“Church asylum is a blessing for the constitutional state", emphasizes Father Frido Pflüger SJ, director of the Jesuit Refugee Service, on the occasion of the discussion at the conference of the interior minister. In case of doubt, it gives the state the opportunity to check its actions again to see whether they are fair to the individual," said the Jesuit on December 7 in Berlin. The Jesuit Refugee Service has accompanied several hundred Churches in Bavaria. Berlin (JRS) - Church asylum means an immense responsibility and burden for congregations, says brother Dieter Müller SJ in Munich, who has had contact with numerous congregations and monasteries that have granted church asylum to at least 120 refugees since January 2017. "No church community takes this lightly on itself, but only because it is convinced of the unjustifiable hardship of deportation for one person," he says. In comparison with the number of decisions - especially the many decisions that are corrected by courts - the number of church asylums is minimal. The fact that the number of asylum seekers has increased is not least due to the fact that the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) has completed more asylum procedures. In many cases, it has been relegated to another EU country. A young woman, who had to flee on her own, should return to Italy. There she is not only threatened with homelessness: the danger of being forced into prostitution by violence is very high. A parish has received her and, with the help of a lawyer, tries to ensure she can conduct her asylum procedure in Germany.  Most of the church asylums known to Br. Dieter Müller concern repatriations to Italy and Bulgaria - countries in which many refugees have had brutal experiences or are at the mercy of total lack of perspective. To his knowledge, factors which may induce a parish to grant church asylum - in individual cases also against repatriation to countries such as Spain or the Netherlands - are threatening violence, acute traumatisation or, especially in the case of young adults, family ties.  Instead, refugees are being pushed back and forth through Europe regardless of their fate." Müller rejects speculations about unreported people as an unsubstantiated allegation: "I do not know of a single congregation that would hide a refugee from the authorities. The aim of a church asylum is to remain in contact with the authorities and find a solution." Director Pflüger SJ adds: "Instead of making a symbolic policy for the right-wing border at the expense of refugees, it would make more sense to actively support the enormous civil society commitment in refugee work - of which only a small part is church asylum. It could, for example, deal with the question of how refugees can lead a normal life here as quickly as possible."
On Tuesday 12 December Heythrop College welcomed graduands at Kensington Town Hall for a celebration of achievement with friends, family and academics. In his address to launch the proceedings the University of London Vice Chancellor Professor Sir Adrian Smith commented on the need for advanced critical intelligence in a climate of “threats and uncertainty”, saying “[the imperative] to criticise and challenge the status quo requires constant intellectual challenge like that offered by graduates of Heythrop College.” In her speech of welcome Heythrop College Principal Professor Claire Ozanne offered the statistic that two thirds of Heythrop graduates go on to work in “people professions” serving society as teachers, health and social workers and in the third sector. She referred to the Jesuit principles of care of the person and a personal approach to learning which are at the heart of Heythrop College’s values, and quoted feedback from a graduating student who noticed Heythrop’s “inspiring vision of deep-rooted openness.”  Five Honorary Doctorates were awarded. Two of the recipients were Jesuits: Bishop Antoine Audo SJ, Bishop of the Chaldean Church in Syria, and Rev Professor Francis X Clooney SJ, Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology at Harvard University. Antoine Audo SJ was consecrated Bishop in 1992.  He is a member of the Vatican's Congregation for Oriental Churches, the Catholic Committee for Dialogue with the Assyrian Churches of the East, and the Council for Interreligious Dialogue.  He has been the President of Caritas Syria since 2011.  In his citation Anthony O'Mahoney described him as a “modern Church Father reading the signs of the times for our Church today”.  He said that Bishop Audo had helped hundreds of thousands of people in a time of deeply challenging conflict, and that ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue was central to his work. Before taking his Chair at Harvard Rev Professor Francis X Clooney SJ was Professor of Comparative Theology at Boston College until 2005 and had taught there since 1984.  He is a leading scholar Hinduism and in the developing field of comparative theology. In his citation Rev Professor Michael Barnes SJ described him as “one of the most inquisitive and imaginative theologians alive today.”  He described how during the time of their first encounter at Boston College in 1992, he found Prof Clooney “getting his students to read a Christian text alongside a Hindu text on a similar theme… thus inventing comparative theology”.  Prof Barnes concluded that this inquiry is based on the Jesuit conviction that God is to be found in all things, including the beliefs and practices of other faiths. Also awarded Honorary Doctorates were: Rev Canon Professor Sarah Coakley,  Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald MAfr and Rev Dr Nerses Nersessian. Former Chair of Governors Andrew Kennedy KSG and Rev Dr James Sweeney CP were awarded College Fellowships. In her vote of thanks on behalf of Fellows and Honorary Graduates Prof Coakley noted the sadness shared by so many that Heythrop College is to close next year, but gave thanks for its “historical Christian witness and the ineradicable marks it has left on society.” Heythrop College was founded in 1614 in Louvain by the Jesuits for the study of philosophy and theology. It has been a College of the University of London since 1970.
