A faith that does justice
Finding God during a pandemic How are the Jesuits in Britain, and their partners and friends worldwide, responding to Covid-19?
Issue 106 â&#x20AC;˘ Summer 2020 â&#x20AC;˘ Jesuit.org.uk
A SPECIAL SERIES
Stay close to God as you stay where you are Pray as you go has several new resources to help you pray during this difficult time, including prayer guides for healthcare workers and prayers for the family at home. Find them at pray-as-you-go.org
Visit Jesuit.org.uk/corona-one-stop-shop for resources that you might find useful during the Covid-19 pandemic, including details of livestreamed Masses from Jesuit churches and online retreats.
A faith that does justice
Finding God during a pandemic How are the Jesuits in Britain, and their partners and friends worldwide, responding to Covid-19?
Issue 106 • Summer 2020 • Jesuit.org.uk
On the cover: Social distancing in the chapel at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre
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From Fr Provincial JESUITS OUGHT to know a thing or two about plagues. St Ignatius had his own experience of pestilence, not least following his conversion when he took to the open road. He made a habit of attending to the sick in hospitals, a practice which still echoes in Jesuit formation today, begging for food and money so he could hand it out to the sick and the poor. Inspired by the example, St Aloysius Gonzaga (156891) died at 23 serving patients in a little Jesuit hospital set up when the plague broke out in Rome. Young Jesuits preparing for ordination still take as their patron this ‘man for others’. Covid-19 is not like previous plagues. For one thing, it has spread at extraordinary speed, touching every human life on the planet in a matter of weeks. For another, it will devastate the world economy, plunging multitudes
into poverty, some of whom were prosperous until recently. Countless millions have encountered lockdown as a traumatic episode. Others have had an almost positive experience, slowing down, spending time with family and nature. What all have shared in is a feeling of profound uncertainty and anxiety. What is to become of us and the ‘old normal’ which was snatched from us? Iñigo knew that radical interruption, caused in his case by a fast-moving cannonball to the leg, could be an occasion of grace-filled transformation. He never looked back from the new direction which God imparted to him. His crisis was a liberation from tiresome old habits and ways of thinking. Is it possible that lockdown might point today’s humans in a new direction?
Pope Francis tells us about that journey: ‘Christian spirituality proposes a growth marked by moderation and the capacity to be happy with little. It is a return to that simplicity which allows us to stop and appreciate the small things, to be grateful for the opportunities which life affords us, to be spiritually detached from what we possess, and not to succumb to sadness for what we lack.’ In this ‘viral edition’ of Jesuits & Friends, you will see pointers in that same direction. But please don’t just be content to read. It’s time to act. We all need to undergo change if our way of life is to have any future and if our children are to live happily. Even a small change can make a big difference. Damian Howard SJ
In this issue... 04 It has been a busy year so far
15 Carl Welch explains how
06 John Bosco Noronha nSJ and
16 JRS UK’s response to the
for Dunstan Rodrigues nSJ and Sam Dixon nSJ.
Thiranjala Weerasinghe nSJ found personal connections to St Anselm’s.
First Saturdays in Clapham have gone global.
coronavirus pandemic has drawn on the creativity of its staff and volunteers, says Nick Hanrahan.
08 Did Charmagne Fernandes’
18 Lent on the streets of London:
10 Jesuit Missions’ partners are
19 Celia Deane-Drummond reflects
young adults’ group from Southall find God at St Beuno’s?
meeting new challenges with resilience and hope, writes Clare Purtill.
12 From Syria to Stonyhurst:
Catherine Hanley tells a story of hospitality and friendship.
14 Petra Lindner shares the spiritual rewards that came from physical changes to a Lent retreat.
Niall Leahy SJ joined Extinction Rebellion’s Faith Bridge.
on the pandemic through the lens of Laudato si’.
20 Campion Hall Research Fellow,
Gerard Kilroy, updates Edmund Campion’s story, via Evelyn Waugh.
22 Praying with the pope: David Stewart SJ.
23 Obituaries and appointment.
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JESUIT NOVICES Dublin and St Beuno’s
Companionship in a time of uncertainty At the end of February, Jesuit novices Dunstan Rodrigues and Sam Dixon were sent on an ‘experiment’: a six-week experience of ministry. Here they tell their story of what happened and what they are learning.
WE STARTED the Zoom meeting with baited breath. We were doing something new: an online retreat during the Easter Triduum from St Beuno’s. We felt nervous and apprehensive, reaching out to people across the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. What would we say? How would they react to us? As soon as we saw the smiling faces of people appearing on our screen, we began to relax and enjoy ourselves. Dunstan gave a brief introduction and facilitated some group sharing, Sam led a reflection on ‘Finding God during the Covid-19 pandemic’, and we ended in prayer.
Our initial Zoom meeting now finished, we gave each other a virtual high five. Life in the novitiate is a time of being thrown into new situations, of experiencing the kindness and friendship of others, and of working closely together as companions. We had started our journey in Dublin, our time split between a project for homeless people (the Peter McVerry Trust) and St Francis Xavier’s parish. Fr Peter’s drop-in centre provides a place of welcome for people who are experiencing homelessness,
addiction, or anyone at all in fact. There’s coffee, computers, showers, toasties, access to a range of services, and continual 1980s hits on the TV. Fr Peter told us on our first day that there was nothing for us to ‘do’ there – we simply had to ‘be’: drink tea and listen and allow ourselves to be touched by the stories of those we encountered. Dunstan describes a challenging moment: ‘On the first day, I was chatting to a couple of visitors. Another man approached… and suddenly a fight broke out. There
John Bosco Noronha nSJ, Sam Dixon nSJ, Thiranjala Weerasinghe nSJ and Dunstan Rodrigues nSJ at St Beuno’s
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Dublin and St Beuno’s JESUIT NOVICES
In the dining room at St Beuno’s
were several punches to the head and blood was spilled. One staff member came to break things up. I felt shaken, debilitated and saddened. Looking back, like other difficult experiences, it was helpful to talk to others about it. After a few days we settled in and it was humbling to listen to the stories of people and staff at the centre. Their kindness, bravery and openness were very touching.’ For Dunstan, this time at the drop-in centre built on his pre-novitiate life: ‘Before joining the novitiate I had worked as a churchbased community organiser for an East London charity called the Centre for Theology and Community that was developing grassroots leadership and connecting spirituality with social justice. It has been great to continue this within the novitiate in new ways, learning more about what it means to accompany others.’ At the parish we were soon plunged into the Novena of Grace, a nine-day festival of faith and prayer for the intercession of St Francis Xavier. Sam describes a memorable encounter: ‘Before each Mass we had to give a reflection, a sort of mini-homily. The first day I went up to speak, very conscious that I was a young English guy just arrived in Ireland and here I was welcoming a church full of people to a Novena which many of them had been coming to for decades. I tried hard to get the tone right, but in the front row a stern-looking man glowered at me the whole way through. He was there the next day, and the next. I tried to stop myself from looking at him but I still felt the glare of his disapproval. Then one
Dunstan and Sam lead an online retreat
day he approached me after Mass. He was beaming. We bumped elbows, coronavirus-style. He said he was enjoying my reflections and made me feel welcome. It had all been in my mind! The next day, we spoke again and he asked me to pray for a relative of his who had a brain tumour. It was humbling and very moving. By the end of the Novena we greeted each other with smiles before each Mass.’
