Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach passed away on 26 November 2016. One year after his death, Fr. General has wished to remember him: • through a Eucharist celebrated in the Curia on 24 November, • through the inauguration, in the Curia, of the Library traditionally called “Fr. General’s Library,” renovated these past months, and which will now bear the name “Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library” • and finally, through the inauguration of a website in memory of Fr. Kolvenbach. This site is now accessible to all at the following address: https://kolvenbach.jesuitgeneral.org. On this site, one will find testimonials and photos, but also some writings of Fr. Kolvenbach on the themes of religious life, Ignatian spirituality, and Ignatian pedagogy In its present version, navigation on the site is done in English. Within a few weeks, however, one will be able to do the same in Spanish and French.
The Kaunas Jesuit Gymnasium is the centre of “Refugees Matter: from Challenges to Opportunities”, an Erasmus+ project involving six schools from five European countries. Initiatives include community service at refugee centers, film screenings, posters, photos and cultural events. Between teachers and students, there are 140 people taking care of the project. During the past years, the constant influx of refugees has been the cause of dramatic and fundamental changes in the socio-cultural, political, economic and educational landscape of the European Union.  With the rise of racial and xenophobic attitudes towards refugees accross the continent, core European values such as tolerance and solidarity came under huge pressure.  Aware of the complexity of the issue, we formed a team for an Erasmus+ project entitled Refugees Matter: from Challenges to Opportunities. The project brings together six schools from Lithuania, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey, with the following objectives: form an open and balanced perception of refugees and their cultures through research, analysis, counter narratives, intellectual dialogue, and direct encounters; gain insight from and share good and easy-to-implement practices for the social inclusion of refugees and the way host countries receive and treat them; focus on social and civic responsibilities by encouraging cultural awareness through creativity and the acquisition of English language and digital skills, and fostering a sense of initiative and leadership. Refugees Matter, has 140 core participants (50 teachers and school staff and 90 students, aged 16-19), participating inmeetings and organizing various learning/teaching/training activities, and around another 400 participants (family members, local authorities, refugees, politicians,  etc.)  involved in the implementation of the project. All the activities are interrelated, insofar as they analyze the issue of refugee treatment from different perspectives. Opting for a holistic approach, the team will start off by gaining insight into national histories related to migration and go on to analyze the root causes of the current migration phenomenon, paying particular attention to refugee-specific questions. It will also take a look at measures being taken to tackle the issue and finally, consider possible, future action/s. Hopefully, this approach will help students form a balanced, overall opinion on the present refugee crisis. Among the activities foreseen, there will be a short documentary competition with films that shed light on the plight of refugees in foreign lands; a photography exhibition; volunteering experiences for students to get in touch with refugees; dissemination initiatives highlighting the intrinsic value of the project and its potential to raise awareness and mobilize more people and interested parties for the cause; as well as a cultural week to familiarize people with the customs, folklore, handicrafts and food of the refugees’ country of origin. Besides fostering a critical mind among participants, Refugees Matter aims at changing the general refugee perception to a more tolerant and emphatic one. By transforming all those involved from passive observers to active problem solvers, it plans to bring about a complete paradigm shift. The planned events will act as motivation and provide them with tools for further action in their communities. Hence, citizens acting at the local level will be promoting and strengthening core European values such as solidarity and unity in diversity. Moreover, activities that prove themselves effective could in turn lead to the creation of other school projects, volunteering programmes and all sort of events.
The Paulo Freire Institute has just launched the digital version of its literacy project Iċ-Ċavetta. Funded by the Vodafone Malta Foundation, Iċ-Ċavetta - Maltese Literacy Toolkit for Employment and Education Inclusion offers a combination of Maltese literacy skills, work values and computer orientation skills to young people and adults facing social exclusion and employment challenges. The toolkit, which took two years to prepare, is structured as a course and contains a series of 32 interactive activities. It takes the user from elementary to advanced level, allowing them to acquire basic reading and writing skills in Maltese. They can access it online or offline, at their desk and even on the go, thanks to an app available in Android and iOS versions. Iċ-Ċavetta is currently the only existing tool for basic Maltese literacy. It is based on a series of textbooks published since 2008 by the Paulo Freire Institute, and is the fruit of many years of NGO work in the field of adult education and literacy. According to the latest census (2011), in Malta there are about 24,000 people who are unable to read and write. “These people tend to stay on the sidelines and may never fully participate in Maltese and European society. Their employment prospects are hence diminished. Illiteracy makes people more vulnerable and prone to exploitation by others," said Fr. Edgar Busuttil SJ, director of the Institute. “We are confident that this app will be of great help to those adults and young people who, for one reason or another, have difficulty reading and writing. By so doing, they are encouraged to participate more fully in Maltese society. Here is a video explaining the project. Zejtun's Paulo Freire Institute is a Jesuit NGO active in the fields of literacy promotion and community development.
