Archive for July, 2013
Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás’ Homily to MAGIS Pilgrims: There is Nothing Complicated About Faith
By Doris Yu
Jesuit Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, said a Mass in Spanish, English and Portuguese for all 2,000 attendees of MAGIS 2013 on the last day of the pilgrims’ stay in Salvador, Brazil, before the delegations headed out for immersion experiences throughout the country.
The Mass, a missioning Mass for blessing the pilgrims before embarking on their service trips, was held on July 15 at Colégio Antônio Vieira, the Jesuit high school in Salvador named for the Portuguese Jesuit philosopher and writer. Fr. Nicolás advised the audience to listen to the voice of God in their hearts during the homily, which he preached in Spanish and English.
The Gospel story of the good Samaritan “contains one of the secrets our faith,” said Father General, which is that “God says to us that there is nothing complicated about the faith … faith is mostly in the heart. It is not far.”
“[Jesus] told us God is mercy and compassion. We don’t need to complicate that, we don’t need thick books of theology to prove that; we need a heart, a heart that can reach in the line of the compassion of God.”
Watch the English portions of Fr. Nicolás’ homily in the video below.
Ignatian News Network’s latest video profiles The Jesuit Post, currently on tour in various locations throughout Brazil for MAGIS 2013 and World Youth Day. Jesuits Eric Sundrup and Sam Sawyer are reporting from Rio; Brendan Busse is in Belem, Brazil, in the Amazon; Chris Schroeder is in Cascavel in Southern Brazil; Martin Ngo is in Belo Horizante; and Jason Welle is with an immersion experience group in Pontau, Rio de Janeiro. The team will reunite on July 22 for World Youth Day.
Watch the video to see the team’s comments pre-WYD:
SALVADOR, Brazil (CNS) — Using the example of a big-hearted giraffe, the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás, told 2,000 MAGIS pilgrims: “Keep your eyes and your hearts open.”
The young people from around the world — mostly students from Jesuit universities — gathered in Salvador for MAGIS, a 10-day, pre-World Youth Day program, designed for the young people to examine their lives to see how they can do more for Christ and for others.
Before they set off for prayer and service activities in dozens of locations throughout Brazil, they attended a Mass July 15 with Fr. Nicolás.
In his homily — in both Spanish and English — Fr. Nicolás told the pilgrims about a Cambodian bishop who chose the giraffe as his diocesan symbol because it has one of the biggest hearts in the animal kingdom — it has to have a big heart to pump blood all the way up to its brain. Because it is so tall, it has “a very high point of view,” he said.
“Humanity is more than any one of us has experienced in our own countries,” the Jesuit general told the young people. Approaching the people of Brazil and their fellow pilgrims with a big heart and a broad view can change their lives.
The Gospel story of the good Samaritan “contains one of the secrets our faith,” which is that “faith is mostly in the heart. It is not far,” he said. “We don’t have to go up to heavens,” but one must listen to the voice of God in his or her heart.
Some people, he said, want to hold on to ancient traditions “which say nothing to you young people. And many young people don’t come to church and the older people say, ‘They have no faith.’ But I say, ‘Yes, they have faith. Look at their hearts. There you will find it.’”
“God says to us that there is nothing complicated about the faith, but you must listen to your heart,” he said.
Fr. Nicolás told the pilgrims about being with a group of young Jesuits in Japan. They watched a program about 50 young, non-Christian Japanese who lived and worked abroad for two years, mostly in programs similar to the Peace Corps. He said they all admitted they went out of curiosity, but were changed by their contact the poor, “people who were suffering, people who had great difficulties, and yet, they had hope, they had joy.”
“What I thought at the time was, ‘This is the kind of people I would like to join the Society of Jesus,’” he said, “people with a heart, and therefore they have a capacity to grow into Christ. They have one of the secrets of our faith — that faith is in the heart.
“Jesus is the summary of our faith. He showed in his words — which were very simple — in his preaching and his life he told us what God is. He told us God is mercy and compassion. We don’t need to complicate that, we don’t need thick books of theology to prove that; we need a heart, a heart that can reach in the line of the compassion of God.”
