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Father Adolfo Nicolás, S.J. Death Announcement (1936-2020)

Adolfo Nicolás S.J.

Fr Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., the 30th Superior General of the Society of Jesus (2008 ~2016), has died at the age of 84 in Tokyo today, 20 May 2020 (1936 ~ 2020).

To those who knew him, Fr Nicolás was simply “Nico”, a man beloved not only for his inspiring leadership, but also – and above all – for being himself. This was plain in the tributes that flowed quickly.

To those who knew him, Fr Nicolás was simply “Nico”, a man beloved not only for his inspiring leadership, but also – and above all – for being himself. This was plain in the tributes that flowed quickly.

Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa SJ said of Fr Nicolás: “A wise, humble, and free man; totally and generously given to service; moved by those who suffer in the world, but at the same time overflowing with hope drawn from his faith in the Risen Lord; an excellent friend, who loved to laugh and to make others laugh; a man of the Gospel”.

“Infectious humour, refreshing simplicity, clear insight and natural warmth… Ever so simple, yet carrying a profound wisdom,” wrote Myanmar Superior Fr Mark Raper SJ, who succeeded Fr Nicolás as President of then Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania, now the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP).

JCAP President Fr Tony Moreno SJ described Fr Nicolás in the same light. “[He] was not known to promote himself.  He was not self-referential.  He detested clericalism in whatever form.  He corrected people who referred to him as ‘Superior General Emeritus’.  He wanted to be known as he was without titles.”

Instead, he entreated his brother Jesuits to allow him to simply be “Nico”.

“I am asking you to allow me to be the ‘Nico’ of old times, not the former Fr General or emeritus,” he said, during a celebration to mark his golden jubilee as a priest in March 2017, a little over a month after he returned to the Philippines since stepping down as Superior General.

Even when he was slowed down by his disease, his unmistakable humility showed forth. Once, at the Jesuit Health and Wellness Center in Manila, he told his attending physician (a fellow Jesuit): “You decide; I obey”. He was in his most vulnerable and most edifying.

Adolfo Nicolás - Work

Adolfo Nicolás Pachón was born in Villamuriel de Cerrato, Palencia, Spain on April 29, 1936 and entered the Jesuit novitiate of Aranjuez in 1953. He studied at the University of Alcalá, where he earned his licentiate in philosophy.

In an interview soon after being elected Superior General, Fr Nico recalled the time when he was in Juniorate and Fr General Janssens wrote a letter to the whole Society requesting for people to help in different parts of the world. Fr Nico volunteered, saying, “You need people, I am ‘people’, so if I can be of help anywhere, I will go”.

Thus in 1960, Fr Nico found himself in Japan where he studied theology at Sophia University in Tokyo. He was ordained to the priesthood seven years later on March 17, 1967. From 1968 to 1971, he studied at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, from where he earned a doctorate in theology. Upon his return to Japan, he was made professor of systematic theology at Sophia University, teaching there for the next 30 years.

Fr Nico was appointed Director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute at the Ateneo de Manila University in Quezon City, Philippines in 1978 – a post he held for six years. He then went on to serve as rector of the theologate in Tokyo before being appointed as the Jesuit Provincial of Japan. Following his term of office as Provincial, Fr Nico remained in Japan, doing pastoral work among poor immigrants in Tokyo.

In 2004, Fr Nico returned to the Philippines as President of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania. In 2008, he was voted Superior General at the 35th General Congregation. While the position of Superior General – like that of the Pope – is a lifelong appointment, Fr Nico resigned in 2016, at the age of 80, noting that the Society needed someone with more energy and health to lead it in an increasingly complex world.

Adolfo Nicolás - Life

During the eight years of his generalate, Fr Nico insisted on the universality of the Jesuit vocation and mission, and the depth that must characterise Jesuit life. Speaking to Belgian Jesuits in 2010 about a “globalisation of superficiality”, Fr Nico said the Society of Jesus has to help the church to go deep into reality. “How can we understand better what is happening so that we don’t come out saying platitudes, pious things that neither change people nor influence our way of life?”

After his resignation as Superior General, Fr Nico was missioned to the Arrupe International Residence and the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, where he stayed for a little over a year before finally returning to Japan, his home province, on August 6, 2018.

Fr Nico was a happy Jesuit. When he spoke with Jesuit novices in Indonesia in 2009, he told them: “I hope you’ll be happy Jesuits, because you’ll be useless as unhappy Jesuits.” Indeed, Fr Raper wrote that Fr Nico’s core message was: “Be happy, be free, be centred on God and Jesus Christ”.

His youthful energy and spirit was well- testified to by the scholastics he lived with at the Arrupe International Residence. In one interview before he left Manila for Japan, he was asked what his message was to young Jesuits in formation. He said: “Be yourself and let Christ come through you.”

There is no forgetting Fr Adolfo Nicolás, the humble man from Spain who spent most of his life in Asia, a man of God – ever wise, ever simple, ever true.

In 2011, Fr Nicolás penned a prayer in Italian after an eight-day retreat with his General Council. This prayer arose from his personal meditation on the miraculous catch of fish in the Gospel of John chapter 21. Here is Fr Nico’s prayer translated in English:

Lord Jesus,

What weaknesses did you see in us that made you decide to call us, in spite of everything, to collaborate in your mission?