Pope Francis has just nominated Fr. Daniele Libanori SJ auxiliary bishop for the diocese of Rome. From 2003 to 2016 he served as rector of the Gesù church in Rome and is currently rector of the church of San Giuseppe dei Falegnami at Foro Romano. In his first reactions, Fr. Libanori said: “At the news of the Pope's request, I felt really surprised and then afraid. I interpret the choice as stemming from the need to pay a great deal of attention to the celrgy. It is also in line with the previous appointment of Monsignor Angelo De Donatis as Vicar General. It is not an administrative ministry; it is about taking care of people, one by one. The main difficulty for a priest is his tough job. It is important to make him feel valued and loved.” Father Libanori will continue taking care of the clergy of Rome and of permanent deacons. The episcopal ordination is scheduled for January 13, 2018 at 5pm at the Basilica of San Giovanni in Laterano, together with that of Fr. Paolo Ricciardi, who is presently parish priest in Acilia and will be nominated auxiliary bishop in charge of the ministry for healthcare workers.
On Monday 20th November the second Steering Committee of the HEST project (Higher Education for Social Transformation) took place, with the collaboration of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. The meeting was presided over by Father Franck Janin, President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, and was attended by the two coordinators of the seven research groups that make up the project, together with Father Peter Rozic, delegate of the Social Apostolate in Europe, Father Jaime Tatay representing the Cultural Journals in Europe, and the two coordinators of the project: José Carlos Romero and Iciar Villacieros. The meeting had two distinct parts: The morning was mainly dedicated to present the progress of the project in this first year of its life. It was highlighted that the 7 groups have already been formed and are in the process of defining their respective action plans for the next two years; plans that, in addition to including the research activity of any academic project, will also include a programme of advocacy activities related to the study topic. After updating the situation of the project, the afternoon was devoted to working on the social transformation dimension that HEST intends to address. The coordinators proposed a working group session, which consisted of answering two questions: 1. What does social transformation mean for my own discipline? 2. What actions aimed at this social transformation can I foresee that could be carried out in the context of the project? After that time of work, we concluded the session with a sharing of the reflections that each group had made, followed by some practical questions and a final evaluation. Finally, after saying goodbye to some assistants, the rest of the group celebrated the Eucharist in the chapel of the Mag+s office and continued with a dinner at the Mandela Restaurant. This second HEST Executive Committee was a wonderful occasion to confirm that the project is slowly but firmly established on the horizon of the collaborative work of the intellectual apostolate of our Conference. And that is something to be congratulated and thanked for.
A team of Jesuit novices with Fr Simon Bishop SJ and Vron Smith recently joined a group of prisoners in HMP Hewell in the West Midlands, to accompany them on a week of guided prayer. It was a week of surprises, with prisoners from a wide range of age, race and even faith background. Novice Luke Taylor nSJ explained, "We offered a variety of Ignatian ways of prayer. Some prisoners shared one-on-one with a prayer guide while others drew their own spiritual journeys. Some entered scripture through imaginative contemplation while others dramatised biblical scenes. "   Muslim prisoners were included in the group, which gave the week an extra dimension for Luke, "These men expressed an open and articulate interest in both the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity. The team felt honoured to share with them." With a real concern about the radicalisation of prisoners 'inside', when conditions are not adequate and opportunities for authentic spiritual growth are restricted, perhaps this week could be seen as a model for other prisons to copy. The famous Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner said in an address to prison chaplains, "When you go from your own surroundings into a prison, you do not go out of a world of harmony, light and order into a world of guilt and unfreedom: you stay where you have been all the time. It is merely made clearer to your bodily senses what has been surrounding you all the time: the unfreedom of guilt, the imprisonment from which God's grace alone can set us free into the freedom of the children of God." Luke reflected that feeling when he referred to the prisoners as being 'prisoner disciples'. It is often noted that on a week of guided prayer the distinction between those accompanying and those being accompanied breaks down when you witness God working in people's hearts.  ''One morning, we enacted Jesus inviting Peter to walk on water. Our Peter not only walked, but tap-danced his way back to the boat – a spontaneous demonstration of joyful faith. My favourite comment of the week came from another prisoner disciple: “we are all in the same boat,” he pointed out."

UPCOMING EVENTS

26-30
Tue - Sat
Dec 2017
ISTANBUL
Turkey
Les deux rives READ MORE
27-30
Wed - Sat
Dec 2017
LE CHATELARD
Lyon
EOF Province Assembly The theme this year is the Society's presence to young people in the perspective of the 2018 Youth Synod.140 Jesuits from the Province are already registered and the animation will be provided by the new Jesuit Vocations Service (SJV). READ MORE
2
Fri
Feb 2018
SWIETA LIPKA
Poland
Final vows Fr. Marek Szafran (PMA) will take final vows in the Sanctuary of the Mother of God. READ MORE
10
Sat
Feb 2018
PARIS
France
Ordination Claude Philippe and Romain Subtil will be ordained priest at the St. Ignace Church READ MORE