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10 years ago, it was the war in Syria and Frans van der Lugt was killed in our old convent of Homs. A decade later, there are still a lot of traces both of the war and of Frans’ death. In the city, the impact of war is everywhere: a lot of buildings are unoccupied because residents has left (and continue to leave to avoid the crisis), entire parts of the city are only ruins, the old market nearby is still empty. But the traces of Frans’ death are the flowers on his tomb in our garden, the young people having a lot of activities in a place he founded, the groups doing hikes in the countryside like he did, the Jesuits being even more in Homs than before the war… and it was therefore so natural for more than 700 people to gather to celebrate joyfully this anniversary. Leaders of the Churches in Homs, catholic and orthodox bishops and protestants pastors, Ignatian sisters, CLC-CVX, young people and Jesuits… we were in this occasion Frans’ family and we tried to share a simplicity Frans would have loved. The liturgy was solemn but normal, the lunch was home-made for all of us by an army of women, the alter service was a mix between younger and older people, Jesuits and people with special needs, two choirs merge for the occasion… The bishop took firmly the prayers for the martyrs, and indeed Frans death is a seed for the Church in Homs and could help us to maintain hope in Syria where 13 years of conflicts have exhausted all the energies.
What does faith have to do with food policy? Extensively, concludes the latest research report from JESC. Faith-Based Organizations and European Food Policy is the result of research that began in July 2023 and sought to examine the involvement of faith based organisations across the European Union and their involvement in sustainable agriculture and food systems.  This study recognised over 150 organisations from various religious denominations across Europe and discovered an impressive array of organisations. Not only were these organisations varied in their work with the land, communities, research and involvement with the global south but were also varying in size. Whilst many of these organisations are involved in advocacy towards an EU level it is not so coordinated. The report argues that these organisations have a unique and grassroots voice to contribute to in the EU food debates concerning the Common Agricultural Policy, trade laws and others.  The report is available to view here and was written by JESC Ecology Officers Béla Kuslits and Colm Fahy with contributions from ELP intern Teresa Pallarés Ramos.  This report provides the foundations for the creation of a network called Our Daily Bread, of Faith Based Organisations advocating on the topic of food systems and sustainable agriculture at an EU level.  Please contact Colm Fahy (colm.fahy@jesc.eu) if your organisation is interested in hearing more about, or even consider joining forces, to this new JESC initiative. Click here to download and read our report
MAGIS Europe is an international meeting organized by the Society of Jesus for young adults (18-35 years old) living Ignatian spirituality. This year it will last eight days from July 20 to 27, 2024. The program will begin with experiments in about twenty places in Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia. Experiments are another word for the trials to which Jesuits are subjected to mature in their vocation. In a similar way, program participants will be able to test themselves in searching for and finding God by engaging in specific activities. Activities will be proposed in five categories: pilgrimage from place to place, deepening one's spirituality, helping people in need, discovering the spiritual dimension of culture and art, and caring for creation. After the experiments, all program participants will gather in Krakow. On the evening of July 25, a three-day festival will begin, during which they will share the fruits of their experiments and celebrate community. It will be a time to deepen friendship, share your faith and pray together. Meetings with interesting guests, getting to know Krakow and other attractions are planned. The program will end with the dismissal mass at noon on July 27 Registration period began on April 1st. Find out more here
Our Center in Ain Ebel, steadfast in its mission and in close collaboration with the Order of Malta and the Municipality, remains committed to its multifaceted endeavors. These encompass three key areas: Firstly, in the realm of healthcare, our mobile dispensary serves 30 villages, providing essential medical services to those in need. Secondly, we engage in humanitarian efforts through comprehensive training programs aimed at fostering human development and resilience. Thirdly, our agricultural initiatives include the cultivation of kharroub and Semmak trees in nurseries, alongside the production of regionally adapted plants. Despite the challenges imposed by the ongoing conflict, our activities persist. The dedicated individuals who drive these endeavors, inspired by their calling as Jesuits, perceive themselves as messengers of hope and agents of positive change. Indeed, our Center is there with these farmers who, despite the dangers that await them at every moment, are present not only by an act