You are browsing the archive for Social and International.
April 24, 2013 in Advancement, Assignments, Banner for Slideshow, Communications, Formation, International Ministries, Media, News, Pastoral, pdf, Provincial, Secondary Education, Slideshow, slideshow, Social and International, Spirituality, Vocations, Wisconsin
(April 2013) “Sharing Best Practices”
The Jesuits work in more than 130 countries throughout the world, in a variety of spiritual, social and educational apostolates, always present on the frontiers of faith and culture.
In some places, their development offices have well-established systems and processes for raising funds and building community outreach. In others, the work is just beginning. And this is where Fr. Jorge Eduardo Serrano-Ordoñez, SJ, is hoping to bridge the gap – as assistant treasurer for development resources of the Society of Jesus.
Before taking this position in 2010, this native Colombian, who joined the Jesuits in 1969, and was ordained in 1983, worked as director of the peace campaign, “Todos somos hermanos” (We are all brothers and sisters), pastor for several parishes, director of Colombia’s Jesuit Refugee Service, and more.
One of the most important things he’s learned over the course of those years – and which he now preaches as well as practices – is that “people want to be invited to be part of the mission of the Society of Jesus.”
He explains, “When I was doing parish work and asked people to help simply because I knew I needed money to get the work done, a friend was blunt with me. He said, ‘Jorge, you are so selfish. You know my family and I have received so much from associating with the Jesuits in our lives. Why do you not give me the gift of asking me to be useful to the Jesuits?’ It gave me a whole new way of looking at fundraising.”
“I always thought I was begging people for money to do ‘my’ work, so I could be the provider – when they were waiting for me to invite them to be companions in God’s work,” Fr. Serrano-Ordoñez adds.
And that is how he sees his current job: to help other Jesuits recognize this mindset and employ it for the benefit of causes and donors alike.
Toward this end, Fr. Serrano-Ordoñez leads the Society’s “Flagship Project” working with Provinces to understand community outreach and fundraising. The original five provinces were Indonesia, Madhya Pradesh (India), Malta, Eastern Africa, and the Philippines. Then these provinces will in turn educate and work with other provinces that have less established fundraising programs. Starting in 2013, they are Lithuania, East Timor, Cuba, Amazon, and Zimbabwe.
“It is important that every province start to look for companions locally,” says Fr. Serrano-Ordoñez. “It is not enough to just seek support from the United States and Europe. We are very thankful for those gifts of course. However, we should not deny any local community the opportunity to say, ‘This is my church; I am helping to build it.’”
“Ultimately, it is my goal to help empower more and more of our provinces to engage laypeople worldwide to support the Society and its work,” Fr. Serrano-Ordoñez explains, “not only through monetary contributions, but also to help us do our jobs better, as advisors, evangelists, energizers, and fellow workers.”
(Read More) about the specific results of the Flagship Project in an informative pdf.
(April 2013) Fe y Alegría.
Faith and joy. That is how more than 80,000 students have an opportunity to view their education in 72 primary and secondary schools associated with the Society of Jesus in Peru. “Good news like this continues to come out of this country, even amid great poverty,” says Francisco Ibañez, who recently visited both province offices of the Midwest Jesuits in Chicago and Milwaukee.
“There is a network of educational institutes connected to the Society of Jesus in my country,” explains Francisco, also known as Paco, who is a member of the Development and Procurement Office (DPO) for the Peru Province, based in Lima. “This network includes two universities, four high schools and the Fe y Alegría of Peru schools.” (Fe y Alegría is a popular educational movement which, per its website, seeks to form Peruvians who are “democratic citizens with Christian values, academic expertise and trade skills that meet the emerging economic and material realities of Peru.”)
Paco adds, “The DPO collaborates with the Society in Peru in the search for financial, human (volunteers) and material resources, as well as by offering various services. The office plays an important role in that it contributes to the development of the mission of the Jesuits by seeking to improve, help administer and sustain the Society’s apostolic works and endeavors in Peru which, in addition to education, include social justice and pastoral work.”
Already twinned with the Chicago-Detroit Province, the Peru Province is in the process of developing a similar relationship with the Wisconsin Province as well. Twinning involves an agreement of mutual support – including the exchange of ideas, personnel and educational resources, and occasional financial assistance.
In the spirit of collaboration and solidarity with the Peru Province, the Wisconsin Province hosted Paco in June, and advancement office staff discussed awareness-building and fundraising ideas and strategies. His visit here was preceded by English language study at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Our provinces share similar goals, but in different contexts,” Paco says of his conversations in the States. “For example, we all want to make people’s lives better through education, social justice and spiritual development. However, 35 percent of the 29 million people in Peru live in poverty (most are indigenous people), and more than 3 million children are laborers. For reasons like these, many of our projects have as a priority to improve economic circumstances.”