“We marvel at what’s possible when we work together and trust in God.” Our time in Dublin was a varied and eye-opening experience, seeing two very different Jesuit ministries in action. We entered new and challenging situations and learned to trust in God, one another and those around us. Then, the coronavirus situation worsened and within 24 hours we had left Dublin and were heading for Wales, on an almost empty ferry, to St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre. For Sam, the experience echoed previous emergency evacuations: ‘I used to work for Oxfam in eastern Congo. At one point, the town I was living in was attacked and we had to evacuate to Rwanda. So the experience of having to leave somewhere without much warning was quite familiar to me.’ As we arrived, the battlements and the arrowheads of the tower, incongruous features of a religious
house, now were full of a poignant symbolism: as everywhere else, the community here had to defend itself against the coronavirus. We found ourselves disinfecting door handles, helping with the liturgy, and assisting four venerable Jesuit fathers who had to spend fourteen days in quarantine. This was the point when the Director of St Beuno’s, Fr Roger Dawson SJ, asked us to lead the spirituality centre’s first ever online retreat: it was both daunting and exciting, like bungeejumping for the first time. Our aim was to help people discern God’s will in their altered everyday reality, and support one another during the pandemic. Ten people joined us from around the country for ‘Walking Together this Holy Week’ – most of whom had booked to come to St Beuno’s for Easter, but who were of course now stuck in their own homes. We led daily Zoom sessions with reflections, group sharing, prayer and a suggested structure for the retreatants’ days. Throughout the sharing, we could glimpse the subtle yet palpable ways in which God was moving the hearts of the retreatants. Doing our noviceship in a time of uncertainty and great suffering for the world brings challenges as well as opportunities to learn and grow. We marvel at what’s possible when we work together and trust in God. With the kindness and friendship of those around us, we’re learning to adapt to new situations as they unfold and to be better companions of Jesus Christ. l jesuit.org.uk 5
JESUIT NOVICES Southall
Spiritual unity in Southall John Bosco Noronha and Thiranjala Weerasinghe describe how they each found a way to accompany the parishioners of St Anselm’s, Southall over the course of their time there before and during lockdown.
A sense of home THE SIX experiments during the two-year period of Jesuit noviceship (one of which is the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola) each offer something unique. For our fifth experiment, John and I departed in late February for St Anselm’s, a Jesuit parish in Southall, London. We did not know exactly what this experiment was to be about, but we were looking forward to experiencing St Anselm’s parish life. I belong to the Sri Lankan Province of the Jesuits, and this was my first experiment in a British parish, a vibrant, engaging, predominantly South Asian community. I had already been a Jesuit for nine years from 20032012, moving on to work with a South Asian think tank in Colombo and then working with the Jesuits in northern Sri Lanka, supporting people affected by three decades of armed conflict and continuing hardships.
Being part of the parish community in Southall spoke to me deeply about my Jesuit vocation, the Lord’s call for me to care and accompany, be it in a parish or elsewhere. Life in Southall reminded me very much of my own upbringing and the religiosity of my family and the society in which I grew up. My conversations with families who had migrated from India highlighted the challenges they have faced in beginning a decent life in the UK, both socio-economically and culturally. Every individual and family that migrated has made huge sacrifices, which they hope will bring a better life for them and their families. John and I joined members of the Legion of Mary in caring for the sick in care homes and visiting those unable to leave their houses. We joined weekly meetings of youth and young adults, as well as first holy communion and confirmation groups, and we enjoyed the warmth of hospitality during our evening visits to parishioners. As well
Thiranjala Weerasinghe nSJ (second from left) and John Bosco Noronha nSJ (far right) in St Anselm’s church with Fr Gerard Mitchell SJ (group photo, left) and Fr George Thayriam SJ (group photo, right)
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as cherished memories, these activities were the Lord’s invitation for us to be accompanied by him and to accompany others, a deepening experience of our Jesuit vocation. Thiranjala Weerasinghe nSJ
‘The Holywood Studios’ The routine of which Thiranjala writes was certainly challenged as lockdown arrived in Southall. How could we be accompanied and accompany others while stuck in isolation? Our first thoughts were of how to continue the daily Mass, which is the beating heart of the Southall community, with a daily attendance of 500 people. Our solution was to film Mass 24 hours in advance and then upload to the parish website so it could be ready online in time. Thiranjala became the cameraman and editor, while I was reader and altar server. Our liturgical calendar therefore shifted a day forward – but, on the positive side, we got an extra
Southall JESUIT NOVICES
24 hours of Easter! With only four of us in the church, those first Masses felt slightly bizarre. But that initial sense of emptiness deepened into an understanding of what it means to be part of one body, with the scattered parish family coming together in spiritual unity in this online service. So often, I looked forward to staring down the camera lens and wishing the virtual congregation the peace of Christ. Imagining our parishioners sending peace back was spiritual nourishment for me in these challenging times. These first productions became known as ‘The Holywood Studios’, and led to a range of online resources, which included a video version of our planned parish Lenten retreat and a dramatic Stations of the Cross to help fill the gap left by the cancelled Passion play. As someone who was an actor for
ten years and helped run a Christian theatre company, I was suddenly in my element again. The Lord was showing me that this chapter of my life involved just as much creativity as the last one.
“How could we be accompanied and accompany others while stuck in isolation?” However, there were also unexpected painful moments, such as delivering the eulogy at the funeral of 44-year-old Ruth Sykes, the headteacher of St Anselm’s primary school, who had died the week before lockdown. The tragedy multiplied when it became apparent that nobody could attend her funeral. Here I was, a stranger, delivering the eulogy written by her parents to an empty church, something I never expected to have to do and which I found extremely difficult. St Anselm’s parish centre is one of two church halls usually providing shelter for homeless people across the seven days of the week, with another church hosting a social and arts session one afternoon a week. A few days after being quarantined in the church hall, our guests were provided with hotel accommodation. From helping with the cooking and cleaning, my job now moved to delivering all sorts of supplies: I became a man with a van! This meant I was the only member of our Jesuit community who was regularly going out – with all the associated health risks.
We now became more deeply involved in the struggles of the guests we had been getting to know over the previous four weeks. The shelter became a lifeline for them; a community of different faiths, ethnicities and backgrounds coming together in simple service to look after these men who had fallen on hard times. Most of them just wanted to work to provide for poor families back home, but found them themselves thwarted, ignored or taken advantage of. The injustice of the situation was frustrating, but the dedication of those caring for them was inspiring. We wanted to tell their stories, and the quarantine allowed us to interview them and start work on a short film about the shelter. As a novice the experiment can feel like a grey area. Not yet having taken vows, we are still discerning our vocation but are also part of a community serving apostolically. It is easy to feel involved but separate. With the lockdown we were absorbed right into the heart of this Jesuit community, cooking and eating together every night, reflecting on the day and planning for the next. When the call came from the novice master that we were to move on, the outside world suddenly intruded. l John Bosco Noronha nSJ
READ MORE about parish life in Southall at thinkingfaith.org/articles/churchdoors-locked-wide-open jesuit.org.uk 7
RETREATS From Southall to St Beuno’s
St Beuno’s: an unforgettable spiritual experience! Charmagne Fernandes is filled with gratitude for the graces that she and her fellow retreatants received at St Beuno’s earlier this year.
WE ARE the members of SAYAM, the Young Adults Ministry at St Anselm’s in Southall, West London. We are a group spanning two decades in age, from 21 to 41 years. We are single, happily married, with and without children, and of various ethnicities, but primarily British-Asian. Southall is often called ‘Little Punjab’ or ‘Little India’, and it has been a South Asian hub since the 1950s.
