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A note from the California Provincial to all the Jesuits in his province about the Ignatian Family Teach In, promoted in great part by WCCI, led of course by our maximum leader and founder Bob Holstein. We can and should take some pride in this, and we can do this most modestly by simply passing on the words of Tom Smolich.

CalProv 02.75
November 27, 2002

Dear Brothers in Christ:

As many of you know, I attended the annual School of the Americas Protest at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, the weekend of November 16-18.  This year, over 10,000 people came together to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the deaths of our six brothers and two lay colleagues in El Salvador, and to renew attention to the School's training of counterinsurgency troops in Latin America, now especially in war-torn Colombia.  Given the growing crisis in Iraq and the Middle East, this opportunity to bring attention to United States military policy was timely and important.

For the fourth successive year, a key part of the weekend was the Ignatian Family Teach-In, held in a 1,500-person tent along the banks of the Chattahoochee River.  All 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, as well as several high schools and parishes, were represented this year.  Students from Jesuit institutions took the opportunity to listen to one another's efforts for justice and to share in the solidarity of remembering the hundreds of thousands of victims of United States-sponsored wars in Latin America. A highlight of the weekend was a liturgy on Saturday evening, which featured Ted Gabrielli as presider and drew over 2,000 people.

The teach-in continues to be organized and supported by Bob and Loretta Holstein and the West Coast Companions, and I am very grateful for their work.  I was especially gratified by the response of California Province schools: Bellarmine College Preparatory, Brophy College Preparatory, Jesuit High School, J.S.T.B., Loyola Marymount University, St. Ignatius College Preparatory, Santa Clara University, and University of San Francisco were all represented.

I also had the opportunity to speak at the teach-in.  Looking at so many students from our schools, I told the group I have never been so proud to be a Jesuit.  Any Jesuit would be proud to meet so many young men and women that "get" the vision of Ignatius:  that God is alive in our world and that our desires for life, justice, and peace are from God and deserve to be brought to fruition through solidarity with one another and in Jesus Christ.

This has not been an easy year for our world, our Church, or our Province.  Yet the experience of that weekend provides much to be grateful for and proclaims that God's spirit is indeed at work in all of us.

We all have many reasons to give thanks.  Well and often, let us thank each other and our God this holiday season.  Happy Thanksgiving.


Thomas H. Smolich, S.J.

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