In support of such projects, Paco’s position includes researching and maintaining foundation grants. He and Province leaders are also hoping to build the donor base locally in Peru – with a natural area for potential growth among alumni of Jesuit schools.
“Historically in Peru, there are great economic divisions, so the idea of raising money is very complicated,” Paco explains. “A culture of solidarity with the poor is not strong. We hope to change this way of thinking, to develop more of a philanthropist mindset among those who can help people who are less fortunate than they are.”
“With growing vocations, strong projects and continuing collaboration with our partners,” he adds, “we have great hope for the future.”
Learn more about the Peru Province at Jesuits.pe.
By Paddy Gilger, SJ
The most embarrassing moment of my time in India actually happened before I even set foot on Indian soil; it happened on the plane. I was travelling with another Jesuit—my classmate, the prophetic and eloquent and inevitably plaid-shirt-wearing Br. Joe Hoover, SJ—and we had discovered that we had, through some fortunate accident, been given first-class tickets for the last of our long series of flights. This flight would land us in the city of Guwahati, Assam, which lies alongside the Brahmaputra River in the floodplain below the Himalayan mountains where rests the occupied nation of Tibet.
Bearing our golden tickets we boarded the flight, seated ourselves, and received, as graciously as we could, the warm towels distributed by the smiling stewardess. I washed the grime of two days of travel from my face and the dust from my nondescript clothes as our fellow passengers filed past. For a moment, only a simple one-hour flight lying between myself and a summer in northeast India, I felt nervous, excited, hopeful . . . clean.
And then onto the plane, last of all and least of least, walked two, saffron-and-gold-clad Buddhist monks. They made their way past us with small, graceful steps, and took—of course—two middle seats in the coach section, twin models of humility. Every fiber in my 24-year-old being was mortified. I’d taken a vow of poverty not 10 months before, and now I was sitting in first class? Why hadn’t I turned it down? I squirmed, thought about offering to trade seats, and then the flight took off. I was stuck, with nothing to do for an hour but puzzle over what it meant for me to be a Jesuit, wondering what lessons the next six weeks would hold.
There were many.
From the family in a tiny village north of Cherrapunji (the wettest place on planet earth) who slaughtered and cooked one of their few chickens for my visit, I learned the importance of hospitality.
From long hikes through thick jungles—brush-clearing machete in hand—alongside brother Jesuits and local nuns, I learned that love shows itself in deeds.
From teenage boys and girls who danced us into their village, I learned to be less afraid to celebrate.
From the laughter brought on many of us—Indian and not—by Br. Joe Hoover’s effort to guide a pair of oxen in a straight line through a muddy rice field, I learned to worry less about knowing what to do before being willing to try.
From being awoken in my small room abutting the Church in the village of Maweit by the sound of chanting in the Khasi or Garo languages which I could not understand, I learned to pray from my spirit rather than from my mind.
From the “kitchen girl” Julie’s firm insistence that she would wash my clothes by hand, not me, I learned to accept a gift when it is given.
From riding in a high-bottomed jeep through tracks so muddy they do not deserve the name “road” while singing—at the insistence of the young sisters with whom I worked—songs about Jesus, or John Denver’s “Country Road,” I learned that friendship requires having very little in common.
From sitting in silence as groups of tribal women would work together with the sisters or a brother Jesuit to figure out how to make a system of microloans work this time, in this village, I learned that the educated do not have—and do not need to have—answers to others problems.And most centrally, I learned from the relentless missionary zeal of the Kohima Jesuits, who insist on handing their institutions over to the local people as soon as possible so that they can move on to new works. From them I learned to trust more, collaborate more, and to be more attentive to the next frontier.
It is the opportunity to learn this last trait that makes our partnership with the Kohima Jesuits so valuable. It allows us to imitate the words of the great Jesuit scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, who wrote in 1926 about a lecture given by a Harvard professor on evolution, the following: “I realized in the end that, hic et nunc, Christ was not irrelevant to the problems that interest Professor Parker: it only needed a few intermediate steps to allow a transition from his positivist psychology to a certain spiritual outlook.This realization cheered me up. Ah, there lie the Indies that draw me more strongly than those of St. Francis Xavier.”
We have our own Indies here in the American Midwest. And our partnership with the Jesuits of northeast India will help us seek them, one embarrassing lesson learned at the feet of a passing Buddhist monk at a time.