of faith but above all by an exemplary attachment to their land and their villages. We must recognize that the people of this region believe deeply in what they do and enjoy at least the two virtues: they seek above all to maintain, through their presence, a breath of life in their border villages which since 1948 have only been passing through. from one war to another and to bear their heavy consequences; then by working the land they make life more human and more pleasant... They work the land and plant new trees not only to meet their needs but above all to perpetuate traditions and maintain the brand image of the oil by Aine Ebel has her first place Of course, in this time of war, travel is almost impossible! but the WhatsApp works and helps us maintain links with our heroes of the south and the sowers of hope. Journalists who operate from the south report testimonies, saying that the people of this region live an experience of extraordinary solidarity and enjoy an exemplary sense of sharing; in addition they are very attentive to the different needs of their neighbors. Despite all the allies of this situation of uncertainty and war, the Center is now operating at 8/100 of its capacity because the farmers cannot plan and act freely. We are following with them the policy of waiting and presence, hoping for a near return to normal life to allow our nurseries to operate at full capacity to produce at least one million five hundred thousand plants per season to meet the needs of our farmers who live and work in around thirty villages. Ultimately, maintaining these resource optimization and sustainable development projects in this region is not a simple political or ecclesial act performed as a duty! it is rather considered by the population as a prophetic act which in this time of crises responds well to people's expectations...and gives them a new lease of life allowing them to face this machine of war and death. Joseph Nassar SJ
In 2023, Jesuits in Britain completed a carbon audit covering all our assets As part of the follow-up in 2024, the report ‘Responding to our Carbon Footprint’ prompts us, and all those working with us, to reduce emissions by addressing our lifestyle choices. It is part of our journey to reach Net Zero carbon related emissions by 2050, and more urgently to halve those emissions by 2030. Our larger operations have had major capital expenditure identified through carbon audits. This report, however, after an introduction to carbon auditing, then gives a review of what we can address on an individual and community basis. Following up Geoff te Braake’s work on ‘Living Ecological Conversion’, the report prompts us to review general considerations such as control of heating, water use, modes of transport, purchasing patterns and reducing waste; these in the context of our communities and works. As with our conversion to a new culture, this is an on-going process! “… every little bit helps, and avoiding an increase of a tenth of a degree in the global temperature would already suffice to alleviate some suffering for many people. Yet what is important is something less quantitative: the need to realize that there are no lasting changes without cultural changes, without a maturing of lifestyles and convictions within societies, and there are no cultural changes without personal changes.” (Pope Francis, Laudato Deum. 4 October 2023). Cover image: St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre, set in the beautiful natural environment of North Wales. You can read the report 'Responding to our Carbon Footprint' by clicking on the link below.
Father General has appointed Miguel Almeida, Provincial of Portugal as the new JCEP Consultor, succeeding Miran Žvanut, Provincial of Slovenia, who had completed his three-year term. Miguel had recently been elected Moderator of the Southern European Assistancy (EMR) and, in that condition, proposed to Fr. General for the nomination. In the Jesuit European Conference, there are three Assistancies: Central and Eastern Europe (ECO), whose Moderator is currently Jozef Šofranko, Provincial of Slovakia; Western Europe (EOC), with Marc Desmet, Regional Superior of the European Low Countries independent Region, as Moderator; and Southern Europe (EMR). Together with the Socius (Herminio Rico POR), these constitute the Consult or Council of the JCEP President. The Consult usually meets four times a year for a couple of days. The last meeting was online, on 19 and 20 of March. After a session to share news from the provinces, gathered by each Moderator, and from the works and networks of the Conference, the Consult discussed the plan and main topics for the next General Assembly in late April in Lyon. Hermínio RicoJCEP Socius

UPCOMING EVENTS

24-30
Wed - Tue
Apr 2024
LYON
France
JCEP G.A. General Assembly of the Jesuit Conference of the European Provincials READ MORE
5-9
Sun - Thu
May 2024
MISKOLC
Hungary
Social Delegates Meeting Meeting of the European Social delegates. It takes place in Miskolc, Hungary READ MORE
6-9
Mon - Thu
May 2024
BUDAPEST
Hungary
Jeswebcom Meeting of the Jesuit European Communicators in Budapest, Hungary. READ MORE
20-25
Mon - Sat
May 2024
DRONGEN
Belgium
YAM & Vocation Promoters Joint Meeting of the networks of the Young Adult Ministry Delegates and of the Vocation Promoters. READ MORE