Archive for the ‘Poverty’ Category
Since arriving to Peru in the 16th century, the Jesuits have established a remarkable array of ministries in the South American country including 10 parishes, distribution centers for food and clothing and 72 Fe y Alegria (Faith and Joy) schools, which provide a free education to more than 86,000 Peruvian children.
Since 1968, the Jesuits of the Chicago – Detroit Province have had commitment of service with Peru that continues to evolve and flourish today. These relationships between Jesuit provinces, called “twinning,” promote reciprocal sharing between the two and help strengthen and grow the Church’s presence and reach.
The first destinados, Jesuit Fathers Robert Beckman and Benjamin Morin, were missioned to Peru and arrived in Lima on October 28, 1960. Since then, more than 50 Jesuits have been sent out across the county, not only to serve the poor, but also fully embrace the culture and live among the Peruvian people in their communities.
Find out more about the work of the Chicago – Detroit Province Jesuits in Peru by visiting their website, which includes more information, photos, a podcast and a video with the Jesuits who are serving God’s people in Peru.
Jesuit Father Jack Stochl found his heart’s home when he first went as a Jesuit scholastic in 1948 to Belize, where he remains today at age 87.
The government of that Central American nation recently recognized his commitment when it presented him last fall with the Meritorious Service Award for his 64 years of helping the people of Belize by teaching English and, more recently, caring for prisoners.
This disciplined man followed the same daily routine for years, rising at 4 a.m. to exercise, pray and teach English each morning at St. John’s College in Belize City. He ran the Extension School in the late afternoon and evening, returning home in time for bed at 9:30 p.m.
Fr. Stochl founded the Extension School in 1957 in the heart of Belize City. The school’s academic offerings were limited but effective, and were aimed at helping students earn a grade school diploma or “leaving permit” that would qualify them for a government job. He had great organizational skills and was ready to take charge of things.
Jesuit Father Jim Short, who now lives at Bellarmine House in St. Louis, worked with Fr. Stochl for years, including time together at St. Martin de Porres Parish in Belize City. “Jack had a good touch with people and chose good teachers,” he said. “He had goals and knew what he wanted to achieve.”
That keen sense of focus was evident in his various roles over many years in the Jesuits’ mission in Belize. He was first and foremost a dedicated and demanding teacher of the English language, constantly pushing his students to master English.
He served as headmaster of the secondary education division of St. John’s College from 1965 to 1969 and from 1987 to 1992; he was the mission superior from 1977 to 1983.
The Meritorious Service Award noted his radio work as well, saying that “his voice may be familiar to some early risers because for the past 34 years, going back to the days of Radio Belize, he has delivered a brief Morning Devotion talk each week.”
He took up residence at St. Martin’s parish in 1987 and served as its pastor from 1995 until 2004.
“He turned out to be an excellent pastor,” Short said, someone who continued the good relationships with people in the parish that his predecessors had begun.
In 2005, when he turned 80, Fr. Stochl became pastoral minister to inmates of the Belize prison. At the urging or a parishioner, he reluctantly visited prisoners who were reading the Bible. Fr. Stochl said he was not sure at first whether they were sincere or just faking, but “we got along comfortably and I continued to visit them each week. So when I retired from the parish and looked for something to do, the prison was the obvious choice”
Fr. Stochl’s work has grown. He goes to the prison at least five days a week and offers Mass on Saturdays for around 100 inmates with no guard present. He also runs three weekly counseling groups and visits men in the Maximum Security and punishment sections.
“Being present to them and interested means a lot,” he said. He is secretary of the Belize branch of Prison Fellowship International, and is involved in two rehabilitation programs. “The work grows on you, and so do the inmates once you get to know them as persons.”
The thread that connects these different areas of Fr. Stochl’s ministry is his sense of identifying with the Belizean people.
He became a Belizean citizen in 1974, not as a political statement but as a sign that he would remain with the people. Early on he developed a great affection for the Garifuna, Afro-Caribbean people who live along Belize’s southern coast and other parts of Central America. As a scholastic, Fr. Stochl worked with a number of Garifuna students to create a way of writing their language. He continued this project during summer vacations in theology with the help of now retired Bishop Martin. The result was a dictionary and a small prayer book,
In Belize City, he always took time to chat with ordinary people. Now, he talks with prisoners, teaching a religious sensibility that will help them.
