On September 8th four companions made their first vows in Loyola: Lucas Alcañiz (Madrid, 30 years); Luis Argila (Barcelona, ​​36); Alejandro Escoda (Barcelona, ​​26) and Alejandro Toro (Los Santos de Maimona, Badajoz, 21). On September 10 five young men made their first vows in the Society of Jesus in Nuremberg after a two-year novitiate period and thus bound themselves to the Order for their whole lives with the promise of full commitment for others. For the German Province Lukas Kraus SJ and Jonas Linz SJ made the vows, for the Lithuanian Province Donatas Kuzmickas SJ, for the Hungarian Province Árpád Tóth SJ and for the Austrian Province Gerald Baumgartner SJ. September 15 Giacomo, Cornel, Janez, Piero and Andrei have pronounced their First Vows in the Church of the Gesù of Genoa in the EUM province.
Between August 30th and September 3rd 2018, the Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Science of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb, Croatia, was host to the biennial meeting of the European Jesuit Philosophers (JESPHIL). Twenty Jesuits from nine countries gathered together to share their experiences and to work in depth on one particular topic. This year’s topic was ‘the crisis of democracy’, with several major contributions and two workshops, exploring the sources of the loss of trust in representative democracy and the rule of law, the rise of populisms (from the left and from the right), the role of (social) media, the impact of the tight labor market for the young, xenophobia, digitalization, and the challenge of measuring democracy. The conference included a guided tour through the old city of Zagreb (Kaptol, Gradec) and a meeting with a politician from the ruling Christian Democratic party, Mr Davor Ivo Stier. The provincial of the Croatian Province, Fr Dalibor Renić, celebrated the final Eucharist. Fr Franck Janin, the president of the conference of European provincials, honored our meeting with his attendance. The main papers will be published in Obnovljeni Život, the journal related to the Faculty at Zagreb. The next JESPHIL meeting shall take place during the last week of August 2020 in Innsbruck, Austria, on the topic ‘Who Is God?’.
On September 6, Zakopane changed into a field game inspired by the life and spirituality of St. Stanislaus Kostka. Jesuit pastoral ministries from different parts of Poland - Lublin, Wrocław, Opole, Łódź, Warsaw, Toruń and Gdańsk attended the game. Playing together showed that getting to know the lives of saints does not have to be boring at all! 15 teams - each with a name inspired by Jesuit spirituality and history (treated seriously or jokingly, e.g. "Eternal Cassata", "It depends") - competed for the largest possible number of silver coins and pictures symbolizing the mastery of various skills and spiritual "fitness" of the first Polish Jesuit. Tasks? Very diverse: from building towers with.... trekking poles (which, moreover, had to keep a book on themselves for half a minute so that it would not be so simple), through counting angels in the Church of the Holy Family, inspired by a legend of Holy Communion given to Saint Stanislaus by heavenly messengers, to street probes. The participants, of whom there were 160 in total, had to demonstrate not only their knowledge of the lives of Jesuit saints and their most famous quotations, but above all their creativity and perceptiveness. Sometimes they also had to be quite well trained, because they could fit in 8 people on a newspaper - folded several times! - required Twister-style basses. A very interesting experience was also the question of passers-by about what holiness means to them. The answers were often very surprising (as well as the question itself). - Holiness is normality! - one of the respondents answered with conviction. Finally, at 16:00 all teams met in the Jesuit church on Górka in Zakopane. First a Holy Mass was celebrated there, and afterwards the winners were announced. The first place went to "Los Loyolos", who boasted the highest number of collected coins, for which they received, among others, books and lots of sweets. Holiness does not rule out sweetness at all! A conference devoted to the life of St. Stanislaus Kostka was also delivered there. The day ended with a huge barbecue, where sausages and oscypek were abundant. A great opportunity for integration and further common fun. Summarising: 160 participants, 15 teams ready to act, the same number of demanding tasks and Jesuit ministries from all over Poland - this is the recipe for a really great day spent on discovering spiritual treasures left to us by the patron saint of youth. After all, nobody said that getting to know the lives of saints is boredom!
