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Issue 107 • Winter 2020 • Jesuit.org.uk
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A faith that does justice
& friends Rooted and grounded in love New stories are being written as the Jesuits and their friends learn to show God’s love in different ways
Issue 107 • Winter 2020 • Jesuit.org.uk
On the cover: Green Weekend at Centre Sociale Arrupe in Madagascar, March 2020. Photo: Centre Sociale Arrupe
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2 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
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From Fr Provincial of extreme climate events are pointing towards an impending climate calamity. Meanwhile, the pandemic has fractured societies and exacerbated inequalities, as well as causing over a million deaths. In his timely new papal encyclical, Fratelli tutti, launched in October, Pope Francis calls for Christians to respond to all these challenges by reaching out in love across the boundaries which divide us.
All sorts of groups are calling for a project of reconstruction to follow the pandemic: ‘build back better’, ‘build back greener…’. That call may seem premature at a time when a second wave of infections is all too evident. But Pope Francis has been making his own plans for months already. He told a group of religious leaders back in February, ‘there is no alternative: we either build the future together or there will not be a future.’ The reason for such strong words is that the pope is worried that the world is on the brink of a serious crisis. Coronavirus is only one part of it. We are living at a time of growing international tension, and democracy is weakening across the globe. This year is likely to be one of the hottest two years ever recorded, and a whole host
This edition highlights some ways in which the Jesuits in Britain are taking part in that great effort. Guided by Christ’s vision of mercy, peace and justice, we know that building back means putting the care of young people, the poor and the marginalised, not GDP, in first place. It means attending to our common home, not just our own back yard. It means opening our hearts to the Lord so that He can change and heal them.
And it means coming together, working in partnership. As you read you will see all those concerns reflected in what we are trying to do. But we need you to do more than read. We need you to help us. Our aim is to share in the building of the Kingdom of God here and now. Our God invites everyone to be part of that process, not just some small, chosen group. Whether it’s by praying for us, studying with us, volunteering with us or even becoming one of us, the Jesuits want to open our arms, our hearts and our minds so that our service always gives God the greater glory, that splendour of love and grace we see reflected in the lives of those whom the world considers the last, the littlest and the least. Damian Howard SJ
In this issue... 04 Provincials past and present
16 Pray As You Go is building on
– Michael Holman SJ and Damian Howard SJ – pay tribute to Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ.
fifteen years of success to help the world to pray, says Emma Holland.
17 Marcus Kplomedo doesn’t know
06 Mateusz Konopiński SJ and Jen
Is there an aspect of Creation you 04can relish today? Thank God for it.
where he would be without his Copestake describe how two Born in 1928, Rutilio was a devout boy who Jesuit education. Entering the Jesuits at age 17, Rutilio was up in the small town of El Paisnal in a good student, but he was emotionally Jesuit parishes reached out to grew El Salvador. fragile and suffered a breakdown during studies. had 18 S chools around the world those in need during lockdown. to adapt in lockdown – how did “I wonder 08 The assistance that Jesuit Missions that young Jesuit Missions supportwhether them? man will make it to and their partners provide is ordination.” 19 The MA at LJC meets XR: helping local communities in Burkina Faso and Madagascar. Melanie Nazareth fills in the words to tell her story. 10 Jo Norman tells us how the Province offers support to victim-survivors of abuse.
12 The story of Rutilio Grande SJ is
told in words and pictures by Joe Owens SJ and John Paul de Quay.
14 Joanna Biernat celebrates a new creative space opened by the Jesuit Refugee Service UK.
Written by Joe Owens SJ Illustrated by John Paul de Quay
Finally ordained in 1960, he worked for ten years as a teacher and counsellor at the seminary in San Salvador.
20 How can you go green this Advent? 21 Praying with the pope: David Stewart SJ.
22 A marathon and a medal – reasons to celebrate for two Jesuit co-workers.
He insisted that the seminarians get out into the world and do pastoral work with the poor. He wanted to create true “servant leaders”.
Father Oscar Romero came to live at the seminary. Seemingly isolated and alone, Rutilio struck up a firm and enduring friendship with him.
ADOLFO NICOLÁS SJ
A joyful Jesuit WITH A PURE HEART Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, former Superior General of the Society of Jesus, died on 20 May 2020 in Tokyo. We asked Fr Damian Howard SJ, Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Britain, and Fr Michael Holman SJ to share their memories of a much-admired leader who met all those he encountered with warmth and attentiveness.
t was July 1998 and I was coming to the last year of my training for ordination to the priesthood with a short course on priestly ministry in Denver, Colorado. I had arrived from Paris late the night before and was sitting at breakfast trying to be friendly to my fellow scholastics – all totally unknown to me; not my favourite type of breakfast, that. They all seemed so much older than me, and full of North American confidence. One of them was sitting quietly, smiling, looking a lot friendlier than the rest. ‘Which Province are you from?’ I asked, unimaginatively. ‘I work in Japan,’ he said. ‘Oh,’ I replied glibly, ‘I hadn’t realised there would be Japanese scholastics here.’ A slight frisson in the group. My neighbour leaned in and whispered confidentially: ‘Actually, he’s the Provincial. He’s here to give us a talk.’ I squirm at that memory but I tell myself it wasn’t my fault. The thing about
Adolfo Nicolás was his humility. He never drew attention to himself, not even in that obliquely self-deprecating way some of us have perfected. Before he became a Very Important Jesuit, he was able to blend in and enjoy being the great companion he always was. His talk to us young hopefuls back in 1998 was simple but profound. Much of it remains with me for some reason, especially the admiration he expressed for Jesuits who were able to give their all. (He insisted, sincerely but inaccurately, that he wasn’t.) He spoke simply and directly but always with gravitas. Not that he was portentous, just that one sensed genuine hinterland to every word. Twelve years later in the spring of 2010 I got to spend some months in Lahore, Pakistan. Of all the blessings of that time, none was greater than being part of Nico’s visit to the tiny
Jesuit community there. To get up every morning for a whole week and share Mass and breakfast with the General was the fulfilment of a dream I’d never even dared to have. His attention to everyone else, his thrill at a furious rickshaw tour of the city (he said it was the kind of tourism that helped one’s prayer life) and his evident fascination with the vivid reality of the Punjab all gave an insight into a man of deep freedom, remarkably lacking in selfabsorption of any sort. He was a joyful Jesuit with a pure heart, whose example would make anyone want to enter religious life. Fr Damian Howard SJ
r Nicolás was elected Superior General at the age of 72 in 2008. No one can underestimate the challenge that beginning to lead an international body of more than 17,000 men at that age can have been. Yet he carried out his work with unstinting generosity, unfailing cheerfulness and good grace until his resignation took effect eight years later, even in those last years when it was evident that his health was failing. For me, he provided a fine example of leadership. He not only tackled some difficult structural issues (such as the organisation of provinces and the distribution of resources) and sought to reinvigorate our commitment to our charism, as all Generals do, he combined both with an interest in and a gentle attention to the needs of any individual who came to speak with him, as I experienced on a number of occasions. He was a constant source of encouragement.
Fr Nicolás (centre) with young Jesuits during a visit to London in 2014
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In his earlier years, he encouraged us to do whatever we did with ‘depth’.
