Jesuit Scholastics’ meeting in Bad Schönbrunn (Switzerland) – German Jesuit Priest, Marco Hubrig gives us a day-by-day account The first day was characterized by some introduction to the Zen Buddhism held by Fr. Niklaus Brantschen SJ, who is both: a Jesuit priest and a Zen Master. We were enriched by a personal experience of a Zen meditation, guided by Niklaus and of course we had a dialogue in which we were talking about similarities and differences of a Zen meditation and a Christian mediation. In the afternoon, Fr. Felix Körner SJ, professor for catholic theology and Islamic studies at the Gregorian University in Rome, held a very inspiring speech about his personal experiences as a catholic priest in a Muslim country. For years he lived in Turkey and still has good relationships to Muslim families, Imams and other representatives. He encouraged us, to discuss with great respect for their religion, but always with a profound and sufficient knowledge and love of our own religion. Felix pointed out, not to believe too quickly, that all religious people might believe in the same things, but rather to keep and live with tension, that this might not be the case. In the evening an Imam from Zurich was invited to Bad Schönbrunn and spoke about his personal vocation and his challenges as Imam in Switzerland. On Sunday, we had beautiful 25km pilgrimage from Bad Schönbrunn to the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln, the most famous in Switzerland. That really was an outstanding experience, starting in the early foggy morning and walking, kilometer after kilometer a bit higher and closer to the Abbey. The higher we walked, the sunnier it became and the beautiful Swiss landscape greeted all of us on our pilgrimage. There was a plenty of time for personal prayer and for talking to some Jesuit friends. The Abbey of Einsiedeln with the Sanctuary of the Black Madonna was ready to receive us, and thousands of other pilgrims on that day. We celebrated Holy Mass there, it was presided by five of our six newly ordained priests (17th September in Innsbruck, Austria). Due to illness, the Jewish Rabbi couldn’t come on Sunday evening but it gave us a chance to rest since we were tired after all the walking of the day. As a compensation the Jesuits from the Bad Schönbrunn community prepared some typical Swiss food: Raclette. We ended the Scholastic’s Meeting with a Meeting with our Formation Delegate Fr. Hans- Jürgen Kleist SJ. He actually was very happy with us, a young and international group and he really was impressed by our loyal but friendly suggestions and the very friendly relationships between us. For all us, it was a huge shock to hear the news that Hans-Jürgen died on Monday 31st October, immediately after he came back to his community in Munich. He will stay in our hearts as a friendly and open-minded brother and we are sure, that he is now praying for all of us in heaven. The Scholastics’ Meeting was a great experience. I’d like to thank the staff of the Lassalle- Haus in Bad Schönbrunn, especially the Jesuits living there. And of course, a very special thank to the young brothers, who prepared this meeting with great success. Thank you all guys! Fr. Marco Hubrig SJ (one of the recently ordained priests) This year’s scholastic’s meeting took place from 28th to 31st October in the recently renovated Lassalle-Haus in Bad Schönbrunn. For the first time, not only the scholastics of the German, Swiss and Austrian Province attended, but also those from the Hungarian and the Lithuanian-Latvian Province. It was an anticipation of the new Central European Province. The entire number was around 30 young Jesuits.
Father General Arturo Sosa was in Beirut, Lebanon, from 29 November to 1 December, for the funeral of former Superior General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach who passed away peacefully on November 26, 2016. Father Kolvenbach's funeral was celebrated in Beirut, on 30 November 2016, which would have been his 88th birthday. The mass was presided over by the Jesuit provincial of the Near East and Maghreb Province, Father Dany Younès in the Latin Rite. Father General Arturo Sosa preached. At the end of the mass, during the final commendation, the priests of the Armenian Rite conducted prayers and chants. Father Kolvenbach belonged to the Armenian Rite. Father Kolvenbach was the first Superior General of the Jesuits to belong to one of the Eastern Rites in the Catholic Church. He is also the first Superior General to die and to be buried outside Rome. The Scouts Group from the Jesuit Notre Dame de Jamhour school provided a guard of honour at the beginning and at the end of the mass. The school choir led the singing. Among those present at the funeral were the Maronite Patriarch Cardinal Bechara Boutros Rai, the Armenian Catholic Patriarch Gregorios Bedros XX Ghabroyan, the Apostolic Nuncio Mgr Gabriele Caccia, the Latin Vicar Mgr Cesar Essayan, and a number of bishops from the different eastern rites (both catholic and orthodox). There was an official delegation from the Lebanese President's office, which included ministers. Also present were members of the diplomatic corps representing different countries in Lebanon. Father General, Father Antoine Kerhuel, and Father Patrick Mulemi represented the General Curia.
