120 Delegates from Jesuit Parishes meet for three days. Over three days last week almost 120 delegates from our parishes came together to learn from each other and from a panel of experts, how to breathe new energy into parish life to make them  “ centres of constant missionary outreach” (Evangelii Gaudiam 28).   Delegates from Scotland to the south coast, ranging in age from 21 to 89, and representing cultures on all continents, spent time together considering the three key documents issued by Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudiam – the first Apostolic Exhortation Laudato Sii- the Encyclical on the Environment Amoris Laetitia – the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation (following the Synods on marriage and the family in 2014 and 2015) Dr James Hanvey SJ gave delegates an overview of the pope’s key messages for the Church and her people. He stressed that the Church needs to move outwards, to the margins, if it is to be truly a Church of the poor.  Quoting Evangelii Gaudiam Dr Hanvey called the Church “a mother with an open heart, not an institution”. In relation to Laudato Sii, Dr Hanvey suggested that as God made the world for all, all have a right to a share in the goods of Creation.  But we should also treat Creation itself as “one of the poor”, one which requires our care and nurture.  On Amoris Laetitia Dr Hanvey reminded participants that the pope has called for a rebuilding of the family, as a response to the prevailing throwaway culture, believing that strong families will ensure strength and resilience in wider society. He finished by quoting paragraph 28 of Evangelii Gaudiam “The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and community.” Three groups then spent the rest of the day learning more about and discussing the three documents. Key themes On Saturday parish groups met together to discuss how the key themes and ideas from the documents could be implemented  in their parish.  These ideas were shared in plenary and included: More active welcoming at each mass Having churches open for longer hours  Changing times for confession to make the sacrament of reconciliation more accessible  More ecumenical involvement  Environmental audits of the parishes, resulting in policies on recycling, energy suppliers etc Including environmental issues in homilies and newsletters or parish events Solar panels on church roofs Holding jumble sales to encourage re-use of second hand goods Offering more support for married couples Offering more activities for young people between the age of confirmation and becoming parents – many parishes acknowledge there had been a gap in provision for this age group. Bereavement support Visiting for elderly and disabled people, and dementia support groups Inspiration Perhaps the most important outcome was the way in which participants took inspiration from each other, with parishes sharing ideas, experience, success and failure. As one participant put it “I came away feeling valued, affirmed and energised”.  Another commented “I really welcomed the opportunity to worship together, the liturgies were very enriching.  It is so refreshing to meet and learn from those in other parishes which share our values and Jesuit ethos.” “We are all busy people but making time for an event like this really reminds us how Christ is at work in the lives of each and every one of us, and how we can make a difference even just in small everyday things.  I feel very blessed by this companionship” observed another participant. A follow-up progress meeting is planned in twelve months’ time.
31 May 2017, Brussels – JRS Europe, today, releases key data analysis of 315 community building initiatives mapped as part of I Get You. The European Mapping Report shows that grassroots projects working on integration with refugees have a big impact combatting racism and xenophobia in the nine countries taking part. Across the 9 countries in Europe involved in I Get You, 315 community building initiatives (CBIs) were mapped. The CBIs that were mapped broken down by countries are: 62 in Italy, 55 in France, 50 in Germany, 37 in Belgium, 31 in Spain, 31 in Portugal, 20 in Malta, 15 in Romania and 14 in Croatia. “Despite anti-migrant political discourse influenced by populist parties, our mapping campaign has shown that the local movement to welcome, support and learn together with refugees is stronger than ever – and we have only scratched the surface of the huge array of social events and activities that are out there,” says I Get You coordinator Carola Jimenez Asenjo. ‘Integration not isolation’ is the motto of one of the initiatives mapped, located in Plauen, eastern Germany. By bringing local youth and families together with migrants for gardening, football matches and even speed-dating, stereotypes were broken down and new understanding and relations were built. The main findings have shown that most CBIs across Europe are small in scale and size but have impactful scopes in communities among the individuals that participate in them. Key results from our data analysis: 25-300 participants on average per initiative Participants are working age adults - forced migrants and local citizens Very few initiatives focus on children or the elderly 70 percent of the volunteers are host country nationals, while 20 percent are from other EU countries and 10 percent from third countries A variety of activities and services for people are covered such as skills training, leisure activities and intercultural activities On average initiatives operate on budgets of 25,000 Euros or less 41 percent are financed via grassroots fundraising; 34 percent receive private funding and 25 percent receive public funding National variations in funding include: Public funding was 53 percent in Romania, 39 percent in Portugal and 36 percent in Croatia Germany, France, Spain and Italy had over 50 percent grassroots funding From April to November 2016, quantitative data was gathered on initiatives bringing locals and refugees together via an online questionnaire. A European overview of the data collected is present in the I Get You Europe Mapping Report. More in-depth country mapping reports are also available in the national languages of the partners via the I Get You website. Partners are currently completing in-depth interviews with CBIs to collect qualitative data. Best practices will be analysed according to 12 criteria established by a committee of experts through the DELPHI methodology. These criteria are: Interaction & Encounter, Participation, Awareness Raising, Education, Support & Service Provision, Interculturalism, Dignity, Hospitality, Sustainability, Innovation. This project is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union.
