A special meeting for Jesuit brothers, to get to know each other, to share and to reflect together, took place in Rome, July 1-10, 2022, during the Ignatian Year. Thirty-four brothers were present, as delegates chosen by each Conference, to portray a broad picture of the body of the Society. They came from Chile to Canada, from Congo to Hungary, from Nepal to Australia, as could be observed by the many shades of skin, hair, age – from 30 to 70 – the different stages of formation and the activities of each one: from doctor to teacher, from nurse to vocation leader, from astronomer to student. The recurrent theme of the meeting “The first and most important contribution of a Jesuit brother is the gift of self, freely offered in the service of the Lord”. This is defined in Decree 7 of the 34th General Congregation (1995). “Through probation, which is not only formation, through the experiences he lives and reviews, through his presence and listening, the brother is called to become that prophet who can be a sign for the Society and for all the people he meets,” Giacomo Andreetta, representing the Euro-Mediterranean Province at the meeting highlights. “For the Society he can be a sign of that religious life which in its essence is the joy of proclaiming the Kingdom of God through his life, and for others he can be that bridge that brings one back to the concreteness of life, remaining a friend and, indeed, brother and companion of those who work with him”. There was time to get to know each other, to establish sincere and profound relationships by speaking a common language that was not so much English or Spanish, but the common call to the service of God and men in the Society of Jesus. We did this by having a drink together, visiting Le Camerette of St Ignatius, even sharing the songs of our homelands, in short, truly living a unity in diversity’. Through profound consolation, ideas, insights, and proposals emerged “We were welcomed for a week within the community of the General Curia, not as guests, but as Brothers, an integral part of a group of people who through their hidden work permit the body of the Society to be present in all parts of the world and in so many different areas. We did not end the week with the compilation of a written document, but with the experience of a great consolation. It was a time when the joy of being there and of being Jesuits increased, friendship was born among us, we looked to the future with renewed confidence and hope. We return to our Provinces with ideas, insights and proposals, but we can only share them because of this profound consolation that we received. The Pope’s visit and the image of the shared banquet “To cap it all, we were also graced, at the curia, by the visit of Pope Francis, who wanted to share with us some of his memories and reflections on the Jesuit brothers and the present call of the Society. A simple meal followed, enriched with the gift of an excellent Argentine wine. The Kingdom of God, in its final vision, is a banquet to which we are all invited: in part we have experienced it so that we can also extend it to the many services in which we are involved and to the many people that the Lord places and will place on our paths”.   A PERSONAL REFLECTION BY STEPHEN POWER SJ (BRI) The international meeting of Jesuit brothers was inspired by a long-term missionary to Central Africa, who implored more support for brothers in Africa and in isolated places.  My experience of taking forward that proposal in collaboration with brother delegates from the six Jesuit conferences from around the world was one of the Holy Spirit taking over in finding a way to make it happen.  Fr. General, Arturo Sosa, welcomed delegates to the central Curia of the Society of Jesus with the words, ‘this is your home’! These this is a very consoling sentiment which strengthens the now important understanding that we are all, first and foremost, Jesuit Religious together while some, even if the majority, have functions as priests.  This meeting has provided a rare chance for brother delegates from all around the world to share their experience and discuss improvements in their formation, in understanding their identity and in how better to promote this vocation. The fraternal welcome from all the Curia community has done much to touch the hearts of all the brothers attending, especially some who have a legacy of feeling marginalised in the past.  Already forty-two years in the Society, I am surprised how strongly this meeting with this body of talented Jesuit brothers has strengthened my faith that this vocation of life as a Jesuit Religious and my life-mission can be fulfilled without a need of ordination. The vocation of Jesuit brother can and should offer significant support to our fellow Jesuits who are ordained and who serve the Lord in that function, with all its present-day pressures.
