Interview with Frank Janin, SJ. Which are your wishes as newly appointed President of the Conference of European Provincials? For the past six years, as Provincial of the BML, I have been able to appreciate all what the Conference brings to our mission in all its dimensions and areas of work. I will point out in the first place the aspect of fraternity in a concrete awareness of the universality of the Society. As a provincial I felt that I did not stand alone in my task. I have brothers who share the same concerns, the same questions, and the same dreams. The role of the Assistancies is also very important, but opening up to the European dimension makes it even more possible for me to realize that the mission goes beyond my concerns at the province level. As Jesuits, we must always keep in sight the horizon of the world. In this sense, the framework of Europe is still too narrow, but it nevertheless makes very concrete this perspective of universality that we claim to live by. My deepest wish is that we could keep on forging these bonds of fraternity and friendship in the Lord with the goal of increasingly listening to what the Spirit of God expects from us in this part of the world. The General Congregation 36, like the Pope's speech on its occasion, put the need for discernment back in the forefront. In a world that is as moving and uncertain as ours, we are constantly invited to remain open to the suppleness and creativity of the Spirit. Main opportunities now for the Society in Europe On the political level, many deplore the loss of a common European vision that endangers its identity, its very existence. This situation confronts us to a greater than ever need to be ourselves: Jesuits, carrying a vision able to bring us together and to make us overcome our differences, while respecting them at the same time. The situation of a Europe doubting itself, seeking its own path, tempted by identity withdrawals, can make us insecure. However, it can also stimulate us to run against the tide, to testify that it is possible to discuss in depth without being determined by our historical, psychological and ideological limits. In this sense, the whole process of restructuring European Provinces is a magnificent opportunity. We can live this restructuring as a constraint and a fatality due to our numerical reduction. Or we can live it as a springboard that pushes us out of ourselves and our securities, brings us out of the way we are imagining others, and enables us to dare and talk about our wounds and fears, and helps us to lower our walls and build bridges instead. If the Society of Jesus is not capable of this, who will be? This situation of poverty and scarcity can therefore be approached as a chance, a grace. Communion and collaboration in the mission becomes a necessity. It should always have been this way, and the Society has insisted on it for a long time, but it now appears in full light: collaboration between us, companions of Jesus, and with all those with whom we share the mission. The existence of a rich and numerous "Ignatian family" is emerging in many of our Provinces. Could we ever imagine a gathering of the “European Ignatian family”? However, this does not dispense us from continuing to ask ourselves the crucial and difficult question of vocations. Ultimately, whatever restructuring we undertake, vocations remain essential if we wish to continue to carry out any mission whatsoever. In this respect, particularly in Europe, we are not at the end of a major change. The places of exchange where it is possible to increase our European consciousness are already many. Think of all the interprovincial collaboration groups (networks) that deal with faith, education, young adults ministry, ecology and social apostolate, and formation. All these groups can be centers of discernment for a renewed mission, in tune with the needs of the world, our charism, and the inspirations of the Spirit. Main challenges for the Society in Europe I have already mentioned it. It seems to me that the main challenge for the Society of Jesus in Europe (and no doubt beyond it) is to permanently remain in an attitude of discernment about its own objectives. Where does God really expect us? At the provincial level, this choice of priorities, the ability to be truly free in the face of multiple calls, in the face of a rich institutional history, is a difficult task. It is not less so at the European level. For more than a year we have been looking for a companion to coordinate the European social apostolate and become responsible for the JESC. What does that tell us? Is that mission useless? Do we lack creativity or generosity? Are we engaged on too many fronts? Our spirituality draws us, among all the "goods" that are presented to us, to seek and select "only" what is "more" in the present situation, to be "to the praise and service" of the Lord (cf. ES 22, 169, 179, etc.). Confronted - and we will be so more and more – to the fact that we cannot do everything, the question of the relevance of our choices will become more and more crucial. In addition to working in the existing networks, new and ambitious projects have recently been developed in the fields of higher education, Ignatian leadership training and the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults. Let us not forget the European apostolates in Brussels. Here too, we can humbly but vigorously bring our building block to a more just and more supportive Europe that does not forget how its roots plunge deep into the soil of the Gospel. Finally, the link between Conferences and with Father General is bound to be strengthened. Many topics on the agenda of the Society must be considered at the global level. To maintain a true back and forth link between this level and that of the concrete field where the mission is being enacted will require much wisdom. So many challenges lie ahead. If we can perceive and receive them as calls of the Spirit then we will approach them with confidence and with the consolation that Francis calls us to ask. This joy in seeking and finding together the will of God is my prayer for our Conference.
