SIGN UP FOR
OUR NEWSLETTER
Jesuit formators from all over Europe gathered for a workshop in Malta from 8 to 13 July. The theme was "Towards a healthy Jesuit lifestyle" since several recent formators' meetings have concluded that a healthy "normal" Jesuit life is the key to facing the many possible tensions and difficulties we need to face. Orlando Torres and Cecil Azzopardi, who worked together for many years in Rome as much-appreciated Rector and Spiritual Father at Gesù, animated the workshop in every sense of the word. Topics included the profile of the Jesuit formator, the local superior in the Society of Jesus, the role of spiritual direction, transparency, collaborating with God in Jesuit formation, self-evaluation, criteria for progress, balanced lifestyle and others. The diverse group of nine companions, from experienced to potential formators, came from the BOH, HUN, EUM, POR and PRO provinces. They enjoyed each other's company and the discussions, as well as the opportunity to visit the extraordinarily rich cultural heritage and scenery of Malta, not to forget about the great hospitality received at the Mount Saint Joseph Retreat House and by Cecil Azzopardi.  
From June 30 to July 6 , the Summer School of Theology was held in Kyrgyzstan, on Lake Issyk-Kul . It was organized by the Jesuits in the educational center run there. Lectures on the spirituality of the Church Fathers were given by Fr. Tomasz Ortmann SJ, superior of the Russian Region, and introductory classes on the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament were given by Fr. Tomas Garcia-Huidobro SJ from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Ignatian spirituality was discussed by Fr. Mikhail Tkalich SJ, who will begin his pastoral ministry in Belarus at the end of August, and Christianity in the context of various world religions was presented by Fr. Stephan Lipke SJ, superior of the Jesuit community in Moscow. This is the third such meeting organized during the summer for people from Central Asia who want to deepen their theological knowledge.
Many Jesuits work in countries where Islam is the predominant religion, such as Kyrgyzstan, where 90% of the population are Muslims, notes Fr. Remigiusz Kalski SJ in his report from a Jesuit meeting in Berlin. Fr. Kalski serves as the superior of the Jesuit community in Kyrgyzstan. To better respond to God's expectations for the Society of Jesus, around 30 Jesuits gathered from July 1-6, 2024, in Berlin at the hospitable Catholic Academy. Through prayer at St. Thomas Aquinas Church, meetings, presentations, discussions, expert lectures, and visits to centers of Muslim thought and Islamic cultural centers, they sought to discern the Lord's guidance for their "smallest Society," writes Fr. Remigiusz. St. Ignatius of Loyola recognized the unique nature of work in the Muslim world. In the Formula of the Institute, he stated that Jesuits should be ready to undertake missions "among the Turks" without hesitation—an extraordinary challenge in 1540. Participants in the Berlin meeting included Jesuits from African countries, where political violence and radical Islamic rhetoric are prevalent. The situation in the Gaza Strip, Syria, and Lebanon is similarly dire, as reported by residents from these regions. Despite these challenges, the emphasis was on fostering dialogue through mutual understanding and deepening knowledge of religious roots. The Gospel of St. John often depicts the Lord Jesus, the eternal Logos, engaging in profound conversations with individuals like the Samaritan woman and Nicodemus. This meeting of "two logoi"—God and man —illustrates the essential path of dialogue, even from a pragmatic perspective, explains the Polish missionary from Kyrgyzstan. A symbolic curiosity of the meeting's location is the proximity of Dorotheenstadt cemetery, where the idealistic German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel is buried. Fr. Remigiusz refers to Hegel as a "great philosophical pest." In contrast, the participants of "Jesuits among Muslims" aimed to be realists, hoping that idealistic German philosophy is now passé.