JCEP President’s Consult in Milan The story unfolds the following way. A church in Germany collapsed during a war and in the remains they found the cross that once stood in it. This cross was of great devotion for the people in the area so they were delighted to find it. However, it was severely damaged after the collapse, concretely, the Jesus in it had lost its arms. The parishioners after much discernment decided to keep this cross with the “un-armed” Jesus instead of getting a new one or restoring it. They put the following sentence at the bottom of the cross: "Ich habe keine anderen Hände als die euren." [I have no other hands but yours.] We come across a similar cross in the San Fedele Community in Milan, where the JCEP President’s Consult met from the 22nd to the 24th of June. The Consult is formed by: 3 provincials (chosen by their assistancies), the socius, and two independent Jesuits chosen by the President himself. During these days, this team of Jesuits got together to look into the current development of the works at European and Near East level. There were many important topics to be discussed like the succession of the new JESC director or the development of programmes like the ILP or HEST. This Consult was special for two reasons: first it was the last consult of the current President of the JCEP (Fr. John Dardis) and secondly it was the hand-over of the role to the incoming new President (Fr. Franck Janin). The meeting was a success. Many decisions were reached and there was a feeling of peace amongst the consult with these decisions. The cherry on top of the cake was the Jesuit Community in San Fedele. This extremely welcoming Jesuit Community made everything very easy for these guests from all around Europe. "They even showed the group all the activities they are involved in like the Centro Culturale San Fedele, Aggiornamenti Sociali, or the Assistenza Sanitaria San Fedele. Jesuits in Milan have created a brilliant space for reflection, spirituality, social apostolate, arts, and cultural development." Coming back to our story. The Catholic Community has always felt the call to be Jesus’s hands in the world. The Jesuits help in this endeavour through a great variety of activities and services like spiritual accompaniment, parish work, refugee service, schools, etc. The Consult is another piece of the puzzle that forms our reality. It is also a clear reminder that we cannot do this alone, that we need to put all of our hands together for the service of faith and promotion of justice or we will not succeed! This is our mission, the mission entrusted to us by Jesus Christ.
‘Comparte’ Network and HEST working together From May 15 to 17th, delegations from nine Latin American countries and from different Spanish collaborating organizations gathered in the Basque Country at the 4th meeting of the COMPARTE network with the motto "Encounter, exchange and collaboration for the construction of alternative economies.” The COMPARTE network of CPAL (Conference of Provincials of the Society of Jesus in Latin America) is a learning and action community that promotes alternative development. Fifteen Latin American organizations together with ALBOAN and several universities of Latin America and Spain are the members of the network. The organizations of COMPARTE accompany impoverished people in their social and political articulation so that they regain control over their local economy and improve their living conditions. They support initiatives in rural areas to produce coffee, cocoa, bananas, honey, dairy products and oleaginous products, among others. Some also promote textile, footwear, handicraft, etc. The network is aimed at generating sustainable initiatives, what entails great challenges both at local and global levels. During the three days meeting, which was held at the Sanctuary of Loyola, the delegates representing the different institutions involved, together with some hosts (the HEST coordinator, José Carlos Romero, was one of them) analysed the present and the future of the Network. The role of universities and how they can cooperate with social centres to improve the quality and sustainability of the local initiatives promoted by the network, was a key debate during the meeting. In this sense, the CEP presented its HEST program, that proposes a practical cooperation among Higher Education Institutions and Social Centres in a common research project aimed at a real social transformation. Good synergies and possibilities for future cooperation between ‘Comparte’ and HEST came up during the debate. As ALBOAN, the organizer of the meeting, pointed out: each context is different, but the urgency - and hope - are the same. We hope this shared dream of moving towards alternative economies becomes true in their Latin Americas societies but also in ours.
