News Service

Ordinations and Final Vows

Plane Crash Kills Students from Loyola Jesuit College in Nigeria

Brussel, 14 December 2005 - A plane carrying 110 passengers, including many students from Loyola Jesuit College in Abuja, Nigeria, crashed December 10 in the country’s main oil city, Port Harcourt, killing all but seven of them. About 75 of the passengers were Loyola school children on their way home for Christmas break.

Approximately a dozen of them got off the plane in Enugu, prior to the crash. The Sosoliso Airlines flight on its way from the capital, Abuja, crashed during a storm and burst into flames at the airport. Frank O’Connor, SJ, has been working as associate school chaplain at Loyola since the beginning of this academic year. Peter Schineller, SJ, (NYK) is the school president and Marc Roselli, SJ, (NYK) is the principal. Fr O’Connor wrote, “While we still don’t have clear nor complete information about the plane crash yesterday, there were about 75 of our students on the plane. Whether any were among the seven reported survivors, we don’t know. Thanks for the prayers for the victims, their families and all here at Loyola Jesuit College at this difficult time.”

Jerry Aman, SJ, socius of the Northwest Africa Province wrote that, “Marc Roselli and George Quickley (provincial) hope to go to Port Harcourt on Monday and begin the difficult process of trying to console the families. Please remember the souls of these children in your prayers, and remember the grief-stricken families who have so much pain to try to process at this time.”

Source: Electronic Maryland Province News

JRS International: Freedom of movement is a fundamental human right

Rome, 10 December 2005 - Today, International Human Rights Day 2005, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) calls attention to the plight of refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants around the world who are being held in detention or detention like circumstances, without any access to a legal process.

JRS urges states to:
1. only use administrative detention as a last resort, where non-custodial measured have proved ineffective, and never as a routine measure of migration control; and
2. adopt procedures and conditions of detention that comply with international laws and standards and ensure that sufficient resources are made available to enable this.

"Exact figures are not released by most governments. But it is a fact often hidden from the general public that hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced persons who have not been accused or convicted of any crime are being held - sometimes for indefinite periods of time - in prisons or prison-like circumstances," said Fr Lluís Magriña SJ, JRS International Director.

A survey conducted among JRS offices around the world found that, in many states, procedures and practices relating to detention of immigrants are not in line with their states' international human rights obligations. In many countries host governments do not allow freedom of movement to asylum seekers and recognised refugees. For example, in many Southern and Eastern African countries where JRS works, refugees are detained for leaving particular areas or camps

Concert and Exhibition on St. Francis Xavier Mark the Beginning of Xavierian Year in Rome

Rome, 04 December 2005 – A concert in the Paul VI hall of Vatican, entitled “Natale in Vaticano - concerto per le Missioni d’Oriente” and opening of an exhibition in the Chiesa del Gesù, mark the beginning of Xavierian year in Rome. The versatile artistes from the music world entertained packed audience in Paul VI hall of the Vatican, with a special reference to St. Francis Xavier, the great apostle of Indies. The band of artists included Claudio Baglioni, Riccardo Cocciante, Dolores O’Riordan, Gianluca Terranova, Miriam Makeba, Nicky Nicolai, Giada Nobile, and others. The famous musical groups like Virginia State Gospel Chorale, FAO International Children Choir, Summertime, etc. participated in singing Christmas songs. There were several compositions from the upcoming musical opera, Xavier – Dreaming China, were also rendered to the audience. The entire music was directed by well-known Renato Serio and the programme will be telecast in Italian TV on the Christmas vigil of this year.

“The main purpose of the concert is to bring home the message of St. Francis Xavier to the public and to commemorate his 5th birth centenary as well as to help the projects which the Italian province is undertaking during this Xavierian Year. Among the many projects we have, one of them is to reconstruction of a school in Albania” said Fr. G. Bellucci of the Italian Jesuit province who is also the main organizer of Xavierian year at national level in an interview to the Vatican Radio.

A group of young Jesuits of “Collegio del Gesù” have put up an exhibition on the life of St. Francis Xavier in the Chiesa del Gesù, Rome, the first church of the Society of Jesus. The exhibition also has a power point presentation on this celebrated saint and the Society of Jesus today. There are also several precious portraits of Xavier and Ignatius of Loyola on display.

Reported by Olvin Veigas

Jesuit Major Superiors together to discuss the future of Society of Jesus

Brussels, 24 November 2005 – Jesuit Major Superiors from all over the world, together with the Superior General and his staff, start next Saturday, 26 November 2005, in Loyola, Spain, a one-week deliberation on the present situation and the future of their order, the Society of Jesus. The meeting means also the beginning of a triple Jubilee Year to commemorate the 5th centenary of the birth of Francis Xavier and Pierre Favre (1506) and 450 years since the death of Ignatius of Loyola (1556).

The objective of the meeting is officially described as 'to consider the state, the problems and the initiatives of the universal Society, as well as international and supra-provincial collaboration'. About 130 Jesuits will participate: Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, the Superior General, the General Counsellors and the Major Superiors (Provincials, Regional Superiors and Presidents of Conferences). The venue for the meeting is Loyola, birthplace of Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus. The last similar meeting took place in September 2000.

The meeting starts on Sunday morning with an allocution of Fr General about 'the present situation of the Society of Jesus. In the following days four main issues will be taken up: governance, apostolic priorities, formation and collaboration with non-Jesuits. Finally recommendations will be proposed.

The last day of the meeting, Saturday 3 December, will mark the beginning of a Jubilee Year in Javier, birthplace of Francis Xavier.

At present there are some twenty thousand Jesuits working in 127 countries all over the world.

Italian Jesuit Lombardi New Director General At Vatican Radio

Rome, 5 November 2005 (RV) - Pope Benedict has appointed Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi the new director general of Vatican Radio.

Father Lombardi succeeds Father Pasquale Borgomeo who the Holy Father thanked for his long and dedicated service to the station. Father Lombardi, who’s a native of the northern Italian city of Turin, has been director of programming here at the radio for the past 15 years. Since 2001, he has also been director general of the Vatican's Television Center. Polish Jesuit Father Andrzej Koprowski has been named the new director of programs.

79 new Jesuit Novices – 9 more than last year – for the whole of Europe

Brussels, 29 October 2005 - For the whole of the 27 Jesuit Provinces and Regions in Europe 79 new novices enter the Society of Jesus in 2005. Last year at the same time they were 70. The number of those who finish their noviciate and take first vows is more or less the same as last year. They are 52 to continue their formation.

More then in the previous years Poland, Italy and Portugal are the frontrunners in getting vocations: 11 in the Greater Poland Province, 9 in the South Poland Province, 10 in Italy and 7 in Portugal. These four Provinces take together almost half of all new European novices: In addition to the 'European' Provinces, the Near East Province (Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey), also belonging to the European Jesuit Conference, has 3 new novices.
Besides the 79 new novices, there are 55 novices who start the second year.

Table "Novices in Europe 2005"
You may download it in .pdf format

Pope Benedict XVI canonizes Jesuit Alberto Hurtado as a New Saint

Vatican, Rome 23 Oct. 2005 - Amidst thousands of pilgrims who gathered at the St. Peter’s Square, Pope Benedict XVI proclaimed five new saints, among whom Jesuit Fr. Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga from Chile.

During this Eucharistic celebration, Pope also marked the end of Eucharistic Year which was proclaimed by Pope John Paul II a year ago. It is Pope Benedict XVI’s first solemn liturgy on which he proclaimed five new saints as successor of St. Peter, the Apostle. Meantime during the solemn liturgy which lasted for more than two hours Pope called off the “Synod of Bishops”, which was meeting on the theme of the year, “Eucharist”.