Politics, and the threat of the far right taking power, has been a serious anxiety in recent months in many countries, not least in France. Recently, the French bishops produced an important document  helping Catholics to reflect on their political responsibilities. A few weeks back, the Jesuit theology centre in Paris, the Centre Sèvres , held an interesting discussion on the issues. The main speaker was Philippe Portie r, a professor at the Sorbonne, a noted commentator on Catholic affairs, and an expert on the history of French secularism. Professor Portier began by taking us back to Leo XIII and Pius XI, the first popes to show a real interest in modern political life. But it took Vatican II for the official Church to move beyond a paternalistic stance, telling everyone what to do, and to become more dialogical. Now we take this for granted. Inside the Church, Catholics follow their own best sense of what to do in choosing whom they support. And in the public forum, Catholics no longer think it their role to impose divine law on civil society. Rather, Catholics are quite happy to seek the common good by taking their part in the different kinds of reflection going on in society at large. The temptation for some Catholics is to think this means we have sold out to relativism. Professor Portier helped us to look at the matter differently. What has happened is that we have become aware of our own consciences, our subjective powers of choice. And that new awareness involves also recognising that others, too, have these gifts. To become aware of the personal is also to become aware of the interpersonal: of the fact that we live together, in society. All this leads to different ways of thinking about religion and politics, beyond the tired contrasts between theocracy and militant secularism. Moreover, religion can enrich political discussions. Jürgen Habermas once wrote of how religion can bring into public discussion an awareness of those who are left out. This is an important contribution to political discussion, particularly when it comes to questions of value and meaning. It was in this light that Professor Portier was encouraging us to read what the French bishops were saying. Of course the French Constitution, with its strict marginalization of religious authority, must be respected. But that point of political principle is in no way undermined if we nevertheless insist on two important matters of prudent political policy. Firstly, there must, in a pluralist society, be ways in which the citizens can always be in dialogue so as not to be shut up in subcultures of the like-minded. Secondly, we need to be very careful about those who get left behind in the move towards globalization—otherwise there is a danger that our society will simply fall apart. The bishops are seriously worried on these scores. The main thing they are suggesting is that we need to make new efforts to keep good lines of communication open. This might sound rather high-minded and woolly, as if we have abandoned any overall vision of human society and of what gives life meaning. It will certainly annoy Catholics who have a nostalgia for the good old days of clear Catholic teaching and the boundaries it set. But it is not, Professor Portier stressed, that the bishops are abandoning a Catholic social vision. They remain committed to a vision of society resting on the common good. But the most obvious step now towards bringing that about involves working harder, and in new ways, at establishing good communication between all concerned. Links:  http://www.eglise.catholique.fr/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2016/10/Texte_Retrouver-le-sens-du-politique.pdf  http://www.centresevres.com/  http://www.gsrl.cnrs.fr/portier-philippe
After four weeks of work and commitment by more than 40 people, we are proud to present the Ignatian carol . The recording was attended by students of the Jesuit Ignatianum Academy in Krakow, who needed to take a Flamenco-Crash-Course. The layout is loosely based on the interpretation of Spanish carols. Muchas gracias a todos !!! Maybe it will appeal to Pope Francis ... Idea and words: Andrzej Sarnacki SJProduction and musical arrangement: Dominik Dubiel SJ Written and directed by Arthur Arczi Pruś SJ Look and listen here.