Paddy Gilger, SJ, a Creighton University graduate and Wisconsin Province Jesuit, has an MA in philosophy. He lived and worked at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota for a number of years— he still misses it there. Paddy is the editor-in-chief of
The Jesuit Post and is currently preparing for his ordination in June, 2013.
Kohima: Partners in Care
By John Sealey
The Wisconsin Province Jesuits have cooperated with the Kohima Region since 2002. The Jesuits of the ethnically and geographically diverse Kohima region have worked tirelessly and faced the challenges posed by rural, mountainous terrain, a 50% literacy rate, and 240 distinct languages. As the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces prepare to unite, together they continue to dedicate their efforts to making a difference in the lives of those in northeast India.
Two Portuguese Jesuits, Frs. Cacella and Cabaral, passed briefly through northeast India in 1626 en route to Tibet. As early Christians in the region, they faced adversity then as now; still today, only 2% of the 1.2 billion inhabitants in India identify as Catholic. In October of 1995, Kohima was established as a new Jesuit region comprised of the 7 northeast “sisters” or states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura, and in 2002, a “twinning” agreement was finalized with the Wisconsin Province. In just one generation, the region has grown to over 140 young Jesuits with an average age of only 35.
A frontier region distinct in many ways from mainland India and accentuated by rocky terrain and isolated communities, has forced Jesuits to find creative ways to share their mission and focus their efforts on seven apostolic frontiers. These include evangelization, socio-economic transformation, health care, conflict resolution and peace initiatives, research, building the local church, and culture and language preservation.
From the beginning, the relationship between Kohima and the Wisconsin Province has been built on mutuality and solidarity. This generosity has allowed the rapidly growing Kohima region to expand its work into underserved communities. Reciprocally, Kohima has contributed to the formation of Midwest Jesuits and lay leaders who have experienced the life and work in Kohima.
Over the years, immersion groups comprised of Jesuits and laity have had the privilege of accompanying the Jesuits and indigenous communities of Kohima.In the following reflection, The Jesuit Post blogger Paddy Gilger, SJ, shares his honest and humorous life lessons from his six weeks abroad.
John Sealey is Provincial Assistant for International and Social Ministries for the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces
A Flourishing Partnership
Anyone talking about organizational change these days focuses on two words, strategic planning. Strategists are abuzz about the tactics and vision that will propel an institution forward. Change without strategic planning is like driving without directions—you’re on the road, but you don’t know where you’re going.
Saint Ignatius Loyola is considered by many to have been on the forefront of organizational change; however, he has never really worn the moniker of strategic planner. If anything, his vision is more one of strategic flexibility. In asking a Jesuit to go wherever in the world the need was the greatest at a moment’s notice, our founder emerged as one of the more change-ready religious leaders of his time. He neither planned nor imagined the network of institutions and missions that characterize today’s Society, but he set the course that enabled so many new works to come into existence. And while most of those first institutions are not operating today, new schools and missions open each year in response to the needs of God’s people.
Welcome to the “new” Partners magazine—the first joint publication of the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces. Current and new readers are invited to learn about the Jesuits and Jesuit ministries in our shared 12-state region. This publication is a work in progress, an effort to combine our two magazines into one. It reflects the continuing efforts of our two Jesuit Provinces to work together towards the creation of a new Province in 2017.
We wish to be at the frontiers in evangelization of God’s people for the good of the Church.
The name Partners reflects the essential relationship that we Jesuits have with you, our companions and collaborators. From the Society’s beginning, we have been privileged to have partners who strengthen our mission. The stories and images contained in this publication reflect our vital relationship with you.
In a recent conversation with senior Jesuits, one was overheard saying, “I sometimes forget what we’re calling the province now, but I know that it’s still the Society of Jesus.” The wisdom of our elders reflects this most fundamental truth. Some of our Jesuits entered the Society before there even was a Chicago, Detroit, or Wisconsin Province; they’ve lived long enough to see their province split, re-unite, or merge. In the end, the size and the name of this new province matters only in as much as it helps us to do the work of the Church. With your support, we can meet this challenge and serve the generations to come.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
The Jesuits of the Kohima Region in Northeast India work in the rural, mountainous area situated in the Himalayan hills and valleys between Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Tibet. They serve a population that is primarily indigenous and their work includes: the establishment of parishes, the operation of 10 high schools, 13 middle schools, 26 primary schools (over 13,000 students), one undergraduate college, a teacher training center and numerous vocational and agricultural training programs. Social action projects include economic self-help cooperatives, women’s micro-finance groups; initiatives to support human and cultural rights, religious/ethnic tolerance initiatives and dialogues, ecological preservation, legal advocacy, and support for health care.