This summer I spent a month collaborating in the Society’s mission in Algeria. The experience represented a great consolation for me. On July 7th, four young people arrived in Constantine to experience the Découverte intérieure de l'Algérie, organized by the Jesuits of Algiers and Constantine. After a few days of orientation in Constantine, they sent us to work in different parts of the country. One went to Batna, a small eastern city, to collaborate in the local parish. Another stayed in Constantine to collaborate with Damien De Préville SJ in an urban camp with neighbourhood kids. The third was sent to Algiers, to the Ben Smen Spiritual Centre, to collaborate with Christophe Ravanel SJ in a house and garden maintenance program that links Algerian and sub-Saharan university student volunteers. My destination was the Jesuit Residence in the centre of Algiers. I worked in the afternoon as a guide in the beautiful Basilica of Our Lady of Africa. In the mornings I would lend a hand to Ricardo Jiménez SJ at the University Cultural Centre (CCU) with a Spanish course, excursions and cultural activities with Algerian university students. Algeria struck me as being more closed and isolated than I expected. I was also deeply impressed by the density of youth in the cities visited. Many young people, but very little activity: I would often see groups of young people just standing on the street, during the week, seemingly idle. Shortly after I arrived, I was told about the dégoûtage, or disenchantment, in which many young people live: I corroborate it. It contrasts with the innocence of the university students. Their attitude towards life, their aspirations and their leisure activities are innocent, healthy: at least that is true for students of the CCU. They were grateful for all the activities we proposed, however simple (a picnic on the beach, a guitar session and songs in the garden ...). I would highlight two things about my brief experience of work and life with the Algerian population, which is mostly Muslim. In the first place, I would emphasize the call to serve and love this people gratuitously, without expecting productivity: I think such an approach allows one to serve more freely. Secondly, I would note that Christian testimony happens largely through listening, silence, attention to the other, the gratuity of those who do not seek to convince but rather demonstrate their faith with simplicity and joy, speaking of it, when asked. It has been a joy to be able to participate in the life of a Church that is small and still developing a Church that is full of life, of the Gospel, of possibilities and of the future, despite the real difficulties that it faces. How beautiful it is to live that encounter with the Spirit of Christ, who acts even beyond the bounds of the Church, inspiring joy, enthusiasm, and hope in young people, mostly Muslims, in a country that is on its way to being built. In addition to being able to communicate in French, a volunteer who goes to Algeria should have the desire to enter without fuss into a way of living that is different from their own, a desire to joyfully embrace some discomfort and to discover in the challenges and differences the richness of what is genuine in the other. As a Christian, the volunteer who goes to Algeria can live a beautiful experience of deepening in their faith. On many occasions they will have to give reasons for their faith with kindness, “delicacy and respect” (1Pe 3,16), presenting with simplicity what one is, believes and loves, in a daily interreligious dialogue and without great pretensions beyond the encounter with the other, beyond that “give and take” of listening and understanding.
The parish of St Francis Xavier in Liverpool was asked by the Liverpool Archdiocesan Congress Team to take part in the National Eucharistic Congress, Adoremus 2018, and to provide fringe events as a centre-city church. Parish priest Fr Denis Blackledge SJ suggested trying to get Jimmy McGovern along as the writer of the BAFTA 2018 winning Broken series – which also won the prestigious Sandford St Martin Trust Award 2018 for best religious broadcast. Much of the six-part drama was filmed in the Jesuit church of St Francis Xavier and saw the strict collaboration of Fr Denis as religious advisor for Sean Bean in his role of Fr Michael Kerrigan. The parish team decided on a programme for Friday and Saturday which began with quiet Holy Hour and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Sodality Chapel at 11am, followed by mass at 12 noon, on the 7th September. A few dozen attended Holy Hour, and about 100 were squeezed in each day to midday mass. An amazing group of volunteers provided 120 cups of tea and a variety of nibbles in the lunch hour break, before Episode 1 of Broken was showed on a 12 foot screen in the main chapel at 1.30pm. Then Jimmy and Fr Denis were available for 45 minutes of Q&A. About 175 turned up on the Friday for that session. The Episode shown on Saturday was the tough one about attitudes to gay people, and Jimmy brought along Shaun Duggan, who helped him to write that episode. “The Q&As session was riveting! About 150 people attended that session,” says Fr Denis Blackledge SJ. “Apart from folk who had come from as far away as the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man, a number of clergy also came along. The level of sharing from Jimmy, Shaun, and some of the audience was deeply moving.” Over the couple of days, the parish has also hosted BBC Radio Lancashire, Manx Radio, The Tablet, Crux Website, and Redemptorist Publications, with Jimmy, Shaun and Fr Denis giving interviews to them all. A handful of folk attended the Sunday morning family mass, rather than go to the Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King. Throughout the weekend, which was also National Heritage Weekend, the parish’s troop of Friends of SFX were on hand to give guided tours and a warm welcome. And SFX’s own volunteer team of caterers and cleaner-uppers did a fantastic job. The weekend was topped off on Sunday evening with a concert of 18th century music either written or inspired by Jesuits, not least Domenico Zipoli. The Ellen Ensemble, a couple of dozen musicians from Cumbria, offers their services free for charity, owing to their generous patrons, and on Adoremus’ final evening, they raised £500 for JRS UK.     “People thoroughly enjoyed the events and some were visibly moved by the beautiful music, especially by the works of Jesuit composer Zipoli. It was a great weekend!” remarks Debbie Reynolds, Pastoral Assistant at SFX Church.