Fr. General Arturo Sosa has appointed Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ President of the Conference of Major Superiors of Africa and Madagascar JESAM. Fr. Orobator will assume office on 16th February. AGBONKHIANMEGHE E. OROBATOR, SJ, is a member of the AOR province and hails from Nigeria. He received his PhD from the University of Leeds in England in 2004 and served as Rector of Hekima Community from 2006 and was appointed Provincial Superior of the Eastern Africa Province of the Society of Jesus (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan), from 2009 to 2014. He is serving currently as Principal of Hekima University College Jesuit School of Theology and Institute of Peace Studies and International Relations, Nairobi, Kenya (www.hekima.ac.ke), a Campus College of The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya. His research focuses on theological ethics and ecclesiology of the global south. He is in demand as a speaker all over the world as a theological speaker with a particular expertise in African Theology. Publications: Theology Brewed in an African Pot (Orbis/Paulines, 2008), editor of Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace: The Second African Synod (Orbis, 2011), co-editor (with Linda Hogan) of Feminist Catholic Theological Ethics: Conversations in the World Church (Orbis, 2014), editor of Theological Reimagination: Conversations on Church, Religion, and Society in Africa (Paulines, 2014), editor of The Church We Want: Foundations, Theology and Mission of the Church in Africa (Paulines, 2015), and The Church we Want: African Catholics Look to Vatican III (Orbis, 2016).
The first cluster meeting of the HEST Program. The first cluster meeting of the HEST programme has finally taken place on January 16, at the IQS facilities in Barcelona, thus becoming the starting pistol for the rest of the clusters. The cluster to take the lead has been the one on Economy, Poverty and Ethics. Dr. José Sols Lucia, one of the coordinators of the Cluster, welcomed us to his university and guided us during the whole meeting. It was a particularly significant moment for all of us who are working in this HEST adventure. The main goal of the meeting was to dream of what we wanted to achieve with this cluster in the next three years and contextualize and concretize in key action steps and activities. 10 people participated in the meeting: • Javier Arellano (Universidad de Deusto) • Pedro Caldentey (Universidad Loyola Andalucía) • Eoin Carroll (Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin) • Dariusz Dankowski SJ (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow) • Marta Ramos (Universidad Pontificia Comillas) • Albert Evrard SJ (Université de Namur) • Mihály Borsi (IQS - Ramon Llull University) • José Sols (IQS - Ramon Llull University) • Frank Turner SJ (Delegate for the Intellectual Apostolate) • José Carlos Romero (Universidad Pontificia Comillas - HEST coordinator) The meeting was divided in three main parts: in the first one, José Carlos Romero presented the general lines of the HEST programme, with its 7 thematic clusters and its clear orientation towards the collaborative work between the higher education centres of the Society of Jesus in Europe and its social centres. After a fruitful round of questions, which helped clarify some aspects related to the programme, we proceeded to a second part in which Dr. Pedro Caldentey explained the context and some possible lines of research for the cluster. Again, the presentation gave rise to an interesting exchange of views on the course of the cluster. Finally, we faced the last part of the meeting that sought to concretize the research question and propose the next steps to take. We finally chose this general research question: No one will be left behind: How can we promote justice and common good in global economy? Ideas and practices to build inclusive and sustainable societies: Beyond the paradigm of competition and self-interest. We also defined a transversal approach to that question: A common analytical and critical perspective: a preferential option for those living at the margins And we decided to look for specific questions with a narrower and more defined approach according to one or more of the following perspectives: • Theological and Philosophical perspective. • Public policy/Legal perspective. • Business perspective • Economic perspective. • Cultural perspective. • Ecological perspective. In order to close the final formulation of the research, we decided that each of the assistants would send to Pedro and José their feedback to the draft proposal. Afterwards, the Programme and the Cluster coordinators would work in a concept note from those feedbacks. The note will include the final formulation of the questions and the vision of the Cluster together with concrete proposals on research teams organization, outputs and timelines. The meeting ended with a kind farewell to everybody. The cluster is already running, or better said, flying! An exciting research process is waiting for us.