Welcomed by the smiling faces of Inge, Sarah, Deirdre and Rose, we were whisked around on a quick tour of this wonderful world of awesome architecture and then up to the Rock Chapel, across mucky, wet fields. We
just stood in and around the chapel: the wind blew, birds sang, trees swayed, the sun set as we watched God work all around us and much more in each of us individually, enabling us to encounter him in all things.
It’s a vibrant district – something certainly reflected in our group. We are skilled in various fields from medicine and IT, consultancy and logistics, to hospitality, travel and tourism. This all makes hosting the Christmas play in a church an absolute piece of cake. All of our hearts longed for this retreat. I was looking forward to the calm and silence, Lynette needed a little me-time to escape the chaos and the noise. Christopher wanted to experience the uniqueness of the Jesuit way of praying. A few of us expected a little holiday; some were determined to get closer to God, find inner peace and spiritual enlightenment; while others hoped this retreat would bind us together as a group, with Christ at its helm. We all got geared up for our ‘weekend away with God’ but, in reality, most of us did not really know what this would actually mean. 23 of us set off from the parish gates and arrived at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales on Valentine’s Day after a six-hour drive. We just stood in awe at the beauty around us. Storm Dennis was on its way, but we could still catch a glimpse of Snowdonia in the distance. 8 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
The St Anselm’s Young Adults Ministry group outside the Rock Chapel at St Beuno’s
From Southall to St Beuno’s RETREATS
That same evening at Mass, Fr Roger surprised us by asking the four married couples in the congregation to come forward, and to renew their vows. Christopher and Valentina, Farryston and Sanfie, Raymond and Lynette, Royston and Stephanie all willingly obliged, and repeated after the priest the words they had spoken to each other on their wedding day. Some of the couples were teary-eyed. It was as beautiful as it was unexpected. We prayed for them and with them that God would bless their marriages and their families, along with all the marriages in the world. Valentina said she and Christopher had so often jokingly thrown those words around: ‘in sickness and in health’. But in that moment, they all felt very sacred again. Another couple kept the paper with the vows as a small souvenir and committed to reciting them every year thereafter on their anniversary. Raymond would never have imagined spending their Valentine’s Day in church, but said that this was the best one yet, and he and Lynette felt even more united than before. The next day, we prayed on the four G’s of gaze, grace, gift and gratitude – I began to reflect on myself in a deep and powerful way that was new to me, and which I am still following. We then set about building a labyrinth, a maze with only one unambiguous path, like a road leading to Jesus, our centre. From a paper plan, we recreated the labyrinth in the room with long strands of cloth, sarees, fairy lights, decorative candles, twigs, small logs of wood. It looked spectacular, as we threaded our way through it one by one, step by step in silence: my mind was running through my life, the accidents, the incidents, the blessings and the troubles. At the centre was a sense of peace, a sense of surrender, a sense of belonging, a sense of meeting. Then we listened to each other’s experiences, which were both insightful and inspiring. Then, to help us answer the question of whether God was a puppeteer or a potter, we prayed with clay: Susan asked us to feel the lump of clay in front of us, while calming music played
in the background. Touch the clay but don’t press it; feel its shape, how cold it is, its nooks and crannies, its bumps and edges; smell it. I cleared my mind of any preconceived ideas about its shape and found it slowly taking form as an oyster with a pearl. I was shocked.
“We prayed about the four G’s: gaze, grace, gift and gratitude.” That evening, I chose to have a session of spiritual direction to answer the question: how did I know God was listening to me? That morning the scripture featured the story of the lady who touched Jesus’s garment and was healed immediately. So I was asked to imagine being there when Jesus walks by. Where am I? What is Jesus wearing? Push through the crowd and try to touch him. Where are you touching him? Does he notice you? Call out to him! And I burst into tears because Jesus wasn’t looking at me. He didn’t want to look at me. I imagined myself unworthy and undeserving of his love. By the end of the session, I was seeing God looking at me and saying he loved me. I was absolutely in tears but finally understood that God is always listening to me and that I have to just call out to him and speak to him. The last day, we finished with psalmwriting as a group, with each of us adding a line, and by the end we had eight psalms. Each of them seemed
to make perfect sense, reflecting the indescribable unity and feelings in the room. I could almost sense what the other people were feeling, and I could see one of my friends just needed a hug – so I obliged. We had so much spare time to talk to God through nature, through strolls, through puzzles, through sharing the amazing meals together, through paintings. To walk about, seeing how the trees danced and gave praise to the Lord, how each chirping bird was praising him too, how everything gives praise to God, just by existing. Many of us have felt a drastic change in the way we think about prayer after this retreat. For Valentina, connecting to God through nature was a new and unforgettable experience – to pray in the gentle quietness of her heart, rather than moving and singing. Lynette found the time to absorb God’s word and to let the spirit work its magic, the time to mould the clay, to grasp the pencil and write psalms. Christopher realised he doesn’t need to kneel down to pray. Lina made a labyrinth on the playground in the school at which she teaches. Victoria paints labyrinths that are so beautiful. Caroline writes songs to praise the Lord in her spare time. And me? I am more productive, spend time studying the gospel and joyfully participate in Mass. I now take more time noticing nature: the art of God’s work. I appreciate the slightest breeze that blows against my face, imagining it is the Lord’s way of hugging me. l
Building a labyrinth
JESUIT MISSIONS Global partners tackling coronavirus
Hardship and hope: Covid-19 around the world Despite the huge challenges that the pandemic poses to already vulnerable communities, Clare Purtill from Jesuit Missions is pleased to say they are responding with hope.
FR PETER DANIEL SJ lives in Southern India’s Andhra Pradesh region. Usually his community at the Village Reconstruction Organisation (VRO) would be supporting marginalised Yenadi tribes to gain skills to make a living. Now their service has taken on a new form and they are giving out rations. They report that they are seeing those not suffering from Covid-19 being denied essential healthcare to keep them separate from patients infected with the virus. Our partners in Africa are worried, too. Without forgetting the serious health impact of Covid-19, there are other reasons to be concerned. Those already battling the effects of climate change now face an additional challenge to their livelihoods. Fr Charlie Chilufya SJ, Director of the Justice and Ecology Office of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar, says they are already seeing unprecedented economic effects that are ‘infecting the economy’ and pushing people back into poverty. While closing the borders is an effective strategy to slow the virus, it is preventing small businesses from getting essential supplies and reducing opportunities to trade. These businesses are facing the added pressure of decreased footfall, brought about by government-mandated lockdowns and more people staying home to avoid public places. Working from home is not an option for most, owing to the lack of infrastructure to support remote working. There are no safety nets like sick leave or subsidised health coverage for those who get ill. We may never know the true impact 10 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
of the virus on the economy in Africa owing to a persistent lack of data gathering.