Educating for Faith in the 21st century  From 24 till 28 June 2024 more than 100 members of the Jesuit Global Network of Schools (JGNS), from 37 countries, gathered at the De Britto College, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, to explore what Educating for Faith in the 21st Century means for contemporary Jesuit schools. They participated in the II Global Seminar JESEDU-Jogja2024, which is part of the nine-year cycle of international gatherings for the ongoing discernment of our schools: “Walking as a Global Network at the Service of the Mission”.  14 members of the Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education (JECSE) represented our Conference at the seminar. They were joined by colleagues from Jesuit and companion schools from around the world via social media networks and live streaming hosted by Educate Magis. A virtual pre-seminar, which took place from 1 April to 6 May 2024, preceded the face-to-face seminar and contributed to its preparation and progress.  Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ (Rector of St Aloysius College, Malta; JECSE Board and Steering Committee member), moderator of the first day of the Seminar, stated: “The seminar in Jogjakarta was a unique experience of the strong and rich global network of Jesuit schools in the Society of Jesus. I felt the Lord calling us to go deeper in strengthening our Catholic identity by a mature dialogue with other religions and with our secular and post-Christian contexts. The hospitality of our Indonesian colleagues was special”.  The dynamics of the experiences  Each day, participants had the opportunity to engage in a series of activities that encouraged conversation and provided time for reflection to explore how they could deepen their effectiveness in faith formation in the local context. Each day began with prayer led by scholastics and ended with the Eucharist. The morning sessions included a meeting with prominent keynote speakers and a presentation of two experiences combined with a plenary discussion. The afternoons were devoted mainly to individual prayer and reflection and spiritual conversation in international groups.  On the third day of JESED, the main event was a pilgrimage - a spiritual journey to three well-known religious shrines in the Yogyakarta region. The aim was to give participants an experience of 'education for inter-religious dialogue'. They were encouraged to spend time in prayer and reflection, guided by biblical texts. The day ended with a visit to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Ganjuran Temple, built in the Javanese style, which houses a Hindu statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus depicting Jesus as a Javanese king. The pilgrimage concluded with Mass, during which Fr Damian Czerniak SJ (Director of the Jesuit School in Gdynia, Poland) gave an inspiring homily on “The Heart on an Open Palm”.  Our schools as apostolic bridges In his introductory video to the participants gathered in Yogyakarta, Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ acknowledged that "our world, including our schools, is becoming more diverse than ever in terms of religions and cultures". In response, Fr Sosa recommended that Jesuit schools "become apostolic bridges between this beautiful and God-given diversity and our faith". Over five days of shared prayer, reflection and sharing, the seminar participants discerned how our schools today can faithfully and fully respond to this call.  Sharing God through Ignatian Spirituality On the first day, Dr Damian Zynda (Director of Mission and Pastoral Care at McQuaid Jesuit High School in Rochester, NY) gave a presentation entitled “Sharing God through Ignatian Spirituality”. She presented the transformative power of Ignatian spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises in education, advocating a holistic approach that fosters a life-changing encounter with God. Fr. Álvaro Lobo SJ (Educsi, Coordinador de Pastoral, Spain) then presented the development of the transmission of the faith in Spanish schools in a session of sharing experiences. Inspired by the presentations, the participants discussed the integration of Ignatian formation programmes and the importance of faith in educational settings. They stressed the need for faith to be an essential part of the school culture and not just an obligation or a secondary priority.  Educating for Inter-Religious Dialogue The keynote speaker on the second day was Dr Fatimah Husein (Sunan Kalijaga State Islamic University, Yogyakarta). She spoke on "Education for Interreligious Dialogue: The Indonesian Experience". She stressed that engaging in interfaith dialogue does not weaken one's religious commitment, but provides an opportunity to reflect on it more deeply. Participants discussed the importance of a more hermeneutic approach to religious language and the importance of involving parents in the education of their children.  They also stressed the importance of Jesuit schools embracing, sharing and celebrating their Catholic identity, which is characterised by a kind of interreligious dialogue modelled on Jesus Christ, in which the divine identity embraces the human.  Forming a Resilient Faith The theme of the fourth day was "Forming a Resilient Faith: Teaching for In-Depth Faith Formation in our Secular Context Today", led by Dr Paul Sharkey (Catholic Theological College, University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia). Also on this day, Mrs Minerva Porcel (Pedagogical Director, Fundació Jesuïtes Educació, Spain) presented a new educational project for Jesuit schools in Catalonia that integrates the latest legal requirements with Ignatian pedagogy and values. During the plenary sessions, participants addressed issues such as the importance of creative fidelity in deepening faith and the importance of preserving a sense of the sacred in the face of secularisation. It was noted that it is important that Ignatian practices such as Examen, discernment and prayer do not lose their transcendent dimension, but remain ways of engaging with God and Jesus. They also emphasised the importance of the formation of all members of the school community, including pastoral leaders and formators, in Ignatian spirituality, pedagogy and worldview.   Daniel Patrick Huang SJ (Faculty of Missiology, Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome) introduced the participants to the reflections of the final day of the seminar. He spoke about evangelisation in multi-religious and secular settings, emphasising the importance of an Ignatian approach that focuses on building relationships and active listening. An open discussion between participants and the speaker focused on the need to develop models of evangelisation in education that can help to build clear and welcoming identities. As we celebrate current evangelistic efforts in our schools, we must continually seek new ways to provide relevant and meaningful faith formation opportunities for all, always keeping Jesus at the centre. Being part of a global network and being open to others can inspire us as we explore our 'Glocal' reality.  