Institute Connects March 2019

Institute Connects

March 2019

News from the Jesuit Institute

‘Expanding Horizons’: is our new bi-weekly podcast, released on the first and third Thursday of every month. It aims to bring you candid conversations between passionate people on important issues. In the first episode, Ricardo da Silva SJ speaks with Bryan Massingale, noted priest and scholar-activist from the Jesuits’ Fordham University department of theology in New York. Hear what he had to say about racism, sexuality, power and his life as a priest, at a time when the Catholic Church faces great crises of sexual abuse.

Book of Daily Reflections for Lent: We have once again produced our Lenten book of reflections, titled The Expansive Heart of God. This year’s book was written by our director, Russell Pollitt SJ and Annemarie Paulin-Campbell, of our spirituality project. We still have a few copies available, please order via our website or call us for your copy (011 482 4237).

Parish secretaries pose for a photo with Jesuit Institute team
(Picture: Francis Tuson)

Tea for Parish Secretaries: We invited parish secretaries from around Johannesburg to join us for a ‘high tea’ tea ahead of Lent. Parish secretaries are often the most overlooked within our parish structures and yet they are responsible for so much that is done. We wanted to say thank you, and also to introduce them to all that is on offer at the Jesuit Institute. Thank you to all who came, and for all that you do for the Church in your area. We hope to host more events like this in future.

Our days of reflection at the start of Lent
(Pictures: Ursula van Nierop)

Lent Days of Recollection: On Ash Wednesday, we hosted around 80 people at the Jesuit Institute in Johannesburg for a day of recollection and prayer. The day was led by Bryan Massingale, a US priest from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and theology professor at the Jesuits’ Fordham University in New York. He offered a moving series of reflections on the theme: Reconciliation: with self, others and in society. Bryan is currently on sabbatical leave. He is in South Africa doing some research and was our Winter Living Theology presenter last year. We offered a similar day of reflection on the first Saturday of Lent for those unable to come to Ash Wednesday. The day was led by Jesuit Institute director, Russell Pollitt SJ. His reflections were prepared on three themes that he believes are central to Lent: conversion, image of God and self, and healing.

Charles Chilufya SJ leads delegates in JENA planning meeting in Harare, Zimbabwe
(Picture: Martin van Nierop)

JENA Workshop on Ecology and Justice in Mining in Zimbabwe: The Ecology and Justice in Mining workgroups of JENA (Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa) met in Harare from 18 to 19 February 2019. At their meeting, they put in place the detailed implementation plans for these focus areas based on JENA’s five-year strategic plan adopted in 2018. The workshop was attended by a dozen people from Jesuit social apostolic centres throughout Africa. We were represented at the wokrshop by Russell Pollitt SJ and Martin van Nierop, who offers us expertise on matters relating to ecology and mining. The delegates were also invited for lunch and to celebrate Mass with the academic community at Arrupe Jesuit University.

(Design: Ricardo da Silva SJ)

Living with Integrity in the Digital World: The internet and digital technologies strongly affect the lives of young people, for the better and for the worse. This programme seeks to offer practical solutions to consider what a ‘right relationship’ with technology might be. It is designed and presented by Russell Pollitt SJ and Justine Limpitlaw, an electronic communications lawyer. Russell and Justine were recently invited to address Selly Park Convent School in Rustenburg. They spoke on the social, legal, physical, psychological and spiritual effects of technology on our lives and especially on the lives of our children. For more information about this workshop, or to have it presented at your school, please contact the Jesuit Institute (011 482 4237).

(Picture: Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network Africa – JENA, Facebook)

Social Enterprise Workshop in Kenya: Ursula van Nierop, our deputy director, attended a Social Enterprise Workshop in Nairobi, 26-28 February 2019, organised by the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network in partnership with the Miller Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at Jesuits’ Santa Clara University in California, USA. Directors and collaborators from Jesuit social centres across Africa, were guided by Miller Centre facilitators to develop their own social enterprise initiatives. The plan is to mentor Jesuit social ministries in Africa to remodel themselves towards self-sustainability and to foster greater entrepreneurial approaches using a business model. Ursula will implement what she has learned and hopes to develop a social enterprise facilitated by the Jesuit Institute.

Volunteers leading Hearts on Fire in Maseru
(Picture: Sr Prudence Cooper)

Hearts on Fire in Lesotho: A team of Jesuit Institute volunteers under the guidance of religious sisters, Prudence Cooper OP and Eleanora Moloi HF, are presenting a Hearts on Fire introduction to Ignatian Spirituality in Maseru, Lesotho, over six weeks.

Team offering Week of Guided Prayer at White River
(Picture: Sue Edwards)

Weeks of Guided Prayer: A number of people who have received spirituality training through the Jesuit Institute have been facilitating Weeks of Guided Prayer. The latest of these have been at Northfield Methodist Church in Benoni and at the Methodist Church in White River. Another week is also about to begin at Umhlali Methodist Church, just outside Durban.

(Pictures: Jesuit Institute media team)

Interviews and videos on In our efforts to respond to new trends in the media; to allow people to tell their own stories; and to appeal to new ‘post-text’ audiences, we now offer much more audio and video content on Some of the latest videos that we’ve prepared for our viewers/listeners include a Lenten video message from the archbishop of Johannesburg, Buti Tlhagale, shot in his office; and two interviews filmed on location in Mariannhill, KZN. The first of these is with an emeritus bishop, Fritz Lobinger, who was mentioned by Pope Francis and has some ideas on the ordination of married men. The other interview is with new Coadjutor Archbishop of Durban, Abel Gabuza. He spoke to Ricardo da Silva SJ about his arrival in Durban, the archdiocese to which he now has right of succession, where he will replace Cardinal Wilfrid Napier OFM, following the acceptance of his retirement by Pope Francis. Keep watching for more exciting video content.

Sue Parsley and Russell Pollitt SJ, with our new mosaiced entrance sign
(Picture: Ursula van Nierop)

Jesuit Institute Entrance Sign: Many people often remark that our offices can be difficult to find. One such person is a loyal friend of the Jesuit Institute, Sue Parsley. She is also a highly skilled mosaic artist. Sue offered to produce a sign that would make us more visible, inviting and welcoming new and old faces into our space. You can see the fruits of her labour above. Thank you for presenting us with this wonderful gift, Sue.

Upcoming Events

Holy Week Easter Triduum Retreat: Join us from Holy Thursday evening, 18 April 2019, until Easter Sunday breakfast on 21 April 2019, at Lumko Institute, Benoni. This is a time to contemplate and pray together as we commemorate Jesus’ life, passion, death and resurrection. The cost of the retreat is R2250 per person which includes catering and accommodation. Register at or send an email to

Hearts on Fire: Join us for Hearts on Fire, an introduction to Ignatian spirituality. On Tuesday evenings during Lent, starting 12 March 2019 at 15 Molesey Ave, Auckland Park from 6pm-8.30pm. The cost of the course is R500 per person. Register at or send an email to

Jesuit Institute Spokesperson
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