“Staying home quietly isolated isn’t easy in the areas where our partners work.” Coronavirus is swiftly wiping away the gains made in poverty reduction in recent years. We are seeing an increase in partners reporting that the people of their towns are not having their basic needs met. It was hard enough for labourers in India to earn a living before they were forbidden from leaving their homes with four
hours’ notice. The ‘untouchables’ from lower castes fear hunger will kill them before the virus. Lockdown is a significant challenge in the areas most of our partners work in, and we are hearing reports of crowding. Fr Nigel Johnson SJ in Zimbabwe reminds us that ‘staying home quietly isolated doesn’t work’ in the poorer areas near him. Schools have closed for the foreseeable future in many countries, impacting the education of the young, and cutting off a route out of poverty for many. Moving classes online is not an option. Mature students are also affected by the closure of training programmes run by our partners. Women in Nigeria
Above and opposite: youth food drive in Kenya Photos: Fr Charlie Chilufya SJ
Global partners tackling coronavirus JESUIT MISSIONS
who have suffered under Boko Haram are missing out on the opportunity to gain vital skills to grow their agricultural businesses because of the lockdown. Amidst the slide back into poverty and public health crises, new needs are emerging. We have heard reports of an increase in misinformation, and our partners are working hard to combat this in their communities by taking to the airwaves and providing correct public health information through radio programmes. In South Sudan people have asked if it is true that strong tea with sugar will combat the virus. More worryingly, Indian politicians have made the claim that drinking cow urine and other cow products can protect against the virus. This misinformation risks confusing the correct hygiene measures in the public imagination and will only worsen the public health crisis. The services our partners provide in promoting accurate information are needed now more than ever.
Easter hope In the face of great uncertainty and strain on their work, we have been inundated with messages of hope. Jesuit communities around the world continue to serve and accompany the people they walk with in new ways. We were encouraged to hear of young
people in Kenya organising their own food drive to feed over 100 hungry families a week in informal settlements near them. ‘There are already perceptible signs of hope! Platoons of Good Samaritans are braving the odds in order to feed and help the people badly hit by the lockdown,’ reports Fr Sannybhai SJ from the Jesuits in Social Action secretariat in South Asia.
“Our friends around the world have been sharing the hope of the resurrection.” After Easter, we received messages from our friends around the world sharing the hope of the resurrection. Their timely reminder of the source of our Christian hope was consoling in a time of great uncertainty. ‘This year’s Easter celebration, which is the heart of the Christian faith and celebrates the triumph of life over death, acquires a peculiar meaning and relevance in light of the terrible Covid-19 pandemic,’ wrote Fr Lalit Tirkey SJ from Darjeeling. Pope Francis said in his Easter Urbi et Orbi address: ‘This disease has not only deprived us of human closeness, but
Queuing for VRO rations in Andhra Pradesh, India Photo: Fr Peter Daniel SJ
also of the possibility of receiving in person the consolation that flows from the sacraments, particularly the Eucharist and Reconciliation. In many countries, it has not been possible to approach them, but the Lord has not left us alone! United in our prayer, we are convinced that he has laid his hand upon us, firmly reassuring us: Do not be afraid, “I have risen and I am with you still!”’ We are grateful for the continued support and prayers of all friends of Jesuit Missions as we do what we can to help our partners tackle this urgent health crisis and the challenges of the increase in poverty it is causing. We are working with partners to respond to immediate needs and will be there to help communities to recover from the social and economic effects of the pandemic. The pandemic is highlighting the inequalities that exist in our global and local communities, and your donations and prayers are needed now more than ever. l
SUPPORT JESUIT MISSIONS Visit jesuitmissions.org.uk/ coronavirus to find out more about the work that Jesuit Missions and their global partners are doing, and to support their work worldwide. jesuit.org.uk 11
STONYHURST, ST MARY’S HALL & ST JOSEPH’S Hummingbird Project
‘I am going to do what I can’ When a group of students at Stonyhurst asked if the school and surrounding community could host a refugee family, none of them knew how much the experience would change them, writes Catherine Hanley.
A YEAR AGO, the Alshahada family was forced to flee Syria when their home was completely destroyed. As Mr Alshahada explained: ‘Everything has gone. The beautiful memories we lived are all gone. We miss all our photographs: photos of us getting married and when we were young. We left with just the clothes we were wearing. Everything else was left behind.’ He and his wife felt they had no choice for their family but to leave and rebuild their lives in another country: ‘Children in Syria spend all day in the streets without access to schools. Men are arrested for no reason. Syrian people are generous and hard-working, but they suffer from war – which means hunger, poverty and cold.’ Mr Alshahada was filled with trepidation at the prospect of a new life in Britain: ‘I was anxious about how people would view us if we looked different. But this was not the case when we arrived. We have not felt that people judged us.’
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I went to Manchester airport with another Hurst Green community member to welcome the family in person. Mrs Alshahada remembers their arrival warmly: ‘We had a great reception at the airport. Everyone was very respectful.’ For Mr Alshahada, this reception was markedly different from when they first left Syria: ‘My first impression was that these were good people. When we went to Lebanon my family slept for three days on the border between Syria and Lebanon. It was the worst three days of our lives.’
Looking to live out Pope Francis’ call for ‘every parish, every religious community, every monastery, every sanctuary of Europe’ to take in one family affected by the global refugee crisis, the college brought together a working group for the project, connecting staff members with the preparatory school, St Mary’s Hall, Stonyhurst, and the local primary school, St Joseph’s. They were joined by parents from all three schools and parishioners from Hurst Green’s Catholic and Anglican parishes.
The Alshahadas’ odyssey was set in motion when pupils of the Faith That Does Justice group at Stonyhurst College petitioned their headmaster and the governing body to take in a Syrian refugee family. Headmaster John Browne was proud to give a resounding ‘yes’ to the request: ‘It has been an encounter of real generosity from and with the wider community and has perhaps changed us more than the refugee family we now call our friends.’
Their application to the Home Office to take part in its Community Sponsorship Scheme in partnership with the national Catholic charity, Caritas, was approved in early 2019. The Alshahada family were welcomed to the Hurst Green community in June 2019, making them the first school in the country to resettle a family as part of the Home Office scheme. The group had to show evidence that they could support a family to become
Hummingbird Project STONYHURST, ST MARY’S HALL & ST JOSEPH’S This page and opposite: The Alshahada family settling into life in Hurst Green Photos: The Hummingbird Project
self-sufficient within twelve months of arrival. The ‘Hummingbird Project’, as it became called, took its name from legend. There was once a huge forest fire, and while all the animals were running around in circles, a tiny hummingbird was busy fetching a few drops of water with its beak to throw on the flames. The grouchy armadillo called the hummingbird a fool, but the hummingbird replied sagely: ‘I am going to do what I can.’ Mr Alshahada’s gratitude extends to a long list: ‘They have helped us to access doctors, employment and to integrate into the local community. They have helped me to learn English, our children to access school. They help us with everything.’ For Mrs Alshahada and her children, it is education that clearly tops the list: ‘Most of all, our children have a chance to go to school. In Hurst Green the children are all treated equally.’ Their seven-year-old daughter appreciates the friendships and activities: ‘I like school because it has sport. There was no sport in Lebanon. I like my teacher and I like my friends because they are kind to me.’ This sense of inclusion is echoed by her brother: ‘My friends are very kind to me and they do everything with me. One of them plays football with me and he passes me the ball. Another one sits next to me and helps me with my work when I don’t know the answer. I love it when I go swimming. The teacher is great! My favourite sports are football, tennis,
badminton and running. I came first in the race that we did!’ As a member of the family is shielded under government guidelines during the pandemic, all support for the family had to move quickly to a virtual form. We purchased tablet computers so that the family could access their support during this period.
