‘Mindfully at Home in the Cosmos’ was the title of the spring retreat in the Manresa, the Jesuit Centre for Spirituality in Clontarf, Dublin. It was given by Dee Hennessy and Des O’Grady SJ and in this interview with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications they talk about what happened during the retreat and their work in general. They also give details and dates of their future retreats which you can find out about here. Des O’Grady is chaplain in Dundrum Mental Hospital and earlier in his Jesuit life he lectured in philosophy in the Milltown Institute. His interest in cosmology and the work of Teilhard de Jardin SJ has grown out of a dissatisfaction with a development of Christian practice that he feels has turned the Church into a type of ‘club’ with members who are ‘in’ and others who are ‘out’. He believes this type of exclusivity has nothing to do with the cosmic Christ nor does it reflect the infinite goodness and the indiscriminate love of the Creator of the cosmos. Similarly Dee Hennessy, a mindfulness practitioner, came to mindfulness feeling dissatisfied and poorly nourished by the Christian theology she studied. Ironically, she now says that her practice of ‘living in the moment’ and ‘surrendering in trust to the present with awareness’, has brought her back to a deeper appreciation of her Catholic faith. Dee and Des have been giving retreats around the country. They are clear that they do not teach mindfulness or cosmology but rather they engage participants in the actual practice of living mindfully and experiencing themselves as a integral part of creation, connected to the cosmos. They do this through  prayer and meditation, breathing and movement exercises, stillness, silence, walks, group sharing and one on one spiritual accompaniment. In this interview they address the danger of ‘mindfulness’ becoming just another technique or fad that is potentially as unrealistic as it is helpful. They also take on board the challenge of what ‘coming home’ really means when it’s a coming home to a created world that is, as Shakespeare describes it, ‘nature red in tooth and claw’.
Brussels, 20 January 2017 – JRS Europe is pleased to present Jose Ignacio Garcia, SJ, as the new Regional Director. He takes up the reins from Jean-Marie Carriere, SJ. Garcia takes up the leadership of JRS in Europe with a wealth of European affairs experience behind him. From 2009 to 2016 he led the Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC) in Brussels conducting research and advocacy on migration, climate change and social justice. During this time Garcia also coordinated work of the Jesuit Social Ministry in Europe, assisting and promoting the many Jesuit charities and organisations seeking to help vulnerable and marginalized people. “We’re facing a double challenge at the moment. First, as we have seen over the last two years, increasing numbers of people are seeking protection in Europe and we need to increase our capacities and resources accordingly. Second, there is a rising negative public opinion against newcomers and foreigners. We need to boost our awareness raising capabilities and ability to shape political discourse. At the same time, we acknowledge the strong response from civil society and many individuals,” says Garcia. Speaking about the current work of JRS in Europe, Garcia says: “I appreciate very much the work of so many people in the field committed to refugees and migrants.” “We feel strongly supported by Pope Francis and we feel his message is very focused, as in his speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. We appreciate his work in setting up new structures within the Church to help migrants and refugees.” Thanking his predecessor in the post, Garcia says: “My dream is to keep the same leadership and to continue building from the same lines and vision that Jean-Marie brought to JRS and to continue strengthening the path he identified in the midst of a very turbulent time for refugees in Europe. I would like to express my gratitude for the work, cohesion and vision that Jean-Marie brought and look forward to strengthening our common work across the 18-plus JRS country offices in Europe.” It is not the first time that Garcia has worked with JRS. From 1992 to 1994 he was part of the JRS operation in Malawi and at the end of the civil war in Mozambique. The experience of helping refugees in Africa left a lasting impression: “JRS one day, JRS forever,” says Garcia with a smile.