“The secret of secrets” in Christianity is love, “love of God that turns into love of neighbor,” he said.
“It’s not whom we love, but whether we love or not, that’s the question,” Fr. Nicolás told the students. [Catholic News Service]
By Becky Sindelar
A Jesuit heritage tour of Argentina and Paraguay will follow the footsteps of Jesuits from the early 1600s through the present day — including the first Jesuit pope in his hometown. Sponsored by the California Province Jesuits, participants have the chance to immerse themselves in South America’s rich Jesuit history.
Jesuit Father John Mossi, from the California Province, and Argentinian Jesuit Father Michael Petty will lead pilgrims on the cultural and spiritual journey from February 17 to March 1, 2014. The tour will begin in Córdoba, Argentina, where a group of Jesuits missioned from Spain arrived in 1599 and created a center of learning.
From there, the journey continues to the Jesuit Reductions in Posadas, on the border of Paraguay. The Jesuits in the 17th century built the famous Jesuit Reductions, indigenous cities of culture, education, food production and religious evangelization in the jungle areas of today’s Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil and Uruguay. These thriving cities were one of the most ambitious creations of Catholic missionary activity, according to Fr. Mossi.
“They were renowned for their architecture, systems of government and flourishing community life that empowered the indigenous peoples,” explains Fr. Mossi. “As European governments saw the slave trade as a means of profit and commerce, the Reductions became sources of exploitations. The Jesuits kept moving the Reductions deeper into the jungles in order to protect them. Eventually, the creation of the Reductions and protection of native people was interpreted as subversive action instigated by the Jesuits and became another element of the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773.”
The tour will end in Buenos Aires, and while it was planned before Pope Francis was elected, the schedule is being updated to explore his connections to his native city.
“Fr. Petty, our local Jesuit guide, is an Argentinian who knows Pope Francis. He’s working to include sites and churches Pope Francis frequented in Buenos Aires,” says Fr. Mossi.
Fr. Mossi believes participants will come away with a sense of Jesuit missionary spirituality, history and culture in South America. He expects a group of about 25 people, including many who have participated in previous Jesuit pilgrimages sponsored by the California Province.Joe Naylor, assistant for advancement and communications for the California Province, has been on Jesuit pilgrimages to Europe and China and says that the groups bond from their Jesuit connections. He’s already looking forward to next year’s trip.
“A highlight of the pilgrimage will be visiting the religious sites where our new Jesuit pope celebrated the Mass. These pilgrimages provide not only an insight to the rich legacy of St. Ignatius and the traditions of the Jesuits, but also a more global view of our Jesuit ministries,” Naylor said.
To learn more about the Jesuit Reductions Tour, visit www.jesuitscalifornia.org/argentina.
When Pope Francis met with the writers of the Jesuit journal “La Civilta Cattolica” at the Vatican in June, he had a clear message for Jesuits: “Your proper place is on the frontiers. This is the place of Jesuits.”
But he warned against trying to tame the frontiers. “You must go to the frontiers and not bring the frontiers home to varnish them a bit and tame them. In today’s world, subject to rapid changes and agitated by questions of great relevance for the life of the faith, a courageous commitment is urgent to educate to a faith of conviction and maturity, capable of giving meaning to life and of offering convincing answers to all those seeking God.”
The pope also spoke about the Jesuits’ charism, which he said includes looking for God in all things.
“One treasure of the Jesuits is spiritual discernment that seeks to recognize the presence of God’s spirit in human and cultural experiences,” said the Jesuit pope.
Pope Francis also said that his fellow Jesuits can help heal the rift between the Gospel and today’s cultures.
“This ministry is typical of the mission of the Society of Jesus,” he said, urging the editors and staff of the journal to continue offering the world “your reflections and your in-depth analyses” of cultural and social trends and transformations, including hot button topics.
Pope Francis said the magazine’s main task is to build bridges, not walls, and engage in dialogue with all people, even those who are not Christian but share the same values, as well as those who are antagonistic to the church.