Enlarged Council meets in Rome – Orientation address from Fr General. The Expanded council of Fr. General met from September 3rd to 7th . Fr General’s usual Council is joined in this meeting by the Conference Presidents, the Sector Secretariats and the General Treasurer.  The five day meeting of the Expanded General Council (Consiglio Allargato) began with a Eucharist with the Jesuit community. The meeting lays the ground for the January 2019 discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. Below are extracts from Fr General’s opening remarks. Universal Apostolic Preferences Father Arturo Sosa spoke first of the Apostolic Preferences. He emphasised that this process, in which the whole Society of Jesus is involved, can lead to a reanimation of the Society; it can also show a special way to live our relationship with the Holy Father. Discernment has already taken place in most provinces and meetings of conferences of provincials will now move the process forward. Reanimation of the Society “The first (issue) is the importance that the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) can have in the reanimation of the apostolic body of the Society and in the orientation of its apostolic planning in the years to come… [T]here is a great responsibility to find a formulation of UAP that helps as much as possible toward that end”. Relationship to the Holy Father “[We] see in the formulation of the apostolic preferences an occasion to live “sacramentally” the connection of the Society of Jesus to the Church through its availability to the Holy Father circa missiones. The process of discernment in common … seeks to deepen our availability for collaboration in the mission of the Church in the way that the Holy Father thinks best. Therefore, I will go to the Holy Father not only seeking confirmation and blessing…but rather to receive from him the accents of the mission of the Society in the next years through apostolic preferences received from his hand.” Fr. Sosa said that Pope Francis is glad that the process is conceived as one of tension between the future and the present. The Pope also insists on the need to take into account the vulnerability of so many persons. While the word ‘reconciliation’ has in some circles been devalued, we need to explain it and use it well.  “It is at the center of the message of the Gospel from the beginning of the life of the Church” said Fr Sosa. "What I will communicate to the whole Society will be the mission we will have received from the Holy Father with a plan for assimilating it” he added. “This follow up can become an effective instrument to achieve the desire expressed by the members of GC 36 to have a central government focused on mission.” To contemplate the world through the eyes of the poor. Father Sosa then spoke of “the challenge of recovering the proclamation of the faith and the pastoral accompaniment of human and Christian maturation as the axis of all that we do. We need to propose again in a fresh way the first proclamation of the faith.” He emphasized the importance of Christian communities and their ability to discern: “If they are communities able to discern, then they will be communities able to welcome those who are different; to initiate and accompany new ways of giving a word of hope to people who, in the traditional way of focusing the moral teaching of the Church, do not have space, or do not find a place in society but who, as human beings, are also called to live an experience of God. Communities open to the young, to listen to the young. Communities open to promote equality between man and woman, which in contemporary societies still does not exist.” Still on the issue of the Church, he said, “The Church today still faces the challenge of incarnating definitively the ecclesiology of Vatican II. To become a Church “People of God”, a Church community of communities, a Church open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a Church able to discern …  a Church that leaves behind internal power struggles and does not worry about gaining or maintaining social prestige by the standards of those who dominate the world.” Forming universal citizens An inescapable dimension of our apostolic action, in Fr. Sosa’s vision, is to contribute to forming universal citizens in this plural and multicultural world. Safeguarding Fr Sosa emphasized the promotion of a culture of safeguarding of children and vulnerable people. Our apostolic poverty General Congregation 36 insisted on real closeness to the poor. This also implies an austere life on our part said Fr General: “Although poverty is not an ideal but rather the fruit of structural injustice (sin), one of the greatest signs of in-humanity, it is also the way of redemption if we make ourselves poor as Jesus did.” said Fr Sosa. “I propose to invite the apostolic body of the Society to an examen and discernment of our apostolic and religious life in poverty from which will flow not only orientations for the proposed revision but also effective ways to come closer to the life of the poor and to acquire that vision so characteristic of the disciples of Jesus.”

UPCOMING EVENTS

3
Sat
Nov 2018
CAGLIARI
Italy - Roma
Final vows Fr. Fabrizio Fabrizi (EUM) will take final vows.Fr. Dominik Markl (ASR) will take final vows in the Gesù Church at 11 am. READ MORE
8
Thu
Nov 2018
ROMA
Italy
Final vows Fr. Massimo Marelli (EUM) will take final vows. READ MORE
25-30
Tue - Sun
Dec 2018
CONSTANTINE
Algeria
Les deux rives Dialogue with Islam READ MORE
1-8
Mon - Mon
Jul 2019
COIMBRA
Portugal
Masters of Novices READ MORE