A number of students from the Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy attended the vigil for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing in Albert Square on Tuesday evening. Fr Michael Holman SJ reports “I was in a group that went along with Neil Jameson and Furqan Naeem from the Greater Manchester Citizens group based at the chaplaincy. We carried Citizens banners which attracted some attention from the media, hence the photograph  below taken by a reporter from the Independent. Also in the group was the Muslim chaplain to the University. The vigil, which lasted around 25 minutes, was a witness to the people of Manchester's determination to stand together in solidarity at this most difficult time. Those who spoke echoed in their different ways the words of the Bishop of Manchester that "Love is always stronger than hate". There was a minute's silence to remember those who had died and their grieving loved ones. One contribution which captured the imagination of everyone there was from Tony Walsh who read his poem about the city, "this is the place". It was an inspiration and a source of uplift to all as we left the square as was the sight of a group of Sikhs generously handing out free bottles of water and Coca Cola to anyone who wanted. A very sad and very moving event.” Fr William Pearsall SJ remained behind last evening to say mass at Holy Name. “It has been strangely quiet on Oxford Road,” he observed “many of the busses are on diversion so there is less traffic. Students are busy with exams, older people are staying at home, perhaps out of fear. It’s very subdued.”   The Holy Name Church was open all day yesterday and many candles were lit in a special place at the altar. 
The Holy Father was on Portuguese soil for less than 24 hours. Nevertheless, a marathon of meaningful and prophetic gestures and words moved and called into action the thousands who joined his pilgrimage to Fátima. It occurred on May 12th and 13th, to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady Apparitions of 1917, and for the canonization of the Children of Fátima, Francisco and Jacinta Marto. These were days of celebration of the Portuguese Church. Pope Francis, who stressed the major role Mary must be given in Christian life, prayed nearby the image of Our Lady of Fátima and was as moved as many other pilgrims who approached the Sanctuary. “We have a mother!”, He said twice, remembering the crowd that Mary is not just a «"plaster statue” from whom we beg favours at a little cost». She is the Mother of God and the one who makes us “believe once again in the revolutionary nature of love and tenderness”. The Holy Father spoke not only to the Portuguese faithful, but rather to the whole world and asked for a Church “poor in means and rich in love”. It was a favourable time also for the Portuguese Jesuits who took part in this celebration. They were present in several ways: accompanying youth pilgrimages, concelebrating with the Holy Father at the canonization Mass of the Children of Fátima or giving support to the organization and broadcast of the event, by their intervention in the national media. Four Portuguese Jesuits, Father Provincial José Frazão Correia, among them, had the opportunity to personally greet Pope Francis, stating the support of the Society of Jesus in Portugal in his mission as the successor of Peter. Picture: Portuguese Jesuits before the concelebration with Pope Francis in Fatima

UPCOMING EVENTS

24-30
Sat - Fri
Jun 2017
PRAGUE
Czech Republic
Novice Masters READ MORE
9-13
Sun - Thu
Jul 2017
PARIS
France
Higher Education Meeting - Jesuit European Universities and Faculties This meeting of Jesuit European Universities and Faculties of Philosophy and Theology will be held in Paris, France from the 9th to the 13th of July 2017. The meeting will work on the current conjoint project: Higher Education for Social Transformation. READ MORE
9-13
Sun - Thu
Jul 2017
PARIS
France
University Presidents This meeting of Jesuit European University Presidents will be held in Paris, France from the 9th to the 13th of July 2017. The meeting will work on the current conjoint project: Higher Education for Social Transformation. READ MORE
10-15
Mon - Sat
Jul 2017
NEMI (ROME)
Italy
Ecumenism The dates for the meeting in July 2017 have to be confirmed READ MORE