Continuing our journey of caring for Catholic identity and faith formation in our schools At the end of the meeting, the regional groups discussed the main invitations, reflections and questions that emerged from JESEDU-Jogja2024. Each conference shared the resonances of the days of the meeting, how to share their experiences and what the next steps should be for education for faith in the 21st century in each region.  Fr. José Mesa SJ, Secretary for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education of the Society of Jesus, chaired the final plenary and presented a draft vision statement that will be published in the coming days. Fr. Mesa thanked all the participants and organisers of JESEDU-Jogja2024 and announced that the next meeting of the Jesuit Global Network of Schools, the II Congress JESEDU, will take place in Montreal, Canada, in 2027.  The representatives of the Jesuit and Companion Schools of our Conference would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to the organisers of this exceptional meeting for the excellent preparation and the warm welcome in Indonesia. We would also like to thank all those who reflected with us throughout the week on the theme of the Catholic identity of our schools and the possibility of further faith formation in them, so that we may be even better able to respond to the challenges of our time, faithful to our mission.  JECSE representatives at JESEDU-Jogja in alphabetical order: Ms Agnieszka Baran (JECSE Director), Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ (Malta, EUM), Fr Damian Czerniak SJ (Poland, PMA), Francisco Delgado SJ (Spain, ESP), Mr Mindaugas Grigatitis (Lithuania, ESP), Ms Gabriele Hüdepohl (Germany, ECE), Fr Alvaro Lobo (Spain, ESP), Ms Minerva Porcel (Spain, ESP), Mr Miguel Poza (Spain, ESP), Mr Juan Reuda (Spain, ESP), Mr Jonathan Tiernan (Ireland, HIB), Mr Bob Van De Putte (Belgium North, ELC), Ms Jospehine Vassalo (Malta, EUM), Fr Alessandro Viano SJ (Italy, EUM)
After 2 years of educating more than 6000 students in 7 countries, CHANGE Environment had its European multiplier event. At the Brussels Migration Museum, JRS Europe and partners shared the best practices that helped the project achieve its results, as well as stressed the existing challenges faced when encouraging action at the intersection of environmental change and migration. The strengths of the projects Alberto Ares, JRS Europe regional director, opened the event with a reflection on the leading role of students in combating both prejudice towards migrants and environmental change. He also highlighted the activistic passion of both students and teachers who participated in this programme. Mikel Aguirre, Education for Global Citizenship officer at Fundación Alboan, took the stage to present the CHANGE Environment curriculum. Beyond walking everyone through the four stages of the curriculum, he underlined the effectiveness of a structured approach that commences by addressing the basic concepts of Environmental Change and then focuses on fostering empathy as a catalyser for action. Afterwards, Nicolas Duquenne from the European School of Brussels 2, shed light on the materials created for teachers. As an educator himself, he expressed his appreciation for the straightforwardness of the materials and the clear indications of the required time and materials, which proved particularly useful for teachers with severe time limitations. Putting the programme in context Patricio Ortiz de la Torre, Head of Sector at the European Research Executive Agency, brought in the institutional perspective. In his speech, he emphasized how impactful environmental change will be to Europe and how crucial it is for reliable information to be made available to everyone. In his view, the programme helps in this task and ultimately it will prove helpful to encourage action. Finally, Colm Fahy (Jesuit European Social Centre), Syed Hasnain (European Coalition of Migrants and Refugees) and Geert Bukkens (Global Environmental Champions) participated in a panel discussion focused on Challenges and possible actions to promote action at the intersection of Environmental Change and Migration. Each panellist had the chance to present their initiatives and share their insights. The Protagonists, the students The central part of the event was the presentations by the students from the participating countries. They brought concrete examples of how the project inspired them to take action locally and impact their community. Present at the event, students from Italy, Hungary, Spain and Belgium showcased the actions they had taken in the framework of the project. The activities included: recording podcasts, achieving biodiversity certifications, drawing comic books, planting school gardens, organizing clean-up days, and debates, leading recycling awareness campaigns, and painting murals. In addition, students from Ireland and Uganda also present through video participation. In their interventions, they shared their experiences organizing tree planting with Refugees, beach cleanups, community gardens and plastic bottle upcycling. Once the event finished, all event participants had the chance to visit the Migration Museum. In addition, the students had the opportunity to visit Parlamentarium and the European Parliament to foster their civic participation.
The Jesuits of Algeria were able to meet in Tunis around the Provincial and his socius between May 28 and June 2. Invited to the meeting was Alvar Sanchez SJ, superior of the Jesuits of Morocco, whose community depends on Almeria in Spain. And, the icing on the cake, we had the grace of an hour of conversation with Father General by zoom. We took the time to share personal and community news, but also the realities of the Church of Algeria and the Church of Tunisia that welcomed us. A time devoted to De status societatis was an opportunity to enter more deeply into our mission by expressing our gratitude for God in the heart of our fragilities. He was then happy to hear the Father General tell us of the proximity of the body of the Company in a mission where we can feel isolated. He invited us to “be” more than “do something”, without worrying about numbers, trying to live our mission of reconciliation, deeply anchored on Christ in prayer. Finally, we visited the Zitouna, the oldest mosque in Tunis, and shared Sunday mass at the Saint Vincent de Paul Cathedral. Some were also able to pray in Carthage at the site of the martyrdom of Perpétue and Félicité. All in all, a magnificent meeting, to be repeated more often after this first in 6 years, due to lack of visas.

UPCOMING EVENTS

16-20
Tue - Sat
Jul 2024
BUDAPEST
Hungary
Brothers Network Meeting of the European Network of Brothers READ MORE
20-27
Sat - Sat
Jul 2024
KRAKOW
Poland
Magis Europe MAGIS Europe is an international meeting organized by the Society of Jesus for young adults (18-35 years) living Ignatian spirituality READ MORE
22
Mon
Jul 2024
LEBANON
Final Vows Final vows of Jad Chebly (22/7/2024) in Lebanon READ MORE
29
Mon
Jul 2024
LEBANON
Final Vows  Final vows of Maged-William (29/7/2024) in Lebanon READ MORE