He has a blue hat that he cherishes for its shape and colour, and a great passion for star-wars, art-house films and pizza margherita. Fr. Gabriele Gionti, of class ’67, flips through his big square notebook. “I have to redo this calculation. Here I made a mistake, see….’. I try to compare his notes with what is on the big black board in his study. There’s nothing to be done…I just can’t help him. “I’m from Capua,” he tells me in a very pleasant Campanian accent, ” from where Spartacus started!” “I had my first telescope when I was 12. We used to go up on the roofs of houses to see the starry sky: the moon, several planets, Jupiter and the Medicean satellites, Saturn, the Lyra nebula… huge, fascinating. After high school I wanted to study astronomy, but I realised that I was more inclined towards theoretical physics”. He graduated in Naples and won a doctorate at the Scuola Internazionale Superiore di Studi Avanzati in Trieste. “For my dissertation I worked on gravity and Einstein’s theory. In Trieste I worked on the quantum theory of gravity”. A long discernment In the corridors of the Specola, he indicates to me a collection of meteorites. “This one came from Mars, nobody knows how, it landed in the Moroccan desert”. Events. Some were fundamental for the maturation of his vocation. “I was baptised in the church that used to belong to the Jesuits then passed on to the Capuchins. During catechism I remember feeling happy. I will never forget the freedom of Fr Roberto who spoke of respect and love for the Muslim religion. In the oratory, I experienced the closeness of the Lord”. Then the tumultuous years of adolescence followed, high school, the Marxist philosophy teacher “who said that religion is a superstition”, the search for a new identity, the inability to find concrete answers, everything seemed groundless. “I was changing affectively and relationally. At university I also enrolled in physics to see if studying science could challenge my faith. On the contrary, the more I studied, the more I realised that the God of love I believed in was reconcilable with science. And I understood this more through my heart than through reasoning. In physics I found people with whom I shared certain interests, but I continued to feel the pressure of society: that idyllic world I had been told about was not functioning”. This was during the 1980s. “I was confronted with materialism, hedonism, and I couldn’t reconcile it with what I had experienced as a child. In the 4th year, during the theoretical physics course, a friend who was discerning his vocation told me about a God who was speaking to me, answering my questions. Immediately my heart was opened. He gave me a book Prayers to the Heart of Jesus during the month of June“. The fall from the horse “Something started to change. I was trying to finish my doctoral thesis. It was all very interesting, but I realised that my thesis research would lead to nothing. I looked for a second, more competent supervisor, to write a thesis and research that would lead to something, but I was afraid that this second project of mine would be rejected. It was my fall from the horse. The Lord made me realise that my road to fulfilment was not only through my thesis. Despite serious problems with the first supervisor, out of the pride of both of us, I managed to finish my thesis, which was accepted. It combined quantum gravity and general relativity. But it became clear that science and an academic career were no longer the centre of my life, nor did they only fill my heart. In search of a true vocation, on the web More questions started to surface. “Which vocation should I choose? Marriage? Consecrated life? I was 30 years old. I searched the web: I browsed from the site of the Dominicans to that of the Franciscans and so on. I felt that I would fit into religious life. I found the site of the Italian Province of the Jesuits, set up at that time by Fr Francesco Tata. I was attracted to their spirituality. A book by Teilhard de Chardin helped me understand that the Catholic Church questions itself on significant issues and manages to give profound answers. In the past, I had the impression that the Church gave pre-packaged and dogmatic answers without any regard for contemporary culture. I went to the Gesù Nuovo church in Naples. I contacted Fr Sibilio, then vice provincial of the South. He entrusted me to Fr Armando Gargiulo, who had been the first provincial of Italy. In the meantime, I won a postdoctoral scholarship at the University of California at Irvine. An American Jesuit followed me there for spiritual direction. I returned to Italy for the experience of the Spiritual Exercises in Naples in the Cappella Cangiani house. I spent some time giving service by assisting the sick. Fr. Sibilio also introduced me to the reality of the Vatican Specola. On 4 October 2000 I entered the novitiate”. An arduous journey Those years confirmed the vocation. “I experienced some tensions in community life due to the difference in ages and backgrounds of those present. I matured progressively from a human and affective point of view. I still had questions to which I had found no answers. I went through my philosophy years, then 2 years of Regency in Tucson, Arizona at the Vatican Specola, and 4 years of theology, 3 of which in Berkley and one in Naples. It was a long road, full of ups and downs, in constant dialogue with the Superiors”. My greatest dream “By now my dreams of vainglory had been unmasked and my world view was deeply changed. I used to think that the vocation itself depended very much on me and my decisions, attempting constantly to combine personal interests and possible routes, in reality fearing total reliance on God. Then I became aware that it is God who is choosing and giving me a gift. My affective maturity meant that I could give proper weight to things, for what they are worth, in the knowledge that the Lord’s vocation is worth much more than any dream one might have. I was helped through prayer, the Spiritual Exercises, carefully interpreting the events of life through which God speaks to me and which show me how things stand”. Contemplating the skies There are 15 Jesuits engaged in the research of astronomy and astrophysics at the Specola: 8 at Castel Gandolfo and 7 in Arizona. This mission was entrusted to the Society by the Pope in 1906. The research activity is preceded in the morning by prayer. Then follows the reading of the articles, writing and the contacts with scientific collaborators. “We don’t teach, so we have more time for research but also less incentive and questions to trigger us”. Community life consists of the ‘the 10 o’clock coffee break, meals, the 7 o’clock mass’ and giving service to the inmates of the Velletri prison. Every now and then the eye returns to scrutinising the sky. The domes of the Specola open up and the powerful telescopes take the sight far into the distance. In search of the beginning “We are studying the first instances of the universe after the Big Bang, when the universe is assumed to have been as small as a dot, dense and having very high temperatures. The speed of light is 300,000 km per second. We assume that the maximum speed at that time was zero. We can say very reasonably that the laws that governed the universe in its beginning were those of quantum physics,’ he explains, as stated in the recent theory developed by Don Matteo Galaverni and published in Physical Review D. Science and Faith “To seek and find God in all things. This is the last exercise proposed by St Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises,” he recalls. “Scientific research is this search for those laws by which God works in nature, in which His Son became incarnate, as we find in the Contemplatio ad Amorem. In this way, science becomes a prayer and a way that helps men and women to come closer to God”. The dome protecting the large telescope closes. “Studying the universe reminds me that we are not its centre, that other realities, civilisations, forms of life are possible. It shows me the beauty of this earth, which we are in danger of ruining, and restores the wonder present in the cosmos, creation and its incredible order”. Our sight moves back to earth and sweeps through the simple window, but much brighter and more grateful.
