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R.I.P. Fr. Xavier Jacob, A.A., specialist in Turkish islam (1927-2017) PDF Print E-mail

Fr. Xavier, second from left with Fr. General, second from right, and the other members of the Istanbul community (1927-2017)
Fr. Xavier, second from left with Fr. General, second from right, and the other members of the Istanbul community

January 9, 2018

Source: La Croix

Fr. Xavier Jacob, renowned specialist of Islam in Turkey, has died.

A pastor of Christians in Turkey, this Assumptionist distinguished himself by his studies of Islam in Turkey and by his translations of liturgical texts into Turkish.

Fr. Xavier Jacob, 89 years old, died on the afternoon of Tuesday, December 26, 2017, the same day as another apostle of the Christian-Muslim dialogue, Fr. Maurice Borrmans.

Born in Alsatia on January 15, 1927, Fr. Xavier was ordained an Assumptionist in 1953 and was described then as « a friendly and serviceable brother, whose intelligence is only equaled by his modesty.”

After spending some time at the headquarters for the Revue des études byzantines (today located at the Institut Catholique of Paris), he was assigned to the Assumptionist apostolate in Turkey. He would then spend 54 years there --- 40 years in Ankara and 14 in Kadikoy/Istanbul (formerly known as Chalcedon)--- where he ministered to Christians there and to the small remnant of Christians in Konya (formerly Iconium).

Last Updated on Monday, 15 January 2018 16:41

Main church, Nossa Senhora da Guia (Our Lady of Guidance), Cerro Azul, Paraná
Main church, Nossa Senhora da Guia (Our Lady of Guidance), Cerro Azul, Paraná

At its December 2017 meeting the Superior general, Fr. Benoit Griere with the agreement of the Plenary General Council approved the opening of the first new foundation in Brazil in 35 years and the first outside of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais, where all other five communities are located. The commune of Cerro Azul in the state of Paraná counts some 17,000 inhabitants, and there exists but one parish, Nossa Senhora da Guia (Our Lady of Guidance). The largest part of the commune's population is concentrated outside of the town proper where only 6,000 live. This reality is due mainly to the fact that the main source of employment is citrus farming, together with some cattle-raising and mining. Catholics make up 58% of the population, Protestants the other 42%.

The parish has been under the leadership of the same pastor for the last 40 years and his advanced age makes it impossible for him to continue. As a matter of fact, for any number of years he has been unable to provide the kind of leadership needed for a community seeking greater involvement and lay formation. The arrival of an Assumptionist community of three religious is seen by parishioners as a godsend.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 12:03


Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:23

Brother Ryan Carlsen, A.A. with his familyBrother Ryan Carlsen, A.A. with his family

On Saturday, January 6th, 2018 the Chapel of the Holy Spirit at Assumption College was the site of great celebration. Bro.Ryan Carlsen, A.A. professed his final vows as an Augustinian of the Assumption. The celebrant for the liturgy was Fr. Dennis Gallagher, A.A. Provincial. Fr. Dennis received Bro. Ryan's vows in the name of Fr. Benoit Griere, A.A., Superior General of the congregation. The liturgy was followed by a festive reception attended by Bro. Ryan's family, community, Lay Assumptionists and invited guests. Congratulations to Bro. Ryan!

Homily during the Religious Profession Mass of Brother Ryan Carlsen, A.A.

Ryan, what you are doing today is full of hope.

We know that hope is a theological virtue, which comes from God, but it is so good when it is embodied in the lives of flesh and blood human beings -   that flesh of ours which is so susceptible to distraction, to aimless wandering, to looking for love in all the wrong places.

What you are doing today, turning your face toward Jerusalem, so to speak, anchoring your life in the one thing necessary, is, I want to say, “over the top” hopeful.

You have said often enough, Ryan, that in the Catholic faith you have found the pearl of great price.

Last Updated on Monday, 08 January 2018 22:16

Assumption College students repair homes in TuscaloosaAssumption College students repair homes in Tuscaloosa

By Jason Morton / Staff Writer

Jan 4, 2018

For the seventh time since a tornado tore apart 12 percent of Tuscaloosa in 2011, a group of students and staff members from a small, Catholic liberal arts college in New England has returned here to help out.

Much of the rebuilding from the April 27, 2011, storm is complete, but the volunteers from Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, keep coming.

This week, they’re here working through Habitat for Humanity of Tuscaloosa to repair two homes in parts of the city that were unharmed by the storm.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t work to be done.

“It’s become near and dear to our hearts,” said Zachary Shepard, an Assumption College senior majoring chemistry, about Tuscaloosa.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 January 2018 11:24


Last Updated on Thursday, 28 December 2017 13:39

Fr. Vincent Leclercq, A.A.December 17, 2017 - Rome

Following up on decisions made at the last general chapter, Fr. General in Council has appointed Fr. Vincent Leclercq Secretary general for Formation. The chapter decided to create the Office of the Secretary general for Formation because of the growing number of young men in formation and the urgency of paying adequate attention to their needs. There are currently more than 350 young religious in formation from novitiate to early priesthood throughout the world.

