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The Passion for Europe Session brought together participants from over 17 nationalities. The Session, held at La Pareille Centre from 24-26 September, gathered almost 50 participants from diverse backgrounds and keynote speakers of the EU institutions, NGOs and churches to discuss the Future of Europe in preparation of the Conference on the Future of Europe. The session started with Mr. Alain Lamassoure introductory speech on the "Past and future of European Borders". The Chair of the Governing Board of the Council of Europe highlighted that the main key of the future of the EU will be its relationship with Africa. Mr. Lamassoure reminded the participants that all nations are redesigned by war and that the duty of current leaders is to convey and handover to the next generation the importance of learning from the past to design the future. The former French Minister and MEP quoted George Orwell's: "Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past." Mr. Alain ended his intervention mentioning that the need for a common identity was never so high and that "if there is political will, everything is possible".  On Saturday, the day started with the Session "Beyond borders" and with the intervention of Mr. Gyula Ocskay, General Secretary of CESCI (the Central European Service for Cross-border Initiatives) and Ms. Victoria Martin de la Torre. Mr. Gyula discussed cross-border regionalism and cross-border cooperation and Ms. Victoria presented how the roots of the founding fathers of the EU, their faith and values can inspire more the union and its future today. Mr. Philippe Lamberts, Belgian politician serving as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), and chair of the Green group of the Parliament, moved the audience by sharing his vision in the Session "Future of Europe", and expressed hope as a Christian despite the urgency to face Climate change while the pace is not sufficient and the 'Fit for 55' EU package targets could be more ambitious. In his keynote address, Mr. Lamberts stressed the importance of implementing effective tax rates for multinational corporations and rent seekers, he explained the difference between capitalism and the free market, and the enforcement of European values among the youth. At the end of each Session, the participants were divided in multinational groups to discuss the main conclusions of the keynotes speeches. On the last day, Botond Feledy, Director of the European Leadership Programme (ELP), presented the draft contribution of Passion's For Europe Session to the Conference on the Future of Europe.
Encounter programs The Jesuit community of the Holy Land proposes a series of encounter programs to get to know better the three great religious traditions of the Holy Land: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. A period of ten days spent with the Jesuit community in Jerusalem provides the occasion to study in depth each one of these religious traditions, encountering members of the religious community and visiting their central sites and the institutions that they administer. In the course of the program, members of the Jesuit community share their experiences and knowledge of these communities in the context of the Holy Land today. More about the Encounter programs   Jesuit programs 2022 Jerusalem lay at the heart of Ignatius’ life journey. He visited the Holy Land and Jerusalem as a pilgrim in 1523, and it remained the destination for him and for the first companions at their vows at Montmartre in 1534, had Divine Providence not led them otherwise. The encounter with Christ through the Gospels — asking for “interior knowledge of the Lord, who for me has become man, that I may love and follow him more” [Spir. Ex. 104] — lie at the very heart of the Exercises. As for Ignatius, the encounter with Christ takes places in history, in a particular land. A God who encounters humanity in history, through the Incarnation. Walking and praying the Holy Land is a powerful reminder of this truth. More about the Jesuit programs 2022 More information on the Jesuits in the Holy Land here Download the complete program 
Called to walk closer with the Excluded, the social apostolate delegates met in Toulouse for the annual networking meeting. While some delegates were able to join online only, most of us arrived on September 22nd enjoying the wonderful hospitality of the Jesuit community as well as the hosting families. Families from the “Welcome” project of JRS France hosted us generously in their homes – as they do migrants within Welcome – while during the day we held our meetings and journeyed to the various works of social apostolate (SA) in the region. Jérôme Gué SJ, the EOF Province SA Delegate and our host, first organised a visit to the ICAM campus (Institut Catholique d'Arts et Métiers) and its Production School. This school offers an exemplary commitment to the integration, formation and employment of young people aged 15 to 18 with little to no qualifications, while ICAM too continues strongly rooted in the Ignatian tradition, offering quality higher education and the professional formation to its students in collaboration with local companies and businesses. In Toulouse, the SA Jesuits are involved in other projects such as ARPEJ (Accompagner vers la Réussite les Parents Et les Jeunes). The volunteers in this project accompany young people in difficulty through Ignatian pedagogy, support for schooling and professional development in the heart of working-class neighbourhoods. After staying at the ARPEJ workshop, we met representatives of the Muslim community in the Bagatelle neighbourhood and visited their mosque. We learned about their shared projects with the local Catholic parish and Jesuit Community, such as the food bank, common meetings and beyond. We concluded our annual meeting with the final Mass and festive couscous dinner, inviting over our collaborators and friends. Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, the SA Secretary in Rome, introduced the festivity with his testimony and sharing on the life and work of Fr. Stan Swamy. We felt special gratitude towards Jérôme for such a wonderful welcome, organisation and exposure to the works of social apostolate in Toulouse, the families and the community. As a network of Delegates, we were able to learn from one another and share about the projects, work and plans of SA in each of our Provinces. In addition, we were pleased to see that, if we want, we can offset the (plane travel) carbon footprint by taking the train instead. Finally, we have taken a number of steps towards the organisation of the Justice and Ecology Congress that we prepare together with other JCEP Justice networks. The Congress will take place in Loyola from March 28th to April 1st of 2022. Peter Rožič SJ
Mr Frank Beyersdörfer has been appointed as Safeguarding Assistant for the Central European Province by the Provincial Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ. As assistant of the Provincial he shall support the Province, the ministries and communities in drawing up protection concepts, or in further developing and coordinating the existing ones. In a double interview for the JESUITEN magazine, he talks with Fr Klaus Mertes SJ about the challenges and opportunities of his new task. Mr Beyersdörfer, can you briefly describe what your job is? Beyersdörfer: It is a very large province with six countries. At the moment, the job is to ask all the communities and all the directors of works whether the members of the community or the employees in the institutions have completed prevention training and whether there are protection concepts in the institutions. After that, we will certainly ask ourselves again how and on what levels do we need prevention? Father Mertes, what do you expect from the new Safeguarding Assistant of your Order? Mertes: I think the question of coordinating the many activities that already exist is important. There are institutions that have already done a lot. And there are some that have done very little. And there are some Jesuits who do not work in institutions. There the question is, what would be a safeguarding concept here? It is good if order is actually created. But I am now speaking from the German perspective within the Province with the regions of Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Lithuania and Latvia. We have to come together and tell each other our stories. Learning from each other is one of the most important tasks of prevention work. What would you both say it takes to be a good Safeguarding Assistant for the Jesuits? Beyersdörfer: I think it is about creating sensitivity to power relations. Sometimes a person first has to realize that they have power and a privileged position. But it also takes a certain standing, getting people on board. Many agree very much, but there are also people who say "I don't want to have anything to do with that" or "I've had enough". And then they can say "No, this is important now!". And there is also a Roman level from which a certain expectation also comes. Mertes: What bothers me about the Roman expectation is that they only talk about safeguarding and not about processing.  So I expect a safeguarding assistant to understand the difference and the connection between prevention, reappraisal and intervention. What are the challenges that Mr Beyersdörfer will face when you look at the Province members? Mertes: Of course, he will also encounter strategies of denial and defensive attitudes in the order. A classic one is to say "I will not allow myself to be placed under general suspicion". It is quite helpful if the structure of looking the other way is made clear to them and not only the potential perpetrators are taken into consideration. Then colleagues/fellow brothers open up to the big question: What do I do if a fellow Jesuit somehow likes to take young people home in his private car in the evening? That is part of the problem, the bystander system. When it comes to the topic of "sexualised violence", people often only look at the work with children... Beyersdörfer: Exactly, that's how I came to this activity in the first place. The former Provincial of the German Province, Fr Johannes Siebner SJ, approached me because I was involved in retreat work. He was not primarily interested in the schools, because they are now quite well established. He wanted to focus primarily on pastoral care. Mertes: I think it is important to look at the symptoms of assault. Let me give you an example. A few years ago I received a letter from a person who had been admitted to a Jesuit group without being asked during the introductory round. The confrere was not aware of the problem at all. If you both look at the past 11 years from both your points of view. What does the Church and the Order need? Beyersdörfer: Cultural change, change of consciousness, change of mentality, these terms would be very important to me. And this is independent of whether it will give us great charisma and make us credible again, but simply because it also serves the cause of Jesus. Mertes: If we succeed in changing the culture of 'dealing with each other' in the sense of a greater sensitivity for power asymmetries and appropriate behaviour, we can also have the side effect of changing something in church and social culture. The leaven motif, so to speak. A worldwide conference of the Jesuit Order recently addressed the questions, what helps to understand the causes and how can a culture of protection be developed? Mertes: The truth. Seeing and acknowledging the bitter truth within one's own ranks. Then the motivation is there to really want to