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Recent Publications by Jesuits in Africa

JHIA encourages Jesuit authors (especially those in or from Africa and Madagascar) to donate a copy of their publications to the Institute for preservation. The following books reached JHIA recently:

Mission for Everyone

missionforeveryoneMission for Everyone: A Story of the Jesuits in Eastern Africa (1555-2012), by Festo Mkenda SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 311 pages, with several illustrations in black and white.

A comprehensive, if condensed, account of the Jesuit presence in Eastern Africa from 1555 to the present. The author narrates the fascinating attempts to establish the Society of Jesus in this region, which eventually led to a flourishing Jesuit presence in Ethiopia and the rest of East Africa and culminated in the creation of the Region of Eastern Africa in 1976. Ten years later, on 31st July 1986, the Province of Eastern Africa was born. Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ, Provincial of Eastern Africa, says: "This story shows that as a province we are old and we are young. Our venerable history endows us with maturity, wisdom and experience, but our present composition confers on us youth, vigour and promise." The book roots current Jesuit works in this region in the Order's long history and in the traditions and the spirituality that have shaped it over the centuries.

Reconciliatory Aesthetics and Doctrinal View of Rwanda, 1994

reconciliatoryaestheticsanddoctrinalviewofrwandaReconciliatory Aesthetics and Doctrinal View of Rwanda, 1994, by Emmanuel Foro SJ (Saarbrücken: Lambert Academic Publishing, 2013), 678 pages. ISBN 978-3-659-48504-4.

The 1994 experience of genocide in Rwanda—a country that was over eighty percent Christian—continues to generate many questions. "How can we give a theological account of genocide in a Christian country?" wonders the author of this volume. Taking a long historical view, he notes that Rwanda is just one case among many that have all left the question answered. He proposes a response based on the Second Letter to the Corinthians: "God in Christ was reconciling the world to himself, not holding people's faults against them, and he has entrusted to us the news that they are reconciled" (5:19). This text "can serve as foundation for a true aesthetic analysis of this 'negative social experience'," the author argues, indicating how his proposed "pragmatic and aesthetic method" could appeal not only to those trained in matters of doctrine, but also to artists, missionaries, peace lovers and friends of Rwanda.

Ignatian Discernment

ignatiandiscernmentIgnatian Discernment: An African Perpective, by Melchior Marandu SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 104 pages. ISBN 9966-08-766-4.

The author identifies two types of discernment within the Ignatian spiritual heritage: discernment of spirits, which seeks to determine the origins of inner movements within us, and discernment of God's will, which helps to determine the best among possible alternatives that lead to the glory of God. Drawing heavily from the Ignatian spirituality and its terminology, the book emphasizes the importance of discernment by portraying Jesus as a constant discerner, then introduces the reader into the basics of the exercise. The author goes beyond the foundational text of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola by putting an accent on communal discernment that might happen in a religious or basic community setting, providing ample theological reasoning on which the practice might be grounded. "Such an application is much needed in today's fragmented world," says Fr Terry Charlton, SJ, in his foreword to the book, adding that it "resonates well in the African context."

L'Apostolat des laics

lapostolatdeslaicsL'Apostolat des laics: Une experience africaine en RépubliqueDémocratique du Congo (Kwilu-Kwango), by Anicet N'Teba Mbengi SJ (Kinshasa: Editions Loyola, 2013), 234 pages, richly interspersed with pictures in color.

This is a seminal work in a much needed systematic study of the historical place of the laity in African Christianity. The author begins with the 16th century missions in the Kongo Kingdom and, gradually progressing to the present church in the Kwilu-Kwango region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, highlights the contributions lay people have made from that moment of Africa's primary evangelization to our own times. The laity supplied lands and provisions for the missionary, built mission stations, collaborated in translating Christian literature into local languages, and actively evangelized in their capacity as catechists at the helm of nascent Christian communities. "Some of our Bishops were baptized by the catechists,"Fr N'Teba Mbengi makes explicit. Such historical detail substantiates the Second Vatican Council's own teaching that the laity occupy a place that is specific to them and are, in fact, bearers of a particular charism (cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 30-38). The rest of the book describes the lay ministry as has been sanctioned by local bishops and practiced in Kwilu-Kwango. The study is concluded by moving testimonies by some who have been active in the ministry, who speak clearly about what has been their positive or negative experience over the years. The characteristically Congolese colorful portraits of lay ministers are a delight to the reading eye.

AIDS, 30 Years Down The Line

aids30yearsdownthelineAIDS, 30 Years Down The Line: Faith-based Reflections About The Epidemic in Africa, edited by Paterne A Mombé SJ, Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ, and Danielle Vella (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 448 pages, including an index.

Besides a preface, a foreword, and an excellent introduction by the editors, this book contains twenty-nine essays, each approaching the challenge of HIV and AIDS in Africa in a multifaceted way and offering "a wide variety of materials: narrative and pastoral, socio-political and theological, scientific and professional."Theessays are grouped in five parts, namelysetting a framework of novel perspectives,social-economic and cultural viewpoints,human rights and ethical considerations,a burning issue: universal access, and the church in theory and practice. The authors, who are scholars and people with varying degrees of practical experience in dealing with the crisis of AIDS in the last thirty years, display great sensitivity to and a sense of solidarity with people living with HIV. "The authors and editors of this book have rendered a great service to all who are genuinely concerned about this pandemic, not only within, but also beyond the confines of the Catholic Church," says Archbishop John OlorunfemiOnaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, in his foreword, adding, "They have confirmed our hope that there is life after HIV."

Practicing Reconciliation, Doing Justice, Building Peace

practicing reconciliationPracticing Reconciliation, Doing Justice, Building Peace: Conversations on Catholic Theological Ethics in Africa, edited by Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 135 pages.

A collection of eighteen short essays by scholars and church leaders in Africa, each responding to the question: How must we live as human beings in the world? Each of the contributors attempts an answer from his or her specific location, deepening and expanding the theme and inspiration of the 2009 Second African Synod on Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace. Dr. Laurenti Magesa of Hekima College, Nairobi, describes the book as "a goldmine for practical action towards that goal. It is a useful companion for every politician in contemporary Africa, regardless of ideology or creed. It is especially necessary for all Christian faithful, especially leaders and pastoral workers" (from the back cover).

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