Meeting in the heart of Rome to discuss about leadership in the Society of Jesus. Is there an Ignatian approach to leadership? This question has been flying around in Jesuit circles for some time now. A group of 6 people involved in this topic at European Level spent 4 days in Rome asking themselves this same question. This group, gathered by Fr. John Dardis SJ (Counsellor for Discernment and Planning), revised the existing theories around leadership and, at the same time, connected to their experience and knowledge of ignatian spirituality. The group is doing a big effort to go deeper on the topic. More discussions and research will be done involving the other Conferences.  In the meantime, we continue to expand our knowledge in this area by having fruitful discussions and by launching programmes and courses that provide valuable insights. Actually, at the moment, there are many good initiatives taking place throughout the structures of the Society of Jesus in relation to leadership. We see them taking place at different levels: at local level (in institutions and provinces), at conference level (inter-provincial initiatives) and at a worldwide level (networks and Roman Curia).  Most of these initiatives, if not all, include many elements that might remind us of the teachings of Saint Ignatius. For example, they leave space and times for prayer and to do the daily examen. They put emphasis on all the dimensions of the human being and its relation to God. They also put stress on the relation of the leader with his team and the quality of that relationship. They highlight the importance of doing a good use of the available resources and of managing the institutions well so they can serve the mission better… Furthermore, these initiatives draw knowledge from many relevant ignatian sources such as the Spiritual Exercises, the Constitutions, Ignatius’ Autobiography, Ignatius’ letters, Ignatius’ personal diary, the General Congregations, the teachings from Fr. Claudio Acquaviva SJ, the inspirations from Fr. Pedro Arrupe SJ and many more. These courses also make use of some useful tools and resources from non-religious origins like profiling tools for self-awareness, theory on adaptive leadership, or instruments for dealing with others. However, a better question than “what” is being done might be “why” is it being done. Why are we investing time and resources in preparing leaders for the mission? There seems to be common agreement in the world that we need good leaders to manage our institutions. This is surely not something new today so why has it suddenly become a topic of interest in the Society of Jesus? We could mention many reasons but three that seem to stand out are: Before there were many Jesuits that were able to transmit their experience, knowledge and skills by osmosis to others. The large amount of Jesuits made it easier for natural leaders to appear amongst them. The diminishing of numbers in the Society of Jesus is continuously making it more difficult to transmit this knowledge and experiences from generation to generation but there is desire to keep the flame alive, a fire that kindles other fires. Secondly, with the risk of sounding too conventional, we are currently living in a very complex world where we need to address new and diverse challenges. The traditional ways of doing things are not enough anymore. We need to capacitate those leading our institutions, we need to give them the skills and tools to do their job better, but most importantly, we need to continue to provide them with the passion and love for the others, just like Jesus taught us. Thirdly, nowadays Jesuits are working closer to lay partners in mission. This is not something new, but now, maybe more than ever, we are seeing how lay collaborators are being put in positions of leadership across the Society. We see directors of retreat houses, rectors of universities, high school directors, etc. If we want the Jesuit institutions to remain ignatian we need to provide these partners in mission with experiences that allow them to live the Gospel and the teaching of Saint Ignatius so they are able to carry on with the charisma of the founder of the Society of Jesus. We encourage those reading this article to continue with their personal development and with their efforts to sense and realise the mission of the Society of Jesus. We wish to finish this short article with a quote from the founder of the Society of Jesus: “The person who sets about making others better is wasting his time, unless he begins with himself.”
