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After the Ignatian gathering in Marseille on All Saints' Day 2021, the Jesuits organized an event on March 12, 2022, at the heart of the Ignatian year. On the anniversary date of the canonization of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Francis Xavier, Jesuits under 50 years old and all those working in the apostolic service to young people met in Paris for the event “Together, let’s hope more”. To accompany young people “In this somewhat gloomy time for the world and for the Church, we wanted to live fully the third Universal Apostolic Preference which guides the mission of the Society of Jesus: To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future. To help the youth, we wanted to begin by cultivating this hope among ourselves, young Jesuits”, explained Fr. Manuel Grandin S.J., delegate of the Provincial for the Young Adult Ministry. Coming from France, Belgium and Luxembourg, they were invited during this day to find the roots of their vocation and to nourish hope. They talked about their missions and their vocation through various workshops. They also met Fr. François Boëdec S.J., Provincial. Back to Montmartre In the evening, they went to the Butte Montmartre, a historic place for the Society of Jesus, as on August 15, 1534, Ignatius and his first companions pronounced their first vows in a small chapel on that hill. Then, the Jesuits as well as friends and “partners in the mission” gathered for an evening of Ignatian praise, which included testimony, songs and walks in the Montmartre district. “We wanted to thank Ignatius and Francis Xavier for inspiring our dreams and actions. The testimony of their lives can help us reflect on what kind of holiness we are called to today.”
ECE-Province Symposium in Vierzehnheiligen. Munich - Jesuits in Central Europe support the commitment of young climate activists and want to strengthen their own commitment to a socio-ecological transformation. At their annual “Province Symposium” in the Bavarian shrine Vierzehnheiligen, 155 Jesuits addressed the climate emergency and the resulting need for a socio-ecological transformation. Vincent Gewert and Lea Bonasera, both active in the climate justice movement, were invited as external speakers. In their presentations, they reported on the current state of the climate crisis. It will probably no longer be possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. On the contrary, there is currently a danger that we are on the way to a world that is three degrees hotter. "The climate crisis is an existential crisis that threatens our livelihoods and thus the very possibility of social prosperity. If we do not pull the lever to a post-fossil society immediately, we will certainly exceed the 1.5 degree limit" says Provincial Bernhard Bürgler. Rapid action is necessary, as tipping points in the climate system can already be reached at a global warming of 1.5 degrees. Tipping points are critical thresholds in the Earth system, which, if exceeded, trigger an uncontrollable escalation spiral. The Provincial emphasises that the climate issue is also a question of global justice. For those who have contributed least to the climate crisis are affected first and most severely. Many people in the Global South have already been feeling the effects of global warming for decades. By 2030, the economic cost of the climate crisis in countries of the Global South could be 580 billion annually. "The role of the Church is to support the poor and oppressed of the world, as well as to work for the protection of livelihoods and the common good. This is where we Jesuits in the rich Global North have a duty and this is how Jesuits from the Global South take it to us," said the Provincial. There is growing social resistance to further investments in fossil energy and infrastructure. Against this background, the Jesuit meeting also dealt with the current protests by citizens of the "Last Generation" such as Lea Bonasera, who are using blockades to demand an end to the financing of new fossil infrastructure at home and abroad. In this context, 11 people were arrested again this week and their police detention was extended by up to six days. Jesuit Jörg Alt sees the necessity of such actions. He himself took part in the “EssenRettenLebenRetten” action of the "Last Generation" and is currently awaiting his criminal trial for particularly serious theft. "There may be times when non-violent civil disobedience or civil resistance is necessary to make a preoccupation with urgent issues unmissable and unignorable. Locking up protesters in rows without addressing their well-founded and urgent concerns cannot be a solution. As soon as this happens, and the activists assure us of this, the blockades and disturbances will come to an end," said Jörg Alt. At its annual meeting, the ECE-province also reaffirmed its intention to strengthen its own commitment. Part of this substantive orientation is the founding of the Social-Ecological Centre in Nuremberg.
