his last days before passing away on July 31, 1556. [Educate Magis]

19 Jul 2018 - 16:39

Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ to young Ignatians: “Choosing is an exercise in freedom.” 
(17-Jul-2018)

Sixty-five young people of Ignatian charism from the Jesuit province of Bolivia had a meeting this Sunday with the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa.
Strengthen their spirituality and share the progress of the preparatory work for the Synod of Youth to be held in October 2018 and communicate their concerns to Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ were part of the objective of this meeting.
The young people expressed their desire to know how the Jesuits face the task of increasing the commitment of young people to the mission of the Society and of the Church in general.
Fr. Arturo Sosa indicated that the Society should offer young people a path that appeals to freedom of choice, that is, that their work is to generate proposals that facilitate the choice of young people for a commitment to the mission of the Church.
"Choosing is an exercise in freedom" the Jesuit Superior General told the young people.
In this sense, it is essential to make it easier for young people to know the reality in which they live, to interpret it and to have a free choice through this reading. With this, Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, indicated that the Society can only show ways, but not impose them.
The young people will share for analysis in their respective works this and other themes that Father General shared with them such as the inclusion of people with sexual differences, citizen participation in political life, and the inclusion of young lay people who have completed a university degree in the works of the Society of Jesus.
The participants of this meeting were young people of Ignatian charism who study or collaborate in schools, parishes or youth groups of the Province of Bolivia.

18 Jul 2018 - 06:21

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