The second cluster meeting of the HEST Program. The second cluster meeting of the HEST programme (Higher Education for Social Transformation) took place on February 24, at Comillas Pontifical University in Madrid and was hosted by its Chair on Science, Technology and Religion. The cluster on Dialogue Science and Religion was the one to continue the process started by the cluster on Economy, Poverty and Ethics.  Dr. Sara Lumbreras, one of the coordinators of the Cluster and Dr. José Manuel Caamaño, the Director of the Chair kindly welcomed us and leaded the meeting. 6 people participated in the meeting: Josef Quitterer (University of Innsbruck) Joaquín Menacho (IQS - Barcelona) Jacek Poznansky SJ (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow) José Manuel Caamaño (Universidad Pontificia Comillas) Sara Lumbreras (Universidad Pontificia Comillas) José Carlos Romero (Universidad Pontificia Comillas - HEST coordinator) Dominique Lambert (University of Namur), the other coordinator of the cluster, could not participate in the meeting but contributed with a letter in which he provided some enlightening ideas for the future work of the cluster. After praying together with ‘Patient Trust’, a beautiful text by Teilhard de Chardin sj, José Carlos Romero presented the general lines of the HEST programme, with its 7 clusters. Then, before the coffee-break, each participant introduced his/her institution and the activities regarding the topic of the cluster in which he or she was already involved.  Since we already knew who we were and what we were doing, we were ready for the next step, i.e. to think creatively about how to propose a collaborative future work. And ideas emerged smoothly! During the brainstorming round about possible topics for the common research, a consensus raised around the concept of “power”, and a possible research question came afterwards: “Science and religion in the crossroads of power relations in post-modern societies”. After such an intense session, we enjoyed an excellent lunch at ICADE, courtesy of the Chair of Science, Technology and Religion The meeting ended with a session about how to organize the future work: Josef volunteered to prepare a first draft to be shared and the other members committed to including their contributions in order to have a first manifest by the end of July. We also agreed on meeting again next February 2018 in Innsbruck in a two days’ workshop. The cluster on Dialogue Science and Religion is on its way. Now it is time for other clusters to follow this fascinating path!
Innsbruck – Student chaplains from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Lithuania and the Czech Republic have met in Innsbruck for an exchange of ideas. Between Vilnius in the north and Luzern in the south, between Luzern in the west and Vilnius in the east the cities Leipzig, Dresden, Bern, München, Zürich, Innsbruck and Graz are located. Confreres working in student ministry coming from these cities met in Innsbruck from 2.2.- 4.2. We, the people involved in the University parish in Innsbruck, Benjamin Furthner SJ, Hernán Rojas SJ and I, we showed our premises, prayed Vespers together with students and settled in for an cosy evening in our Jesuit community. The aim of the meeting was an exchange of ideas, working on a specific chosen topic and questions concerning the future of our work. Whereas in München, Graz, Luzern and Zürich numbers of paid staff are shaping the catholic university parishes, at the other places the students are bearer of church activities and church life. We talked about our strong and weak points, just as joyful surprises and new initiatives and ideas. We read an article concerning the “unusable god” to focus on the question of believers and ministers telling others that god is necessary, but these people apparently not sharing this need of god in their lives. Not even for a so called fulfilling life. What are the opportunities and possibilities of a student ministry considering this fact? We talked about our Jesuit contribution to the upcoming synod of bishops 2018 “youth, faith and vocational discernment”. We Jesuits form a big catholic network which has the possibility to exchange best practice, which led us to pondering how to strengthen this network of Jesuit student chaplains in Europe. In addition to face-to-face encounter in a good mood we also celebrated mass together. Picture: 1st row: P. Christian Braunigger SJ, P. Michael Beschorner SJ; 2nd row: F. Hernán Rojas SJ, P. Ladislav Nosek SJ, P. Albert Holzknecht SJ, P. Martin Rauch SJ, P. Holger Adler SJ, P. Gernot Wisser SJ, P. Franz-Xaver Hiestand SJ, P. Andreas Schalbetter SJ.