On 31 March and 1 April 2022 the bi-annual Regional Coordination Meeting (RCM) took place in Loyola, Spain. JRS Europe and the Directors from JRS national offices attended to reinforce the work on our common priorities: access to protection, immigration detention, social inclusion and awareness raising.    Ukraine emergency Urgent point on the agenda was the discussion of JRS response on the Ukraine emergency. A coordination group has been set up to support the work of JRS in Ukraine and neighbouring countries such as Poland, Hungary and Romania. JRS is also preparing to host Ukrainian refugees in other European countries in the following weeks.    “Our RCM is a great opportunity to walk together in a common mission. In this occasion, the emergency in Ukraine played a crucial role. The main concern at the moment is to deepen the articulation of the network to ensure a medium and long-term response that supports the accompaniment of all displaced people. As in all conflicts, the most able and well-resourced usually flee first, but after these weeks of war our focus is on the most vulnerable, people with special protection needs, such as women and children, unaccompanied children, older and sick people, and people with disabilities,” said  JRS Europe director Alberto Ares.   New strategic framework Other sessions covered the new Strategic Framework for the region for 2022-2024 and an update on the different activities done at European level, including projects, funding, advocacy and communication.    Programme Coordinator Carola Jimenez and Fundraising Coordinator Christopher Klotz showed a breakdown of current and future projects. JRS Europe is currently running several activities, including the Oak Foundation sponsored ‘Monitoring Detention’ and the school programme for awareness raising ‘Change’.   Advocacy and Policy Coordinator Claudia Bonamini shared the work undertaken with the national Advocacy Officers on the topic of reception with the goal of building a common position on the topic.    Best practices All country Directors also had the opportunity to share best practices and the challenges they face in their daily work. Each office prepared a poster with images and the Directors had the opportunity to learn about the work of the other JRS offices.    The RCM was preceded by the Loyola 2022 Justice and Ecology Congress where representatives from across the European Social Apostolate gathered for a week to explore together the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus 2019-2029. JRS Europe team actively participated in the Congress and each of the members of the staff carried out a workshop about the different topics of our work.   Justice networks “The Congress represented a milestone in the deep renewal of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials Justice Networks and, as one of these networks, the participation of JRS Europe was fundamental to align processes and for our contribution to the implementation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus by 2029,” concluded JRS Europe director Alberto Ares.   The RCM and the Congress allowed participants to reconnect with the roots of JRS, to strengthen capacity across countries, share best practises and make use of each other’s support and capabilities. 
On April 5, at the Sorbonne, the Contemporary Disputation association showed and explained what disputations were through an artistic performance and a public controversy on the weaknesses of our democratic systems. The Contemporary Disputation association, launched by the journal Études, aims to stage philosophical debates inspired by medieval disputatio. "In a context where it is increasingly difficult to debate, where tweets and other fake news make and break opinion, where words give way to violent behaviours, it seemed vital to bring back the art of conversation, quality arguments, depth and respect”, said Fr. Guilhem Causse S.J., professor at Centre Sèvres (Jesuit University in Paris). To do this, disputation is key. Already practiced in several Jesuit schools and at the Centre Sèvres, a disputatio is a subject debated over by several people, some being “in favour” and others “against”. It is an oral and collective exercise. It is a very good tool for training and exercising judgment, since one may have to argue ideas that are not theirs at the start. The goal is to debate in an atmosphere of intellectual emulation, to base oneself on the adversary’s arguments and to go beyond them. A group of students and members of civil society from diverse cultural and social backgrounds met for a few weeks to build arguments and practice. On April 5, on the eve of the French presidential elections, the disputatio took place in the Sorbonne’s amphitheatre with philosopher Jean-Claude Milner and several participants – an unprecedented experience at the crossroads of philosophy, politics and art. The audience attended controversies, an inaugural conference by Jean-Claude Milner on democracy and its weaknesses, and debate workshops. “The challenge is not to shine, but to work together for a better understanding of the world. Participants experience that a relationship that is expressed in regulated discussion bears truth. Although they do not reach a consensus, as they each keep their own opinions, they may reach a regulated dissensus, as Paul Ricoeur would say, upon which our democracies rely", explained Guilhem Causse S.J.
