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Today the Jesuit Refugee Service network in Europe publishes the new Strategic Framework for 2022-2024, once again reinforcing its mission to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people. Acting as a guidepost for JRS’s work in the region, the Strategic Framework aims to identify common purposes between countries within the network, to rearticulate the mission and founding values, and to formulate the goals for the next three years. The document was developed through a process of discernment and consultations, where JRS Europe and the 22 country offices worked together to produce a truly shared result. JRS in Europe works towards a Europe where human rights, protection, hospitality, integration, and reconciliation all have a place to flourish within a larger vision for inclusive and welcoming societies. All JRS offices share a common base of values and core competencies, working together through shared guiding principles, working channels, advocacy and communication strategies, as well as a gender-sensitive approach. We live in a world of persistent inequality, and despite Europe being one of the wealthiest regions, both the EU and its Member States continue to approach refugees as a threat. Against the growing public anti-migration discourse, JRS’s commitment to a culture of hospitality remains more relevant than ever. Over the next three years, JRS in Europe will continue to work on four common programmatic areas: Social Inclusion and Integration Access to Protection Detention Awareness Raising Through this common framework, the JRS network in Europe is united in the spirit of solidarity and hospitality. Inspired by Pope Francis “In the poor, you have found a privileged place of encounter with Christ. This is a precious gift. (…) Share your hope wherever you are, to encourage, console, comfort and reinvigorate.” (Rome, 2019), JRS will continue to discover, redefine and reach out on behalf of forced migrants and refugees. For us, frontiers and boundaries are not obstacles or ends, but new challenges to be faced, new opportunities to be welcomed.
On Jan 7, 2022, with the hymn “Adeste fideles”, the concert “Christmas Music for Voice, Organ, and Flute”, the first in a row in different places in Siberia, started in the Catholic Cathedral of the Transfiguration in Novosibirsk, with Olesia Zhuravkina (mezzo soprano), Natalia Baginskaya (organ) and the Chilean, Moscow-based Jesuit Sebastián Prieto Silva (flute). Such concerts have been taking place for six years, predominantly in the Novosibirsk Cathedral. They are organized by the Jesuit cultural centre “Inigo”, led by Fr. Janez Sever. Fr. Sever himself is also the one who takes pictures of the concerts. From year to year the audience grows. Ever more people want to listen to the organ. After the concerts, some of them address the organizers and ask diverse questions concerning the music, the interior of the church, the Catholic faith and rites. Some acknowledge that before, when coming across the church, they would not enter it, but finally, for the concert, they did. Likewise, during the concerts, children love contemplating the Stations of the Cross. Increasing Popularity Every year, the Christmas concerts are particularly popular. People buy tickets early on to listen to beautiful music in the festive atmosphere of the church. This year, given the limitations due to the pandemic, we had to add more concerts, so that everybody might have the chance to join. Thus, on Jan 7, there were two concerts instead of one, with around 100 participants each. Besides Novosibirsk, this concert also took place in Kemerovo and Novokuznetsk. In these smaller churches, there were around 70 participants in Kemerovo and 140 in Novokuznetsk. That is a lot if we keep in mind that the church in Novokuznetsk is far away from the centre and people have to go there by bus for more than an hour. The contribution of Fr. Prieto Whenever Fr. Sebastián Prieto can come from Moscow in order to take part, concerts are specific. In them, more Catholics join, whereas usually Catholics rarely come to listen to the concerts. The second specific moment is the program of the Christmas concert, which is not easy to plan. It is important to explain to the musicians that these concerts are not just about beautiful Winter music or music from movies like “Home Alone” but music that illustrates the evangelical history of Christ’s birth. When Fr. Prieto takes part, there is no such difficulty. He directs the other musicians the right way, which leads to a wonderful concert that strongly impresses the audience. Close interaction with the audience During the concert, the musicians talked to the audience about the pieces they were about to play. Thus, Fr. Prieto presented the song “Dolce sentire” from Franco Zeffirelli’s film “Brother Sun, Sister Moon” about St. Francis of Assisi. “Dolce sentire” means “Sweet feeling”. It is played when the film shows St. Francis sitting under a tree and contemplating nature. Enjoying the vision of flowers, butterflies, and the sky, he feels a great love. Then he understands that this love comes not from himself but from God. He feels God’s love through nature and understands that we, humans, are similar to the other creatures, in a certain manner we exist like trees, the sun or the moon. Nature, trees, water, fire, the sky, the sun, the moon – all this exists for the sake of us, humans, but we also exist for their sake. These are profound and beautiful relations between the human kind and nature. When talking about “Gabriel’s Oboe” by Ennio Morricone, which was written for Roland Joffé’s movie “The Mission”, Fr. Prieto shared that this is a movie “about us, Jesuits”. He started from the story of the Jesuit who was crucified by aborigines and thrown into the river. Consequently, his superior decided to go up into the jungle and to start the mission from zero by playing the oboe in order to come into contact with the people. When Fr. Prieto finished this story, suddenly, a lady asked him, but the Jesuit whom they crucified, did he survive? That shows how strongly Fr. Prieto’s way of telling the story touched the audience. His simple and beautiful words deeply touch the listeners. They always look forward to his participation, since they value him as both a musician and a human being. One of the participants shared her impression that the concert was truly a Christmas one, since it somehow was a continuation of the parish priest’s Christmas homily. We can be confident that people left this concert full of hope for the joy which is proclaimed by its final song, Adolphe Adam’s “O Holy Night”. Lina Gorodetskaya
