Networking in the social area

(Jesuit Social Center, Tokyo)
Social and Pastoral Bulletin issue: No. 114 / June 15th, 2003

Jesuit Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach sent on January 15, 2003 a message to all Jesuit Major Superiors introducing the document “Guidelines on Jesuit Networking in the Social Area”. The Guidelines analyze the actual Jesuit networks and show various ways to promote Jesuit networking, considering the modern phenomenon of globalization. The full Japanese text has already been sent to all Jesuit Superiors in the Province. We mainly introduce here the Japanese version of a “Data-Base of Jesuit Networks in the Social Area”.

“The peace of Christ!
The phenomenon of globalization has brought to the fore issues transcending national boundaries, requiring a multi-disciplinary approach, and demanding rapid and well-informed responses. Networks and networking are important means of providing this type of response to issues like the burden of external debt on the poor, and ensuring the sustainability of development. The recent experience of Jesuits at the Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, and the practical knowledge acquired in the past by the Jesuit Refugee Service attest to the efforts already made by the Society of Jesus to respond in a more integrated manner to these new global challenges.

In 1995, the 34th General Congregation expressed several closely-related insights: first, that the Society of Jesus was already established or structured in such a way as to foment, even to require, networking in the carrying out of our mission (GC34, d.20, n.13). Secondly, that the Society’s very nature as an international (or “universal”) body represented an enormous untapped potential in this regard (GC34, d.20, n.5). Thirdly, that the development of networking in the Society could not easily be foreseen and would inevitably proceed by trial and error, although there was already some accumulated experience to reflect on (GC34, d.20, n. 14).

The topic of networking was introduced at the Loyola meeting of Provincials, 2000, and the Social Justice Secretary was entrusted with the task of studying the reality of networking and suggesting some ways of proceeding. A draft was presented to the Moderators of Conferences of Major Superiors in 2001, and a second amended version at their meeting in September 2002. Today I am happy to send you the present Guidelines on Jesuit Networking in the Social Area, to share with whomever you think best in your Province.”

(From a letter of Jesuit Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Rome 15 January 2003)

What do we mean by “network”?
Let us agree, in the Society of Jesus, on a kind of working definition, a meaning by common agreement. By “network” we mean:
i) a number of independent individuals and/or institutions
ii) at a distance
iii) associating and co-operating in a rich interlacing of relationships
iv) with a purpose (ad intra or ad extra), and
v) with an identifiable co-ordination.
Taking the five points of the above definition together, networking in the Society of Jesus may be summed up as a mode of proceeding, a style of working apostolically, a way of enhancing or carrying out our apostolate across many of the lines which, until now, have delimited our Jesuit activities and jurisdictions.

While networks are fluid and variable, there are nevertheless many analogies between networks and other works typical of the Society. Thus, networking may really be less novel than at first sight appears. What is important is to gather the relevant data, when considering their relevance, or setting priorities, or allocating resources, or whatever step is under consideration. These guidelines often demonstrate exactly this exercise, namely, applying rather well known criteria to realities that present significantly novel features.

The questions one asks when some networking is in its infancy – “Is it worth giving the proposed network a try?” – are very different from those asked after several years of activity, investment of time and resources, and feed-back, such as, “Does the network fulfil its apostolic purpose as fully as it might and if not how might it be changed?”

Sometimes a network looks more like a light structure for communication, exchange and sharing; at other times it looks more like a work which over-spills spatial and jurisdictional boundaries. From a distance, one might have the impression that networks are spontaneously burgeoning up all over and need to be controlled or restrained. But a closer view shows that networks take a lot of energy, creativity, work, good will and prayer to get and keep going. They also take personnel, financial and infrastructure resources.

Networks are thus like other works of the Society: here too the creativity of Jesuits seems incessantly to invent new works which also require “energy, creativity, work, good will and prayer to get and keep going, as well as personnel, financial and infrastructure resources.” The decisions guiding this “investment” depend on examen in on-going evaluation and discernment in planning.