There were thousands of pilgrims from Chile and other Latin American countries who had come to the canonisation of Blessed Alberto Hurtado. During the homily, the Pope recalled the exemplary life of Bl. Hurtado, who lived just 51 years but leaving behind a great legacy of “El Hogar de Cristo”, in service of the poor and homeless.

In honour of the new saint, Alberto Hurtado, Jesuits in Rome had organised many programmes. On 21st Oct. 05 the Jesuit run Gregorian University organised a special function on the new saint to all the students and staff in which Fr. Juan Ochagavia SJ (CHL) spoke on “A Scholar Saint”, and Fr. Paolo Mominari SJ (ITA) on “Spiritual profile of Hurtado”. And on 22nd Oct. evening a unique prayer service was organised with the pilgrims from Chile at the “Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola”, Rome. (Reported by OV)

Biography of Saint Alberto Hurtado

Jesuits have to find better ways to move forward in their common European mission

Rainhill, Britain, 23 October 2005 – Jesuits in Europe have a clear common European mission but they still need more efficient structures and better procedures to carry it out. That is the main theme of Mark Rotsaert's opening address at the annual General Assembly of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (CEP). ,,Our most important question today is about procedures,'' the CEP President said.

The General Assembly, which started today in Rainhill, Britain, is ,,necessary if we want to maintain the dynamics within the CEP and to continue the work we started at different levels,'' Rotsaert said. ,,The ['magis] programme which was set up by a team of Jesuits for the World Youth Day last August in Germany, was a good example of interprovincial collaboration in Europe. Also on other domains the collaboration among European Jesuits is growing. Since the year 2000 there is certainly more continuity than before. Nevertheless we can still improve our way of proceeding.''

The main issues to be put in the forefront in the next days are the Catholic European Study and Information Centre (OCIPE) in Brussels, the formation centres for young Jesuits, and the solidarity with Africa.

The CEP General Assembly brings together 36 Provincials and four Assistants of the Superior General. The meeting ends on Wednesday 26 October 2005.

Father Kolvenbach addresses the Annual General Meeting of JRS Europe

Rome, 20 October 2005 - “The Jesuit Refugee Service’s strength lies in its work directly with the people in need.” Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ, was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Jesuit Refugee Service Europe today, which is taking place in Rome (Monte Cucco). Father General praised the organisation for remaining faithful to its founder, Pedro Arrupe, in being with refugees in the camps. He acknowledged that this priority involves sacrifice: “It is very important that we spend a minimum amount on administration” he said, “I praise the staff of JRS for managing to work with very modest means.”

Looking towards the future of the JRS, the Father General welcomed advocacy work being done for the rights of refugees, which involves working with other refugee, peace-building and justice organisations. “This work is extremely important, but JRS should never forget their original commitment to be present with the people who are suffering.”
He commended the connections between universities and JRS in Oxford, in Fordham University New York and in Spain.

He ended by thanking the JRS staff in Europe for all their service and commitment. “May the Lord bless all that has been done, and all that will be done.”

European Jesuit Provincials to meet in Merseyside, Britain

London, 17 October 2005 - Senior Jesuits from all over Europe will be gathering in Merseyside next week to discuss common issues that are of concern to the Society of Jesus across the continent.

The meeting of the 'Conference of European Provincials' (CEP) is taking place at Loyola Hall, Rainhill, from 20-26 October 2005. It will bring together 36 Provincials and four Assistants of the Superior General for a series of meetings and presentations. The agenda will address various European topics; these will include refugees and the role of the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Jesuits’ involvement in the 2005 World Youth Day, especially the Magis programme, and the work of the Catholic European Study and Information Centre (OCIPE) in Brussels.

Father Mark Rotsaert SJ, since 2000 the President of the Conference of European Provincials and former Provincial of the North Belgium Province, is coordinating the meeting. Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach SJ, the Jesuit General, will not be attending, since he will still be at the Eucharistic Synod in Rome.

On Saturday 22 October, the Provincials will be visiting Stonyhurst College – the Jesuit school dating back on its present site to 1794 – and Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool will celebrate Mass for them on Monday the 24th.

Jesuits alarmed at the situation of migrants and asylum seekers in Morocco

Brussels, 12 October 2005 (JRS) - “Among the deportees, there are a number of refugees, some of them with UNHCR (UN refugee agency) papers. There are also pregnant women and children, many of whom are sick. One man told of how people, injured in the attempt to enter Spanish territory, were left to die in the desert”, said Fr Boades SJ, a Spanish Jesuit in telephone contact with the deportees.

States have an obligation to identify those fleeing persecution and grant them asylum, and to ensure the orderly and humane return of the rest. Collective and indiscriminate expulsions are prohibited by international law. Spain’s refusal to admit refugees to its asylum process is tantamount to support for the collective expulsions carried out by Morocco. The Moroccan authorities have undertaken mass deportations ­ some by plane to Senegal and Mali ­ and others by bus, driving people into the desert and abandoning hundreds of them there without water, at least 30 kms from the nearest town.

“This is a flagrant breach of international law. Both Spain and Morocco are bound by the UN Refugee Convention and the Convention Against Torture, not to return refugees to territories where their life or freedom would be threatened. Yet refugees trying to enter Spain literally have to climb barbed wire and face bullets to seek protection from persecution”, said Fr. Boades SJ.

In light of this dramatic situation, the Jesuit Refugee Service urges that:
· the international community ensure that urgent humanitarian assistance reaches those who have been deported into the Sahara desert;
· an independent enquiry be established by UN, EU and civil society to investigate the events that led to the deaths and injuries at Ceuta and Melilla;
· the Moroccan and Spanish authorities halt deportations until access to fair asylum determination processes is guaranteed;
· returns carried out be consistent with procedural guarantees and human rights standards under international law; and
· governments signing readmission agreements include guarantees respecting access to asylum and rights on removal.

Gregorian University in Rome inaugurates its 455th Academic Year

Rome, 8 October 2005 - “The Jesuit education seeks excellence in its teaching, in personal reflections and in research, offering its students a harmonious synthesis between the knowledge of man and the light of faith, according to the proper methods of every discipline." While placing the annual report of the past year the Major Rector of Gregorian University Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda said.

The inauguration of the 455th academic year of the Gregorian University began with a solemn mass of the Holy Spirit at the Church of St. Ignatius in Rome. Ghirlanda who presided over the Eucharist, said, “guided by the spirit of Ignatius, our university searches to apply a pedagogy based on a personal relation between the teacher and the student, offering everyone accompaniment to the growth of proper personality which is liberal and responsible”.

This year is a very special year to the Society of Jesus with the celebration of a triple jubilee, the 450th anniversary of the death of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, and the 500th birth anniversaries of Saint Francis Xavier and Blessed Peter Faber, two more founding fathers of the Society of Jesus. This year the Gregorian has begun a new faculty called “Faculty of History and of Cultural Goods of the Church”.

The Pontifical Gregorian University was founded by Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Borgia in 1553 with the faculties granted by Julius III in 1552. The real university structure was constituted by Paul IV in 1556, confirmed by Pius V in 1566.