ADOLFO NICOLÁS SJ
Fr Nicolás (right) with Fr Michael Holman SJ
That, he said, was what the Church looked for from us. This was especially important in an age of what he called the ‘globalisation of superficiality’, a phrase that caught the imagination of many outside as well as inside the Society. He was a joy to meet. A comment in a recent Christian Life Community newsletter struck me as very true: ‘He was wise, generous and warm. An encounter with him would almost always be infused with wit, tender laughter and gentle truths … it was like seeing a dear friend.’ A younger Jesuit from the Asia Pacific Conference recounted recently how Fr Nicolás told them as novices that he wanted them above all to be ‘happy Jesuits’. Fr Adolfo was a happy Jesuit. To be happy you need to be free, he once said, and you can be free if you centre yourself on Christ. ‘Be yourselves,’ he said, ‘and let Christ work through you.’ He was a man of great pastoral sensitivity and love for people. I met him in the dining room at the General Curia not long before he resigned. He came up to me and with a broad smile
on his face told me about how pleased he was with his new assignment, which was to be spiritual father to the Jesuit students in Manila. For some reason, probably because it struck me as so true, I often think of a homily he gave at a meeting in Malta. He reflected on the popularity of the Divine Mercy devotion and spoke with great feeling of how we need to hear the message of mercy and compassion, living as we do in a world in which the media can be so unforgiving and vicious towards those who have failed in one respect or another.
“The thing about Adolfo Nicolás was his humility. He never drew attention to himself.” He was a fine communicator. When he visited our Province in 2011, he celebrated Mass one Friday evening in a packed Sacred Heart church in Wimbledon. He spoke from the pulpit and raised a laugh when he told the congregation of the all the things they might be doing on a Friday evening rather than coming to meet him! That remark established a bridge between
him and each person in the congregation and he continued speaking as though to each individual there. That was so typical of him. These are among his most memorable words from the homily he gave in the Gesù church in the Mass that closed the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, at which he was elected General. They were words he lived and taught us to live as well: ‘God is love, and so we too love. God is mercy, and so we too show mercy. God is good, and so we too desire to be good. If we do not love, we really do not have anything to say. Here we discover, I think, the root and source of our identity and our mission. Here is our raison d’être. Why do we want to love the poor, to help the lonely, to console the sad, to heal the sick and to bring freedom to the oppressed? Simply because this is what God does. Nothing else.’ Fr Michael Holman SJ
READ MORE Read more about Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ at jesuit.org.uk/tags/fr-adolfonicolas-sj. jesuit.org.uk 5
Lessons from LOCKDOWN Fr Mateusz Konopiński SJ was delighted to start welcoming the parishioners of St Ignatius, Stamford Hill back to the church when the building re-opened, but he realised that the community had been growing and thriving even while its members were kept apart.
ow is the time for us to gather our collective learning from lockdown. As people come back to Sunday Mass and enjoy being together again physically, I can see that we were still very much a community even during lockdown, albeit spread out across the parish in our homes. Once lockdown started, we realised that we did not have an easy way to contact parishioners: the line of communication that usually exists between the pulpit and the pews is not enough if the church is empty. So I trawled through Facebook contacts, WhatsApp groups and email lists to inform people that something was still happening at the church and that we were not totally closed. Our morning Facebook Masses and gospel readings gave people a new opportunity to interact, expressing comments and asking questions as they
would never have done on Sundays outside church. I realised how passive our communication had been before: our spiritual life cannot be a one-way channel of me, the priest, telling you, the parishioner, the best way to live. We began to use these morning broadcasts to let people know what material things were needed by the homeless people we support, and parishioners quickly responded with sandwiches, toiletries or clothes. If we asked for toothbrushes, we would receive ten that very day! By midday we would receive a whole day’s supply of individually wrapped sandwiches, each one with its filling described on a handwritten note which the children would often have decorated with hearts and smiley faces. Such personal touches to these provisions were a visible sign of the generosity behind them and established a human connection between the donor and the recipient.
The importance of that connection is something that I now value immensely. Lockdown was the first time I really spent a protracted period working closely with homeless people and I realised the importance of chatting to them about who they are, not just about their needs. This humanisation was a very important experience for me. This ability to communicate directly with parishioners, sending messages to the phones in their pockets, has meant that as a community we have not been blind to those in need. The church can invest time, effort, talents and money, so that if a parishioner meets anyone in need, they can say: ‘Go to the church at 1pm and they will help you.’ The strength of a parish is in its ability to help people day in, day out. This is the thing we should be proud of when we gather together on a Sunday and look back over the last week. Christianity is not just about prayer, it is about action. Prayer should lead to us to do good deeds for others. The generosity that is the seed of our community is not just towards those we sit beside at church, but also to people sitting on street corners. This for me is, very simply, the Christian life. The church building does not connect people, the relationships and partnerships that are formed inside – and online! – do.
FIND OUT MORE For more information on Fr Mateusz and his parish work, visit stignatius. pl or facebook.com/stignatiuspl
Fr Mateusz Konopiński SJ in his office ‘studio’ (left) and with parishioners in St Ignatius, Stamford Hill, before lockdown (right)
6 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
THE CHURCH ON THE STREET We stayed for several months in the square and built up a detailed picture of the circumstances and needs of those we met. This helped us shape our work to provide access to other services as the pandemic unfolded. When day centres in central London re-opened, we moved from Trafalgar Square to provide a temporary shower service at the Ordinariate church in Soho. While we were there, we were generously partnered by local businesses including Whole Foods and the Italian restaurant Il Conte. The generosity of nearby businesses was very moving, especially when so many were struggling themselves. Jen Copestake (fourth from left) and Fr Dominic Robinson SJ (third from right) with members of the Central London Catholic Churches group
When lockdown shut many of London’s homeless shelters and day centres, Farm Street volunteers stepped up their provision, joining with other churches to create a mobile service that focused on the changing situation. Jen Copestake is Project Co-ordinator at Farm Street where this new service will now be based.
hen the lockdown began in March and churches closed their doors, like many others I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. Being away from the Eucharist for an indefinite period of time seemed unfathomable. I received a phone call from the parish priest at Farm Street, Fr Dominic Robinson SJ, which would soon change my perspective on the pandemic. He asked if I would be involved with a new emergency service he had been tasked to start up by Westminster Council, providing refreshments to homeless guests in Trafalgar Square. Five days a week we would load a van from Holy Apostles church in Pimlico with a team of volunteers from several central London Catholic churches and Caritas Westminster. Parking under the fourth plinth in the square, we met as many as 200 guests every day during a two-hour session. As well as serving refreshments we provided a shower
referral service to the nearby Jesus Centre. Many of the usual places to access showers were closed and this became a central focus of our work.
“We found ourselves with Christ every day in the heart of our city.” Being on the streets at a time when so much was shut down, including our churches, was an illuminating experience. By reflecting God’s love to our guests and by seeing in turn God’s face in every person we met, we were, in the words of Fr Dominic, ‘living out the Eucharist’ daily, as the Church on the street. This was a great consolation. While in a spiritual desert and away from the physical presence of Our Lord, we found ourselves with Him every day in the heart of our city and in the hearts of those around us.