We give you thanks for having called us, and we beg you not to forget your promise to be with us to the end of time.

Frequently we are invaded by the feeling of having worked all night in vain, forgetting, perhaps, that you are with us.

We ask that you make yourself present in our lives and in our work, today, tomorrow, and in the future yet to come.

Fill with your love these lives of ours, which we put at your service.

Take from our hearts the egoism of thinking about what is “ours,” what is “mine”, always excluding, lacking compassion and joy.

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.

We ask all this from our reality. We are weak and sinful men, but we are your friends.

Amen.

Further resources

  • A special website has been created where you can see photos and articles
  • A video recording of a message from Fr Sosa is available on 
  • The letter of Fr Sosa to the whole Society of Jesus is available here in:

ATNP East Africa Book Launch

JHIA is pleased to announce the African Theological Network Press (ATNP) distribution in East Africa of The Sacrifice of Africa by Emmanuel Katongole's and Jesus in Africa by Kwame Bediako's . The books are available for purchase in East Africa at the JHIA office, 3rd Floor HIPSIR building, Riara Lane, Riara Rd, Nairobi. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
 
Katongole TSAThe Sacrifice of Africa is Fr Emmanuel Katongole’s honest confrontation of Africa’s painful legacy, and a compelling demonstration of the real potential of Christianity to interrupt and transform entrenched political imaginations to create a different story for Africa. 
 
Bediako JIAJesus in Africa is the best source of Prof Kwame Bediako’s “insights into the Christ of present-day African history and the Jesus of African faith.” An introduction to “understanding Christianity as lived by countless Africans in a high stakes search for liberation and peace.”
 
The books are now available for purchase in East Africa at the JHIA office, 3rd Floor HIPSIR building, Riara Lane, Riara Rd, Nairobi. For more information email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

ATNP publishes and distributes manuscripts in four areas - 
Christianity and Society: Politics, Governance, Development, Economics, Ethnicity, Nationalism, Pan-Africanism, and Religious Pluralism
History: Regional and Local Histories of Christianity in Africa and the African Diaspora
Theology: Contemporary Issues in African Christian Theology and Mission
Education: Christian Higher Education



Workshop Training for Archivists & Supervisors of Archives

Workshop Training for Archivists & Supervisors of Archives in the Jesuit Conference of Africa & Madagascar (JCAM) Nairobi, March 3-5, 2020

The workshop aims at providing basic tools for the treatment of Jesuit archives, from the appraisal to their exploitation, based on global trends on archiving.

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Participants:
This course is specially designed for Socii of Provinces and Regions of Africa and Madagascar in their capacity as supervisors of Jesuit archives; current and prospective Jesuit archivists identified by their major superiors; and librarians of Formation Centres of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (Hekima University College L’Institut de Théologie de la Compagnie de Jésus, Arupe Jesuit University, Philosophat Saint Paul, and Institute Saint Pierre Canisius)

1. Definitions

· Archives Collection

· Its production and integrity

· Legal framework of Jesuit archives

· The task of the Jesuit archivist and its deontology

2. To Collect, Classify, and Describe an Archive

· Preparation and management of archives tables

· Preparing the Collection

· Modes of Appraisal

· Classification and Codification

· Description of the Archives Files

3. Retention and Conservation

· Preventive Conservation

· Restoration

· Storage Space

· Security and Risk Assessment

4. Communicability and Valorisation

· Legal Texts on Communicability

· Reading Rooms, Exemptions, Copying

· Cultural Exposure


Please click here to access the training materials and itinerary for the workshop.

 

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JHIA 2020 Diary - Price: KSh 800 | $ 10 | € 8 (2)

2020 diaryOur 2020 Diary is now out! We at JHIA believe that writing to yourself is an important means of self-expression. Having a place to write down your thoughts, feelings, memories and personal impressions about life can be healing and teach you to know yourself better. It can also unlock the power of your creativity, and inspire you to manifest dreams that might otherwise stay hidden. If you don’t keep a diary already, here are some of the good things about the JHIA 2020 diary you should consider before requesting a copy from us.

· Attractive anti-dust and waterproof cover design

· Daily liturgy readings and references

· Illustrated map showing Jesuit Provinces and Regions in Africa and Madagascar

· Important dates of the ordinary and Jesuit calendar e.g. birthdays, feasts and holidays

· A brief history of the province of Madagascar, marking its Golden Jubilee in 2021

· Year planner and calendar that will help you plan and organize your work.

To order this book, please click here or write to  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Engaging the World: The Jesuits and Their Presence in Global History

bc Engaging the World
Lisbon, Portugal   |   June 17–19, 2020
 
 
Engaging the World
 
The Jesuits and Their Presence in Global History
 
 
Co-organized by the Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College and Brotéria in Lisbon, in partnership with the Catholic University Portugal
 
Scattered around the globe for nearly five centuries of evangelization, Jesuit missionaries adopted different strategies to communicate with local communities. They were pivotal cultural mediators, serving as cartographers, astronomers, ethnographers, and anthropologists. They were also artists who adapted to local styles, translators and grammarians of native languages, and correspondents who conveyed images of societies previously unknown to European audiences. They fostered commerce and accompanied scientific voyages. They published journals, treatises, biographies, travel logs, and maps, and they participated in worldwide networks circulating literature and art.
 