The Irish Centre for Faith and Justice has responded to a Special Report from Jesuit Secretariat in Rome on global economics and justice. In the opening article, Professor James Wickham, Director of the think-tank TASC, writes that economic growth does not automatically create more and better jobs, and the changing nature of work – a key theme in the Secretariat’s Report – is resulting in increasingly precarious work that militates directly against social justice and equality. In early 2016, a Special Report of Promotio Iustitiae called ‘Justice in the Global Economy – Building Sustainable and Inclusive Communities’ was published by the Jesuit Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology and for Higher Education in Rome. The Report is part of the thrust of the pontificate of Pope Francis on the need for action in the face of ongoing poverty and growing inequality, and severe environmental decline. It specifically focuses on economic conditions, recognising that “the global human community stands at a critical junction”. Bringing a Gospel perspective to important economic and public policy questions, the Report asks: “Will the economic development advancements we are clearly capable of making benefit all people, or will they be reserved for a privileged few?” Following the publication of the Report, the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice was invited to reflect and respond to this important document. This response is documented in a new issue of Working Notes (Issue 79, December 2016), the Centre’s journal. The issue gives serious consideration to some of the major social, economic, and environmental justice challenges presented in the Report. Catherine Devitt, environmental justice officer with the Jesuit Centre, focuses on the Report’s theme of the unattended fragility of our common home. In her article, Devitt argues that although economic globalisation has generated considerable benefits for humanity, these same processes are pushing the planetary system towards breaking point. Gerry O’Hanlon SJ responds to the Report’s invitation to identify and explore particular challenges arising in ‘different regions and local situations.’ Providing a theological reflection, he argues that one of the key problems in contemporary Irish society is the difficulty in linking challenging issues with an operative grasp of faith and spirituality. O’Hanlon SJ concludes his article by outlining steps towards a renewed theology. Finally, Brian Flannery, Education Delegate with the Irish Jesuit Province, explains how the promotion of justice is integral to a Jesuit education. In responding to the Report’s call for Jesuit institutions to work for economic justice, Flannery raises the challenging question of whether or not our fee-paying school system is part of the problem. The article concludes by highlighting the importance of reflecting on how Jesuit works challenge social, economic and environmental injustice. All the articles from this issue of Working Notes can be read online and hard copies are available from the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice. The Special Report Justice in the Global Economy is available online from the website of the Jesuit Curia in Rome.
Happy New Year and blessings on this New Year’s Day. As the Christmas season continues and as we start a New year, it is a day when we can think of the place of Our Lady in the life of St. Ignatius and the First Companions, in the lives of Jesuits down through the years and in our own lives. Various paintings and places associate us with Mary. The painting of Madonna della Strada, now hanging in the Gesù church in Rome was one particularly loved by St. Ignatius. The painting of Our Lady Untying the Knots, so beloved of Pope Francis, has got much attention because of the impact it had on his life. Various shrines to Our Lady include the shrines at Guadalupe and at Lourdes which put us in touch with devotion to Mary among nations and cultures worldwide; our Lady of Czestochowa so important to the Polish people, the Marian shrine at Medjugorje in Bosnia, a country where there has been so much war and suffering, the shrine of our Lady in Lebanon where both Muslims and Christians come to pray. Almost every country has its own particular expression of devotion to Our Lady. They all express Mary’s tenderness, her ‘yes’. Our vulnerability in the face of the challenges of life can sometimes make us nervous and afraid. But Mary’s example shows us not to go in the direction of ‘no’ but, instead, to say ‘yes’. Mary’s example of openness, of ‘yes’ even in the face of great uncertainty helps us. Her warmth, her openness, her love encourage us to trust as we face uncertainty. They invite us to rely more fundamentally on God rather than on our own efforts. Let us pray as this new year begins that it can be a year of trust, a year where we say ‘yes’ more and more to God’s daily invitation, a year where we grow together as servants of Christ’s mission in a world where people are searching for hope and light. Wishing you many blessings for this New Year. Yours sincerely, John Dardis SJ CEP President
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