Le Groupe des Deux Rives’ meeting 2016. Le Groupe des Deux Rives (Two Shores’ Group) held its annual meeting on 27th-30st December 2016 in Granada (Spain). Surrounded by the finest examples of Moorish architecture, the group had to visit the Alhambra and other buildings of the Islamic historical legacy in Andalucia. The history and the dream of Al-Andalus, as well as Christian-Muslim relations weigh a lot, for there has been as much violence as dialogue and living together. The visit to a local Islamic community, whose president chairs the Union of Islamic Communities in Andalucía, allowed us to better understand the spiritual life of Muslims, issues related to Spanish identity of both Islamic communities and several kinds of worshippers (immigrants, their children and Spanish-born Muslims), and the institutional challenges they face. The visit to the Jesuit Faculty of Theology, whose theological reflection is intended to be done in dialogue with Islamic thought, lead us to a common priority for the Society of Jesus in Europe: the need to build solid alliances among Jesuit institutions. As usual, a big part of the meeting consisted of sharing about our lives and missions. As friends in the Lord, we didn’t just speak about topics of common interest, but on our current discernments, our joys and our sorrows. Conversations among the members of the group focused on different topics, such as the difficulties to bring together the dialogue with Muslims and catechumenal work. There was also a profound reflection on conditions for dialogue: dialogue and truth, truth framed by tradition, etc. The fragility of our presence in Maghreb and Turkey underscores the need to constantly place ourselves in the hands of Providence, whilst searching for new companions ready to share in this mission. The group also organises some common activities throughout the year, as the “Inner discovery of Algeria”, a programme aimed at college students and young professionals in Algiers, from 6th to 27th August (convenor: Christophe Ravanel). The next meeting of the Group is foreseen in Turkey (Istanbul) on 26th-30th December 2017 (convenor: Jean-Marc Balhan). The members attending the meeting were: Jean-Marc Balan (Ankara, Turkey), Christophe Ravanel (Algiers-Algeria), Damien de Préville (Constantine-Algeria), Jaume Flaquer (Barcelona-Spain), Jesús León (Constantine-Algeria), Josep Buades (Sevilla-Spain) and Gabriel Pigache (Lyon-France). Two other Jesuits were invited: Maged-William Readany from Egypt, at present studying at the Gregorian University, and Ángel Benítez-Donoso from Madrid, who has been working for two years at JRS-Lebanon as part of his regency. Unfortunately, some others couldn’t participate this time: Sylvain Cariou-Charton (Vanves-France), Jack Germanos (Beirut-Lebanon), Ricardo Jiménez (Algiers-Algeria) and Álvaro Dorantes (Beirut-Lebanon). Juan Carlos Pallardel, who is working in Pakistan, has sent a long message to the group, sharing his experience and asking for help to the Church in Pakistan with retreats and lectures in summer 2017.
On Friday January 20th, some 150 people were invited at Centre Sèvres to discover what makes the “special flavour” of the Jesuit faculties of Paris. A dozen presentations, talks and workshops were spread throughout the evening. They varied from topical issues in bioethics, to a debate about Trump’s America; from textbook readings in the field of patristics and ignatian spirituality and a presentation of some of the library’s old treasures to the discovery of a contemporary musical piece… The only problem was choosing ! After a short prayer time, a typical Syrian diner was served. All the money raised will go to a project supported by the Jesuit Refugees Service in Lebanon.
Neither the cold weather nor the distance stopped people from meeting at the CIE (Alien Internment Centre) of Barcelona. They gathered to pray in solidarity with the inmates and for violence to stop in such centers. The vigil was organized by the volunteers’ group of the Jesuit foundation Migra Studium. These volunteers are regular visitors but this time round, they were joined by many entities and groups. The prayer time consisted of a simple act of words and music. Detainees were given a voice thanks to the testimonies collected and read out by the volunteers who accompany them daily. They are witnesses of the differents forms of violence in these centres : one’s identity reduced to a number, physical and verbal aggression, the deterioration of one’s health, isolation... CIEs violate the rights of individuals and criminalize a basic right of a person to migrate. In the street, people lit candles to accompany the words, music and silence, while they heard the cries for freedom of the 200 inmates. It was a simple gesture to "bring light to a dark place, which symbolizes the worst of our societies when they close themselves." This is already the third edition of this prayer vigil.
26-29Sun - Wed
Safeguarding 2.0 Second meeting of Safeguarding held in Hungary READ MORE
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Vocation Promoters READ MORE
11-12Thu - Fri
Writers Workshop (0) More info READ MORE
11-13Thu - Sat
Writers Workshop More info READ MORE