The academic year of 2004-05, the Gregorian University had 2907 students, of which 1158 (39%) came from Western Europe; 558 (19%) from Latin America; 367 (13%) from Africa; 326 (11%) from Eastern Europe; 321 (11%) from Asia; 162 (6%) from North America; 15 (1%) from Oceania. Out of which 868 (30%) were diocesan priests; 471 (16%) diocesan seminarians; 352 (12%) religious priests; 310 (11%) lay men; 308 (11%) lay women; 302 (10%) nuns; 296 (10%) religious in formation. From 1 October 2004 to 30 June 2005 128 students defended their doctoral theses.

As an Ecclesiastical University, the Gregorian Pontifical University has been doing a magnificent service in forming the Church leaders for today. The students and professors coming from different parts of the world add a special significance to the universality of the Catholic Church and make its services more credible. And the internationality of Jesuit formation and their involvement in various fields of church and society give a special driving force to the students to face the problems of today by integrating faith and culture. (OV)

British Jesuit Volunteers to work with Romanian street children

London, 14 September 2005 - The agency of the British Jesuits that provides overseas volunteer placements for former students has placed itself under the patronage of Saint Francis Xavier SJ, and relaunched itself as XVP – the Xavier Volunteer Programme. It has also announced another new destination for volunteers: the Concordia project for street-children in Bucharest, Romania.

The XVP, part of Young British Jesuit Alumni/ae (YBJA), announced its new name as Jesuits around the world are planning celebrations to mark the 500th anniversary of St Francis Xavier’s birth in 2006. Francis was one of the first companions of the Jesuits’ founder, St Ignatius Loyola, and is the Patron Saint of the Missions, having spread the Gospel in many regions of the Far East.

YBJA Director, Fr Dave Stewart SJ, says the agency’s work is “principally about arranging voluntary service, among the poor of the Majority World, for people who have been to Jesuit schools in Britain and elsewhere, and who feel that they would like to continue to be of service to others in an Ignatian, Catholic spirit.” He adds: “The new name reflects our continuing development as a Catholic volunteering agency in which themes of mission and global justice become even more prominent.”

The Bucharest project – which joins assignments in Hungary, India, Kenya, Zambia, Ghana, Ecuador and Guyana – helps children as young as four who are living on the streets in the Romanian capital. It was founded 14 years ago and is still supported by the Austrian Jesuits. Concordia runs a number of houses around the city, giving the street-children time and space to stabilise after life on the streets, a family atmosphere, and eventually independence.

[back to news summary]

Jan Bentvelzen appointed new Provincial for Dutch Jesuits

Den Haag, the Netherlands, 11 September 2005 - Jan Bentvelzen has been appointed by Father General as new Provincial for the Dutch Jesuits. He succeeds Jan van de Poll and will take office on 1 January 2006.

Jan Bentvelzen (59) joined the Society in 1964 and studied Tropical Agronomy in Deventer. He was ordained priest in Zeist in 1977. One year later I left for Indonesia, where he served as Director of an agricultural college and centre in Salatiga until 2003. He took final vows in Giri Sonta in 1980. In 2003 he returned to the Netherlands. In 2004 he became the rector of the Krijtberg Church in Amsterdam.

The present Provincial, Jan van de Poll, will become one of the instructors of the new European tertianship.

NGOs express serious concern on proposed EU return and standards

Brussels, 1 September 2005 - A coalition of NGOs reacted to today’s EU policy developments on the detention and removal of irregular migrants with concern. 13 organisations involved in migration and asylum issues responded to the draft of a directive on common standards for return by suggesting a set of nine principals to ensure respect for human rights.

Underlining the nine principals presented by the NGOs today in Brussels is concern that return policies should fully respect the needs and the dignity of individuals. Those who are facing detention or removal must have access to a legal review and advice; vulnerable people such as children, victims of trafficking and seriously ill people should not be removed or detained; and family unity should be respected. They also called for the establishment of independent monitoring and control bodies. In the case of people who can not be removed within a short period, they should be granted legal status. These safeguards are essential if the ‘dignity’ of immigrants, often presented as a priority by Vice-President Franco Frattini, is to be respected.

The Jesuit Refugee Service objects in particular to plans for the systematic use of detention across Europe and for the proposed limit of the duration of detention to six months. JRS has worked at grass-roots level for over 10 years with detained migrants in European countries and through this experience campaigns specifically on this issue at EU level. JRS is concerned that detention of irregular migrants should not be a systematic part of any common asylum policy in Europe: detention should always be the absolute exception and last resort, and persons belonging to vulnerable categories should never be detained. Further, the conditions in detention centers in Europe often fail to meet human rights standards, and in this context, the limit proposed this morning on the duration of detention to six months is far too long. Renaud de Villaine, Policy and Advocacy Officer for Jesuit Refugee Service Europe commented: “The Jesuit Refugee Service is disappointed to see the use of detention in Europe encouraged by the Commission.This costly measure tarnishes the EU’s human rights record.”

For further information, please contact:
Renaud de Villaine, Advocacy and Policy Officer, Jesuit Refugee Service Europe, Rue du Progrès 333, 1030 Brussels, Belgium. +32 2250 32 20 email: renaud.devillaine@jrs.net, www.jrseurope.org

Unique alabaster portraits of Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier bought by Dutch Jesuit Province

Ignatius of Loyola

Francis Xavier

Amsterdam, 29 August 2005 - At the recent art fair in ’s-Hertogenbosch (The Netherlands) two unique alabaster portraits of Jesuit saints Ignatius of Loyola and Francis Xavier were up for sale. The plaques, in their original gilded frames, each 11.5 x 9.5 cm., were identified by the art dealer as ‘from Mechelen, seventeenth century’. In art history no comparable pieces are known, unless perhaps the two portraits of the same saints, 25 x 21 cm., in 1742 executed in lava rock by the Dutch sculptor Walter Pompe (1703-1777), presently in the Jesuit community of Romero, Antwerp, Belgium. Because of the depicted saints, the material, the rarity and the reasonable price the Dutch Province of the Society of Jesus decided to buy the two art works.

Both alabaster plaquettes are splendid specimens of portraits of two of the ‘first fathers’ of the Society of Jesus by an unknown artist from the first quarter of the seventeenth century in the Southern Netherlands.

More [English / Nederlands]

Croatian Jesuit awarded by President for his charitable commitment

Zagreb, Croatia, 26 August 2005 - The President of Republic of Croatia, Mr. Stjepan Mesic, has conferred a Croatian decoration to Fr Antun Cvek SJ for his charitable commitment with the poor and disadvantaged people in Croatia, particularly in the city of Zagreb.

Fr Cvek (71) 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.

Although very well known for his generous and helpful working in Zagreb, Fr Cvek still remains an example of a humble and modest Jesuit. (MM)

American Jesuit Francis Case appointed new Secretary of the Society of Jesus

Rome, 19 August 2005 – In a letter 'to the whole Society' the Superior General, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, has announced the appointement of a new Secretary for his order. American Jesuit Francis E. Case will succeed the present secretary, Gabriel Codina from the Bolivian Province, and he will take office on 15 November 2005.

At present and since fifteen years Fr Case, originally from the Oregon Province, is the Regional Assistant for the United States, which office carries with it also the role of General Counsellor. In this position he will be succeeded by Fr James E. Grummer, who has served as Provincial of Wisconsin since 2001. Fr Kolvenbach also wholeheartedly thanks Fr Codina for his dedication and his reliable work as Secretary of the Society, subsequent to serving for five years as Secretary for Education.