“We hope what we have done will encourage other communities and schools to join the scheme.” The volunteers now call the parents daily for a catch-up and to ensure the family are not feeling isolated. Our tutors call each day to ensure the children don’t fall behind on school work. Mr Alshahada is particularly keen to pass his driving theory test and we are setting up a system to support him in learning the required materials. Living in the Ribble Valley has its plus points, and the family has been able to take their daily exercise in the beautiful countryside. They have also discovered a love of growing their own vegetables, with seeds and planting equipment provided by kind neighbours. This village community has come into its own to ensure the delivery of essential food and other household items: a village service brings the
weekly dairy supplies, farms deliver fresh fruit and vegetables, and the local Imam is helping the family to receive their halal products. These are challenging times, but if anything the lockdown has shown the strength of this community partnership. We have even connected the family to a wider circle through English lessons for refugees that were previously too far away, but are now delivered in a virtual format. It has therefore been a time of new blessings as well. We knew when we embarked on this project that we were going to be part of something very special. I think I speak for the whole group when I say that our expectations have been exceeded tenfold. We have been privileged to walk alongside the Hummingbird family for the past eight months, sharing in their experiences of beginning life in the UK: the challenges, the joys and the milestones. We have already received requests for advice and support from a number of schools across the country as well as other local parishes. It has been a remarkable journey for the family and everyone involved with the project, with all sides forming new and lasting friendships. l
FIND OUT MORE To find out more about Community Sponsorship and how your organisation or community could get involved, visit resetuk.org jesuit.org.uk 13
SPIRITUALITY Lent retreat
Finding God online, together An already-international community in Geneva became truly global when they chose to continue their Lenten retreat together from all over the world, says Petra Lindner.
Singapore, France, Germany, the UK, Canada and Ghana to name a few of the countries where people were stranded. Depending on time zones, participants were staying up late into the night or getting up in the early hours of the morning to attend their groups. If anything, the weekly sharing became even deeper. As one friend said: ‘These meetings have been a life-saver both spiritually and psychologically for me. I would not miss the sharing with my new soulmates for anything in the world.’
Group sharing online (above); and a virtual Sunday Mass (right).
THE ENGLISH-SPEAKING parish of St John XXIII in Geneva is a truly international community with the World Health Organisation headquarters and the UN’s Palais des Nations just down the road. Ignatian Spirituality arrived in our parish in 2019 and we wanted to share our experience of it with a wider community in Geneva. With the support of our parish priest and the Ignatian Spirituality Centre Glasgow, we embarked on the 2020 Lent retreat. We invited people either to join a group, do the retreat as a family or on their own. Retreat books were distributed, facilitators were trained and the retreat began on Ash Wednesday. Fourteen groups met each week in the church or in someone’s home to share their experiences of the week’s prayer materials. Then the world changed. A letter from our local bishop said that Masses were cancelled. Then, on 20 14 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
March, gatherings of more than five people were banned. Switzerland was in lockdown. We were plunged into a totally new situation that we never could have imagined, with our cosmopolitan community dispersed across the globe. What could we do now? The retreatants had already started to form bonds and wanted to continue their journey through this most extraordinary Lent, so we frantically investigated the various online tools to see if this very particular spiritual sharing could happen in the virtual world. It worked! Most of the groups went ahead with online meetings, sharing and getting used to the new norm. The few groups that had been reluctant to take their spirituality online soon changed their minds when they saw how rich the experience continued to be. The online meetings countered the isolation of Geneva lockdown and our scattered community was now connecting from across the globe:
Easter approached, and it became clear that there would be no services for Holy Week and the Easter Triduum. But with St Ignatius guiding us to a deeper relationship with Jesus, everyone had started to feel that Jesus was with us in this and that we would be able to get through it together. As a result, the Pentecost retreat was born. Another forty days for the retreatants to meet and continue their joint journey. With the assistance of the ISC Glasgow team we created material for each day of the week, and the facilitated groups continue to meet virtually with new retreatants still joining. Feeling ever more comfortable leveraging technology for our spiritual needs, we started a virtual Sunday Mass after Easter. The parish ‘voice’ is represented through readers and musicians. People call in for Mass from Africa, Asia, the Americas and other parts of Europe – our St John XXIII community is now truly global! l
WHAT’S NEXT? See what the future holds for the Geneva Ignatian Spirituality Centre: sites.google.com/view/geneva-isc
First Saturdays YOUNG ADULT MINISTRIES
First Saturdays in Clapham The Jesuit Young Adult Ministries, normally based in a thriving part of South London, have moved online and become global, as Carl Welch reports.
RESIDENTS OF Clapham may notice that the famed omnibus is busier than usual on the first Saturday of each month as young people from across London pass by the sports-mad locals on their way to the Laudato Si’ community house on the edge of Clapham Common. It is there that the community of Ruth Holgate, Jim Conway SJ, Dushan Croos SJ and Carlos Chuquihuara SJ have, for the past year-and-a-half, been hosting a series of events for young adults. The days are a mixture of lecture, seminar and socialising, and have had three topics. The first four sessions focused explicitly on Laudato si’ and were led by Michael Smith SJ, John Paul de Quay and James Buchanan from Operation Noah, Celia Deane-Drummond of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute in Oxford, and Paul Martin SJ of the Guyana Jesuit mission. The next sessions were on Catholic Social Teaching Through Film with Theodora Hawksley; and finally we have considered the mimetic desire and
scapegoating theories of René Girard with Michael Kirwan SJ. I could write at length about any of the above sessions, but I will focus instead on how they have helped to engender a sense of community among Catholic young adults who have been enthused by the ideas we have encountered.
“How can we, as Catholic young adults, contribute to a process of change?” Learning is not something that need stop at school or university, and the sessions provide a valuable opportunity to still ourselves and think deeply about what the society we young Catholics want to see might look like, and how we might take practical steps to contribute to a process of change. What is particularly striking is the real expertise that can be found among the group. We are artists, journalists, economists, policy-makers, nurses,
bankers, teachers, lawyers and civil servants. In short, we are the Church, and in a society in which disciplines are forever being siloed from each other, it is refreshing and vital to bring different opinions and knowledge together. It is a great gift of the Catholic Church that our congregations are so diverse. Owing to the current pandemic, recent sessions have been held virtually. This has forced change. No more communal lunches (no more washing-up!) and no closing the session with Mass, but we have reached new members. People who would not have previously attended are now able to join, and so the Catholic group becomes ever more universal. The pandemic has shaken societies across the globe from prior inertia, and there is now the opportunity to discuss how we might learn from this. With disaster no longer seeming so distant, our sense of invulnerability is gone, and we can hope that this will finally bring home the future – and current – risks of climate change. It is clearer, too, whom our society should fashion as its role models. For now, we must work out how best to keep involved those new faces who have been attending the virtual sessions once things open up again. Even now, the community of the Church is thriving and we will continue to support each other until we can worship again in our churches, with a newfound appreciation of the privilege that comes with having ready access to the sacraments. l
FIND OUT MORE Discussing The Painted Veil via Zoom
Visit the Jesuit Young Adult Ministries page on Facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org jesuit.org.uk 15
JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE UK Responding to coronavirus
Locked down, but not out JRS had to adapt quickly to the lockdown measures in order to ensure those they serve had the means to survive. Nick Hanrahan gives an insight into the practical nature of their response and finds community amid hostility.
THERE ARE many blessings that come with JRS UK being based in the Hurtado Jesuit Centre in Wapping. Not only is the building a large space with plenty of room to welcome our refugee friends each week, we also have the fortune of a Jesuit community living above us. Having the community so close to us has many benefits, not least the Jesuits who work and volunteer for JRS, bringing their skills and compassion to help accompany and serve our refugee friends. It also provides a very tangible and constant presence of the Jesuits with whom we lay staff are partners in this great global work of the Society. In this time of coronavirus the value of this constancy and presence has shone through in other ways. The lockdown measures brought in to keep us safe have led to huge changes to the way we operate at JRS. We have had to
stop our usual weekly Day Centre and activities, and we are unable to make outreach visits to the detention centres at Heathrow, with our staff and volunteers now working remotely from home.