Jesuits from the Czech Province have been thinking about how to make the prayer of the Examen available to as many people as possible. On the initiative of the new vocation promoter, Samuel Privara SJ, a mobile phone app was created, which offers 30 instructions on how to look back on the day and find God in your own life. As the inspiration served Mark Thibodeaux's book and proper experience with this prayer. The first version of the app was of course created in Czech and also in Slovak. Very soon, Jesuits from Hungary and Switzerland were also interested in it, so a version in Hungarian and German was also created. Most recently, an Italian version is available. The app runs on iOS and Android platforms. It can be downloaded from the App Store and Google Play, searched by keyword for each language: CZ "Ignaciánský examen", SK "Ignaciánsky examen", GER "Das ignatianische Examen", IT "Examen ignaziano", HUN "Ignáci Examen".
Just like going into lockdown, the process of coming out has brought parishes both challenges and opportunities. The biggest opportunity, I think, has been to reassess exactly what sort of parish God wants us to be going forward. In March 2020, we had to stop everything and find new ways of celebrating and creating community and the results were, in many cases, surprisingly good. Now though, we are faced with a new choice: do we try to recreate how our parishes were just before lockdown, or do we dare ask God if he wants us to do something new? The Parish Pastoral Council at Our Lady of Mercy, Sunderland, was formed during the lockdown and like so many others, met online for a few months. During those early meetings we tried to listen to what God was saying to us—not an easy task via Zoom—and formulate a pastoral strategy for a post-lockdown parish. Behind our discussions was the belief that we were living in a grace-filled time and that God was presenting us with an opportunity to create with him something new. Over a few meetings it became clear to us that we needed to have a written statement: a mission statement. A mission statement: those words often make people's eyes roll and conjure up images of mind-numbing meetings to produce a document composed in meaningless corporate speak which, after its presentation, is invariably filed away and forgotten about. We certainly weren't looking for that! If we were to have a mission statement then it needed to be God's mission statement, not ours, and it needed to be the fruit of a process of prayer and discernment. That's where the Jesuit Institute comes in. We asked Vron Smith from the Jesuit Institute to work with our Parish Pastoral Council in a process of discernment to formulate a mission statement that we could present to parishioners and which would guide the direction of the parish for the next few years. We asked her to help us, as a pastoral council, to learn to listen to God and each other so that we could discern God's will for Our Lady of Mercy. A six-week process We agreed to a six-week process with several parts. Every Sunday evening for six weeks the pastoral council met to discuss and share, with Vron Smith leading the discussion and guiding us through the process. From that discussion Vron would, on the following Monday, send us some scripture quotes to pray with, along with a summary of our discussion. We prayed with these every day and during the week met online with a prayer guide who helped us discern where the Spirit was moving in us as we prayed. The following Sunday evening we shared the fruits of our prayer and looked for patterns. Every meeting ended with a good meal! Over the course of six weeks we had a mission statement that was the fruit of our prayer and discernment and which we were confident reflected God's vision for our parish. Over Advent 2021, we presented it to the parishioners and began a series of conversations, asking parishioners for their impressions and feedback, asking them if the mission statement reflected the kind of parish to which they felt they wanted to belong. Vron then worked with us to listen to what the parishioners had said and see if we needed to make any changes. Prayer and discernment As I said, talk of mission statements often makes people's eyes roll. However, that's precisely what Jesus gives us in Matthew 28:19-20—the original mission statement. The question the Parish Pastoral Council was grappling with was what does it mean for us in Sunderland in a post-lockdown, post-pandemic world? The answer can only come through prayer and discernment and listening to God as his Spirit moves among the people of Our Lady of Mercy Parish. I remain every grateful to Vron and the other prayer guides who taught us to listen to God and each other and how to discern God's will for his parish. It has been a few months since we completed that process and our mission statement is already guiding the choices we make as a parish; moreover, the process has changed the way we work together as a pastoral council. We listen better, we're more willing to speak what we really think and, above all, we're always asking 'What does God want?' and prayerfully waiting for his answer. Fr Christopher Hancock MHM JCD

UPCOMING EVENTS

15-21
Sun - Sat
May 2022

YAM & VP Joint meeting of the European delegates for Young Adult Ministry and Vocation Promoters. It takes place in Piestany, Slovakia. READ MORE
25-28
Wed - Sat
May 2022

Consult of JCEP Consult of the president of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials. It takes place in Budapest. READ MORE
30-3
Mon - Fri
May - Jun 2022

Consiglio Allargato Consiglio Allargato of the Father General, taking place in Rome, Italy. READ MORE
14-17
Tue - Fri
Jun 2022

Conference Communicators Worldwide meeting of the communicators of the 6 Jesuit Conferences READ MORE