“He is where he should be,” Fr. Short said. “His heart is in the right place.”
Jesuit Provincial of Eastern Africa Discusses the Situation in Uganda Today in This Month’s NJN Podcast
Last month, a video detailing atrocities committed by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which he heads, caused an Internet sensation. The video, which has been viewed by some 100 million people, made Joseph Kony a household name.
The warlord and his ruthless guerrilla group are responsible for a 26-year campaign of terror in Uganda that has been marked by child abductions and widespread killings. Last year, President Obama dispatched 100 U.S. troops — mostly Army Special Forces — to Central Africa to advise regional forces in their hunt for Kony.
The group running the Kony 2012 campaign is holding a nationwide event today – Friday, April 20 — titled “Cover the Night,” where supporters are encouraged to spread the word of Kony 2012 around their local communities.
The Society of Jesus, the largest religious order of Roman Catholic priests and brothers in the world, has worked in Uganda for more than 40 years. The Society’s Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has conducted peace-building workshops, run schools and economic development projects and ministered to refugees in Uganda. In 2005, the Jesuits of the Eastern Africa Province began planning for a secondary school in northern Uganda, the Ocer Campion Jesuit College in Gulu. The co-educational high school admitted its first students in early 2010 and is already having a tremendously positive impact in a region devastated by over 20 years of civil war. The school will grow to a capacity of 1,200 students and includes agricultural and vocational training as well as rigorous academic formation in the Jesuit tradition, religious formation and peace education.
In this podcast, Jesuit Father Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, the Jesuit provincial of Eastern Africa, speaks with National Jesuit News about the Jesuit’s work in Uganda, the progress that’s been made, the work that still needs to be done and how young people can get involved.
Jesuits have recently provided 127 flood-affected families with new homes in Raichur, India. Residents there lost their homes in late 2009 when flooding swept through the southwestern region of the country.
The Jesuits in the region have been working for the last two years to help rebuild the homes, especially for the poorest in the community.
“We are handing over 127 houses in Manvi and Sindanoor subdistrict,” said Jesuit Father Eric Mathias, director of the Centre for Non Formal and Continuing Education, a Jesuit-run non-governmental organization (NGO).
“We have been given a lovely house with a bedroom, hall and kitchen. This is a great gift to all of us who had no shelter, said Arogyappa, one of the beneficiaries.
Each home cost 150,000 rupees (US $3,000). Ninety percent of the funds to build the homes were provided by the Jesuit-run center, the rest came from donations.
Hampayya Nayak, a local legislator, praised the Jesuits for their efforts during the handing over ceremony in late February.
“I appreciate the Jesuits’ commitment to the cause of the poor. They have shown people through their work where God is really found.”
In 1972, Jesuit Father John Baumann started a small training institute with the goal of supporting neighborhood organizations in California. What eventually came from this idea was the Pacific Institute for Community Organizations, now known as the PICO National Network. And, his desire to help local organizations has grown to a national outreach program, which has helped more than a million families and 1,000 congregations from 40 religious denominations. PICO has successfully worked to increase access to healthcare, improve public schools, make neighborhoods safer, build affordable housing and redevelop communities. Because of his work on problems facing urban, suburban and rural communities, Fr. Baumann sat down with the National Catholic Reporter to share his perspective on the U.S. economy today.
NCR: From your long-term perspective, what do you make of all that’s going on in the U.S. today regarding economic disparity, Occupy movements, etc.?
Baumann: I’d say that many Americans believe that the American Dream, also known as “America is the land of opportunity,” was once true, but it doesn’t hold anymore. Every previous generation has really known America as the land of opportunity, where children were expected to do as well or better than their parents. Yet, today we find our nation in a crisis, with record levels of poverty, the rising inequality and worsening predictions for our children’s future.
What is really troubling to me is this whole gap between the rich and the poor that has been growing over the past 20 years or more. It’s not an aberration; it’s a result of deliberate choices. It seems like that over the last 40 years, a series of economic choices have really redistributed the income upwards and as a result of that, it provided less and less opportunities to everyone else. All this has led to the financial stress on our families, and really it’s something that hasn’t been seen since the Great Depression.