The Jordan Project started in the Spanish Province in 2019, within the framework of UNIJES, investigating the structural causes of abuse in the Church from a theological-spiritual reflection. On 14 July the Jordan Project was presented in Barcelona to the General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa. Together with our Provincial, Antonio España, he was given a first-hand presentation of the work being done in the specific area of Universal Apostolic Preference 2: "To walk alongside the poor, the outcasts of the world, those whose dignity has been violated in a mission of reconciliation and justice [...] To contribute to the elimination of abuses inside and outside the Church". The meeting brought together the heads of the Jesuit research, prevention and intervention of abuse in the Church (Susana Pradera-Safe Environment and Valeska Ferrer-Jordan Project) and two members of the Jordan Project (JP) team based in Barcelona (Sandra Racionero and Oriol Quintana). The meeting was a confirmation of the work being done. Father General expressed his satisfaction with the focus of the project, by addressing both causes and solutions from different disciplines, and was pleased with the international presence that is already being generated. Fr. Arturo Sosa stressed the importance of the cultural change to which we are called to overcome abuse, a change to which we can contribute from what we have already begun to glimpse in the Jordan Project: the necessary theological and Ignatian reflection of theological and ecclesial categories from the meetings with the victims themselves, offenders and members of institutions, through the instruments we are deploying such as the survey of the Province, interviews and successful actions in overcoming abuse based on scientific evidence of social impact.  In the words of Susana Pradera and Valeska Ferrer: "It was a meeting in which we vibrated in the same feeling, in a common resonance both in the concerns and in the hopes of the mission to which we feel called and to which we are called. It was a reason for serene joy, for sustained peace".
An American priest of Hungarian and Polish origin, his English bishop in the European Anglican Diocese in Brussels, an Anglican community in Budapest, and a joint ecumenical project with the Hungarian Jesuits to assist the refugees in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. Read further for the fruitful results of this most colourful combination. “The Jesuits taught me how to think.” It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of the previous utterance in a man’s life. Namely reverend dr. Frank Hegedűs’s, who completed his undergraduate studies in 1971 at the Jesuit Saint Louis University in the United States, and has been serving as pastor and area dean of Saint Margaret’s Anglican Episcopal Church in Hungary for the past decade. He has had several occasions to work with Hungarian Jesuits, mostly conducting weddings and baptism. No wonder, when it came to considering an ecumenical partnership to assist the Ukrainian refugees, he immediately thought of the members of the Society of Jesus. Reverend Frank then contacted the Jesuit director of the Hungarian Jesuit Refugee Service, Szabolcs Sajgó SJ, and proposed a professional and financial cooperation. His initiative is based upon this year’s Lent and Easter appeal of Robert Innes, bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Europe, to assist people in need. “My annual Lent appeal normally goes just to members of our Diocese and it usually raises about 15,000 euros. This year’s appeal was extended to include Easter. We teamed up with an Anglican mission agency, advertised it around the Anglican world, and as a result we raised more than 300,000 euros. People responded with great generosity”, says the bishop. The key factor of the success was the fact that this year’s collection focused on the needs of Ukrainians affected by the war. Since the work of the diocese in Ukraine is limited, the best way to help was via other ecumenical partners with humanitarian operations in Ukraine. The diocese made donations to Caritas, and then came father Frank Hegedűs’s initiative to collaborate with the Jesuits. “They have a fine reputation for evangelism and education and a commitment to social justice. I have particularly appreciated working with Jesuit colleagues in Brussels in the ecumenical ‘Chapel for Europe’, which serves EU officials”, explains bishop Robert why he resonated to the cooperation at once. As far as the project itself is concerned, it aims to build a garden pavilion for refugees in Uzhhorod at the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine. One of the partner organisations of the Hungarian Jesuit Refugee Service is the local Catholic College, which, since the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war, has been inhabited by more than sixty refugees. Since its garden is quite unusable for refugees, the locals started to build a bigger garden pavilion – with a heating-cooling system, independent of gas –, where community life can take place. Besides, the chapel of the college, which is a place for prayer for refugees as well, needs refurbishment and furniture, thus the whole project costs 6300 euros, of which USPG covers 5000 euros. “The project should help Ukrainians not to leave the country if it is not absolutely needed. And as we know, it is much better to stay in the homeland than to become a refugee out of the country”, summarizes father Szabolcs Sajgó.
