On Sun., Jan. 18, over 3,000 Catholics gathered in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, to participate in the concluding Mass marking the arrival of the first Jesuits in Vietnam 400 years ago. The event culmination of a year-long celebration that started last January when Archbishop Paul Bui Van Doc, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Vietnam, celebrated the opening Mass. That Mass had a congregation of over 1,500 with over 100 additional priests concelebrating. This year’s closing Mass included Father General Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, as one of 14 concelebrants, and main celebrant Jesuit Bishop Cosmas Hoang van Dat of Bac Ninh located in the north of Vietnam near Hanoi.
The Jesuits who arrived in Vietnam 400 years ago, came after the death of Italian Jesuit missionary Fr. Matteo Ricci. While they had originally intended to go to Japan, they quickly began to befriend the local people by learning their language and culture. Since those Jesuits arrived, Christianity has continued to grow and spread in Vietnam. Additionally, the Jesuit presence there has grown as well. The Vietnam Province is one of the largest Jesuit provinces in the Asian Pacific Jesuit Conference.
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From Dec. 22 through 29, Fr. James Keenan, SJ, director of donor relations for the USA Northeast Province made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he was able to visit cities including Nazareth, Bethlehem, and Jerusalem. He made the pilgrimage with his cousin and his cousin’s daughter.
Below is a photo gallery detailing some of the highlights from his trip as well as an audio clip of Fr. Keenan talking about the people he met and how the experience changed how he prays.
This year will see blockbuster movies starring spies, rebels and super heroes but only one will feature Jesuits as protagonists.
The upcoming film Silence is Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Shuduio Endo’s book of the same name. Taking place in Japan during the 17th century it details the journey of two Jesuit missionaries to find their old Jesuit mentor who will be played by Liam Neeson.
Neeson is no stranger to the Society. In addition to narrating a documentary about the real life Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier and playing a Jesuit in the film The Mission, his son is a senior at Fordham Prep.
Click here to read the full article about the film and Hollywood’s fascination with the Society.
After many years of strategic planning, and with the approval of Father Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, the New England Province and the New York Province of Jesuits united to form the USA Northeast Province on December 3, 2014, the Feast of St. Francis Xavier.
Fr. John J. Cecero, SJ, serves as provincial of this new province, which includes eight states and stretches from Maine to New Jersey and beyond to Jamaica, Micronesia and the Middle East. Roughly 550 Jesuits are a part of the new province.
The creation of this new province has been in planning for years as part of the larger reconfiguration of the U.S. Jesuit provinces. The new structure will allow the Society of Jesus to better respond to the changing needs and demographics of the Church.
Fr. Nicolás approved the recommendation that the new province be established on December 3, earlier than the originally planned date of July 31, 2015. “We agree that it is time to move forward with confidence, trusting in God and following our strong desires to be energetic and united in our mission,” said Fr. John J. Cecero, SJ.
The main office of the USA Northeast Province is located in New York City. For friends and benefactors, there will be very little change in their day-to-day relationship with the Society. The Jesuits will continue to have strong ministries that will flourish in the years to come.
“The new province that begins today is a movement of grace in our midst, and while grace sheds light on our next steps, it does not illumine the entire journey,” Fr. Cecero said in a message to his brother Jesuits this week. “That takes nothing less than shared faith, courageous hope and an ardent love for Christ and one another.”
Be sure to visit and bookmark http://jesuitseast.org. The website for the new USA Northeast Province.
On Sunday, Dec. 7, the Ignatian Schola will perform its annual Advent/Christmas concert entitled A Light in the Darkness at St. Francis Xavier Church in New York City. Click here to view the flyer for the concert. All are welcome. Admission is free.
The Ignatian Schola is a Manhattan-based vocal ensemble composed of Jesuits and lay colleagues, which performs an eclectic repertoire of sacred music. For updates from the Schola, be sure to follow them on Facebook here.
Click below to view a video from last year.