Archive for November, 2011

Changing People’s Lives: The Society of Jesus in Eastern Africa

In November, over 1,100 students, teachers, parish members and others passionate about faith-inspired social justice gathered in Washington, DC for the 14th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

For this year’s Teach In, Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, provincial of the East African Province of the Society of Jesus, was the keynote speaker who discussed the issues facing his province today. During his time at the Teach In, National Jesuit News interviewed Fr. Orobator about the challenges that the Society of Jesus faces in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Republics of the Sudan in the North and South.

“I think the unique mission of the Society of Jesus is that we are able to think ‘outside of the box’.” I think that is very unique to Jesuits,” says Fr. Orobator. “We can work in parishes, we can run schools, we can run communications centers, we can run many different apostolates, but we can do it in a way that is unconventional.”

The theme of this year’s event was “The Gritty Reality: Feel It, Think It, Engage It,” derived from a speech given by former Jesuit Superior General, Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, in 2000 entitled, “The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education.” Kolvenbach said, “students, in the course of their formation, must let the gritty reality of this world into their lives, so they can learn to feel it, think about it critically, respond to its suffering and engage it constructively.”

You can watch National Jesuit News’ interview with Fr. Orobator below.

Approaching Islam in the Light of Ignatian Spiritual Exercises

How do Jesuits approach Islam and Muslims in the various contexts of countries and works? How do the Spiritual Exercises guide our perception and action within the Christian-Muslim relationship and what can we learn in listening to Muslim spiritual experience?

These were some of the main questions asked in the international meeting “Jesuits Among Muslims” which took place in Rome, hosted by the Gregorian University. 37 Jesuits from five continents participated in the meeting, highlighted by the visits of Father General and Cardinal Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council of Interreligious Dialogue.

American Jesuit, Father Patrick Ryan’s paper “Looking at Islam with Ignatian eyes – Reading Ignatius with Muslim Eyes” opened this circle of reflection on Jesuit foundations, followed by a fruitful discussion about “Ignatian Discernment: Relevant for our Modus Procedendi with Muslims Today.”

“Certain images and themes in the spirituality of Ignatius have a certain parallelism with themes in Islamic spirituality, without suggesting any derivation of either from the other; the similarity between the Quranic motif of the fall of Iblis (the Devil) for refusing to bow before Adam and the medieval Christian sense that the sin of the angels was their rejection of the planned Incarnation as the background for Spiritual Exercises # 50 (the sin of the angels); the centrality of election in the spirituality of Ignatius and the similarities with and differences from Islamic istikhara ; imagery from military life in both Muslim mystical jihad al-akbar (“the greater jihad”) and the Crusade/Reconquista imagery in some of Ignatius’ most famous writings,” commented Fr. Ryan.

The meeting aimed on the one hand to a reflection on the shared spiritual-theological basis underlying and inspiring all the very different apostolic engagement of Jesuits which reaches from the courageous pastoral presence in difficult situations as in Algeria or Pakistan to the scholarly reflection on the Arab-Christian heritage in Beirut (Universite Saint Joseph) and Rome (Jesuits at the Pontifical Institute of Oriental Studies, others at the Pontifical Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies).


Jesuit Provincial Shares Efforts to Help Those Suffering in the Horn of Africa Famine

Jesuit Father A.E. Orobator, provincial of the Society of Jesus is Eastern Africa, sat down with National Jesuit News via video chat to discuss the needs and the efforts of his group while working with those most affected by the ongoing famine in the Horn of Africa.

The Jesuits are responding to this humanitarian crisis in two ways: immediate food assistance and long-term projects. According to the UN, more than 12 million people are in need of emergency assistance, primarily in Somalia, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

Check out our video interview with Fr. Orobator below.

The Jesuits pray for all those suffering from drought, hunger, displacement and famine in the Horn of Africa and are grateful for your ongoing prayers and support.

For more information about how you can help, please visit:

This Weekend in the Pews: The New Roman Missal – Challenge & Opportunity

In preparation for the new English translation of the Mass, Jesuit Father John Baldovin, a professor of historical and liturgical theology at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, presents this in-depth study of the New Roman Missal. Hopefully it will help your prepare for the changes you will be experiencing this weekend in the pews.

The brief overview is about the changes in the translation along with some ideas for faithful ministers of the church to engage this new translation responsibly and use it as well as possible.

The New Roman Missal: Challenge & Opportunity from Jesuit Conference USA on Vimeo.

The Roman Missal is the book containing the prescribed prayers, chants and instructions for the celebration of Mass in the Roman Catholic Church. Published first in Latin under the title Missale Romanum, the text is then translated and is published in modern languages for use in local churches throughout the world. In this video, Fr. Baldovin, gives a background on the history of the translations, their implications and how we got to the latest translation of the Missale Romanum to be implemented in United States parishes this weekend.

20/20 Profiles Pine Ridge Reservation, Features Red Cloud Indian School

Thanksgiving is often spent in the company of family and friends, giving thanks for what we have and appreciating the littlest gifts. But on this day of thanks, we should also remember and pray for those who are struggling, be it physically, spiritually, financially or emotionally.

One such group are the Lakota Indians of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. On the reservation, which covers a 5,000 square foot swath of land in the southwestern corner of South Dakota, staggering poverty and an unemployment rate that hovers around 80% leave the children of the Pine Ridge facing an uphill struggle as they learn and grown up on the reservation. The Jesuits have been ministering to the Lakota of the Pine Ridge since the late 1800s, when they founded the Red Cloud Indian School.

20/20 recently profiled the Pine Ridge, and some of the young people who live on the reservation, including a few students from the Jesuit’s Red Cloud Indian School.


How to Help: Organizations Working to Improve Life at Pine Ridge