Time to be grateful for what we have experienced.  168 young people from the Ignatian network have experienced a MAG+S summer. In addition, 21 of them participated in the Sentido Sur experiences. The search for meaning and the encounter with others continue to mark the roadmap of these experiences in a summer, that of 2022, marked by the return to the pre-pandemic dynamic.  14 experiences in Spain and 4 international ones during the months of July and August have made up the MAG+S mosaic of this summer 2022.  The Sentido Sur experiences have finally returned after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. Bolivia, Cameroon, Chad and Peru have been the destinations of a journey that actually began in January with the training meetings.  The social realities they have come to know in these countries have opened new horizons and shortened distances, towards a global and common fraternity. Nor have they finished now, as they will do so in a few months, with a few days of spiritual retreat in Loyola to go over what they have experienced again in their hearts.  Back in Spain, the volunteers have taken their service to Apertas (Santiago), Atalaya (Burgos), Construyendo Puentes (Almería), Encuentro y Reconciliación (San Sebastián), Jóvenes solidarios ODN (Granada), Pinos Puente (Granada), Servir más en la Frontera (Melilla), Servir más Málaga and Servir más San Fran (Bilbao).  The MAG+S circle, the summer notebook, personal prayer, knowledge and training in social problems and living together in simplicity are some of the common keys to all the experiences.  The Spiritual Exercises in Javier and Re-Cordar have been the experiences aimed at discernment and a deepening of faith. But they are joined by other proposals that add a special feature to this summer of following Jesus. They are Vivir con Deportividad, which brings together sportsmen and women who want to continue searching through faith, and Servir más Valladolid, which helps to understand a little more about the relationship between the care of creation and the care of people, based on ecology and welcome.  In addition, for all those who would like to follow in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius in his conversion, groups of pilgrims have continued to open in Ignatius Challenge this summer. An online experience that continues to add pilgrims from all over the world, bringing the total number of pilgrims since January to 1904.  After two years of minimums, the young people have been able to live again with intensity and fullness experiences that leave a mark. They will return to them during their process of faith, from memory, promoting personal and community growth that will undoubtedly bear fruit.  To find out more about the summer experiences, you can consult this link on the MAG+S website and social media @pastoralmagis.  Jesuitas España
The Jesuits in Britain join with the country in sadness at the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, and remember her and her family in their prayers. They also pay tribute to the life of the Queen, her dedication to duty, and her strong Christian faith, which sustained her during her many decades of service to the UK and the Commonwealth. The Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Britain, Father Damian Howard said: “No-one could fail to be impressed by Her Majesty’s faithful and selfless dedication to public service. Her Christian faith, about which she spoke so eloquently in the latter years of her reign, was central to her understanding of her role as Head of State. The strength she found in Christ helped to hold the people of this country together in a surprisingly humble way. The Jesuits pray for her in death as they did during her life. May she rest in peace.”  During her long reign, the Queen met British Jesuits on several occasions, in particular visiting Jesuit schools where HM heard more about the Ignatian ethos that inspires teachers and pupils. Those school communities remember the Queen’s visits fondly, and join with the rest of the country in praying for her, and her family. Photo: The Queen visiting Beaumont College in 1961


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Oct 2022

General Assembly of JCEP General Assembly of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, taking place in Piestany, Slovakia READ MORE
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Spirituality Centres Network Meeting of the directors of spirituality centres in Europe and the Middle East. The meeting takes place in Malta. READ MORE
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Xavier Network Meeting of the members of the Xavier Network in Paris READ MORE
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Retreat European Schools Retreat of the Religion Teachers of the European Schools in Brussels READ MORE