We are now moving into a new stage of our work as the Central London Catholic Churches group, which will be based at Farm Street. Along with a sit-down hot meal for twenty people twice a week, provided by local restaurants, we will offer employment advice and a counselling service. We anticipate the needs in our community will increase over these coming months as layoffs increase and the second wave of the virus takes hold. We are already meeting people who are newly homeless on our streets. We are also hoping to create a partnership with All Souls Anglican church in Langham Place for a new night shelter model for the winter, as many of the shelters will remain closed owing to the pandemic. It has been humbling to carry out in some small way a service that has been a tradition of our Church throughout the centuries, by opening our hearts to our sisters and brothers in need, and letting people know they are not alone at this challenging time.
SUPPORT US If you’d like to volunteer with or support the work of the Central London Catholic Churches homelessness service, please email email@example.com jesuit.org.uk 7
Centre Sociale Arrupe’s Green Weekend, March 2020 Photo: Centre Sociale Arrupe
Building climate resilience THROUGH COMMUNITY Jesuit Missions’ partners in Africa are nourished by hope and creativity as they seek to overcome the social, political and environmental challenges that face the communities in which they work. Madagascar Madagascar is a wildlife paradise. Since its split from the African continent 160 million years ago, the country has developed its own distinct ecosystem and wildlife. For example, nearly 90% of Madagascar’s plant life and mammals exist nowhere else on Earth.
Madagascar has been severely affected by climate change. Its sea levels are rising, leading to coastal erosion and receding shorelines. Furthermore, mangrove forests and coral reefs are being destroyed by floods, and water supplies are under pressure because of irregular rainfall and drought.
Despite its abundant natural resources, the 26 million people who live in Madagascar are among the poorest in the world. It has the world’s fourth highest rate of chronic malnutrition and almost half of the children aged under five suffer from stunted growth.
Efa Ravelonantoandro of the Jesuit Centre Sociale Arrupe (CSA) says: ‘Climate change is pushing people further into poverty in Madagascar. We are seeing increased flooding and more disease. Some people are dead, some are missing.’
8 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
The impact of climate change hits people living in poverty the hardest. Up to 60% of the population of southern Madagascar are suffering from food insecurity owing to drought. Without urgent action, the situation could deteriorate further with an increase in malaria, food insecurity and social unrest over access to water. To help address this, CSA, with support from Jesuit Missions, is working creatively to raise awareness of the causes of climate change. CSA organised a Green Weekend in March 2020 which culminated in a reforestation day. Over 100 people planted 1,000 trees in a nature reserve 30 miles from the country’s capital. Visits to assess the growth of the plants will happen when there are reduced Covid-19 restrictions.
JESUIT MISSIONS An art competition also took place in the spring. It was an opportunity for young people to showcase their talents and to demonstrate the visible impact of Covid-19 on the environment. The artwork was shared on social media. Prisca, one of the prize-winners, said: ‘By participating, I realised the importance of protecting the environment and the degree to which that is dependent on human acts.’
although civil servants and people from the private sector also use its facilities.
The Covid-19 pandemic is making things worse for the environment. Wild flora and fauna are being destroyed as rural populations turn to protected areas as a means of subsistence. The illegal transportation of ebony wood has also been reported.
“Young people in Madagascar are being formed in the care of creation to help them protect the magnificent paradise of their country.”
Madagascar’s Sustainable Development Minister, Baomiavotse Raharinirina, extended her thanks to the Church, and particularly CSA, for its work on protecting the environment through its promotion of Laudato si’. The pandemic has meant that CSA has changed many of its plans for training, conferences and awareness-raising in 2020. Despite this, Efa and his colleagues are determined to do all they can to form the young people of Madagascar in the care of creation and help them protect the magnificent paradise of their country.
Burkina Faso On the other side of Africa, life is very different. Like Madagascar, Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. However, it has very limited natural resources. Burkina Faso’s economy is largely based on agriculture, which employs almost 80% of the working population. Despite this, more than a fifth of children under five are malnourished.
The students come from poor families and are often single mothers or orphans. To be eligible to attend CERCLE’s training courses, students must have already failed their state exams. Programmes on offer include research skills and job creation, languages and basic computer skills.
As many courses are held at night, they require lights as well as computers, so access to a reliable source of energy is vital. Jesuit Missions has helped CERCLE to reduce their energy costs by providing the centre with solar panels. CERCLE’s Director, Fr François Kabore SJ, told us how the project has transformed the lives of people in Burkina Faso. Since the installation of solar panels last April, CERCLE has had constant electricity and its monthly energy bill has reduced by over 40%. This means that students are guaranteed light to study until 11pm. Kabre, a student, says: ‘I am very grateful for the access to stable and clean energy.
It helps me take full advantage of the very scarce time I have when I am at CERCLE for study. I am grateful to Jesuit Missions for their support. May God bless you abundantly!’ The young people served by CERCLE have recently started an ecology club. They are putting their passion into action by discussing clean energy and organising tree-planting in Burkina Faso. CERCLE is also playing a part in reconciling the Christian and Islamic communities in Burkina Faso. Earlier this year, Jesuit Missions supported a shared Ramadan meal. After the meal, Fr François told us he was overjoyed. ‘It was just great! We sang the national anthem of our country before sharing the meal. Our socio-political context is characterised by religious extremism in the north of the country and neighbouring countries. It is of great importance to remind everyone that we belong to the same country and that we should all work for peace and understanding. Thank you, Jesuit Missions, for helping make it possible.’
FIND OUT MORE To find out more about our work or help Jesuit Missions support more Jesuit partners around the world, please visit www.jesuitmissions. org.uk or call 0208 946 0466
In recent years the situation has been made worse by insecurity linked to terrorist attacks, creating a humanitarian crisis with hundreds of thousands of people forced from their homes. CERCLE is the Jesuit research and study centre in Ouagadougou, the country’s capital. It offers young people a chance to study and sit exams which will give them a better future. Each year it welcomes more than 1,000 people through its doors. Most are students,
Tree-planting in Burkina Faso Photo: CERCLE
Re-building for a
CULTURE OF CARE Jo Norman is the Safeguarding Co-ordinator of the Jesuits in Britain. As part of a network of colleagues in dioceses and other orders, she works to promote the safety of young people and vulnerable adults in the Church and the support of those who have suffered abuse in the past.
he arrival of Covid-19 has changed how we live – the enforced lockdown took away many of the usual distractions of modern life, forcing people to confront troubling and unpleasant life experiences. Among these people have been those who have contacted me about their past experiences of sexual abuse. The reality of complex
10 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
post-traumatic stress disorder is that traumatic memories can become ever-present, leaving people with nowhere to hide. Sufferers come forward seeking comfort and support for the anxiety and distress these experiences have caused, so that they can be owned without shame. Many people seek justice, not just for themselves but for others, too: feeling
both angry and troubled that others might have been hurt, they often ask to be put in touch with support groups to talk to other survivors.