First Pilgrims have arrived on schedule - ['magis]-World Youth Day project begins on Monday

Frankfurt/Main, 6. August 2005. - The aircraft landed today on schedule at 9.35 am. 48 young Maltese between 17 and 20 years of age are the first ['magis] - pilgrims. Fr. Joe Cassar, SJ and two other Jesuits from the St. Aloysius College in Birkirkara are accompanying them on Saturday to Aachen. An additional 150 participants from Brazil, Germany, Flanders, Ireland, Canada, Lithuania, the Near East and Spain will be arriving up until Monday night In the Pius-Gymnasium in Aachen.

Aachen is one of a total of eleven reception centers in the ['magis] program. The Jesuits along with other cooperative partners of the “Ignatian Family” expect around 2300 participants. More than 400 volunteers and experiment group leaders are engaged in running the project. ['magis] – Latin for „more“ – consists of elements of traditional pilgrimage and group retreat.

The program begins on Tuesday, August 9th with festive send-off masses in the following cities:

· In Aachen the General vicar of the diocese of Aachen, Manfred von Holtum, will celebrate the send-off mass at 11:30 am in the Hohen Domkirche of Aachen with the Provincial of the Flemish Jesuit Province, Fr. Jan Koenot SJ.

· In St. Ignatius parish of Frankfurt the send-off mass begins at 10 am with Fr. Martin Löwenstein SJ as the celebrant.

· In Fulda the mass will be celebrated by the General Vicar, Prelate Peter-Martin Schmidt, at 10 am with the['magis]-pilgrims at the Frauenberg.

· In Königstein/Taunus mass is planned in the Kollegskirche with Fr. Georg Sans SJ at 10 am.

· The Bishop of Speyer, Dr Anton Schlembach, will celebrate the send-off mass at 10 pm in the St. Maria parish church in Landau/Pfalz.

· The mass in Lüttich will be celebrated by the Bishop of Lüttich, Msgr. Aloys Jousten at 10:30 am at St. Jacques Church.

· In Luxembourg the mass begins at 10:30 am, and will be celebrated by Archbishop Msgr. Fernand Franck and Fr. Daniel Sonveaux, the Provincial for South-Belgium and Luxembourg.

· The mass for the pilgrims to Mainz begins on Tuesday, 9. August, at 10 am in the Church of St. Ignaz.

· In Nürnberg the Bishop of Poona, Valerian D’Souza will celebrate mass at 10.15 am in St. Klara.

· In Sasbach/Achern the send-off mass begins at 9 am with the Auxiliary Bishop of Freiburg Paul Wehrle as celebrant in the Heimkirche Maria Königin.

The send-off mass in the crypt of the Cathedral in Strasbourg will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Msgr. Christian Kratz together with the Jesuit Provincials Fr. François-Xavier Dumortier SJ (France) und Fr. Stefan Dartmann SJ (Germany) at 10 am.

Jesuits from Six Continents Send Open Letter to G8 Leaders

London, 1 July 2005 - Jesuits from Europe, Africa, the United States of America, Latin America, Oceania and Asia – all of whom work with “communities who live in poverty, deprived of their most elemental rights” have sent an open letter to the leaders of the countries of the G8. In their letter, these Jesuit priests call upon the G8 leaders, meeting in Gleneagles next week to

• Increase and improve the quality of international development aid
• Find a definitive and just solution to the problem of external debt
• Promote a system of international trade centered on human development
• Move in the direction of international institutions that favour the development of peoples, and
• Set in motion in (their) countries models of development based on solidarity and sustainability.

Quoting from Pope Paul VI as well as John Paul II, these workers from six continents remind the world leaders that they have committed themselves “on many occasions to travel this path” – from Rio (1992) to Johannesburg (2002) and from Copenhagen (1995) to New York (2000). And their letter concludes: “Now is the time to keep your word, as your own citizens are demanding. At stake are the basic rights of many people, and with them the dignity of the whole human race.”

Full text of the Open Letter

Pedro Arrupe Award Prize-Giving Ceremony at the European Parliament (update)

Brussels, 23 June 2005 - Prizewinners of the refugee awareness Pedro Arrupe Award assembled today at the European Parliament to be presented with their prizes. This Jesuit Refugee Service award was run for the first time this year, and it aims to promote understanding and tolerance among young people and to encourage their creative engagement with the issue.

Member of European Parliament for the Green party Hiltrud Breyer, who sponsored the event, opened the ceremony by remarking that at a moment when the European Union is facing a crisis, we must turn to the young people of today across Europe who work together for those in need. Miroslav Adamiš, Head of the Cabinet of Commissioner Ján Figel', who praised the innovative nature of the award, presented the Slovaks with their prize: a trip to Macedonia to meet Kossovan refugees. Extracts of the Slovaks’ documentary ‘Almost like one of us’ were shown. The pupils remarked: “Before doing this project we knew nothing about the situation of refugees in Slovakia. Making the film in a camp made us realize that we are all young people with similar interests, despite facing different challenges. It opened our eyes to how small Europe is compared to the rest of the world, and how lucky we are.”

The Spanish students were presented with their prize by Madeline Garlick of United Nations High Commission to Refugees. She praised the aim of the board game they had created, to be the first to build a refugee camp by answering questions on refugees: “it is the young people of today who have the potential to create a better world”. The students designed the game to teach other young people what they had learnt during the process of making it; it is only possible to win the game by answering questions about the situations of refugees across the world, and working together as a team.

Also present at the ceremony were MEP Jean Lambert (Green Party) and Miroslav Mikolášik (Christian Democrats). Cornelia Buehrle of the Jesuit Refugee Service commented that parliamentarians are often not familiar with the realities of the situation of refugees. The Pedro Arrupe Award, which involves young people across Europe and culminated in this ceremony that took place in the European Parliament, is part of the Jesuit Refugee Service’s mission to “serve forgotten refugees”. (AK)


JRS Europe invites to listen to and to learn from refugees

Brussels, 20 June 2005 – 20th June 2005 marks the fifth World Refugee Day which is celebrated all over the world. For this event JRS Belgium together with JRS Europe created a special website which aims to give voice to refugees.

"The fifth refugee day is an opportunity to listen to the millions of refugees around the world. They have a right to be heard. It is important that the priorities of refugee-assisting organisations come directly from those they are there to serve and are not imposed from above. We learn from those we serve. Without their guidance, our programmes are without meaning. If they are given access to accurate information and sufficient resources, forcibly displaced persons are the best decision-makers about their lives in exile and the long-term solutions for their futures", said Fr Lluís Magriñà, JRS International Director.

In order to 'listen to and learn from refugees' JRS Belgium together with JRS Europe created a special website: www.20June.org.  People have been invited to leave short messages, expressing their wishes and sharing their ideas. At the 'Fête au Village' yesterday, a one-day celebration for refugees in Brussels music, dance and games from four corners of the world, children's activities, food and drink, already 65 messages, mostly together with pictures, were posted on the website.

Jesuit journal denounces "anti-European syndrome"

Rome, Jun. 17 (CWNews.com) - The people of Europe must not succumb to an "anti-European syndrome," argue the editors of Civilta Cattolica, the influential Jesuit journal.

In an editorial entitled, "What is the Future of the European Union?" which appears in the June 18 issue, Civilta Cattolica notes the quick spread of sentiment opposing the European Union (EU), in the wake of votes in which the people of both France and the Netherlands rejected the EU constitution. This trend is "suicidal," the magazine argues, because without the EU the nations of Europe will be unable to respond to "the great political and economic challenges" of the 21st century.

While conceding that the popular rejection of the EU constitution in France and Netherlands has dealt a serious blow to the prospects for the body, Civilta cautions against adopting an excessively critical attitude. The Jesuit journal says that the votes mark "not the death and dissolution of the Union," but an expression of resistance and disappointment.