A PROVISIONAL DATA-BASE OF JESUIT NETWORKS IN THE SOCIAL AREA

AJAN (African Jesuit AIDS Network)
Focus: AJAN is a new effort to respond to HIV/AIDS in Africa and Madagascar by developing an appropriate social ministry that is deeply-rooted amongst those who suffer, that accompanies those who care for them, that educates to responsibility and prevention, that is sensitive to the local culture, faith and spirituality, and that collaborates widely with others.
Born: in 1997, by decision of the African Conference (JESAM), and constituted an Assistancy work in 2002.
Membership: those Jesuits who are interested, on a voluntary basis.
Co-ordination: Michael Czerny SJ (CSU-AOR), full-time, based in Nairobi.

EUROJESS (European Jesuits in Social Sciences)
Focus: a professional association whose goals are twofold (cf. Statutes, art. 2):
– to ensure contact and periodic exchange of views and to foster co-operation among Jesuits (residing habitually in Europe) and institutions of the Society in Europe specialised in reflecting on social problems within the framework of the social apostolate;
– to foster relationships with other organisations of a similar nature in the Society of Jesus and with Jesuits dealing with the same problems in other parts of the world.
Born: in 1949 as a network amongst German, Dutch and French social philosophers; re-founded on new bases and named EUROJESS in the 1960’s; now admitting any Jesuit (usually residing in Europe) competent in reflecting on social problems.
Membership: 70 members (September 2001) all of them Jesuits and half of them active participants and contributors.
Co-ordination: Antoine Kerhuel SJ (GAL), part-time; OCIPE provides the Secretariat.

GEC (Global Economy and Cultures)
Focus: impact of the current neoliberal form of economic globalisation on various cultures and especially on the poor.
Born: conceived at GC34 (1995), a four-year project launched in 1999.
Membership: 40 SJ centres for research / action / popular education, nearly all represented by Jesuits; Africa: 8; Middle East: 1; South Asia: 5; East Asia: 8; Latin America & Caribbean: 9; Canada: 1; USA: 1 (representing 6 others); Central and Western Europe: 7.
Co-ordination: Gasper Lo Biondo SJ (MAR).

IJND (International Jesuit Network for Development)
Focus: on development-related global issues such as debt, trade, governance and alternative development. Three levels of action: technical studies, with accent on ethical and theological dimension; lobbying and advocacy, liaison with other campaigns; education for development. To promote a Christian vision on global issues and challenges by a contribution from the whole body of the Society.
Born: first proposed at the Naples Social Apostolate Congress in 1997, Jesuits for Debt Relief and Development (JDRAD) was born in 1998 and, in 2001, was transformed into the International Jesuit Network for Development (IJND).
Membership: some 30 active participants.
Co-ordination: Bernard Lestienne SJ (BRC), president.

IPC (International Population Concerns)
Focus: an informal think-tank that can provide professional advice, IPC monitors international population issues and policies in relation to poverty and in the light of Church concerns.
Born: at a 1994 meeting in Ludwigshafen convened by the Social Justice Secretariat.
Membership: some 30 Jesuits as well as associates expert in demography and related social sciences and moral theology.
Co-ordination: Stan D’Souza SJ (CCU). Jesuit ecology networking
Focus: ecology from every imaginable disciplinary point of view
Born: at the Rio Conference (1992) and in the course of work on We live in a broken world (1995-2000); several regional networks are more or less active, but the world-wide network is still in gestation.
Membership: in Latin America, the members are not individuals but one Jesuit high-school and nine Jesuit universities; there are activities but little networking in South Asia; in USA a university-based list was developed.

Co-ordination:
– in India, K.M. Matthew SJ (MDU) organised a congress of Jesuits in ecology in March 2001, but a South Asian Jesuit ecology network or environmental ministry is still a ways off.
– in Latin America, Jose Alejandro Aguilar SJ (COL) is the co-ordinator, with the institutional support of the Colombian Universidad Javeriana’s Faculty of Environmental and Rural Studies via its Instituto de Estudios Ambientales para el Desarrollo (Ideade) in Bogota.
– in USA, the mailing-list of university Jesuits and colleagues interested in ecology awaits re-activation. Contact Prof Loretta Jancoski

Jesuits in ministry to indigenous peoples
Focus: ministry to indigenous or Native peoples, in several regional sections.
Born: the 1993 world-wide meeting at Anishinabe (Canada) gave birth to the regional sections. The Latin American one was launched at GC 34 (1995).