“Before this outbreak, our friends were already excluded them from many of the things that we take for granted in daily life.” The centre, however, is not quite empty. Richard Webster SJ, our Operations Assistant and a member of the Hurtado Jesuit community, has been holding the fort. His presence on site has seen him become a vital cog in the Emergency Response Team that is leading the new, adapted services we have started to ensure we continue
A delivery arrives at the Hurtado Jesuit Centre
16 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
to accompany our friends during this difficult time. Richard explains: ‘The most striking thing about the centre at the moment is the silence. The absence of friends and nearly all staff and volunteers means the absence of the bustle, conversations, laughter and many familiar faces I’ve grown used to since joining last September.’ Richard has done a great deal of work accepting deliveries of food and toiletries before sorting them into parcels alongside Jackie, one of our volunteers from the local parish. These parcels are then collected by our volunteer drivers to be delivered to our refugee friends wherever they are spending the lockdown. Richard’s hard work has allowed our centre to function as a base for our ‘Day Centre on the road’, whilst ensuring the rest of our staff and volunteers can
Richard Webster SJ preparing parcels
Responding to coronavirus JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE UK
All photos: JRS UK
Emergency Response Team volunteers deliver parcels to refugee friends across London: Jennie on her bike (left), and housemates Naomi and Azelea by car (right)
continue working from home, maintaining social distancing. Richard says: ‘All the delivery information gets fed to me and Jackie, so that when we are making up parcels we often know the people who will receive them. Even with physical and social distancing, I feel I am still serving and accompanying friends in a very practical way. ‘In the two months since we went into lockdown and the Day Centre had to close, we’ve delivered over 430 food parcels, toiletries and new-baby packs all across London. I’m proud of how, in the upheaval, we’ve managed to adapt and provide continuity of support to so many people whose situation is precarious. A few days into lockdown we made contact with one of our friends, and within 48 hours had managed to top-up his mobile phone so that he could call friends and family in London and overseas, deliver a food parcel and toiletries, and arrange for a volunteer to keep in touch with him.’ Even before this outbreak, our friends were subject to a hostile environment that excluded them from many of the things that we take for granted in daily life, forcing them into the shadows. This has only got worse in recent weeks of lockdown: as one of our friends highlighted in a piece of his recently published in The Independent, ‘we belong to a rather unfortunate category of immigrants whose lack of status actually means we have “no recourse to public funds”. This simply
means we can only rely on charitable organisations for basic subsistence. But since all such charitable organisations have been forced to shut down or scale back on certain services due to the coronavirus pandemic, it also means that numerous migrants like us are left very vulnerable in increasingly desperate circumstances.’
“Even in this tragic episode of human history, we have seen clear signs of God’s presence.” Through our new services we hope to respond to some of the desperate circumstances our friends are in and be a constant for them at this time, when many feel more isolated than ever before. We have heard from many of our friends that having a volunteer or staff member from JRS calling them to check in with them, and having parcels delivered to them, has been a reminder that they are not alone. One of our staff members was touched to receive the following text message after making a delivery to one of our friends: ‘Thanks for coming round with the delivery at this difficult time. It’s really appreciated and also it was so nice to see some friendly faces. Have a safe journey wherever you are off to next.’ The JRS Charter states that: ‘To accompany refugees is to affirm that God is present in human history, even in most tragic episodes’. Even in this
tragic episode of human history, which is impacting on our refugee friends in a particularly difficult way, we have seen clear signs of God’s presence. Whether it is Richard’s organising and packing of food parcels, our friend in The Independent giving voice to what many of the JRS community are experiencing to a much wider audience, the dozens of new volunteers who have come forward to make deliveries all across Greater London, or the bonds of friendship continuing to be strengthened over the phone rather than in person, we see the light that is to be found amid the darkness. l
SUPPORT OUR REFUGEE FRIENDS Please give generously to our Hardship Fund so that JRS UK can continue to accompany our refugee friends: jrsuk.net/hardshipfund (See back page appeal)
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CLIMATE ACTION XR Faith Bridge
Praying at parliament for the planet Niall Leahy SJ shares his experience of a Lenten observance with a difference in a world-famous setting.
ON ASH WEDNESDAY, Melanie invited me to participate in the Extinction Rebellion (XR) Faith Bridge 40-day 24/7 Lenten prayer and meditation vigil for the planet outside the Houses of Parliament in Westminster. Melanie and I are classmates on the MA Theology, Ecology and Ethics programme at the London Jesuit Centre. A Christian and a lawyer, Melanie is also an active member of the XR Faith Bridge, an alliance of XR people with religious beliefs who have come together in an all-faiths collaboration. The neglected Celtic Christian in me liked the idea of a 24/7 vigil. Sitting on the pavement outside parliament for a seven-hour shift once a week would be chicken feed for the Celtic monks of days gone by, but for me … well, let’s just say it was a step up from giving up chocolate.
The vigil was both an inward and an outward action. Outwardly, we had some signs and symbols telling people what we were doing. Passers-by often slowed down to have a closer look or simply give a nod of recognition and encouragement. People also stopped to talk, including some MPs. Early one morning a Polish street cleaner told me that change can take a long time and he encouraged me to persevere.
“One of the goals of the spiritual life is to tap into the wellspring of life that sustains us in our efforts.” Inwardly, the prayer time was very rich. I used the time to rotate through
my repertoire of prayer methods: the rosary, conversation with God, quiet contemplation, singing hymns of praise. One night after praying beside somebody for a few hours, I eventually asked: ‘So how do you pray?’ and a wonderful conversation and faith-sharing ensued. Another lady said that, sitting in front of the Houses of Parliament, she was mindful of all the good and the bad that had happened there down through the years, and she was praying for the good. My abiding memory of the prayer is closing my eyes, quietening down and having a sense of everything being held in existence by the Creator ‘in whom we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28).
Photo: Forty Days of Prayer & Meditation
The experience has further convinced me of the importance of spirituality for people who campaign for justice. Without some sort of spiritual life campaigners can run out of steam or despair at the magnitude of the task. One of the goals of the spiritual life is to tap into the wellspring of life that sustains us in our efforts. Prayer and meditation gives us access to grace that flows from the heart of Jesus into our own heart, so that we may persevere until the end like he did. It was both an inward and an outward action, both powerful and sober, just like Lent. l
FIND OUT MORE Follow XR Faith Bridge on Facebook and @FaithBridge_XR on Twitter, or watch a film about the vigil at youtu.be/NFeq66d8iks 18 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
Covid-19 and our common home LAUDATO SI’ RESEARCH INSTITUTE
Finding a voice to sing praises Celia Deane-Drummond of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute alerts us to the wake-up call to preserve and celebrate every part of our common home.
