Friday, January 19, 2007

Our Way of Proceeding

Today, 19 January 2007, was the end of the Ignatian Family Encounter (IFE), a pre-forum meeting to the World Social Forum. We met in our workshops for the final time and then came together in a large plenary session to review our separate work and engage in communal discernment about next steps.

Above is a photo of my group, the "Let's talk about HIV/AIDS in Africa", sponsored by the African Jesuit Aids Network (AJAN). It was a very successful meeting time and I will be sure to publish the results of this as soon as I have time to type it up!

We concluded with liturgy celebrated by the Archbishop of Nairobi, the Most Reverend Ndingi Mwana a' Nzeki (picture, left - center) It was a wonderful moment and he offered many words of encouragement to the Ignatian Family (in particular, young Jesuits studying theology) to help the bishops of Africa to help enculturate the church and keep its catholic nature.

Tomorrow morning begins the World Social Forum; our group will head into the downtown area for mass and then join the procession into Uhuru Stadium where the opening ceremonies will be. I will be sure to review this event for you as soon as returning! (I am told it will take approx. 3 hours to return from downtown Nairobi given the traffic.) =)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Finding God in All Things

Photo from Hekima College entrance with the Ignatian
Family Encounter (IFE) logo and World Social Forum Flag!

Today, 18 January 2007, is the second day of the Ignatian Family Encounter. Our days are structured and quite long -- we begin most plenary sessions at 8:15am and go until mass at 5:00pm. They are long days but filled with great information and reflection.

On day #1, we enjoyed a plenary session from Fr. Fraterne Massawi, S.J., (photo, center below) Moderator of JESAM and Dr. David Khaulem, Professor at Arrupe College in Zimbabwe, discuss how Ignatian identity informs the vision of social transformation.

On day #2, we had plenary sessions including Fr. Shirima Valerian, S.J., Provincial of the Eastern Africa Province and Sr. Ephygenia Gachiri, IBVM on how Ignatian pedagogy informs they way we work for social transformation.

While the conversations address the specific realities of the continent of Africa, I am trying to make connections for collaborative work with the US or realities that we can share for greater awareness and sensitivity in our own ministries.

Also, the workshop topics (and plenary review sessions!) are so expansive: HIV/AIDS, Refugees - Freedom of Movement, Management of Natural Resources, Conflict & War & Peace, and Debt and Trade in Development. I will try to post some 'interesting statistics' from the review sessions on the other side of the blog.

Jim Stormes, SJ (left) and John Kleiderer both work at the Jesuit Conference in Washington, D.C. in Social and International Ministries. They are part of the 5 person US delegation that includes myself, Fr. Steve Privett, SJ (President of U. San Francisco) and Mr. Tim Kelly, MAR Provincial Assistant for Social and International Ministries. These two are enjoying our down time just before mass!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Early Days in Nairobi

Arrived on late Monday, 15 January 2007 to the Savelburg Retreat Centre, run by the Little Sisters of St. Joseph. It is housing approx. 70 participants for the Ignatian Family Encounter (IFE). Pictures of the Centre to follow later...

On 16 January 2007, prior to the evening's opening liturgy, we had the opportunity to walk around this area of town and to Hekima, the Jesuit

Theologate. Here are some pictures from the chapel and the beautiful stations of the cross...

And today, 17 January 2007, we are beginning our workshops and opening discussions. There are 5 workshops to choose from: Debt Relief and Trade; HIV/AIDS; Natural Resources; JRS; Conflict, War and Peace. I will be attending the HIV/AIDS discussions led by Michael Czerny, SJ and the African Jesuit Aids Network (AJAN). More to follow...