"It is in the heart of man" that "the decisive battle is fought," said the Archbishop of Munich and Freising in his homily on the second Sunday of Advent, "where to go, what I recognize, what is my goal, where I am orienting myself and what is my contribution to the great project of God that he has taken up with the world, in that of the Incarnation of his Son." St. Michael's Church, he said, was built for this purpose, "so that the Jesuits work here for the salvation of all people, for hope for all people." To understand the Jesuit spirituality that has its place here, he said, it is necessary to start from the "spiritual path of realizing that Jesus really means me myself and that I can decide." "Where is my place, where do I want to be, where do I belong? I cannot delegate that to instances and institutions," Marx said. Referring to the contemplation of the Incarnation in the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Marx explained that "we look to a God who fundamentally wants the salvation of all people" and who sets out to "save the world, not to judge, not to corrupt, not to accuse, but to save." Peter Canisius In his homily at Vespers in the afternoon, the actual Provincial recalled the first German Provincial, St. Peter Canisius, who was born and died exactly 500 years ago, when St. Michael's was consecrated. Canisius had been the focus of the celebration of the handover of St. Michael's Church to the Jesuits 100 years ago, and with his motto "Persevere!" he continues to be an orientation and inspiration for pastoral work today. In pastoral care it is a matter of searching for traces of the divine life in the world and in people, said Father Bernhard Bürgler SJ. "Passing on faith in Jesus Christ, looking for life, divine life in people, tracing it and helping it to unfold." For this, he said, the "grace of perseverance" is needed! The Society of Jesus had been based in Munich since 1591. St. Michael's was consecrated in 1597 and given to the Jesuits. With the suppression of order the in 1773, the church reverted to the founder, first the Elector, then the King of Bavaria. St. Michael became court and garnison church. After the end of the monarchy in 1918, eventful stations followed as a church of the Order of Malta and various brotherhoods. Since 1917 the Society of Jesus was again admitted in the German Reich after the ban of the Jesuits enacted during the Kulturkampf. Already since 1903 some Jesuits were active in Munich. Cardinal Michael von Faulhaber lobbied for the Jesuits to return to St. Michael's and handed the church back to them on December 4, 1921.
The Presidents and Deans and the President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, Franck Jannin SJ., gathered virtually to discuss the most critical issues for the development of the Network. The Assembly discussed the Annual Report presented by Philip Geister SJ., and Susana Di Trolio (President and Executive Secretary of the Kircher Network, respectively) on the activities carried out, the outcomes achieved, and the financial statements of the Network from September 2020 to August 2021. The results of the fundraising activity carried out by the Kircher Council for the project “Institutional Strengthening and Second phase of HEST Programme" was also presented. The Project seeks to support the work of the groups of HEST on Secularization in Europe, Christian-Muslim Dialogue and Ecology and Environmental Challenges, and to strengthen the Network's capacity building in communication, dissemination and public presence. The Assembly approved the budget and the project proposals for the 2021 – 2022 Operational Plan, which seek to. Read more
Fr. Arturo Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus "extends an earnest invitation to all to join the process of the Laudato Si' Action Platform, to deepen our ecological conversion, to continue to integrate the objectives of Laudato Si' into our lives and apostolates, to take concrete and bold action to address the crisis affecting our common home as a dimension of our mission of reconciliation and justice that seeks to restore balance with the environment and to dismantle structures of injustice in order to re-establish our relationship with God." Here is the entire text of his video message. Dear brothers and sisters: The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP 26, ended in Glasgow a few days ago with unsatisfactory gains. Without losing hope, let us continue to walk with the vulnerable and work more vigorously, in advocacy with decision-makers for policy reform in favour of climate justice. Without waiting for political leaders to act, let us do what we must. As a responsible citizenry of this planet, let us together commit to do our part to care for our Common Home. We all know that our planet is suffering an unprecedented social and ecological crisis, due in large part to human acts. We have upset the balance between God, creation and humanity and we are experiencing the consequences of this disruption. The cry of the poor and the earth