A testimony of Fr. Zef Bisha. “My vocation? I owe it to my parents. Every day we secretly said a prayer to ask Jesus for forgiveness before going to sleep. Secretly” he stresses. "We were prohibited to pray under the communist regime." This is what Fr. Zef Bisha SJ, coordinator for Albania, said about his journey to freedom. "After the collapse of the regime, I too, like many others, went to help rebuild our little church dedicated to St. Nicholas, one stone upon another. It was so significant for me giving shape to a place that had become a landfill. Building this church has meant for me stones that have marked my life”. Then I came in touch with the nuns and the priest who came to celebrate the liturgical functions in the newly built chapel. “I started helping them as they went around the villages serving the people. In 1994 I entered the seminary; I continued to help as an interpreter and wherever needed. But I felt that something was missing. I was unable to express it, but I was not completely happy. It was Ray Pace SJ, my spiritual father, who helped me understand what was going on inside me. That summer I was invited to take part in an experience with the "Project for Hope" group led by Fr. Massimo Nevola SJ. A few days were enough to understand that something about him was different, his way of being and the way he worked. I felt welcomed, I fully savoured the spirit of service and friendship of the group. This is why I asked to enter the Society of Jesus. I went through a time of discernment to become aware of my desires, to become familiar with the Society, to get to know myself and finally to put everything in the hands of God. Building the Church today means a continuous conversion. In Albania, different religious beliefs are present. The stones are no longer what they once used to be. The fluidity that has infiltrated our country leads us to forget who we really are. Often one gets the feeling of sowing in vain. Let us never give up! Let us form tomorrow’s generation for freedom ”.
The ‘dream’ of Fr. Arturo Sosa about the Society of Jesus. “We Jesuits are people of hope; we believe another world is possible,” Arturo Sosa, S.J., the superior general of the Society of Jesus, told journalists at an end-of-year reception at the Jesuit Curia in Rome on Dec. 4. Greeting some 20 reporters in the Arrupe Hall of the Jesuit Curia, Father Sosa reflected on what the Jesuits have been doing over the past year and the significance of the mission Pope Francis has given to the Society when he confirmed the four universal apostolic preferences that are to permeate and inspire the work of Jesuits worldwide over the next 10 years. The Venezuelan-born head of the Jesuits said that in his travels on all continents he has witnessed “the existence of so much frustration among so many people” in the face of “the inequality and poverty” in today’s world, together with “the forced movement of persons” who are either displaced in their home countries or forced to be refugees and “the difficulty” so many people have “to live in freedom and democracy.” Read more
Dresden - After 77 years, 23 books confiscated by the National Socialists return to HohenEichen. "In February of this year I received an e-mail with the subject 'NS-Raubgut'", says Wilfried Dettling SJ, director of the retreat house HohenEichen. He almost deleted the message. Nadine Kulbe of the Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library (SLUB) informed him that the SLUB was in possession of books which had been stolen by the National Socialists and which could clearly be assigned to the House of HohenEichen as the owner. These 23 books were now to be "restituted" to the Jesuits. What is Nazi looting? For the legal concept of "cultural assets seized due to Nazi persecution" the term "(NS)-robbery" has established itself. In addition to art collections, books were also affected whose robbery was frighteningly perfectly organized from the very beginning, as recent research has shown. The search for books is difficult: individual collections were often torn apart and distributed to different libraries, where they were incorporated into the holdings without any indication of their origin. Today, the traces in the books themselves are often the only indications of their previous owners, of their "provenance", for example through seals and stamps. There is no legal obligation to conduct research into the loot of public institutions in Germany. However, institutions such as the SLUB have made it their task to check their holdings for loot on the basis of various declarations. These include the "Washington Principles" of 1998 (principles of the Washington Conference with regard to works of art confiscated by the National Socialists) and the "Joint Declaration" of 1999 (Joint Declaration - Declaration of the Federal Government, the Länder and the central communal associations on the discovery and return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, in particular from Jewish property). Provenance research at the SLUB Since September 2017, the SLUB has been carrying out a project to identify Nazi loot, sponsored by the Stiftung Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Centre for the Loss of Cultural Property). Nadine Kulbe is one of the project staff members and succeeded in identifying the books from the HohenEichen library, as she explained at a press conference on the occasion of the "Restitution", the return of the 23 books. The books bear a stamp with the inscription "Xaveriushaus Hosterwitz", after the co-founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Franz Xaver, patron saint of Haus HohenEichen. The SLUB does not regard itself as the owner of the objects in its inventory in the case of proven Nazi looting and endeavours to return them to the owners. From HohenEichen to the SLUB and back again Since 1940 the Secret State Police (Gestapo) observed the Jesuit retreat house on the Elbe slope in Hosterwitz. In May 1941 the Gestapo confiscated the house and the Jesuits had to leave HohenEichen. House and property were expropriated in January 1942 as "property of enemies of the Reich" and HohenEichen served afterwards as home school of the Hitler youth. A quantity of books from the library of Haus HohenEichen, which can no longer be precisely quantified today, was given to the Saxon State Library by the Gestapo in 1942 as a gift. Of these, only 23 survived the bombing of Dresden in February 1945; the remainder were burnt in the Japanese Palais, the former seat of the State Library. After the end of the Second World War, the Jesuit Order received back the expropriated real estate in Dresden-Hosterwitz and since then has run the house again as a retreat house. But the books remained in the possession of the Saxon State Library (now SLUB) - until they could be identified in 2019 within the framework of provenance research and handed over as a "beautiful conclusion" to an elaborate work in HohenEichen. The return of the books is a "great pleasure" for the SLUB, according to Nadine Kulbe. The majority of the books are from the 18th century, the oldest being dated 1616. Even though their material value is low, they are still of great non-material value. They are spiritual books, but also travelogues are included - and a copy of the holy legend book, in which Ignatius of Loyola read on his sickbed.