The EU has "not held to the promises on which it was constructed," the editorial explains. Civilta cites the failure of the EU to prevent warfare in the Balkans, and the failure to form a united European front in the face of the US drive toward war in Iraq.

The EU has also failed to satisfy expectations regarding economic policy, the journal continued. The development of the common currency, the euro, has prompted a popular backlash, with some people complaining that the EU monetary policies have caused a recession, and some even calling for the return of the individual national currencies-- a proposal which Civilta dismisses as "making no sense." But Civilta says that the EU cannot be blamed for the economic woes of Europe today. Those problems, the magazine says, reflect the "difficult international situation" and the "deficiencies and errors of the governments of the European nations."

The global economy today creates problems which "no country can confront and resolve alone," Civilta claims. So the EU should not be dismantled, but developed carefully, guided by policies that are "perhaps less ambitious and more realistic."

The editorial in Civilta Cattolica appeared as the leaders of the 25 EU nations gathered in Brussels for urgent consultations, following the referendum defeats in France and the Netherlands. In France, 53 percent of the population voted against the European constitution in a May 29 ballot; in the Netherlands, on June 1, the opposition won a convincing 63 percent.

Results of the Pedro Arrupe Award 2005 announced

Brussels, 13 June 2005 – Jesuit Schools in Portugal, Spain and Slovakia are the winners of the Pedro Arrupe Award organised by the European Office of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). A special mention was given to the Irish documentary 'Road to Refuge'. The Prize Giving Ceremony will take place on 23rd June in the European Parliament in Brussels.

The Pedro Arrupe Award was a special project across the Jesuit schools in Europe to mark 25 years of experience serving to refugees. JRS Europe wanted to promote understanding and tolerance of the refugee issue among young people and to encourage their creative engagement with the issue.

36 schools in 12 European countries were involved in the award. After the projects were evaluated at a national level, 34 projects went to be judged at a European level. The jury in Brussels has chosen the following entries as winners in each age group:

The jury has also decided to give a special mention to the Irish documentary Road to Refuge.

To find out more about these project and evaluation click here:

New dean for Theology appointed at the Gregorian University

Rome, 10 June 2005 -- Michael Paul Gallagher has been appointed as the new dean of the faculty of Theology at the Gregorian University of Rome. The post fell vacant after the death of John O' Donnell earlier this year.

Michael Paul Gallagher SJ is a native of Co. Sligo in Ireland. He has been a Jesuit priest since 1972 and was a lecturer of English Literature at University College, Dublin for twenty years. He served for five years' at the Pontifical Council for Culture in Rome (formerly the Pontifical Council for Dialogue with Non-Believers). He is professor of Fundamental Theology at the Gregorian University. He also heads the same department for several years. He is the author of several books on faith, culture and Theology including Free to Believe, Letters on Prayer, What Are They Saying About Unbelief? (1995), Clashing Symbols (2001), The Human Poetry of Faith (2003). 

Michael Paul Gallagher

Jesuits recruit German speaking youth for their ['magis] project

Frankfurt/Main, June 9, 2005 -- The Jesuit preparations for World Youth Day has been set into motion. Already 2,100 participants have registered at the ['magis] coordination office in Frankfurt and individuals are expected from as far away as Brazil, Nigeria, and Taiwan. Once again, the Jesuits and their collaborators are sending out an open invitation for both ['magis] and the World Youth Day events in August.

Altogether, the organizers expect about 3,000 participants to register before August. The largest groups currently registered are coming from France (300), Spain (294), Poland (150), and Slovakia (131). Around 500 individuals are involved in the ['magis] project as either group leaders or volunteers. The Jesuit order considers ['magis] to be a combined venture between their order and every community, organization, and religious institution that shares their “Ignatian Spirituality.”

The ['magis] project combines the theme of pilgrimage with the Spiritual Exercises and received named magis from the Latin motto meaning more. This word, which comes from the spiritual vision of St. Ignatius of Loyola, has been chosen as the theme because it represents the ideal of living more with God. Each participant will arrive on August 8, 2005 to one of eleven different host cities in either Germany or a neighbouring country. The special characteristic of ['magis] involves the placement of pilgrims into one of more than 100 small, internationally mixed groups for five days of social, creative, or pilgrimage themed experiments. These groups will involve encounters with the marginalized, work with street theatre, and creative expression within art workshops. More information about the ongoing preparations can be found on their website in one of nine languages: www.magis2005.de. A large festival for all ['magis] participants will take place at the end of the experiments from August 13 until August 15 in the picturesque Loreley, which lies near the Rhine. Those who will continue on to World Youth Day in Cologne to see the new Pope will be taken in one of two Rhine ships specially engaged for the ['magis] program.

At the Loreley, the participants will gather in a large campground. The financing for the tents was obtained through the generous support of the PSD-bank Frankfurt/main eC. Further financial support comes from a number of foundations and private donations, including the Alfried Krupp von Bohlen and Halbach foundations. A large, festive religious service with the Very Reverend Franz Kamphaus—Bishop of Limburg—is planned at the open-air stage on Sunday, August 14 at 5:00 pm. Similarly, Catholic and Protestant communities in this region are awaiting the arrival of the large number of guests and other interested individuals.

Despite the large media presence for World Youth Day, young people in German speaking countries have been hesitant to register for the activities. Many, it seems, are waiting to the deadline. Clearly, the Jesuits have a chance to motivate these young people using this large project, which is based on Ignatian ideals. Meeting and speaking with others from different nations and cultures will expand the horizons of every individual, because everyone learns something new when they encounter another’s way of life. The ['magis] program provides an opportunity for individuals to live and work together with others who have different characteristics and perspectives as members of the same Church

For participants from German speaking countries, many spots are still reserved. The total price is 330,- Euro per person for the two week program—which includes all travel, accommodation, food, health insurance, a pilgrim’s backpack, and the solidarity tax for participants from poorer countries. Registrations for both single participants as well as for groups that only want to attend the ['magis] program are possible. Individuals between 17 and 30 years of age can register for the Jesuit program as well as for World Youth Day activities in Cologne by calling our Frankfurt coordination office: ['magis], Offenbacher Landstr. 224, 60599 Frankfurt/M., magis2005@jesuiten.org, Tel.: 069/6061-235.

Inquiries to Martin Stark, S.J., Fon +49/69/6061-235 or Mobil +0178/2806741.
More information about the ['magis]-project for World Youth Day available: www.magis2005.de 

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New Provincial appointed for the Jesuit Province of Croatia


Zagreb, May 2005 – Father General has appointed Fr Ivan Koprek as new Provincial for Croatia. Fr Koprek succeeds Fr Ivan Macan and will take office at the beginning of September.

Ivan Koprek is born 1954. He was ordained priest in 1982. At present he is teaching at the Jesuit Philosophical Faculty in Zagreb.

The Province of Croatia comprises all the countries of former Yugoslavia (except Slovenia) and Bulgaria and numbers 158 members.

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Jesuits take campaign to heart of the EU

London, 19 May 2005 -- Tomorrow, Friday 20 May, the British Jesuits and their co-workers will have a historic meeting with the President of the EU Commission, José Manuel Barroso. Fr Frank Turner SJ (picture), representing the Jesuits, along with the head of the Campaigns at CAFOD, Alison Marshall, and Ben Ramsden and Philip Udeh from Jesuit Missions will meet with President Barroso to urge him to take action to make poverty history. The meeting will take place at the London School of Economics, where President Barroso will give a lecture that morning.

