Posts Tagged ‘Jesuit Father Michael Linden’
Jesuit Father Michael Linden, superior of the Jesuits in Jordan, has a challenging job. Living at the Jesuit Center in Jordan, he is responsible for exploring ways for the “restoration” of the Society of Jesus in Iraq.
The Jesuits arrived in Bagdad in 1932 to establish and run Baghdad College, which was staffed entirely by the New England Province Jesuits. In 1959, the Jesuits founded a second school there, Al Hikma University.
However, Fr. Linden explains that “American Jesuits were given short notice to leave, in two separate waves, in 1968 and 1969. Both schools eventually were wrapped into the state system of schools, and the U.S. Jesuits and the few Iraqi Jesuits filtered to other parts of the Near East or repatriated to the U.S.”
Fr. Linden says that many in Iraq remember the schools fondly and favorably. “There are good and supportive persons, Christians and Muslims, secularists and devout, who express hope and welcome to the Jesuits,” he says.
If the Jesuits return to Iraq, Fr. Linden says it’s hard to predict the nature of the Jesuit presence. “Some would like the U.S. Jesuits to parachute with a full Jesuit staff and system from the 1950’s back to Baghdad College. Some believe this is possible!”
According to Fr. Linden, Jesuits in Amman have learned that faith formation and service to migrant workers is important, as is close collaboration on the pastoral goals of the local bishops. “This can probably be replicated in Iraq,” he says.
Fr. Linden also believes Iraq has vocation potential. “Iraqi Christians are a giving people, and there will be Jesuit vocations from Iraq. These Iraqi Jesuits will eventually make the major discernment about their identity and work; perhaps it will include schools, perhaps not.”
Read the full interview with Fr. Linden in the April 2013 issue of JIVAN: News and Views of Jesuits in India and learn more at the New England Province Jesuits website. In the video below, Fr. Linden explains the ministries of the Jesuits in Jordan as well as their elation at the recent election of a Jesuit to the papacy.
Via the New England Jesuits: Jesuit Provincial Myles Sheehan recently visited the Jesuit Center in Amman, Jordan and met with Jesuit Fathers Michael Linden, Paul Mankowski and fellow Jesuit Provincial Victor Assouad.
Fr. Linden has been superior for a few months and is working with the staff of the Jesuit Center in expanding the Center’s outreach to Christians in Jordan as well as supporting the work of the Jesuit Refugee Service.
Fr. Assouad, Provincial of the Near East Province, came to visit Amman, along with Jesuit Dan Corrou, who is teaching English and studying Arabic in Beirut. Also on the agenda: a visit to Archbishop Lahham, vicar in Jordan for the Patriarch of Jerusalem, who expressed his hope that the Jesuits would continue to be an active presence in Jordan.
Fr. Mankowski has been acting pastor for this past year in the English-speaking parish that serves the Latin Catholic parishes of Amman, offering Masses that are very heavily attended by the many domestic workers from the Philippines, Sri Lanka, and India working in Jordan, as well as businesspersons and embassy staff.
The work of the Jesuits in Jordan is vitally important, as there is a constant need to meet the spiritual, emotional and material needs of the predominantly Filipino congregations and other foreign migrants in the country.
A majority of whom the Jesuits serve are female domestic workers. They live in their employers’ homes and work long hours, with many experiencing intense feelings of loneliness and homesickness. They often have families back home whom they miss desperately.
With few job opportunities in their home countries and families to support, these women come to the Middle East, where jobs in the “care-giving industry” are plentiful. Motivated by the promise of comparatively high earnings, most of which they intend on sending home to their families, they often accept without complaint long hours, little personal time or freedom and substandard living accommodations.
Photo: Fr. Provincial Myles Sheehan, (left) visits the Jesuit Center in Amman, Jordan with Archbishop Lahham (center) and Fr. Michael Linden, SJ.
Jesuit Father Michael Linden has been appointed by Father General Adolfo Nicolas as the new Superior of the Jesuits in Jordan and Iraq. Fr. Linden brings to this unique position years of service in Jamaica, work with the Jesuit Refugee Service, and long experience as the Provincial Assistant for International Ministries in the New England Province office.
He will continue in this role while overseeing the work of the Jesuit Center in Amman and coordinating with the Jesuits of the Near East Province to explore ways in which the New England Province can help in meeting their needs and in working together in this area. Linden succeeds Jesuit Father Al Hicks, who has served the province and the church in Jordan and Iraq as superior for the past eight years.