Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

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.

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:
http://www.jesuitpartners.org/faminerelief
and
http://www.jrsusa.org/donate

Jesuit Provincial of East Africa to Address Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice in Washington

Over 1,000 students, teachers, parish members, and others passionate about faith-inspired social justice will gather in Washington, DC, from November 12-14, 2011, for the 14th annual Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ) sponsored by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.

The Teach-In is an opportunity for members of Jesuit institutions and partners to gather for learning, prayer, networking and legislative advocacy on Capitol Hill. Teach-In attendees represent twenty-eight Jesuit universities, over twenty-five Jesuit high schools, Jesuit parishes, Jesuit volunteer communities, and many other Catholic institutions and organizations.

Keynote speakers include Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, Provincial of the East African Province of the Society of Jesus, among others.

Fr. Orobator is a lecturer at Hekima College Jesuit School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya, the author of Theology Brewed in an African Pot and often presents on ethical and theological issues in church, religion, and society in Africa.

The theme of IFTJ 2011 is “The Gritty Reality: Feel It, Think It, Engage It,” derived from a speech given by former Jesuit Superior General, Jesuit 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.”

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Loyola New Orleans professor is celebrating 50 years as a Jesuit

Jesuit Father Stephen Rowntree was 17 when he joined the Society of Jesus in 1961. He saw it as a chance to seamlessly pair his faith with his desire to be a college professor.

“The thought was, I can do what I want, which is to be a college teacher, and I could be a priest, which is what God wants,” he said. “My identity was set. I would reflect now that God wanted what I wanted most deeply, and that is why this has been such a charmed life for me.”

Fifty years later, the Loyola University New Orleans philosophy professor is celebrating a half-century as a Jesuit. Rowntree’s teaching style has been driven by his engaging and energetic personality during his 35 years in the classroom. He said he likes to try to “rattle students’ cages” a little bit, but he does so with a purpose…

Rowntree’s work has not just focused on undergrads. He also has worked extensively to teach philosophy and ethics to seminarians studying to be Jesuit priests. From 1994 to 2001, he helped found Arrupe College, a four-year integrated philosophy, religious studies and humanities program for English-speaking African Jesuit scholars in Harare, Zimbabwe. Before that, he taught seminarians at Loyola for 10 years.

“It was a great adventure. We started out with an empty field, and within a couple of years, we had a fully functioning campus,” he said about his time at Arrupe College.

Read more about Rowntree’s life as a Jesuit at Nola.com.

Jesuit Encounters “Warm Heart of Africa” Through New Educational Efforts in Malawi

Fifth grade students from Our St. Joseph Jesuit Parish Primary School in Kasungu, Malawi visit the site of the future Loyola Jesuit Secondary School with their headmaster (back left), Fr. Peter Henriot, SJ, development director of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (back center) and Fr. Alojz Podgrajsek, SJ, project director of Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (back right).

Serving in Zambia on sabbatical in 1989 had a life-changing affect on Jesuit Father Peter Henriot. “Working in a village development project with local people and doing simple tasks did almost more for my education than all the other learning I gathered while studying and working in the United States. And at the end of that year, the people there gave me the best gift – the desire to stay.”

And for the next 21 years that’s exactly what Fr. Henriot was able to do, having joined the Zambia-Malawi Province (transferring from the Oregon Province) while working with the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Zambia after having spent the previous 16 years with Center of Concern in Washington, D.C.  And, then in 2010, he was assigned to another purpose – to help establish Loyola Jesuit Secondary School (LJSS) in Malawi.

Although it is a country rich in natural resources, Malawi, whose nickname is “The Warm Heart of Africa,” continues to be one of the poorest countries in the world in terms of human development. It ranks a somber 153 out of 169 on the United Nations Human Development Index, which is largely caused by lack of educational opportunities for its youth.

“There simply is no future for Malawi without better education for the young people,” Henriot states.

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