It has been the practice for over 20 years or so for the Provincial Delegates for Education to come together for an annual gathering (Nov 29 – Dec 2nd) the purpose of which is to renew friendships, share good practice and to reflect on the latest developments in Jesuit education.  This year the event was graciously hosted by the Spanish Province and the setting for our meeting was the palatial building of Maldonado, Madrid. In all there were 21 delegates in attendance and we also had the pleasure of welcoming the International Delegate, Fr Jose Mesa, and the newly appointed president of the CEP Fr Franck Janin, who also happens to be president of JECSE. The focus of our meeting was really threefold: Firstly, we reflected on the theme of Ecology and Social justice, a priority identified in both GC 35 and GC 36 and picked up again at the international conference in Rio.  To assist us in our deliberations Patxi Alvarez gave a wonderful overview of Church teaching on this theme and took us through the main insights of Laudate Si. A second presentation from Kris Vecik focused on how schools can engage in practical ways with this new awareness.  The second part of our meeting examined the Action Statement coming out of Rio. This statement is a series of 13 commitments made by all the regions and provinces in the world and effectively identifies a global plan of action for Education Delegates worldwide.  The meeting reflected on these statements and the kind of supports that would be needed in Europe through JECSE and more broadly through ICAJE to help us achieve them.  The third and final part of the business concentrated on the process for appointing the new Director of JECSE. Fr General’s address in Rio and the Action Statement issuing from the congress gave a very clear context for the work of JECSE into the future. There was a clear sense of optimism about what lies ahead as well as a sober realism about the challenges that will have to be faced into.   Of course, a meeting such as this is always complemented by a visit to a number of schools and to places of cultural and historical interest, the highlight of which was our visit to the Prado Museum. The delegates from Spain were wonderful hosts and all in JECSE owe them a sincere debt of gratitude.
In the wake of the Vatican's media reform, a new medium has replaced the 86-year-old pope's station these days. Under the title Vatican News (www.vaticannews.va), the various previously separate media will report together in the future. Initially, six languages will be started. Alongside Italian are English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German. The language editors were assembled for this purpose already in the summer. Father Bernd Hagenkord SJ, the former head of the German-language editorial board of Vatican Radio, has taken over the task of "Chief of Service", he is the coordinator of the content and work of the new joint editorial board. On behalf of the Superior General, Father Hagenkord also coordinates the activities of the nearly twenty Jesuits employed in the Vatican media. Radio Vatican was founded in 1931 by the Jesuits and until last year also led by the Order. In January 2016, the station, together with the other Vatican media, entered a common structure, the Vatican Secretariat for Communication. In October of this year, the Secretariat and the Order concluded an agreement on the future participation of the Jesuits in the media work of the Vatican.
We are pleased to announce the launch of the brand new website of our Chapel in Brussels, after some months of work and dedication by the team. Now the website better reflects the European and Christian mission of the Chapel as an “Ecumenical Space in the Heart of Europe for Encounter, Prayer, Reflection and Dialogue”.  The main change was passing from www.resurrection.be to chapelforeurope.eu. In fact, our Chapel has a double name. “Chapel for Europe” points to the target group, “Chapel of the Resurrection” points to the message. However, the European civil servants are more attached to the first name. They say: “There are several Chapels of the Resurrection, but only one Chapel for Europe – our Chapel!” Enjoy discovering the Chapel at chapelforeurope.eu! Following the launch, the new website is now in the process of improvement. Your comments and suggestions are welcome on: welcome@chapelforeurope.eu.

UPCOMING EVENTS

2
Fri
Feb 2018
SWIETA LIPKA
Poland
Final vows Fr. Marek Szafran (PMA) will take final vows in the Sanctuary of the Mother of God. READ MORE
10
Sat
Feb 2018
PARIS
France
Ordination Claude Philippe and Romain Subtil will be ordained priest at the St. Ignace Church READ MORE
17
Sat
Feb 2018
BERLIN
Germany
Deaconal Ordination Clemens Kascholke, Sebastian Maly and Jörg Nies will be ordained deacon by Archbishop  Dr. Heiner Kochat 6 pm in the St. Canisius Church READ MORE
18
Wed
Apr 2018
PARIS
France
Deaconal Ordination At the St. Ignace Church  READ MORE