This symposium is hosted in Portugal, from which thousands of Jesuits departed to engage with people and environments on a global scale. This scholarly event will investigate how such a global engagement developed over time, how it varied from place to place, and how it was similar in different settings. Proposals are welcomed from across thematic, chronological, and disciplinary boundaries that address methods or instruments the Jesuits used to engage the world and its natural or societal environs.  
 
Presentations might address such questions as these: What strategies did Jesuits employ when, as articulated by their Constitutions, “dispersed throughout Christ’s vineyard to labor”? How did the internal structure of the Society of Jesus (and the personalities of the Jesuits themselves) facilitate or hinder missionary labors? How were those labors impacted by external forces—either local or global, cultural or political? For example, how did the Jesuits’ relations with different European powers spark, facilitate, limit, or end evangelization efforts within competing global empires? How did Jesuit missionaries and their superiors determine where to labor and whom to evangelize? What are revealing examples of successful determinations and unsuccessful ones? What were the benefits, hindrances, and consequences of Jesuit accommodation to local customs and virtues? How can Jesuit accommodation be seen in art, theological treatises, scientific work, and pedagogical approaches? How can indigenous people be seen in the books, maps, correspondence, and other materiality produced by Jesuits?
 
Proposals and a narrative CV (together no more than 500 words) are due before the end of Monday, October 28, 2019. Selected papers may be peer-reviewed and published in open access following the event. More details are available at bc.edu/iajs. Contact the Institute with questions ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ).
 

Promoting Africa’s Culture

Rev. Dr. John Okoria Ibhakewanlan SJ., Principal, Hekima University College has said that partnering major players in the African art and culture sector is one sure way JHIA can provide researchers with publications that are not available in libraries and historical institutes in Europe, Asia and America.

He stated that through such partnerships, the institute was helping researchers from across the globe to access African records, especially publications that are not available in libraries or historical institutes outside Africa.

Rev Fr. Okoria spoke on the forthcoming group art exhibition tagged African Art, to be curated by Paris-based Nigerian curator Bose Fagbemi.

The exhibition, which will run from the 9th to 30th, November 2019 at the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, is a follow-up to Fagbemi’s first group exhibition, Art and Spirituality, held at St Ignatius House, Lagos in March 2017.

According to the cleric, JHIA will include African arts in its goal and vision of collecting and preserving vital records on Africa.

He noted that the exhibition fits well into the mission of the institute, adding that the vision of JHIA is to provide a cost-effective environment for the world to see and experience religious histories, cultures, and traditions of the people of Africa and Madagascar.

“Thus far, JHIA has managed to create an excellent environment capable of putting scholars in Africa on a par with others in the world. We are helping researchers from across the globe access African records, especially publications that are otherwise only available in libraries / historical institutes in Europe and America.

 

Source: The Nation, Lagos State, Nigeria 

The Way, the Truth and the Life Book Sale!

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More than two millennia after Jesus Christ this book unveils the timeless fruitfulness of the greatest Christological and evangelical trinomial, not as a desiccated theological trilemma, but as the bedrock of renewed faith in the depth and vastness of human existence and experience... ~ A. E. Orobator, S.J.

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Father Adolfo Nicolás, S.J. Death Announ…

Father Adolfo Nicolás, S.J. Death Announcement (1936-2020)

Fr Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., the 30th Superior General of the Society of Jesus (2008 ~2016), has died at the age of... Read more

ATNP East Africa Book Launch

ATNP East Africa Book Launch

JHIA is pleased to announce the African Theological Network Press (ATNP) distribution in East Africa of The Sacrifice of Africa by Emmanuel... Read more

Workshop Training for Archivists & S…

Workshop Training for Archivists & Supervisors of Archives

Workshop Training for Archivists & Supervisors of Archives in the Jesuit Conference of Africa & Madagascar (JCAM) Nairobi, March 3-5,... Read more

JHIA 2020 Diary - Price: KSh 800 | $ 10 …

JHIA 2020 Diary - Price: KSh 800 | $ 10 | € 8 (2)

Our 2020 Diary is now out! We at JHIA believe that writing to yourself is an important means of self-expression.... Read more

Engaging the World: The Jesuits and Thei…

Engaging the World: The Jesuits and Their Presence in Global History

Lisbon, Portugal   |   June 17–19, 2020     Engaging the World   The Jesuits and Their Presence in Global History   Call for Papers   Co-organized by the Institute for Advanced... Read more

Promoting Africa’s Culture

Rev. Dr. John Okoria Ibhakewanlan SJ., Principal, Hekima University College has said that partnering major players in the African art... Read more

The Way, the Truth and the Life Book Sal…

The Way, the Truth and the Life Book Sale!

More than two millennia after Jesus Christ this book unveils the timeless fruitfulness of the greatest Christological... Read more