The meeting follows the lobbying of Mr Barroso as part of the Jesuit Day of Prayer and Action held on Pentecost Sunday (15 May) and World Debt Day (16 May). This day saw 50,000 people across 14 countries and four continents taking action in unity to Make Poverty History. Jesuit students, parishioners and co-workers in other Jesuit works wrote letters to the EU Commission President, asking him to use his influence on the G8 leaders and within the European Union to make sure that bold action is taken on poverty eradication.

According to Fr Turner, Mr Barroso can make an impact when the UK takes over Presidency of the EU in July. “The key areas we are asking him to act on are Trade Justice and More and Better Aid,” he says. “We’ll be presenting him with a copy of the Make Poverty History Manifesto on the UK’s Presidency of the EU. He will also be presented with a special album containing very personal messages from the Jesuit community within the UK and beyond. This will include pictures of Jesuit Day of Prayer and Action campaign events, messages from parishioners, and drawings from Jesuit primary school pupils.”

Frank Turner SJ who will take up office in June as the Director of OCIPE (the Catholic European Study and Information Centre based in Brussels) continues: “It is important that the Jesuits, as a key part of Catholic constituency in the UK, can communicate the moral imperative for Mr Barroso to take immediate action on the issues of Trade and Aid. The Jesuits have seen first hand the tragedy of poverty through hundreds of years of mission work. We can no longer be a silent witness to the continuing deaths of people in poor countries through man-made poverty.”

JRS honoured to receive Award for Peace

Rome, 13 May 2005 (JRS Dispatches) - On 10 May the Together for Peace Foundation awarded the Jesuit Refugee Service the Enrique de la Mata International Prize for Peace in recognition of its work with Sri Lankan child survivors of the tsunami disaster in December 2004. However, the work with tsunami survivors is only one example of JRS’ work with forcibly displaced people around the world, particularly with the most forgotten refugees responding to the expressed wishes of refugee communities to be able to defend their own rights.

Together for Peace foundation is presided by Maria Pia Fanfani, who has been involved in charity for decades in 71 countries. At an official ceremony at the Italian Parliament, in the presence of President Pier Ferdinando Casini, the award was presented to Fr Lluís Magriñà, JRS International Director, who thanked the foundation on behalf of JRS staff. After the event, the award recipients, Prince Konstantin-Assen and representatives of the foundation were welcomed by Italian President Carlo Ciampi.

United Nations former Secretary General Boutros Boutros Galli, Vaclav Havel, Rafik Hariri, Rajiv Gandhi, Michelangelo Antonioni, Sean Connery, Jose Carreras and others are among the people honoured with the peace award.

"We are honoured to receive the peace award on behalf of the staff of the Jesuit Refugee Service who serve, accompany and advocate for forcibly displaced migrants in more than 50 countries around the world. It recognises the importance of the need to work for the rights of forcibly displaced migrants to live in peace and dignity”, said Fr Magriñà.

For more information see www.jrs.net/reports

Belgian Jesuit missionary killed in Kinshasa

Brussels, 8 May 2005 – Shortly after 20:00 PM last night the Belgian Jesuit missionary René De Haes has been killed in Kinshasa. On his way home he was shot by men dressed in military uniform. The news has been confirmed by members of the Jesuit order and by the Belgian Embassy in Kinshasa.

Father René De Haes (71) is the Rector of the international Jesuit study centre 'Saint Peter Canisius' in Kimwenza, some thirty kilometres from the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He returned home when his car was stopped in Kindele. People on the road were watching how men dressed in military uniform were looting a warehouse. Two of the looters asked Fr De Haes probably for money or for his car. Then De Haes was shot five times by them. Fr De Haes has been transferred to the University Hospital but it was of no avail. Fr De Haes died around 21:00 PM.

Fr De Haes was from Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium. He was born on 9 September 1933. He entered the Society of Jesus on 7 September 1952 and was ordained priest on 8 August 1964. He spent most of his life in Congo, particularly in the capital Kinshasa.

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British Jesuits unite to make poverty history

London, 26 April 2005 - British Jesuits and thousands of their co-workers will be joining together on Sunday, 15 May for a Day of Prayer and Action in support of MakePOVERTYHistory.

The initiative by the British Province of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) has attracted interest throughout the world, as schoolchildren, teachers, parishioners, priests, brothers and lay people who work with the Jesuits commit themselves to public activities that draw attention to the 2005 campaign for ‘Trade Justice, Drop the Debt, and More and Better Aid’. In addition to wearing the white band, many groups will be forming human white bands around buildings such as schools or churches. Classes and assemblies will have a special focus on the issues and the people involved; and Jesuit parishes from the north of Scotland to South Africa, and from Brixton Hill in London to Barbados in the West Indies will be reflecting and praying that the G8 leaders, meeting in Gleneagles in July, will be persuaded to honour the Millennium pledges.

One of the highlights of the Day of Prayer and Action will be a prayer prayed simultaneously in Britain (2pm) and its two dependent regions of Guyana (9am) and South Africa (3pm). The prayer has been specially written by Jesuit poet, Fr Patrick Purnell SJ, and is attached below for reference.

The British Jesuit Provincial, Fr David Smolira SJ, says an initiative of this nature is a vivid illustration of the Jesuits’ commitment to human dignity and justice for all: “As Jesuits, we believe in a ‘Faith that does Justice’, a spirituality that draws us into engagement with the important issues of our time. This year, we have what may be a unique opportunity to improve the lives of millions of people around the world who are suffering and dying needlessly because of poverty. By uniting in prayers and other activities on the Jesuit Day of Prayer and Action, we shall be demonstrating our solidarity with the poor, as we call upon the international community to work towards a fairer, more just world.”

Statement from the British Jesuits on the Election of Pope Benedict XVI

London, 19 April 2005 – Since their foundation by St Ignatius Loyola, the Jesuits have always been at the service of the Holy Father. The cardinals, guided in faith by the Holy Spirit, have made their choice, and we commit ourselves wholeheartedly and with enthusiasm to the leadership of Pope Benedict XVI.

We pray that the Church may grow from the legacy of his predecessor – not only in Pope Benedict's guidance in matters oof morals and church policy, but also in his pastoral concern for God's people and his particular compassion for the poor, the vulnerable and the marginalised.

Three Jesuits among the 115 Cardinal Electors

Rome, 16 April 2005 – Among the 115 Cardinals who will enter the Conclave on Mondat 18 April to elect a new Pope, there are three Jesuits: Carlo Maria Martini, Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja and Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Six other Jesuit Cardinals are over 80 and therefore not allowed to participate in the Conclave.

Carlo Maria Martini (78)
Archbishop emeritus of Milan, Italy.
Julius Riyadi Darmaatmadja (71)
Archbishop of Djakarta, Indonesia.
Jorge Mario Bergoglio (69)
Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Daniel Sonveaux appointed Provincial for Jesuits of Southern Belgium and Luxembourg

Brussels, 8 April 2005 – Father General has appointed Fr Daniel Sonveaux as new Provincial for Southern Belgium and Luxembourg. Sonveaux succeeds Fr Xavier Dijon and will take office on 31 July, Feast of the Jesuits' founder, Ignatius of Loyola.

Daniel Sonveaux, born 1947, is at present superior of the Jesuit community in Charleroi and professor at the 'Institut d'études techniques Notre Dame'. His pastoral work, especially with pupils and students, is very well appreciated.