The needs of survivors Sexual abuse can have a corrosive impact on a person’s view of religion. Spirituality, in whatever form we practise it, is a key element of human
SAFEGUARDING flourishing and development. Childhood experiences of abuse carried out by religious representatives can imprint on a young mind the terrifying belief that God was on the side of the abuser. These survivors can then grow up with a belief that religion is dangerous and as a result they are unable to explore the divine part of their spirituality, because God can be seen as the enemy in a narrative of anger and revenge. Deep mistrust of the Catholic Church leads some of them to stay away from churches altogether. Therefore, it is a crucial part of the Church’s mission to be part of the necessary process of resolution and healing. It takes great courage for victimsurvivors to come forward: many are afraid that their experiences will simply be denied; many take years to disclose what happened to them because for decades they have had intense feelings of shame about their abuse; all of them have a tremendous sense of loss and a deep need to be comforted. As survivors get older, many choose to contain these feelings until the death of their parents, by which time they themselves can be in their sixties or seventies. On being contacted, my first response is to listen and to ask what the person wants to happen. A survivor might say that they lost out on their education because they had to leave school early without qualifications to escape the abuse, or that they under-achieved. Others might have lost their faith. In such cases, I can help them to reclaim those missed opportunities in order to help them live a healthier and more contented life. We can look at retraining and career opportunities or going on a spiritual retreat to reconnect with their faith. We can also consider psychological and therapeutic assistance or, if they feel isolated, getting in touch with local groups to make friends. For those survivors who want to share with a Jesuit their feelings of betrayal, I can arrange a meeting with the Provincial so that they can be listened to and offered an apology for what they have endured. Some people even wish to
all their members, from the novitiate onwards. Training is also required of those people working with and for the Province who are in regular contact with children and vulnerable adults. This training gives a deeper understanding of legal responsibilities towards the vulnerable and ensures that throughout the Province there is zero tolerance for those who abuse vulnerable adults or children.
Reaching out Jo Norman, Safeguarding Co-ordinator for the Jesuits in Britain
“It is vital that all those who come forward know that they will be listened to and heard.” revisit the scene of their abuse, something that can be arranged with the support of any therapist that may be involved.
Creating a safeguarding culture Good safeguarding is holistic, not only in terms of providing a range of support to the survivor but also in terms of transforming the whole organisation. Reviewing how the abuse was possible in a given setting and time can help us address the organisational defects that allowed the abuse to happen and move towards a safeguarding culture where children and vulnerable adults can feel safe and secure. Such a culture requires more than policies and procedures. Of course, we need to implement best practice in the areas of training, safer recruitment, codes of practice for staff, access to a counsellor, and providing people to talk to and hotline numbers to call. This all contributes to a safer environment where people can seek help if they have been affected by abuse. But beyond this, it is important for everyone in the organisation to embrace safeguarding as integral to their Christian mission – individually cultivating a spirituality rooted in love, compassion and mutual care.
It is vital that all those who come forward know that they will be listened to and heard, and that there will be no attempt to deny what they are saying or excuse what happened. It is also incumbent upon us to do all we can to help those people whose intense feelings of shame or anger are preventing them from approaching us. The Jesuits are keen to find ways of supporting survivors in a more proactive way, to help them move forward in their lives and to provide them with support as early as possible. In Scotland, with the help of their Independent Safeguarding Commission, the Jesuits are funding an initiative for victim-survivors called ‘Bridge to Support’: an independent project run by the charity Health in Mind whose staff have experience and understanding of the impact trauma can have on survivors. They provide a confidential service, including counselling and psychological trauma support, which is available to anyone living in Scotland who might not want to be in direct contact with the Jesuits. I am hoping that this will be a way to provide help earlier – and that it will be a model that can be extended more widely in the Province.
FIND OUT MORE To find out more about the service offered in Scotland by Bridge to Support, please visit bridgetosupport.org.uk
The Jesuits in Britain provide compulsory safeguarding training for jesuit.org.uk 11
RUTILIO GRANDE SJ
Written by Joe Owens SJ Illustrated by John Paul de Quay Born in 1928, Rutilio was a devout boy who grew up in the small town of El Paisnal in El Salvador.
Entering the Jesuits at age 17, Rutilio was a good student, but he was emotionally fragile and suffered a breakdown during studies.
Finally ordained in 1960, he worked for ten years as a teacher and counsellor at the seminary in San Salvador.
“I wonder whether that young man will make it to ordination.”
Father Oscar Romero came to live at the seminary. Seemingly isolated and alone, Rutilio struck up a firm and enduring friendship with him.
He insisted that the seminarians get out into the world and do pastoral work with the poor. He wanted to create true “servant leaders”.
Feeling a great need to be more closely connected with the poor, Rutilio studied the Christian base community movement that was then spreading through Latin America.
12 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
With a team of Jesuits, Rutilio began a process of intense evangelisation in the parish of Aguilares, stressing especially the need for just treatment of workers on the vast sugar plantations.
Rutilio and his team spent three years giving missions and courses in all the villages, awakening in the parishioners a keen awareness of their God-given dignity and the need to defend their rights.
RUTILIO GRANDE SJ
Members Members of the of the parish parish whowho worked worked on the on the large large plantations plantations began began to protest to protest thethe lowlow wages wages andand inhumane inhumane working working condiconditions. tions.
Many Many parishioners parishioners also also joined joined farmworker farmworker TheThe military military government government andand bigbig landownlandownmovements movements that that hadhad a national a national base base andand a a ersers began began a ruthless a ruthless repression repression of of thethe revolutionary revolutionary political political agenda. agenda. poor poor farmers farmers andand workers, workers, blaming blaming thethe Church Church forfor stirring stirring up trouble. up trouble.
When When a fellow a fellow priest priest waswas expelled expelled from from thethe country, country, Rutilio Rutilio preached preached a fiery a fiery sermon, sermon, saying saying that that thethe authorities authorities considered considered even even thethe Bible Bible a handbook a handbook of subversion. of subversion.
TheThe authorities, authorities, seeing seeing Rutilio Rutilio as as thethe mainmain instigator instigator of of thethe unrest, unrest, hired hired gunmen gunmen to to killkill him him as he as was he was driving driving to celebrate to celebrate Mass Mass in ainvillage. a village.
Later Romero Romero said... said... Oscar Oscar Romero, Romero, recently recently named named archbishop archbishop Later of San of San Salvador, Salvador, waswas shocked shocked by the by the assassination assassination andand ordered ordered that that only only a a single single Mass Mass be celebrated be celebrated thethe next next Sunday Sunday in the in the whole whole archdiocese. archdiocese.
When When I saw I saw Rutilio Rutilio dead, dead, I thought: I thought: if they if they killed killed him him forfor what what he he waswas doing, doing, then then I must I must walk walk along along thethe same same pathpath he did. he did.
In February In February 2020, 2020, Pope Pope Francis Francis approved approved thethe beatification beatification of Fr of Rutilio Fr Rutilio Grande Grande SJ. SJ.
JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE
The story of self-expression Joanna Biernat from the Jesuit Refugee Service reflects on hidden talents, rediscoveries and reignited passions at the JRS ‘Open Writing Space’.
verything has a story – a good writer asks lots of questions’. This powerfully simple advice from poet Laila Sumpton has guided our refugee friends at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) this summer, as they’ve taken part in the new JRS ‘Open Writing Space’. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus, we have seen a huge shift in the way we accompany and serve our refugee friends at JRS, and many of the joyful and vibrant activities we offered in person at our centre – such as the community kitchen and prayer groups – had to move online. Activities co-ordinator Dallya has kept up
14 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
momentum with her boundless positivity, which inspires many of our friends: ‘During the lockdown period, continuing with old activities and introducing new ones has played a huge role with our refugee friends, as it’s helped them to find different platforms to express their feelings, share their experiences and stories, and have help at hand.’ I was privileged to hear some of these experiences and stories as I joined Dallya and Laila for six weeks at the Open Writing Space, which took place this summer over Zoom. ‘The writers bring together many stories and languages, and
together we support each other’s writing journeys and encourage each other’s creativity,’ Laila shared. ‘It is so important that we make space for sometimeshidden experiences, and we all have so much to learn from people who have lived between different cultures.’ While they come from many different backgrounds and cultures, our refugee friends have all found an opportunity to express themselves freely – their fears, and hopes and dreams – through poetry, story-writing and exercises in imagination expertly led by Laila. Their reasons for joining the group vary. One
JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE of our refugee friends who helped lead activities during the sessions told me: ‘JRS as a charity and community has consistently provided me with so much support, both prior to and during this pandemic. So, when an offer to act as a volunteer in the Open Writing Space was made, I felt honoured and never hesitated at such an opportunity to learn, while also helping my friends learn as well.’
to express my ideas or views. We build up from a subject or question, and the outcome is crafted from my recollection of experiences.’
creative writing. I recommend creative writing as another form of therapy which provides self-worth and awareness, but also acts as a counter to certain forms of depression or self-doubt.’
“It is so important that we make space for sometimeshidden experiences.”
Han, another refugee friend who took part, told me: ‘I have always had a passion for writing. I joined the Open Writing Space because I like to keep myself occupied by learning and exploring the immense world of knowledge.’ This sense of curiosity and love of writing united many of our friends in the group and it was a pleasure to see their confidence as writers flourish.
Our refugee friend who volunteered as a mentor found there were multiple personal benefits from reflecting upon and sharing each other’s experiences in this way: ‘Over the past six weeks while we met as a group online, I believe I have discovered a hidden talent within me as a potential “writer” and storyteller, being able to generate plausible storylines out of pictures or simple, everyday objects. So, these sessions have meant a rediscovery of myself while also offering the chance to look beyond the current doom and gloom that the pandemic brought with it, especially for asylum seekers struggling under the double whammy of an ongoing pandemic and dealing with a deliberately cruel government, all at once!’
For Han, there was joy to be found in the interactive, shared space itself, as she felt a sense of common ground in ‘the way people can interact and bring good output from the session. Respect was very important to us. Though I may not agree with others’ opinions, none of us intervened in others’ space or time.’
Each weekly, hour-long session provided a safe and confidential space for our friends to plan and write creatively, sharing the results of their various ‘homework’ tasks out loud, under the guidance of Laila. One particularly inspiring exercise was the ‘Recipe Poems’ where participants imagined aspects of their lives and their loved ones – a favourite sound, or smell – and wrote them as ingredients in a recipe of themselves. One refugee friend wrote: Take a 10 grams of warm blue sky, Put it in the pan And add 20 millimetres of birds singing freely. You can pour in a tablespoon of waterfall Then mix it with lovely cold ice cream.
He was uplifted by the sense of hope that could be found in his own work, and the work of others: ‘I must confess that I found it surprising how hopeful you can suddenly feel after discovering that indeed the promise of a better tomorrow can still be achieved by expressing yourself more, through
I have witnessed how the Open Writing Space has been a vessel for self-exploration and expression among our refugee friends, bringing to the forefront memories of home, hopes for the future and a profound sense of identity, which can so easily be lost amongst those who are navigating a cruel and punishing asylum system here in the UK. I share my refugee friends’ hopes that we can continue a creative writing space at JRS in future. It is through the curiosity and creativity of our refugee writers that we are constantly reminded that everybody has an important story to share.
COMING SOON JRS is working to publish the work of the Open Writing Space as a book in time for Christmas. All proceeds will go towards supporting the work of JRS UK. Subscribe to e-mail updates from JRS UK to be the first to hear about it: jrsuk.net/subscribe
Commenting on her experience of the sessions, this refugee writer said: ‘I love writing, especially poems. I feel proud to share my work and listen to other participants comment. I learn more ideas from others. It helps me to feel more relaxed and happier. I think being creative in this way is important because it helps you to think out of the box and gives you uniqueness.’ Han was also encouraged by the creativity of the sessions: ‘They have reignited passions which I always wanted to pursue, helped me engage with the real world and allowed me jesuit.org.uk 15
PRAY AS YOU GO
LIGHT UP A
language Over the last fifteen years, Pray As You Go has helped millions of people around the world to reflect on the presence of God in their lives. Producer Emma Holland explains how the new ‘Light up a Language’ campaign aims to help even more people to deepen their relationship with God.
n 1 March 2021, Pray As You Go will turn fifteen. If you can’t quite remember 2006, modern social media emerged as Facebook and Twitter were unleashed onto the world, and the word ‘podcast’ made it into the dictionary for the first time. As podcasts began to capture global audiences, Fr Peter Scally SJ had an idea: create an easy way to pray daily, using music and Ignatian Spirituality. And so, Pray As You Go (PAYG) was born.
Photo by Greg Rosenke on Unsplash
What started as a simple way to pray on your way to work is now available to hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, in ten languages. Each language has adopted their own culture, music and style; you get a different feel from each one. The languages currently available include: English, Dutch/Flemish (Bidden Onderweg), French (Prie en Chemin), Hungarian (Napi-útra-való), Polish (Modlitwa w Drodze), Portuguese (Passo a Rezar), Spanish (Rezandovoy), Ukrainian (iMolytva) and Vietnamese (Phút cãu nguyên). Some versions naturally stretch over to other 16 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
continents of like-languages, drawing audiences from further afield such as parts of South America and Africa, Australia, the US and more. The tenth and most recent language to join the PAYG international family was Fi Tariqi Osally (‘on my way, I pray’), the Arabic version in 2019. This has been the most ambitious and collaborative language creation yet. Fi Tariqi Osally is a joint project between CLC (Christian Life Community) Egypt and the Jesuits of the Near East (based in Beirut), working together with volunteers spreading across Egypt, Lebanon and Syria. Inji, one of the directors of the project has said: ‘We would like the world to know that everyone involved in this project is doing it totally voluntarily with lots of love and passion, and that we are feeling God’s blessings in every step.’ Making PAYG available to the Arabic-speaking world has been an exciting step and a cause for great celebration by all involved. In August 2020, we were all shaken by the sight of the explosion in Beirut, particularly holding in prayer our Jesuit friends and collaborators, who were
very close to the blast. We are therefore keener than ever to support our friends financially and help to maintain Fi Tariqi Osally as a point of support for so many around the world. A campaign has now been launched called ‘Light up a Language’, with the hopeful aim of supporting not only Fi Tariqi Osally, but also other new language versions on the cusp of joining the international PAYG family. Talks are being held with listeners and friends of PAYG who are interested in starting a version in their native languages, so that we can continue expanding the accessibility of Ignatian Spirituality through PAYG around the world. We have begun working more closely with all the other language versions PAYG, strengthening our ties as a collaborative family, discerning our joint calling, sharing ideas and content, and encouraging one another towards a greater global reach. In a world facing fragmentation at the hands of political decisions and separation owing to global restrictions, there couldn’t be a more poignant moment to answer God’s call of drawing nearer to each other and, in turn, help the world to pray.