Pastoral y solidaridad indigena in Latin America
Membership: over a 100 Jesuits working in indigenous ministry, including some indigenous Jesuits, with about 40 active participants.
Co-ordination: Xavier Albo SJ (BOL)

JCIM (Jesuit Companions in Indigenous Ministries) in East Asia
Membership: Jesuits working in indigenous ministry, including some indigenous Jesuits.
Co-ordination: Jojo Fung SJ (MAS)

JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service)
Focus: to serve and accompany refugees and displaced people and advocate their cause.
Born: in 1980, by decision of Father General Pedro Arrupe, and recently established as a foundation by Father General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach.
Membership: around 500 persons (SJ and non SJ), 62 Jesuits full time and 45 part time or less, 100 sisters, 300 lay people, plus many local collaborators, most of whom are refugees, involved in some 46 countries around the world.
Co-ordination: Lluis Magrina SJ (TAR), full-time; International Office at the Curia provides administration, co-ordination, recruiting, information, advocacy, expertise on projects. MOSJ (Workers’ Mission)
Focus: a guild (gremio) linking Jesuits traditionally involved in the Workers’ Mission in Europe and now Jesuits and other religious in ministry among the marginalized especially in the great urban centres.
Born: in 1960’s; first European meeting in 1983.
Membership: 100 Jesuits and 25 other religious involved in the monde populaire, a few still doing manual or salaried work, many retired workers, with 70 active participants at the last European meeting.
Co-ordination: Hugo Carmeliet (BSE).

RED (Red de las Acciones de Desarrollo de Base de los Jesuitas en America Latina y el Caribe – Jesuit Network for Development Projects in Latin America & the Caribbean)
Focus: to enrich the work of each member, to create a shared culture (among projects until now unconnected with one other), to develop a common capacity to communicate, to act, and to make proposals together, to develop common plans and projects to present to the international aid agencies, and to participate in concerted fashion in the Latin American social apostolate.
Born: since 1994, several meetings leading to the decision of the Latin American Provincials at Loyola (2000). RED began functioning in 2002.
Membership: potentially all Jesuit projects, large and small, often called NGO’s, involved in social research and grass-roots development; in 2002, fifteen Jesuit organisations from nine different Provinces agreed to participate actively in the RED.
Co-ordination: Klaus Vathroder SJ (VEN).

and
Focus: mailing lists among Jesuits and colleagues in the social apostolate throughout the world (sjsocial) and in Latin America (alsocial), which, from time to time, become very active “urgent action” lists.
Born: the Jesuit Social Economic Development list around 1995, to which the Naples Congress list (1997) was added, to form in English and in Spanish.
Membership: around 80 Jesuits, principally in the English list.
Co-ordination or rather contact-person: Luis del Valle SJ (MEX).

Social Apostolate Co-ordinators
Focus: electronic newsletter POINTS for Jesuit Social Apostolate Co-ordinators throughout the world.
Born: in 2000 on the occasion of Father General’s Letter.
Membership: Province/Region Social Apostolate Co-ordinators, network co-ordinators, JRS Regional Directors.
Co-ordination: Social Justice Secretariat,
e-mail: sjs@sjcuria.org.
url:

For purposes of reference, here are the regional groupings of the social apostolate, each with its co-ordinator:

* Africa and Madagascar Co-ordinators began meeting in 1994. Muhigirwa Ferdinand SJ (ACE)

* Apostolado Social en America Latina meeting annually since 1991, now dependent on CPAL. Ricardo Antoncich SJ (PER)

* CIAS (Comision Interprovincial de Accion Social, formerly CONAS) in Spain co-ordinating since 1994. Some participation from Portugal and Italy.
Co-ordinator: Dario Molla Llacer SJ (ARA), Secretary: Daniel Izuzquiza SJ (TOL)

* JCSIM (Jesuit Commission for Social and International Ministries) in USA and Canada, meeting twice a year. Richard Ryscavage SJ (MAR)

* JESA (Jesuits in Social Action) in South Asia, meeting annually or so; Joe Xavier SJ (MDU)

* Social Apostolate in Central and Eastern Europe meeting annually since 1996; Robin Schweiger SJ (SVN)

This is a summary of a document that is primarily for Jesuits. Those desiring detailed information, please, contact us.

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