The 'South Belgian Province' comprises the Jesuits of the French speaking part of Belgium and of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. It numbers 261 members. The main apostolates are education at different levels, spiritual exercises and social work.


Albert Longchamp appointed new Provincial for Switzerland

Zurich, 7 April 2005 – Father General has appointed Fr Albert Longchamp as new Provincial for Switzerland. He succeeds to Fr Hansruedi Kleiber and will take office in October.

Longchamp was born in 1941 in Echallens, Vaud and entered the Society of Jesus in 1962. He was ordained priest in 1973. For years he worked as a journalist and became director of the weekly 'L'Echo Illustré' and the monthly 'Choisir', both based in Geneva. He was also the correspondent for 'Témoinage Chrétien' in Paris. In Switzerland he was considered as one of the best religious reporters. His sharp pen was not always appreciated by Church authorities and for twenty years he was not allowed to write about the controversial 'Opus Dei' movement. Nevertheless, Longchamp became president of the Media Commission of the Swiss Bishops' Conference and of the Foundation Maurice Zundel.

The Jesuit Province of Switzerland numbers 82 members. The main apostolates are giving the Spiritual Exercises, campus ministry and publications.

More (in French): Rencontre avec Albert Longchamp


Jesuit Theologian Fr John O'Donnell passes away, Rome

Rome, 30 March 2005 – The Dean of the Faculty of Theology of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome (PUG) and a noted American Theologian died in the morning hours of today at the Gemelli hospital after a brief period of illness that left him in a coma on Good Friday. He was active and busy as a professor of Theology, writer and Dean at the Gregorian University until his death.

Fr O’Donnell was born at Baltimore, USA in 1944. In 1962 he joined the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus and in 1974 was ordained as a priest after his B. Th. at the Gregorian University. He obtained his doctorate in Theology from the Oxford University, London. He has illustrated academic life and he taught at the Heythrop College, University of London, Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, MA and the Pontifical Gregorian University. He was also the Spiritual Director at the “Collegio del Gesù” and Prefect of Studies of the Jesuit students there. Before taking up the job of Dean of Theology faculty, O’Donnell was the Rector at the Jesuit community in Cambridge, US.

As a professor of dogmatics he took courses on Christology and Trinity. Without mentioning the articles that he has published, he has written many books in Theology, among them are: Hans Urs von Balthasar, Understanding the Basics, Living with your Catholic Faith - Wisconsin, 1999; The mystery of the Triune God, Trinity and Temporality, Karl Rahner: Life in the Spirit, Prayer in the Catechism: an Ignatian Approach, Sacerdozio e Spiritualità Ignatiana which he co-authored with Sergio Rendiana sj.

At the time of his death Fr O’Donnell was taking a seminar on the “Pascal Mystery” for second cycle and a course on “Christology” for the first cycle students. He was guiding as many as 21 doctoral and licentiate students. He was a hard worker and committed Jesuit. He was a man of availability and understanding and was directing many students in their spiritual journeys. Among the student body of the Gregorian, O’Donnell was very much appreciated and respected for his keen interest in the welfare of them.

The funeral of Fr John O’Donnell is scheduled on 31 March at 10.30 at the chapel of Bellarmino Jesuit community, Rome, where he lived till his death. RIP.

Reported by OV veigas@unigre.it

New Jesuit Provincial appointed for Portugal

Lisboa, 21 March 2005 - The Office of the Jesuit Province of Portugal announced today that Father General has appointed Fr Nuno da Silva Gonçalves as new Provincial for Portugal. He succeeds Fr Amadeu Pinto and will officially take office on 18 July 2005.

Fr Gonçalves (46) entered the Society of Jesus in 1975 and has been ordained priest in 1986. At present he is the Director of the College of Philosophy in Braga and Rector of the Jesuit students community there.

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New Jesuit Provincial announced for Britain

London, 18 March 2005 - The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Peter Hans Kolvenbach SJ has appointed Father Michael Holman SJ as the next Provincial of the British Jesuits. He will succeed Father David Smolira SJ this summer.

Fr Holman, 50, was born and brought up in Wimbledon, south London, where he was educated by the Jesuits, at Donhead Preparatory School and at Wimbledon College. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus in Rainhill, Liverpool in 1974, and was ordained priest with six other Jesuits in the Sacred Heart Church, Wimbledon, in 1988 where he also made his final profession in 1997.

Fr Holman studied at Heythrop College, University of London; Campion Hall, Oxford; The Weston Jesuit School of Theology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and Fordham University, New York, and holds degrees in Philosophy, Theology and Education Administration. He has worked in Jesuit schools in Glasgow, Sheffield and latterly at Wimbledon College where he was headmaster for nine years until July 2004. Fr Holman also has pastoral experience in the field of Ignatian spirituality and spiritual direction. While completing his final year of training in 1995, he worked for six months as a prison and hospital chaplain in Guyana, South America. Presently on sabbatical in the USA, he will take up his new post on the Feast of St Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, 31 July 2005.

Number of Jesuits worldwide falling down to less than 20,000

Rome, 15 March 2005 - The Curia General Secretariat has compiled the statistics of the Society for 2004. As of 1 January 2005, the number of Jesuits was 19850 (13966 priests, 3051 scholastics, 1921 brothers and 909 novices). As compared with the previous year there is a decrease of 320. For the first time in years the number of Jesuits worldwide fell down to less than 20,000.

During the past year 512 entered, 414 died and 418 left the Society. The average age of all the Jesuits at the beginning of this year was 53.18: for priests 59.83, scholastics 24.84 and brothers 62.37. Among the Assistancies, South Asia continued to have the largest membership (4003 or 20.2% of all the Jesuits), followed by the United States of America (3217 or 16.7%). The Central Europe Assistancy is at the other end: 773 Jesuits or 3.9%. The number of Jesuits in all the European Assistancies is 6639 (33.4%).

Biblical Scholar Fr. Ugo Vanni SJ Honoured in Rome

Rome, 10 March 2005 – One of the stalwarts of Biblical Institute of Rome, a renowned professor of New Testament, a simple but committed Jesuit Fr. Ugo Vanni, was honoured today, jointly by the Pontifical Gregorian University (PUG) and the Pontifical Biblical Institute (PBI) where he taught for 34 long years. To mark this auspicious occasion Fr. Vanni’s ex-students, friends and colleagues have brought out a book and published by the cittadella editrice, Assisi, APOKALYPSIS, which is a magnificent work of 35 different authors with 880 pages dealing exclusively on the last book of the Sacred Scripture, The Revelation of John. While presenting the book, Apokalypsis: Percorsi nell’Apocalisse di Giovanni. Cardinal Carlo M. Martini writes “Indeed it is right to honour Fr. Vanni and the courage to put at the centre his research on a text which is so difficult as of Revelation and a bit marginalised in its complexity that of New Testament. Through his exegesis, he has contributed for the growth of faith, prayer and hope of the Christian community.”

Fr.Vanni was born in 1929 in Argentina and entered the Roman Province of the Society of Jesus in 1946. He did his licentiate in philosophy (1954) and Theology (1961) at the Gregorian University. In 1970 he obtained his doctorate in Sacred Scripture at the Pontifical Biblical Institute. He has a brilliant teaching carrier. He taught at the Pontifical college of Leoniano of Anagni then at Naples, later at the Gregorian and Biblical Institute. The book of Revelation was his field of specialization and has written 16 books and more than 185 articles in national and international journals. Fr. Vanni was also the Dean at the Naples’ Pontifical faculty of Theology. Since 2000, he is the member to the Pontifical Biblical Commission and resides at the Jesuit community of Gregorian University, Rome. [OV]

British Jesuits back Anti-Poverty Campaign en masse

London, 15 February 2005 - The British Province of the Society of Jesus has registered its support for the Make Poverty History campaign, a major initiative by a broad coalition of agencies, including Church and faith groups and most of the major development and aid agencies, including CAFOD and SCIAF. Last month, the Conference of Religious, at their Annual General Meeting, called for all congregations in England and Wales to register, and to participate fully in the activities of the campaign.