LIGHT UP A LANGUAGE If you have prayed with Pray As You Go and want to help people around the world to do the same, please visit: donorbox.org/light-up-a-language
DRAWING STRENGTH FROM
compassion and love
Marcus Kplomedo is currently in his final year of A Level studies at St Ignatius College in Enfield and plans on doing a degree in Law with Criminology, hoping eventually to become a criminal defence barrister. He tells us how his dreams for the future have been shaped by his Jesuit education.
ne of the reasons I aspire to enter the legal profession is because I have seen the many injustices that people of ethnic minorities have had to face and I want to help prevent this from happening in the future. Jesuit education has truly been lifechanging for me. Every morning, just as I’m leaving my house, I will have a final look in the mirror, adjust my tie if needs be and smile to myself. I smile because I know that I’m going to learn another life lesson that will help me to make this world a better, more equal place. I didn’t know anything about the Jesuits until I went to St Ignatius College. But after six years of Jesuit education, I don’t know where I would be without it.
The Jesuit Pupil Profile (below right) proposes eight pairs of virtues that sum up what a pupil in a Jesuit school is growing to be, and the two traits that have helped me the most growing up in Britain as a young black person are ‘Compassionate and Loving’. Every day we face hardships and it can be hard to show compassion to those who have put us down. It can be hard to be loving towards those who feel that they are better than us because of their different skin colour, but it is the right thing to do. I have learned that it is always best to turn the other cheek and not to add fuel to the fire. I am hopeful that they will let God into their hearts and be forgiven for their sins.
I want my children to grow up without becoming victims of racism. The way I see it, racism is an illness and it’s making our planet sick. It spreads like a virus, infecting every person it touches. Some get stronger once it passes but many get weaker. Racism kills just like a virus does and leaves a trail of names that become important parts of our history: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Stephen Lawrence and many, many more. Like the common cold, racism will always come back in different forms. My hope is that, as a community, we can build up our ideological immune systems to fight off racism so that when it comes back stronger, so do we: forming a united front, standing up for what is right. Racism needs to be dealt with now!
FIND OUT MORE Follow St Ignatius College on Twitter @st_ignatius
I have experienced racial discrimination and differential treatment, but I don’t let myself take any notice of it now. I know how to live with it – but this shouldn’t be the case. I want to raise my children in a society where everyone is equal. I don’t want to have to have ‘the talk’ that every black parent dreads: having to tell your children that the world is going to work against them just because they were born with darker skin. I want to be able to tell my children the success story of how the world took a stand against racists and we showed them that we were not going to allow it any longer. jesuit.org.uk 17
Learning in lockdown Jesuit Missions recognises that education plays a vital role in creating opportunities for the most vulnerable children. We are working with Jesuits and partners around the world to find innovative solutions to ensure children can continue their education during the pandemic.
Jesuits to provide the pupils and their families with essential supplies such as sugar, beans, cooking oil, rice and soap. However, it is not only food that pupils receive. CLC has set up a service for students to collect their homework at the same time. Bringing two vital support systems of food and education together, has turned the ‘click and collect’ model into something meaningful. Fr Allan Ggita SJ expressed his delight with the school’s food distribution efforts: ‘I was absolutely impressed. I doubt if similar schools are doing such. Credit to them but above all to Jesuit Missions UK for the assistance rendered.’
‘Click and collect’ at St Aloysius Gonzaga school, Kibera © St Aloysius Gonzaga school
Zambia Jesuit Missions’ partners at Chikuni Radio were delivering educational programmes to children in rural Zambia before the country’s schools closed their doors to prevent the spread of Covid-19. During the pandemic, they have expanded their services so that they now broadcast the full curriculum for children in school years 1 to 7 nationwide. An estimated 50,000 children have benefited. The Jesuit director of the radio station, Fr Andrew Lesniara SJ, says: ‘Chikuni Radio is having an incredible impact on the children in Zambia. To use our technology to reach more children during this pandemic has been a great achievement. We thank Jesuit Missions and their supporters for helping to make this possible.’ Radio, according to UNESCO, ‘is a powerful way to bridge the digital divide in the education sector and reach the most marginalised learners.’ Chikuni Radio’s output, including additional programmes for parents and guardians, will prove vital for children in Zambia when they go back to school. 18 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
Democratic Republic of Congo In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ministry of Education is broadcasting lessons on television. The majority of households do not have access to a television, leaving millions of children without an education until restrictions lift. The pressures that teachers will be under to address these education gaps when schools reopen is amplified by the lack of teaching staff. UNESCO estimates that some 6.2 million teachers are needed in Sub-Saharan Africa to meet educational demand between now and 2030, and so Jesuit Missions’ partners at Fe y Alegría have relaunched their teacher-training programme.
Kenya St Aloysius Gonzaga secondary school welcomes students from Kibera, Nairobi who have been affected by HIV/AIDS. Kibera is the largest urban, informal settlement in Africa, and as the families that live there often rely on day labour, lockdown has severely impacted their ability to secure an income. Jesuit Missions is working with the Christian Life Community (CLC) and East African
Jesuit schools in the UK have also had to adapt. Pupils from St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst made the most of Jesuit Missions’ resource ‘Caring for our Common Home Under Lockdown.’ They produced vegetable patches, beautiful wildlife photography and inspiring drawings. Elliot, a pupil at St Mary’s Hall, said: ‘As the news on Covid-19 consumes the world, we must look for the light of God’s beauty amongst the darkness and inspire others by capturing God’s creations.’
SUPPORT CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD Jesuit Missions thanks our supporters for playing their part in shaping the lives of poor and vulnerable young people around the world during the pandemic. To donate to our coronavirus appeal, please visit jesuitmissions. org.uk/coronavirus
An entry into the art competition at St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst
CHRISTIAN CLIMATE ACTION
OF HOPE One of the first cohort of ten students who began the new Master’s programme (co-created with the University of Roehampton) in Theology, Ecology and Ethics at the London Jesuit Centre in September 2019, Melanie Nazareth has had the opportunity to translate the academic into the practical as an environmental activist.
he MA course was enormously attractive to me because of its focus on praxis. On an individual level, the MA was a framework for exploring my motivations as an activist and, in turn, for a more rigorous discernment. I am part of Christian Climate Action, a faith group within the Extinction Rebellion movement, and I see nonviolent direct action as a part of my path in following Jesus.