From 9 to 11 November 2019, the leaders of the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM) met in Reims for the Effata gathering. This event was an opportunity for the animators, leaders and other volunteers involved in the movement to reflect for three days on the orientations of the EYM for the coming years. A reaffirmation of the identity of the EYM and its links to the Ignatian family These three days reaffirmed the identity foundations of the movement, the true DNA of the EYM, which must be preserved and transmitted: the importance of the prayer of offering, the "integral" formation (human, pedagogical and spiritual), especially through fundamental tools, the preponderant place of a strong visual identity, as well as music and singing, for a better sense of belonging to the movement. Effata was also the ideal moment to reiterate the very special relationship that the EYM has with the Ignatian Family. Thus, it was decided to make the proposals of Jesuit spirituality to the 18-25 year olds more widely known, while at the same time developing the links between the EYM and the other offerings of the Ignatian Family (MAGIS teams, Chemin Neuf, CLC...). The leaders gathered for the event were able to benefit from the interventions of many Jesuits, including that of their provincial, Father François Boëdec. Finally, in the spirit of openness, it was decided that the EYM France, in parallel, would progressively turn towards the international scene, developing deeper links with EYMs in other countries. Testimony of Samuel, participant in the Effata weekend: Meetings, music, celebrations, but also reflection, sharing and prayer, it is difficult to sum up the richness of Effata in a few words! Effata was first of all an invitation to reflect on what we, the leaders of the movement, wanted to bring to the young people we supervise during the year and in camps during the summer. Having myself grown up in the EYM since I was 8 years old, I am aware of the importance that the EYM has had in my journey, and of all that it can bring to young people in building their faith. The times of reflection were oriented towards the unity of the movement, its pedagogy and its place in the Church and the Ignatian family. In addition, more festive times punctuated these reflections: we sang, prayed, discovered the city of Rheims during a big game and even attended a live interview with Saint Ignatius during a show presented by 75 young people! I retain from this weekend the feeling that everyone was able to express themselves in listening and benevolence, and the final resolutions reflect the participation of all in their elaboration. However, I do not forget that they are only guidelines, and that it will be up to each of us, at our own level, to implement them in the field. There is still a long way to go, but the energy that emerged from Effata is proof that the EYM still has a lot to say and to live within the Church! www.mej.fr
On 10 December, the policy and advocacy workshop "Tax Justice and Poverty" was held. This event was co-organised by JESC, COMECE - The Catholic Church in the EU and the Jesuits in Europe and Africa with the participation of representatives of the EU institutions as well as tax experts from development organisations from all over the world. The discussion was based on the 2012-17 research report by the Jesuit Mission, the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection in Lusaka and the Jesuit Hakimani Centre in Nairobi. An important topic discussed was that Africa loses more in illicit financial outflows than the amount received from ODA and FDI. The value of the Church's contributions in the struggle to obtain more fiscal justice in order to fight poverty does not lie so much in the presentation of brilliant social and legal analyses. The church's role has been to remind people of the ultimate goal of all economic, social and political means: -to increase the well-being and dignity of all human beings, -to assist  everyone in developng their abilities and allow their active participation in the human effort to build our Common Home for us and the generations to come. Statement of Franck Janin Opening Statement Charlie Chilufya SJ
In November 4-8, 2019 the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat Congress was held in Rome.  See also "Our broken and divided world needs to build bridges" Here is the final video of the Congress. It is subtitled in different languages. Hope you like it!

UPCOMING EVENTS

2
Sun
Feb 2020
GROTTAGLIE
Italy
Final Vows Fr. Massimo Annicchiarico (EUM) will take Final Vows at St. Francesco de Geronimo Sanctuary at 5 p.m. READ MORE
22
Sat
Feb 2020
ROME
Italy
Ordination Giuseppe Amalfa (EUM) and Luigi Territo (EUM) will be ordained priest by Msgr. Vincenzo Zani, Secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, at the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, at 3.30 p.m.  READ MORE
25
Wed
Mar 2020
POZNAN
Poland
Final vows Fr. Jacek Wrobel (PMA) will take final vows at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Rosary in Poznan, at 3 pm. READ MORE
31
Tue
Mar 2020
BRUSSELS
Belgium
Final Vows Fr. Gilles Barbe (EOF) will take Final Vows in the St. John Berchmans Church at 5 pm. READ MORE