Jesuit Missions and Young British Jesuit Alumni are two of many apostolates in the Province that are actively promoting the campaign. Supporters, friends and present and former volunteers are being asked to sign up and to wear the white bands as a symbol of solidarity.

Most of the Jesuit colleges in the Province are supporting it too. On February 3, students from three Jesuit colleges — St Aloysius, Glasgow, St Ignatius, Enfield, and Wimbledon — were among the estimated 20,000 crowd who filled Trafalgar Square to listen to Nelson Mandela (picture) and Sir Bob Geldof at an event organised by the Make Poverty History campaign.

The Make Poverty History campaign, taking place in the year of the UK’s presidency of the G7/8, and of the EU, provides an unparalleled opportunity for substantial progress in eradicating developing world poverty. The UK Government is already promoting policies that could go a long way to achieving some of the campaign’s goals and, at a recent meeting for NGOs and faith groups, appealed to those groups to keep up the pressure

For further information, contact Ged Clapson (Communications Officer, British Jesuits) on 020 7499 0285 or 07778 218671.

Report: Jesuit Presence at World Social Forum

Melbourne, 10 February 2005 (Jesuits in Australia) - At the World Social Forum held, at Porto Alegre in Brazil, 100,000 representatives of grass roots organisations came together. 150 delegates of Jesuit works were among them, and later reflected on the experience. The World Social Forum represents the human side of the economic issues discussed at Davos and by the Council of Foreign Ministers. It includes popular groups from around the world. The programme allows groups to make their voice heard through marches, seminars, lectures and creative performances.

About 150 delegates from Jesuit social ministries attended the meeting. They found that their own diversity reflected the challenges of such meetings. The challenge is to represent the poor of the world whose needs across the world are so different. They found that Jesuits from North-eastern Brazil were preoccupied with increasing desertification. The Indian participants were interested in the theme of exclusion.

Those from Latin America were preoccupied with the economies of solidarity. Those from Europe were concerned with North-South relations. Those coming from Amazonia were interested in the issue of water. Those from Africa and Colombia were worried about the problems of war and peace, and with the criminalisation of social protest on the excuse that terrorism must be fought. They were convinced of the value of such gatherings, which are also a spur to increasing coordination between Jesuit initiatives in different provinces.

American Jesuit Roger Haight barred from teaching Catholic theology

Rome, 8 February 2005 (NCR) - In a strongly worded "notification," the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican's doctrinal agency, has denounced the book Jesus: Symbol of God by Jesuit Fr. Roger Haight as containing "grave doctrinal errors against the divine and Catholic doctrine of the church." In consequence, Haight, an American, has been prohibited from teaching Catholic theology "until his positions have been corrected so as to be in full conformity with the doctrine of the church." The news was posted on the National Catholic Reporter website by Vatican-watcher John Allen.

Haight was notified of a review of his work by the CDF in 2000, and shortly thereafter the Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education ordered him suspended from the Jesuit-run Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Mass. Currently he is teaching as adjunct professor at the Union Theological Seminary in New York. Haight has described Jesus: Symbol of God as an attempt to express traditional doctrines about Christ and salvation in a language appropriate to post-modern culture. Some reviewers have found it an exciting new Christological approach, while others feel that Haight goes too far in jettisoning or reinterpreting core doctrines.

Though the notification asserts that Haight's book contains "grave doctrinal errors," it does not use the word "heresy." It also does not prevent Haight from publishing. Because Haight is currently at a non-Catholic institution, the teaching prohibition in the "notification" is expected to have little practical effect.


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Jesuits in Italy are preparing the 2006 Ignatian-Xaverian Jubilee


Rome, 28 January 2005 - The Provincial of Italy, Fr Francesco Tata, has appointed an organising committee to prepare the Ignatian-Xaverian Jubilee. Coordinator is Fr Giuseppe Bellucci. Among the planned projects there are a dvd about Jesuits and missions, an art exhibition, a sport tournament with European Jesuit schools, conferences, concerts, publications and a main media event.

...Read the full programme
...Contact: Giuseppe Bellucci, Coordinator, bellucci.g@gesuiti.it 

Jesuit Bishop Joseph Werth elected president of Russian Catholic Bishop’s conference

St. Petersburg, 25 January 2005 - The Bishop of Transfiguration Diocese of Novosibirsk, Joseph Werth SJ is elected as the new president of Russian Catholic Bishop’s Conference (KKEP) at its annual General Body meeting which held recently in St. Petersburg, Russia. He said in his message that the Catholic Church will do all the possible to collaborate with the Russian Orthodox Church in proclaiming the Gospel.

In Russian Federation there are four Catholic Dioceses with four Bishops including the Moscow Archdiocese. Bp. Werth succeeds, Metropolitan Archbishop Thaddeus Kondrusiewicz, who was till now the President of KKEP. The active presence of KKEP is seen as important one in Russia at the wake of misunderstanding on certain aspects of church life and fragile relationship that the Catholic Church enjoys with the Russian Orthodox Church. Bishop Werth was born at Karaganda, Kazakhstan in 1952 and in 1984 he was ordained as a Jesuit priest. In 1991 he was appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of Catholics in Siberia and in 2002 he became Bishop of newly created Diocese of Transfiguration in Novosibirsk.  [OV]

Picture: Bishop Joseph Werth at the ordination of his brother Klemens SJ, August 2002

Tsunami relief should wake consciences, Jesuit journal says

Rome, Jan. 13 (CWNews.com) - The tidal wave that swept southeast Asia on December 26 has brought mankind face-to-face with its moral responsibilities, argues Civilta Cattolica , the authoritative Jesuit journal .

In its issue dated January 15, Civilta Cattolica editorializes that there is a danger that the Asian tragedy will be "quickly forgotten." The magazine argues that it is important to remain conscious of the human suffering caused by this natural disaster, "because it could be the occasion for a call to the conscience of contemporary man." Civilta Cattolica-- which is regarded as an accurate barometer of Vatican thinking, since all articles are approved in advance by the Secretariat of State-- remarks that the tsunami has prompted many observers to ask why God allows so much suffering. It is a mistake, the editorial says, to "see in natural disasters a divine punishment for the sins of men." The workings of nature-- including such destructive episodes-- are a part of life, the magazine argues.

"Men cannot avoid the occurrence of natural catastrophes," the magazine reasons. "But they can limit the damage." Through better scientific understanding and the application of appropriate technology, men can prepare for the possibility of disasters, and through charitable relief they can allay the suffering.

"Unfortunately, that is not the orientation that directs science and technology today," the magazine editorial says. Instead, Civilta laments, much of the power of modern science is directed toward profit interests, or military domination. The funds devoted to armaments could better be used, the editorial says, in the campaign against AIDS, or hunger, or illiteracy.

Thus the worldwide response to the Asia tragedy could awaken consciences, the Jesuit journal suggests. The appeal to human solidarity should command the attention of world leaders, so that they can devote their energy to the reconstruction of the devastated region.

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