Within the ethics module I came to a renewed understanding of being faithfully hopeful and courageous. I need this to resist the temptation of despair that goes with confronting the lack of political will and meaningful action on the climate. That wellspring rather wonderfully led me to facilitating online morning prayer sessions to help other environmental activists sustain their hope and courage during lockdown, and more recently when we faced backlash on our return to the streets. We have built this prayer time into an online community that has brought us a much more diverse and widespread engagement, and has enriched our discourse immensely. Justice is embedded in Extinction Rebellion’s purpose: we have always spoken for global and social fairness in tackling the climate and ecological crisis. Now, because of conversations around race, there’s also a bigger focus on how we might share power structures and tackle cultural injustice, issues that are inextricably bound to the roots and the consequences of this crisis. I see this seeking of justice as answering the call
of Laudato si’, which identified the need to change a system that causes such harm to the marginalised, the poor and people of colour. Much of what I do in Extinction Rebellion is alongside people of other faith traditions, and seeing my Muslim brothers and sisters much more anxious about the impact that arrest will have on their lives has brought an acknowledgement that civil disobedience is a much greater sacrifice in culturally non-dominant groups. So my own practice has consciously shifted away from the strategy of accepting arrest to the potential of faith witness: for instance, I have organised 24/7 interfaith prayer vigils outside Parliament and developed this model for local community engagement in a Covid-world. One of the things that has felt important about all this is the opportunity to offer
something distinctively faith-based in a movement that is primarily secular. My faith has more recently taken me into an emerging Extinction Rebellion group with biologists and conservationists to advocate for all life forms, from the microbiome of the soil through to orangutans, as climate change is not only destroying human flourishing, we are taking down millions of God’s creatures with us. This is one consequence of the MA deepening my theological appreciation of the sacred ecology of creation beyond the human. I don’t know what the future holds. After many years of a career in law, God sent these unexpected gifts of activism and returning to study my way, and I need to find a way to use them well.
FIND OUT MORE Email Melanie at catholicscca@ gmail.com for details about Catholics for Christian Climate Action. And find out about the MA in Theology, Ecology and Ethics at londonjesuit centre.org/ma-programme
Melanie Nazareth (front) with members of Christian Climate Action
If you’re lo ok ing for ways to c com mon are for ou home this r A dvent, th ca lendar is Advent inspired b y L audato plent y of si’ g ives y ideas abo ou u t how you a d ifferen can make ce in you r daily life .
s i n e e r g How ? t n e v d A your Take a reusable bag when you shop. Is there an aspect of Creation you can relish today? Thank God for it.
te If you can, dona a to ng hi somet local foodbank, r homeless shelte or refuge.
Unplug chargers when they are not in use to save energy.
Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth to save water. Look through your clothes and donate unwanted items to charity shops.
Spend some time in nature, and notice how God speaks to you.
Could you go without meat for o ne of your meals, or a whole day?
Carry a flask instead of buying bottled drinks.
Shut down your computer or television when you finish using it.
Make a poin t of thanking someone to day.
Remember to switch off lights when leaving a room.
Get in touch with feel someone who may ow kn em th alone to let . em th t ou ab re ca u yo
Check in w ith someon for whom Christmas e may be a difficu lt time.
20 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
Switch off the Christmas tree lights at night (or don’t use them at all).
Try to avoid unnecessar y plastic packaging when you shop for groceries.
Can you walk or use public transport for a journey you take?
Buy a toothbrush made from bamboo or sustainable materials.
How to help G ifts your g is Creation? and h
Take a shorter shower to avoid wasting water.
Do you need to buy new clothes, or can you make do with what you have, mend them or buy second-hand?
twenty one Use recycled gift wrap for your Christmas presents.
Wash clothes at a lower temperature. Hang your laundry to dry rather than using the tumble dryer.
Thank God fo you receive r all the gifts – who have le pray for those ss than you .
How can you be generous to someone today? Can you lend someone a helping hand?
PRAYING WITH THE POPE
INTENTIONS FOR THIS PERIOD NOVEMBER Artificial intelligence: We pray that the progress of robotics and artificial intelligence may always serve humankind.
When we join Pope Francis in praying for the monthly intentions that he places before us, we are not praying for the world to change around us, but for our own hearts to be changed. David Stewart SJ invites us to become apostles of prayer over the coming months.
DECEMBER For a life of prayer: We pray that our personal relationship with Jesus Christ be nourished by the Word of God and a life of prayer.
JANUARY Human fraternity: May the Lord give us the grace to live in full fellowship with our brothers and sisters of other religions, praying for one another, open to all.
s the world approaches a full year of living with Covid-19, we have all learned how we must be ready to shoulder the burden of this pandemic, sometimes for each other. Kindness and selflessness have gone a long way, as we have remembered the common good and the importance of human solidarity. Many have suffered; some have found it difficult to comply with tough rules. When we have slipped, at times putting ourselves and our own needs first, we have recalled that a simple daily prayer of offering, of ourselves and our talents – the traditional morning offering to the Heart of Jesus – can help to recall us to right living and relationships of justice and mercy. Pope Francis has continued to place before us all his concerns, which reflect
the challenges that face humanity and the Church’s mission, inviting all people of good will to join him in praying about these matters. When we do so, it is not somehow to make things better without doing anything about it ourselves. We pray with the pope because we want to change our own hearts, thus allowing ourselves to be mobilised, indeed empowered, to do whatever is within our capacity, for the good of all. We can do so together, in common, as apostles of prayer, following the suggestions of the Holy Father each month in
“Prayer can help to recall us to right living and relationships of justice and mercy.”
FEBRUARY Violence against women: We pray for women who are victims of violence, that they may be protected by society and have their sufferings considered and heeded. the prayer intentions he offers through the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. Our prayer can bring about a globalisation of compassion. That’s the fruit of this collaboration in the mission of Christ. As Pope Francis reminded us last year, ‘the heart of the Church’s mission is prayer’. Pope Francis asks us to turn to a new concern for humanity in November, as we pray to be mindful about how the gift of artificial intelligence, brought to us by human ingenuity, must serve the good of all. In December, as we approach an uncertain Advent and Christmas season, we join the pope in asking for the grace of closeness to Jesus by turning to prayer and scripture.
Pope Francis greeting pilgrims during the Wednesday general audience © Vatican Media/CNA
We begin a new year in January by sharing the pope’s prayer for other religions, not only for dialogue but praying for each other in fellowship. And in February the pope reminds us that, even as we have grappled with the virus, another pandemic, that of violence towards women, has not gone away. jesuit.org.uk 21
A marathon with a difference
he 2020 London Marathon, the 40th Race, took place on Sunday 4 October in a virtual format: participants had 24 hours to run, jog or walk 26.2 miles wherever they chose to do it. The pandemic meant that the usual race-day atmosphere that Jesuit Missions’ runners – and Wombles! – have been able to benefit from in
previous years was missing, but that did not stop Jesuit Missions’ Finance Officer, Vincenzo Loggia! Vincenzo signed up for his first London Marathon in order to raise money for Jesuit Missions’ invaluable work, and he tells us the story of his race: ‘Taking part in the London Marathon has been one of my life goals ever since the event began 40 years ago. However, I never imagined I would finally get to do it in the circumstances of 2020: a virtual marathon in the pouring rain with no spectators!
Vincenzo tackles the 2020 London Marathon
‘I decided not to risk running in the rain for health reasons, having suffered a bout of pneumonia three years ago, and so I walked most of the marathon distance under an umbrella. I started at 8.30am and finished at 5pm with four interspersed comfort and refuelling breaks.