Here are some of the possible responsibilities of such an office:

- to accompany and encourage formators, in particular those who bear central responsibilities at the provincial level and those in charge of international formation houses;

- to develop a plan of formation for formators and to oversee the constitution of solid formation teams, based on a regular dialogue with provincials and the Superior general;

- to make proposals simplifying the discernment process at the different levels of formation, often perceived as too complex;

- to prepare first apostolic assignments, including specialized studies, keeping in mind mobilizing works and Assumptionist priorities;

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 January 2018 11:28

Blessed Christmas Greetings From the Assumption Family

O God, who wonderfully created the dignity of human nature and and still more wonderfully restored it, grant, we pray, that we may share in the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Amen.
(Christmas Mass During the Day, Collect)

Blessed Christmas Greetings

From the Assumption Family

Last Updated on Sunday, 24 December 2017 22:39

Plenary General Council in Rome

The first Plenary General Council (PGC) since the 33rd general chapter of the Congregation held last May is taking place at this time in Rome. The major item on the agenda of this gathering is the implementation of the many decisions made at that chapter, a huge and complex undertaking. The composition of this PGC features a number of new faces: in addition to the two new assistant generals, Frs. Miguel Diaz Ayllon and Thierry Kambale Kahongya, there are two new provincials in attendance, Frs. Benoit Bigard (Europe) and Dennis Gallagher (North America), as well as a new general secretary, Fr. Michel Kubler.

In explaining the role of the PGC, Fr. General said in his opening remarks, “The PGC is intended to offer us the opportunity to exercise coresponsibility. The Congregation is a whole and each province contributes to the life of the entire body of the Assumption. We put into practice here what has become known as an ecclesiology of communion. Responsibility for one’s province should never make one forget solidarity with the entire body of the Assumption. We are learning to discern together, to make decisions together, and to work together. From now on, it is impossible to enclose oneself within the limits of his province alone, even if it is vast. We must think catholic, that is to say, « with the whole in mind » (« selon le tout »), in the words of the Dominican theologian, Yves Congar.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 03 January 2018 11:27
A Reflection on Mary’s Magnificat during this Final Week of Advent PDF Print E-mail

My soul doth magnify the Lordby Fr. Jacques Nieuviarts, AA

“The Magnificat is the song of hope, it is the song of the People of God walking through history,” Pope Francis said during his homily on August 15, 2013. He added, “it is particularly strong in places where the Body of Christ is suffering the Passion.” Everything is said of the Magnificat in these few words. It is at this depth that we must meditate on it and sing it. The wonders of God in the Scriptures are always, in multiple forms, passages from death to life. The Magnificat is a song of resurrection. It celebrates God’s life as stronger than death.  The Bible abounds with stories that speak of situations of hopelessness where death appears ready to win out. There is Hagar, Abraham’s servant, wandering in the desert with Ishmael, her son. They are about to die, she and her son, in the middle of the wilderness and drought. She cries out to the Lord; she shouts out her distress. And then the Bible says, in this astonishing way, “God heard the boy’s cry” (Gen 21:17). This isn’t some kind of mistake. It’s the profound truth that cuts across the entire Bible and that characterizes so many psalms: God hears the cry of those who are small; he listens to them (e.g. Ps. 22, Ps. 34). The entire Magnificat sings of this: “He fills the hungry with good things, he sends the rich away empty-handed…he raises up the lowly.”

A voice coming from the springs of God

Mary sings the Magnificat with a clear voice, with a voice that springs from God himself. And her song, in itself, seems to make the whole Bible resonate, the Bible that never ceases to affirm God’s fidelity and his special predilection for the meek and the small…and right from the very beginning.

One should also speak of Hannah, the mother of little Samuel. She would go to the temple in Shiloh every year. There she would pour out her tears for having never born a child. Eli, the priest, got upset with her, thinking that she was drunk. But she was drunk with sadness. Then Eli understood and affirmed that God had heard her and that the following year at the same time she would be holding a child in her arms. That would be the little Samuel and Hannah promised to give him to the Lord. He would become the prophet who would prepare the way of the Lord at the heart of his people and would one day administer the royal anointing to Saul and then David. Hannah, too, would sing a hymn of praise that greatly resembles that of Mary (I Sam 2:1-10), so much so that it is like its ‘ancestor.’ It is the Magnificat nine centuries before Christ’s birth.

God loves the humble. In the Bible they are called the “anawim,” “the poor of YHWH.” But this word describes more accurately those who are bent over, those under the heavy burden of suffering, of poverty, and of misery, of the oppression weighed down on them, and who know that in this misery the only one who will answer their cry is the Lord. That is why little by little they became the figure par excellence of the small and the humble. The Book of Exodus has strong words to express that God hears them and loves them. From the burning bush God says to Moses, “Yes, I have witnessed the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry against their taskmasters, so I know well what they are suffering” (Ex 3:7). But we also find these words: “If he cries out to me, I will listen; for I am compassionate” (Ex 21:26).

Welcoming the Magnificat at the center of our lives

My soul doth magnify the Lord

So all of this is contained in Mary’s hymn. She sang it shortly after the Angel Gabriel’s Annunciation to her, when she visited her cousin Elizabeth, pregnant in spite of her advanced age. Within Elizabeth the Baptist leapt for joy when Mary greeted her. The Precursor recognized Jesus and did so from Elizabeth’s womb. Mary, then, inspired by the Holy Spirit, broke forth with this canticle for it is a song of joy that can only come from God (Lk 1:39-55). It is in this way that we learn where to find the source of this song in our own lives: in the encounter or “visitation”, says the gospel, that is to say in the manifestation of God at the heart of the encounter. There we too find an invitation to recognize in our daily encounters the unexpected and joyful presence of the Lord, the manifestation of his unbelievable nearness to us, leading us to give thanks. So it is that we place ourselves in the line that goes back to the promise made by God to Abraham and “to his children forever.”

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