Much of the ethical discussion around Covid-19 is about issues of justice. Who gets access to healthcare and equipment has increasingly become a lottery. The most vulnerable suffer directly from this disease, but the indirect national and global economic and social impacts cut deep. Even the so-called ‘good news’ that some have tried to find, such as the drastic reduction in flying and other carbon emissions, comes with drawbacks: vulnerable communities, such as those of the Pacific Islands, are losing their economic foothold. These indirect impacts exacerbate the direct and intense suffering of impoverished indigenous communities in countries such as Brazil that are left unprotected by their own governments. The more fundamental issue to consider is our shared humanity. Evolutionary anthropology highlights our highly distinctive ‘hyper’ sociality. Cutting that out through social distancing or isolation has been deeply disturbing for many people. We are now in a familiar yet strange land, where we cannot even properly weep and mourn with others. So, can we still find a voice to sing praises in the wake of such suffering? Well, a counter to the anxiety that is evident in so many aspects of this crisis – its political management, its effect on those in lockdown, even at its source
Photo: Matt Seymour on Unsplash
THIS YEAR we were supposed to be celebrating five years since the release of Laudato si’. However, instead of celebrating, we have watched with horror as the Covid-19 pandemic has swept the globe. It is a natural, moral and political phenomenon, but also has theological meaning.
if that proves to be an illicit market that deals in rare species, or parts of species, thought to be able to cure human anxieties – is gratitude. In Rome, nuns sing the Divine Office from their apartments. In Madrid, every evening people gather on balconies to applaud health workers. In the UK, thousands have clapped each Thursday evening for the NHS and social care workers. Covid-19 has a relatively low death rate compared with many other parasitic relationships, so perhaps we need to be grateful for that. We use anthropomorphic language of ‘battle’ in our relationship with the virus as it helps us to deal with its consequences, but there is nothing explicitly evil about Covid-19. It is doing what it is made to do: multiply in its hosts, keeping many alive to pass it on to new hosts. It does not ‘intend’ to kill. Its impact is a consequence of our daily decisions and relationships, many of which, rather like our daily actions which contribute to climate change, may seem to us to be innocuous but have devastating consequences for other innocent parties. We are now learning
the depth and delicate balance of these relationships, of which indigenous communities living within fragile ecologies have long been aware. The next time a cloud of anxiety rises within us, let us reflect that the flowers, birds, trees and other living creatures around us even in an urban environment are not in lockdown. Stop to listen to the birdsong. Their praises cannot be stamped out, in spite of our mortality and disease. Let’s also consider those millions of microorganisms living within us that help us stay healthy and live long lives, and those other living species who share our common home. Let us celebrate and protect the life and health that they and we have. We will best honour those who have suffered and died by learning to take our interconnectedness with God, each other and other creatures much more seriously. Even the deepest suffering is not beyond the reach of God’s mercy and grace, thus providing an occasion for renewal. The hope of Easter cannot be suppressed. l jesuit.org.uk 19
JESUIT HISTORY Edmund Campion
Image: archives of the Jesuits in Britain
Evelyn Waugh’s chivalric hero 25 October 2020 marks 50 years since the canonisation of the English martyrs, among them St Edmund Campion SJ. Gerard Kilroy, the editor of a new edition of Evelyn Waugh’s Edmund Campion, tells the fascinating story behind the text.
IN 1934, Evelyn Waugh wanted to do something to help with the cost of building the new Campion Hall in Oxford. The Master, Martin D’Arcy SJ, who had received Waugh into the Church at Farm Street on 29 September 1930, suggested to him that he should write a life of Edmund Campion. It proved to be an inspired intervention in Waugh’s life. 20 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
D’Arcy offered his protégé all Jesuit assistance possible, including, through Leo Hicks SJ, the ‘copious notes’ of John Hungerford Pollen SJ, a former historiographer of the Society. English Catholic historiography owes Pollen a massive debt for his translating and editing many volumes of recusant material, a key contribution towards the cause of the English martyrs,
316 of whom had been beatified in 1886. Waugh finished writing the book shortly before the first two, John Fisher and Thomas More, were canonised on 19 May 1935. Waugh was a guest of honour when the new Campion Hall, to which he had donated all royalties from the book, was formally opened on 26 June
Edmund Campion JESUIT HISTORY
The book, from its first edition in September 1935 to its third edition in 1961, was strongly coloured by the canonisation of English martyrs. After a pause during the war, the cause was formally re-launched by papal decree on 24 May 1961, but the postulator in Rome, Paolo Molinari SJ, and the vice-postulator in Farm Street, Philip Caraman SJ, a close friend of Waugh’s, were appointed in 1959. By February 1960, Waugh’s youngest daughter, Margaret, was working for Fr Caraman. Waugh wrote to Nancy Mitford on 18 May 1960: ‘Margaret now works in London canonising 40 martyrs at £10 a week.’ She was soon joined by her sister, Harriet, so Waugh could hardly have been more involved. The meaning of Edmund Campion had been transformed for Waugh after his visit to Mexico in 1939, where he encountered the memory of Fr Miguel Pro SJ, martyred by President Calles in 1927. In Croatia (where he was revising the proofs of Brideshead Revisited) in 1944, he experienced the oppression of the Church by another communist dictator, Marshal Tito. Waugh now saw that the book he had written about a Jesuit martyr in the Elizabethan persecution was, in fact, about ‘an unending war’ between Church and State. When Brideshead Revisited became a runaway success in the USA, Waugh suggested a new (the first) American edition of Edmund Campion, to which he wrote a sublime new ‘Preface’ linking Campion to Pro, and ending with ‘the same pure light shining in darkness, uncomprehended’. Just as, amidst all the darkness at the end of the war, the ‘small red flame’ still burns in ‘A Household of the Faith | A Theological Novel’ (as Brideshead was first called), and just as Greene’s 1940 novel, The Power and the Glory (which also won the Hawthornden Prize in 1941), ends
Photo: Gerard Kilroy
1936, two days after he received the Hawthornden Prize for Edmund Campion as ‘a work of imaginative literature’. D’Arcy had succeeded not only in raising £1,200 (over £80,000 today), but in bringing Waugh into the ‘household of the faith’ and, in effect, recruiting him, alongside Graham Greene, to be one of the leading Catholic novelists of his generation.
Left: Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) by Carl Van Vechten. Right: title page of the first American edition of Edmund Campion published by Little, Brown and Company, Boston in 1946
with another priest in disguise arriving, so the key word, taken from John’s Gospel, is ‘uncomprehended’: Campion is now a witness in dark times to the eschatological triumph of the Church. Edmund Campion is one of the 43 volumes that make up The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh. The introduction shows the development of the text through the English and American editions, while the notes help the reader understand where and why Waugh made (mostly minor) errors of detail and, more importantly, where his intuitive judgement as a novelist enabled him to capture succinctly the energetic glamour, the Ignatian chivalry and the enchanting preaching of Campion. It also sets the text within the historical context of the growth of English Catholicism in this period, and, in particular, of the canonisation process. Of course, it is hard to do justice to the enormous impact the book had on thousands of individual converts, Catholics and their families, but Thomas M. McCoog SJ, a former archivist of the British Province, has written a comprehensive survey of the ‘Critical Reception’. Edmund Campion was a turning-point in Waugh’s career. It was followed by a series of major works with a strong theological thread: Brideshead Revisited (1945), Helena (1950), Men at Arms (1952), The Holy Places (1952), Officers
and Gentlemen (1955), Ronald Knox (1956), Unconditional Surrender (1961). The book inspired the conversion of many, became a talisman among Catholic families, sometimes given to every brother or sister in turn. It was treasured by Elizabeth Longford after her conversion, presented to Alec Guinness on his, and read aloud by (Prince) Henrik Lubomirski SJ in Kalisz, and annually in Campion House, Osterley. This latest edition reminds us how confident, how intellectually and artistically exuberant English Catholicism was during the period when Edmund Campion was being published in successive editions in London and Boston from 1935 to 1961. Its publication in Munich under the Third Reich in 1938, or in war-ravaged Nijmegen in 1947, is testimony to the encouragement the book provided for those who were confronting, or who had survived, the terrible events of this period. Waugh ends his post-war ‘Preface’ (1946): In fragments and in whispers we get news of other saints in the prison camps of Eastern and South-eastern Europe, of cruelty and degradation more savage than anything in Tudor England, of the same, pure light shining in darkness, uncomprehended. The hunted, trapped, murdered priest is amongst us again, and the voice of Campion comes to us across the centuries as though he were walking at our side. l jesuit.org.uk 21
PRAYING WITH THE POPE
Prayer, compassion and tenderness David Stewart SJ invites us to join the Pope’s Prayer Network in praying, as it has done for 175 years, for the biggest challenges facing the Church and the world.