Installation Celebration of Paul Desfarges SJ.   Bishop Paul Desfarges SJ, 72, is appointed by Pope Francis Archbishop of Algiers, Algeria, on Saturday, December 24, 2016. He was already apostolic administrator of the diocese of Algiers since last May. On February 10th there has been celebrate an installation mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Africa in Algiers. Born on May 7, 1944 in Saint-Étienne, France, he studied philosophy at the Saint-Irénée diocesan seminary in Lyon. He did his military service as a volunteer in Algeria, where he teached in the diocese of Laghouat. On his return to France (1967), he entered the Society of Jesus in Paris. He studied at the University of Nice where he obtained a doctorate in psychology. Ordained a priest on 14 June 1975, he was sent to Constantine in 1976, where he taught psychology in Arabic at the local university. From 1983 to 2005, he was Vicar General of the diocese of Constantine-Hippo and continued to teach at the University until 2006. He was superior of the Jesuit community in Algiers and director of the Jesuit Spiritual Retirement House until his appointment as Bishop of Constantine on November 21, 2008. On May 23, 2015, Bishop Paul Desfarges became apostolic administrator of the diocese of Algiers following the appointment of Bishop Ghaleb Abdalla Bader as apostolic nuncio in Pakistan.
Andrew Garfield, currently starring as a 17th century Jesuit missionary in the Martin Scorsese film Silence, has been talking about his experience of undertaking a silent retreat at St Beuno’s Spirituality Centre in North Wales. The actor was guest on the Graham Norton Show on BBC One on Friday, alongside Annette Bening, Harriet Harman and Asa Butterfield . Part of the preparation for playing Jesuit priests in the film, Garfield explained, was for fellow actor Adam Driver and himself to immerse themselves in Ignatian Spirituality. Describing Silence as "an amazing film”, he said that Martin Scorsese had made something quite profound. "But, one of things that we did was: we went on a silent retreat in Wales, at a place called St Beuno’s, which is a beautiful Christian retreat house … So, we had about eight days together; we had met each other once in New York ... and then we met each other again in Wales in total silence for seven days!” Andrew Garfield said on the programme that both he and Driver accepted fully the week’s silence and the only way the two actors communicated with each other was through mime; and he seemed surprised that none of the audience-members had ever gone on a silent retreat. “I found it to be a beautiful experience - gorgeous,” he went on, “and I very quickly got used to my own company and … creating a real intimacy with yourself.”Actor and retreatant, Andrew Garfield Shining a light on weaknesses and failings Part of the experience that Garfield found most disturbing was after he and Driver had completed the seven-day retreat. “We lost our minds!” he said, “this was the weird thing. We got into a car together and we had a three-hour car ride to the airport together. And it was just this torrent - this outpouring of the most vile language and imagery. It was if the devil was going: ‘where have you been for the last seven days?’ It was really scary - it was genuinely frightening! And giggling and crying with laughter.” Fr Roger Dawson SJ, the Director of St Beuno’s, said he was not surprised to hear what Andrew Garfield said. “Jesuit spirituality is about ‘finding God in all things’ and when someone comes on retreat, God takes us as we are, warts and all,” he explained. “Usually when people hear about going on a retreat they think it is about peace and tranquillity, which it can be.  But in fact ‘finding God in all things’ means looking at the dark side as well - our weaknesses and failings, as much as (if not more than) our attractive, impressive or even ‘holy’ side … God can shine a light on some of our unattractive areas and say, ‘Look at this!’” Fr Dawson also believed that retreats can be emotionally intense times for a retreatant. “Not everyone might swear, giggle and cry after one, as Garfield said he did, but this may have been his way of releasing the tensions after what he described as a very intense spiritual experience for him.”   You can read Frances Murphy's review of Silence on Thinking Faith, the online journal of the Jesuits in Britian. And the Graham Norton Show is available on BBC iPlayer. The section of the interview with Andrew Garfield in which he recalls his time at St Beuno's starts approximately 36 minutes into the programme.


Sun - Wed
Mar 2017
Safeguarding 2.0 Second meeting of Safeguarding held in Hungary READ MORE
Thu - Fri
Mar 2017
EMR Treasurers meeting Meeting of the treasurers of the South-European Assistance READ MORE
Fri - Sat
Mar - Apr 2017
EMR Provincials meeting Meeting of the Jesuit Provincials of South Europe READ MORE
Sun - Fri
Apr 2017
Formation Delegates Meeting of the European Jesuit Formation Delegates  READ MORE