‘I was accompanied by members of my family at various stages of the walk. They provided me with essential moral support and encouragement, which was especially important during the last, seemingly interminable ten kilometres, as I began to suffer from calf and ankle pain. There were moments in the last couple of kilometres when my body wanted to give up, but the thought of letting my sponsors down kept me going to the bitter end. ‘I shall continue my training in the hope that I will be able to participate in the actual marathon next October, pandemic permitting. A big thank you to everyone who sponsored me.’
DONATE TODAY It’s not too late to support Vincenzo’s London Marathon: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/ VincenzoLoggia1
Campion Medal for Bill Blackledge
n 31 July 2020, the feast of St Ignatius Loyola, Jesuits and co-workers gathered in Farm Street church for a socially-distanced Mass of thanksgiving, which included the award of the Campion Medal to Bill Blackledge, who has managed the maintenance of the London Jesuit houses for nearly 40 years.
to inspire by their generosity and self-giving,’ said Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ during his presentation of the medal to Bill.
shared together, but more important even than these is the way you have helped us to be better people and better Jesuits by the example you have given.’
‘We are tremendously grateful to you for all that you have done for us, and for all the good times we have
Bill was joined at the Mass by members of his family, with whom he will now enjoy his retirement.
“A small but heartfelt token of the Province’s gratitude to lay people who have worked closely with us over many years.” ‘The Campion Medal is a small but heartfelt token of the Province’s gratitude to those lay people who have worked closely with us over many years and who have done so in such a way as 22 Jesuits & Friends Winter 2020
Bill Blackledge (left) receives the Campion Medal from Fr Damian Howard SJ
Obituaries Fr Anthony Meredith SJ Fr Anthony Meredith SJ died peacefully at around 11.30pm on Thursday 25 June 2020 in the community house at Corpus Christi, Boscombe. He was 84 years old and was in his 66th year of religious life. Anthony was born in Harrow, Middlesex on 12 April 1936. He was educated at the Cardinal Vaughan School in London and joined the novitiate in Harlaxton in 1954. After philosophy at Heythrop in Oxfordshire he moved to Campion Hall, where he took an MA in Classical Mods and Greats. A two-year regency teaching at Stonyhurst followed. In 1965 he returned to Heythrop for theology and then, after ordination in 1968, he went back to Campion Hall to study for a DPhil and act as Spiritual Father at Eton College. In 1972 he travelled to Berlin for tertianship and the next year returned to Campion Hall, teaching patristic theology and as Spiritual Father. He took final vows in 1976 and from 1977 onwards, while living in Oxford, he also taught regularly at Heythrop in London. After a sabbatical in 1992 that took in Zimbabwe, Italy and Germany, he was appointed to the parish staff at Farm Street, where he stayed for sixteen years. He continued to teach at Heythrop, becoming a Fellow in 2003, with spells at Hekima College
Fr Anthony Meredith SJ
in Kenya and the Gregorian in Rome. In 2008 he moved to Boscombe, but returned to Farm Street after a year, where he continued to write, particularly on Gregory of Nyssa and the Cappadocian Fathers. With failing health, he moved back to Boscombe in 2014, where he stayed until his death.
Fr Bernard Hall SJ Fr Bernard Hall SJ died peacefully at 7.00am on Monday 28 September 2020 in the Residenza S. Pietro Canisio in Rome. He was 98 years old and was in his 74th year of religious life. Bernard was born on 17 October 1921 in Leeds and was educated at St Michael’s College in that city. In March 1941 he was called up to the army, serving in Britain, India and Burma, ending up as a Captain in the Royal Artillery. In 1946 he joined the novitiate in Roehampton. A licentiate in philosophy at Heythrop in Oxfordshire was followed by regency teaching at St John’s Beaumont. In 1952 he returned to Heythrop to study for an STL and was ordained there in 1955. After a fourth year of theology he made his tertianship at St Beuno’s and then spent a year on the parish staff at Sacred Heart, Wimbledon. In 1958 he returned to Roehampton as socius to the novice-master, then in 1961 received his first assignment in Rome, as sub-secretary to the Assistant of the English-speaking Assistancy. Between 1964 and 1967 he was back at Heythrop, teaching philosophy and acting as Vice-Rector, after which he returned to Rome as Superior of the Inter-Provincial houses. In 1970 he became Provincial, attending GC32 in 1974. After his six-year term, he returned to Rome, now as Rector of the Bellarmino. He represented the English Province at the Congregation of Procurators in 1978 and from 1982 to 1988 was Assistant for the English-speaking Assistancy. In 1983 he took part in GC33, and the following year made an official visitation of the English Province. From 1984 he was Superior of the Curia community in Rome. He spent a year’s sabbatical
Fr Bernard Hall SJ
as chaplain in a JRS refugee camp in the Philippines in 1988-89 and then once again became Rector of the Bellarmino, moving to be Superior of the House of Writers in Rome in 1994. By 2001 that house had become the Province infirmary for the Roman Delegation, and Bernard stayed on there as spiritual director, a position he held until not long before his death.
PLEASE PRAY for those who have died recently. May they rest in peace • Mrs J Blades • Mr DV Brand • Miss A Carney • Mr Carter • Mr J Clooney • Mr James Crabtree • Mr Bernard Dickinson • Dr Philip Edgecombe • Mr M Farrelly • Mr Peter Fehrenbach • Sister Ursula Hinchion • Mrs Constance Howarth • Ms Alexandra Irvine • Mr JG Lynch • Mr Frederick Mansell-Hope • Mr Edward Martin • Mr David McVey • Mrs J Murphy • Ms Mary O’Neill • Ms Elizabeth Owen • Mr Peter Prada • Mr Pater Reginald • Mr Alex Robertson • Dr J Robinson • Mr Anthony Russell • Mrs Maureen Sexton • Dr Elizabeth Wales
KEY WORKER APPEAL
Shanthi’s Gift CHRISTMAS 2020
Shanthi is one of the unsung heroines of 2020. She is a nurse on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic in India where there have been more than 6.5 million infections and 100,000 deaths. Shanthi is a gift to her people. A gift of hope and joy. Her childhood was far from easy. Shanthi’s father died when she was ten years old leaving her mother to look after five children. They had little access to education and lived in grinding poverty. But a Jesuit priest working for one of Jesuit Missions’ partners, Loyola Integrated Tribal Development Society, spotted Shanthi’s desire to learn. He helped her go to school where her determination and hard work enabled her to enrol on a nursing course. Now qualified, she works in a Catholic hospital close to her home. The gift of an education has changed the lives of Shanthi and her family for ever. Shanthi is one of the hundreds of key workers Jesuit Missions supports in 25 countries around the world. Please make Shanthi’s gift your gift this Christmas. Donate to our appeal and help bring hope and joy to key workers and the communities they serve.
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Please tick to confirm: I am a UK taxpayer and understand that if I pay less Income Tax and/or Capital Gains Tax than the amount of Gift Aid claimed on all my donations in that tax year it is my responsibility to pay any difference.
We would also like to keep you informed about work by post. If you do not want to receive post from us, or if you want to change how Jesuit Missions contacts you, please let us know by emailing Jesuit Missions at firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling 0208 946 0466 or write to Jesuit Missions, 11 Edge Hill, Wimbledon, SW19 4LR.
Please notify Jesuit Missions if you want to cancel this declaration, change your name or home address, no longer pay sufficient tax on your income and/or capital gains.
A faith that does justice