A Union of Hearts and Minds
The Midwest Jesuits and the Jesuits of the Kohima Region each work directly with indigenous communities. This common bond helps to unite us in an apostolic partnership known as “twinning.” Twinning encourages solidarity and mutual sharing to help Jesuits and their colleagues advance their respective mission to accompany those on the frontiers and promote the faith that seeks justice.
Kohima: Partners in Care
By John Sealey The Wisconsin Province Jesuits have cooperated with the Kohima Region since 2002. The Jesuits of the ethnically and geographically diverse Kohima region have worked tirelessly and faced the challenges posed by rural, mountainous terrain, a 50% literacy rate, and 240 distinct languages. As the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces prepare to unite, together they continue to dedicate their efforts to making a difference in the lives of those in northeast India.
Two Portuguese Jesuits, Frs. Cacella and Cabaral, passed briefly through northeast India in 1626 en route to Tibet… (read more)
By Paddy Gilger, SJ The most embarrassing moment of my time in India actually happened before I even set foot on Indian soil; it happened on the plane. I was travelling with another Jesuit—my classmate, the prophetic and eloquent and inevitably plaid-shirt-wearing Br. Joe Hoover, SJ—and we had discovered that we had, through some fortunate accident, been given first-class tickets for the last of our long series of flights. This flight would land us in the city of Guwahati, Assam… (read more)
A Summer in Northeast India
In an effort to deepen the “twinning” relationship between the Wisconsin Province and the Kohima Region, scholastics, pictured left, Stephen Wolfe, SJ, R.J. Fichtinger, SJ, Luke Hansen, SJ, and Joseph Simmons, SJ lived and worked in Northeast India in the summer of 2009. Fichtinger, Simmons and Wolfe served in Jesuit parishes and schools in the rural villages of Maweit, Chidimit, and Dawagre, respectively; Hansen interned with the Jesuit-sponsored Legal Cell for Human Rights in Guwahati. Their immersion experience concluded with a 10-day tour of Nagaland, home to several Jesuit institutions near India’s eastern border with Myanmar. (read more via the Wisconsin Jesuits)
Photos: The Kohima Region
By Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ,
and Fr. Thomas Lawler, SJ
Blessings of Lent to all our dear friends and benefactors, as well as our fellow Jesuits.
For the first time, we present to you a common message from the leaders of the two Provinces in the upper Midwest that will eventually come together into a single 12-state region of the Society of Jesus. This is part of a national reconfiguration that will move the Society from nine Provinces to four in the United States. While the formal merger is a few years away, our respective staffs and programs—with resulting outreach to the general community—are working closer and closer together to better serve our Jesuit Partners. Among the good reasons for this change is that it enhances our ability to respond more effectively to the needs of the Church and make better use of our resources.
As an example, our mutual renewal of cooperation with the Jesuits of the Eastern Africa Province allows us to share resources, ideas, and evangelization efforts. Recently, both of us traveled to Eastern Africa on different occasions to renew our shared support agreement with our East African brothers to encourage grassroots initiatives, cooperation with local leaders, and educational and self-help opportunities. In comparing notes, we reflected on the gracious hospitality we received and the profound impact the Jesuits and our companions are making in Eastern Africa. Two examples are worth highlighting:
Loyola Jesuit High School in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, was built through the generosity of benefactors and Jesuits of the former Detroit Province. As Mr. Michael Rossmann, SJ, a young Midwest Jesuit who is teaching at the school as part of his formation, can attest, today Loyola is a flourishing example of success and hope. On one visit, the school year was ending and student groups were proudly displaying projects and giving demonstrations in a packed auditorium when a lively student dance performance caught everyone’s attention. Laughter, smiles, and joy filled the room; it was like watching a rehearsal for American Idol! Teenagers are the same wherever you go.
A visit to Ocer Campion Jesuit School in Gulu, Uganda,further confirmed the importance of our work in Eastern Africa. This boarding school was started by the Jesuits, with the assistance of Frs. Jim Strzok, SJ, and Tony Wach, SJ, who both hail from the Midwest. After suffering from years of violent civil war and atrocities, Uganda is slowly recovering and rebuilding. The word ocer from the local language means “it is/he is risen.” And indeed, the school brings new life and hope to the children and their families every day.
The fraternal relationship between the Jesuits in the Midwest and Jesuits in Eastern Africa, as well as the philanthropic support of our Jesuit Partners, has enabled remarkable achievement with limited resources. We all share a love of Jesus Christ, and a passion for His people, serving the mission of the Society of Jesus through education and evangelization. Returning home, it is clear that violence, war, hatred, and prejudice can be addressed and healed when people work together in solidarity and friendship.
Thank you, dear friends, for your prayers and assistance in these and all our ministries.