NO READERS of Jesuits & Friends will need reminding that, since the previous issue of the magazine was published, the world that we all share has been turned upside-down. So have most of our plans – personally, in our families and ways of life, and in the Church. The Pope’s Prayer Network, founded as the Apostleship of Prayer over 175 years ago, has always tried to encourage deep prayer about the challenges that face humanity and the Church’s mission. In its 176th year, the network now prays, with the pope, for one of humanity’s greatest ever challenges and encourages all people of good will to do the same. One way in which this network, which is the Holy Father’s own personal prayer-group, has tried to respond to the emergency has been via a new daily intention. Given each day by the pope to the network, so that it might be shared with apostles of prayer around the world, the intention foregrounds a particular aspect of the
pandemic, usually by means of praying for a particular group of people, and not always the most obvious ones. Most days, the pope has prayed for this group at his daily early morning Mass at the Casa Santa Marta near St Peter’s Square, and later that day we can all join him in that prayer. Those plans that we all had might have to be set aside, or adjusted, or even replaced by new opportunities, by the new ways of being together in solidarity that so many people have found during these difficult weeks and months. All of us are asking, in our varied ways, whether we can go back to ‘normal’, to our old ways, or whether something new is being called forth, just as the prophets and great saints of the Church proposed. Through this global prayer network, we will continue our prayer with the pope for humanity and our Church’s mission, for that will help to keep our hearts open to all the needs around us. We can continue to grow as ‘missionary disciples’, not trying to preserve what
INTENTIONS FOR THIS PERIOD JULY Our Families: We pray that today’s families may be accompanied with love, respect and guidance. AUGUST The Maritime World: We pray for all those who work and live from the sea, among them sailors, fishermen and their families. SEPTEMBER Respect for the Planet’s Resources: We pray that the planet’s resources will not be plundered, but shared in a just and respectful manner. OCTOBER The Laity’s Mission in the Church: We pray that by the virtue of baptism, the laity, especially women, may participate more in areas of responsibility in the Church. has been found wanting but open to that ‘new thing’ that, for example, the prophet Isaiah spoke of so long ago (Is 43:19). The Holy Father suggested, when the virus first struck, that ‘to the pandemic of the virus we want to respond with the universality of prayer, of compassion, of tenderness’. Let’s pray with the pope! l
Pope Francis giving his blessing above an empty St. Peter’s Square © Vatican Media/CNA
22 Jesuits & Friends Summer 2020
A variety of prayer cards – Daily Prayer Pathway, Examen, Morning Offering, 10 Minutes, 10 Prayers – is available for a contribution of £1.50, incl. P&P, UK nations only. Please contact email@example.com, or leave your address details on the voicemail at 020 8442 5232.
OBITUARIES AND APPOINTMENT
Obituaries Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus between 2008 and 2016, died on 20 May 2020 in Tokyo. He was 84 years old, and had been ill for some time. Fr Nicolás was born in Palencia, Spain in 1936 and entered the Jesuits in 1953. He was sent to Japan while in training, later working as a professor of theology there before becoming Provincial. He then moved to the East Asian Pastoral Institute in the Philippines before being elected
PLEASE PRAY for those who have died recently. May they rest in peace.
General at the 35th General Congregation in 2008. He retired from that position in 2016. In a tribute, the present Superior General, Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, spoke of ‘the personal style with which Father Nicolás exercised authority – always full of warmth, goodness and joy’. He quoted a prayer that Fr Nicolás had written during his annual retreat in 2011, which ends: ‘Enlighten our minds and our hearts, and do not forget to make us smile when things do not go as we wished. At the end of the day, of each one of our days, make us feel more united with you and better able to perceive and discover around us greater joy and greater hope.’
Fr Gerald (‘Gerry’) O’Mahony SJ Father Gerry O’Mahony died on the afternoon of 9 March 2020 in the Royal Preston Hospital. He had been suffering from cancer for some time. He was 85 years old, and was in his 68th year of religious life. Gerry was born in Wigan, Lancashire, on 13 June 1934. He was educated at Mount St Mary’s, and entered the novitiate in Harlaxton in 1952. After taking his First Vows there, he moved to Manresa in Roehampton for a year’s juniorate, and then to Heythrop in Oxfordshire for philosophy. His regency was divided between St John’s Beaumont, where he taught Latin and maths, and Beaumont College, teaching Greek and English. In 1961 he went to Milltown Park in Dublin for theology, staying on there for a fourth year after his ordination in 1964. Tertianship at St Beuno’s under Paul Kennedy followed. In 1966 he began what would
eventually become a long association with Loyola Hall, joining the retreat team there. In 1967 he spent a year studying catechetics at the Lumen Vitae centre in Brussels and then, after a year back at Loyola Hall, moved to Glasgow and joined the university chaplaincy, directing catechetics in the archdiocese. From 1970 he spent a decade in Liverpool, initially teaching but soon working for the archdiocesan catechetical centre. In 1981 he enjoyed an extended sabbatical in St Beuno’s studying spirituality, and a year later was appointed as novice-master and superior of the Manresa House community in Birmingham. Early in his time there he suffered a breakdown in health and, once he had recovered, moved back to Loyola Hall, where he would spend the next 31 years, directing the Spiritual Exercises and becoming one of the most prolific writers in the Province. He published over twenty books, the most recent being Kingdom of Forgiveness in 2019. In 2014 he moved to St Wilfrid’s Preston, where he lived until his death.
• Mrs Isobel Baird • Mr Robert Chesher • Mr John Considine • Mr F Cullen • Ms Veronica Donaldson • Mr C Heatley • Dr Francis John Gilmurray (former scholastic) • Mrs J Lonsdale • Mr Michael May • Mr Patrick McGinley • Dr Michael Morris • Mrs Margaret O’Connor • Mr J Porter • Mr Alan Rowe • Mr Bryan Snalune • Mrs W Taylor • Mrs Sheila Winters • Mr Jeffrey Wrangle
New Regional Superior Fr Arturo Sosa SJ has appointed Fr Peter McIsaac SJ as Regional Superior of Guyana and Jamaica from 1 July. He succeeds Fr Chris Llanos SJ, who will be returning to Canada for medical treatment. Fr McIsaac entered the novitiate in Guelph in 1989. After philosophy in Chicago, regency in Jamaica, and theology in Kenya and Toronto, he was ordained in 1998, returning soon after to Jamaica. He has served in social ministries, a parish, five schools, at the University of the West Indies, and as Director of the Archdiocese’s Theological College. He was Regional Superior of Jamaica from 2006 – 2012. Fr Damian Howard SJ said: ‘Fr Peter is an extremely experienced Jesuit who has been a Regional Superior before and whose skills as a fine spiritual director will be greatly in demand at this challenging time.’
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