speaks of ecological destruction and the loss of cultural richness caused by a mind-set of exploitation. Thus, issues such as climate change, irresponsible mining practices, consumer-driven overproduction, or the prioritisation of economic parameters over human development are just manifestations of this disruption in which vulnerable communities - children, the elderly, indigenous peoples or migrants - are more exposed and suffer the consequences to a greater extent. In this context, Pope Francis launched the Laudato Si' Action Platform in May 2021, and opened registration for it on Sunday 14 November. As many of you know, it is a work plan for the next seven years with seven objectives that call for an ecological conversion and set us in harmony with the spirit of the Ignatian Jubilee Year and the spirit of integral ecology. The plan seeks to contribute to the empowerment of families, communities, parishes, dioceses, networks, educational institutions and religious congregations in the commitment to attain total sustainability. The Platform represents an innovative collaboration between the Vatican (through the Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development), an international coalition of Catholic organisations and "all people of good will" (LS #3). Through this initiative, the aim is to organise a programme of action that, listening to the cry of the earth, might respond to the cry of the poor and assure the rights of future generations. To this first objective, the Laudato Si' Platform adds six others: advancement towards an ecological economy; the adoption of sustainable lifestyles; ecological education; deepening of a spirituality that nourishes the search for ecological balance; community commitment; and active citizenship for the preservation of the environment. The General Congregations of the Society of Jesus commit us to this crucial dimension of the mission of reconciliation and justice, the urgency of which is becoming more pronounced each day. It is a mission that we cannot and do not want to face alone, but in collaboration with the most vulnerable and marginalised in society, who bear the greatest impact of this broken world. Accompanying young people in their efforts to change the current course of humanity, in collaboration with the institutions and organisations of the Church of which we are a part, along with all those who wish to join in these efforts. The Laudato Si' Action Platform is part of the synodal process that the Catholic Church is undergoing, in which various individuals, institutions and networks of the Society of Jesus are already participating. It is a concrete way of deepening our commitment to the care of the common home that is integral to the Universal Apostolic Preferences, joining our efforts with those of people and institutions around the world, committed to walk together towards the formation of a global community, a human family determined to realise God's plan in which equilibrium is achieved between human life and the environment that makes it possible. I therefore extend an earnest invitation to all to join the process of the Laudato Si' Action Platform, to deepen our ecological conversion, to continue to integrate the objectives of Laudato Si' into our lives and apostolates, to take concrete and bold action to address the crisis affecting our common home as a dimension of our mission of reconciliation and justice that seeks to restore balance with the environment and to dismantle structures of injustice in order to re-establish our relationship with God. This is how we can make our contribution to a more fraternal, just and sustainable world.
The preparations for Magis 2022 have already begun!  Young people in Croatia lived this advent even more intensely thanks to the Magis 2022 experiments. Magis 2022 will take place between 24 to 31 July. It will consist of several experiments in different parts of Croatia and a final gathering with all the participants. Some of the experiments are being experienced in small groups by young people aged 18 to 35 years old: Driving bikes along the river Kupa was demanding for the body but a great feast for the eyes. There's nothing like colourful nature in autumn. A group of volunteers responsible for organizing pilgrimages went to Sljeme. They experienced the first snow on Medvednica. And didn't miss out on snow bowling! At the same place  young men had a one weekend retreat for discerning vocations called "Maybe (even) a Jesuit?!". They were introduced into the basics of the Ignatian discernment by father Špiranec and father Rukavina. Brother Franjo and a few fellow Jesuits paid a visit as well and openly shared experiences of living in the Society of Jesus. Working and praying, eating and sharing - it's a simple recipe for coming closer to God. Hope these pictures give you some sense whether you want to be part of this great event called Magis  Europe 2022. If you're interested and want to get updates on the details just register here: MAGIS REGISTRATION.

UPCOMING EVENTS

1-2
Tue - Wed
Feb 2022
ASSIUT
Egypt
Priestly Ordination Joseph-Fawzi (PRO) will be ordained a priest READ MORE
2
Wed
Feb 2022
GLIWICE
Poland
Final Vows Łukasz Dębiński SJ (PME) will pronounce his Final Vows at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Way, at 6 pm READ MORE
2
Wed
Feb 2022
ROME
Italy
Final Vows Fr. Alan Modrić (CRO) will take final vows at 4 p.m. in the Church of the Gesù. READ MORE
5
Sat
Feb 2022
MADRID
Spain
Deaconal Ordination Leonardo Angius (EUM), José F. Castillo Tapia (ESP), Savio Jude Fernandes (BOM), Paulus Hastra Kurdani (IDO), Antranik Kurukian (PRO), Cristiano Laino (EUM), Michael N. Manalastas (UWE) and Joan Morera Perich (ESP) will be ordained a deacon by Card. D. Carlos Osoro Sierra, Archbishop of Madrid in the Parish of Saint Francis Xavier and Saint Luis Gonzaga, at 6 pm. READ MORE