understand. And from that comes the cultural change. I have lived in St. Blasien for the last ten years, in a community where many were over 80 years old. At most, the topic could be addressed in a general way in the community. Because when it came to the question of what was going on with us in St Blasien, the conversation fell silent. In a way, this changes the whole view of her biography. It is incredibly painful to change this view again in old age. Perhaps one should also proceed in a generation-specific way. What would you say is needed for this successful reappraisal? Beyersdörfer: We have to be careful not to treat a "topic" or to instrumentalize people to make the Jesuits look good again. But what does it mean not to do that? I would say the way is inward: Self-reflection, conversations. Mertes: I distinguish between personal and institutional reappraisal. Many of those affected, who do not want to appear in public at all, are reconciled as a result of the individual discussions. I recently received a letter from a former student who thanked me after six years of talks. Now suddenly his nightmares are gone. Institutionally, the issue is justice for the victims. A lot has already been achieved if we develop procedures through which something like justice can be approximated. For example, we have joined the compensation scheme of the German Bishops' Conference. That is one result. I think that is good. The same applies to the question of enlightenment. We have clarified in some areas. This includes a publication that protects the personal rights of those affected as well as those of the accused. A lot has been done, but a lot can still be done. From your point of view, what still needs to happen? Mertes: I would be interested in a historical reappraisal. I'm speaking for Canisius College. One would have to look again at the history of the Eastern German Province. Some Jesuits were not perpetrators, but victims of assaults. The whole difficulty of speaking is also connected to one's own culture of origin. In this sense, I found the model of reappraisal that was run in Münster with a church historian really a very helpful additional work. Another thing that I would be very interested in. That is the relationship between leadership and therapy: Directors of works saw themselves more as therapists for their confreres. I don't think there is a cultural movement behind this in the sense of assigning blame, which has led to the blatant misconduct of leaders. These are questions that could be dealt with historically. Beyersdörfer: Yes, what were the narratives back then?  A historical reappraisal can help us to question our own current attitudes. Is it conceivable, Mr Beyersdörfer, that those affected will play a role in your concept for Safeguarding? Beyersdörfer: I think it is conceivable. There are people who do not want to meet Jesuits personally. But I can imagine that within the Ignatian context there are persons concerned who would be willing to tell their story, perhaps anonymously, and would agree that they could be used as case studies in certain training contexts. Mertes: Nothing is more helpful for prevention than letting those affected speak. I think it is worth considering whether, after ten years, we might not have reached the point where we can integrate the voice of those affected, taking into account their interests in protection. What is your goal, where should the Order be in five years? Beyersdörfer: It should once again have become much more sensitive to the asymmetries of power. A change in consciousness should be perceptible, visible and tangible. This double interview first appeared in the JESUITEN magazine. Jesuits ECE
The celebration of the first online meeting on last September 16 marked the launch of this new research group of the Kircher Network’s HEST programme (Higher Education for Social Transformation). This HEST cluster was established as part of the second phase of the programme. It will seek to develop research on the phenomenon of secularization in Europe, stressing an interdisciplinary approach and a comparative perspective. The group is coordinated by Prof Dr Ignacio Sepúlveda of Loyola Andalusia University, with the support of Sergio Gadea SJ as secretary. Eleven researchers from nine universities and centres members of the network participated in the meeting. The President (Philip Geister, SJ) and the Executive Secretary of the Kircher (Susana Di Trolio) also attended the event. The delegates discussed the project proposal and the three research topics: Multiple secularities in Europe. Best ways and lessons learned in transmitting faith in the different secularized societies present in Europe. Relationship and contributions of spirituality and religion to European societies’ democratic dimension. The group will also seek to transfer their research results to civil societies, especially to the pastoral works of the Jesuit provinces and other Catholic pastoral works. The researchers also agreed on a work plan for the following year. The road map will include three online seminars on the major research themes and an in-person colloquium. Our thanks to the Loyola University Andalusia, especially to Dr Sepúlveda for coordinating this new HEST Cluster on Secularization in Europe.
From September to July, Fr general will give a monthly special message as a companion to his book for the Ignatian Year “Walking with Ignatius”. The aim is to help people to a prayerful experience. Watch the first video to join Fr General as he reflects on the Society, the Church and World. In the pilot episode, Fr Sosa urges us to testify to others how God moves in our lives. He asks us, “Would you dare?” “Today, in the midst of a reality that is presented as full of signs of discord and division, testimonies of profound humanity, of committed faith, and of a brotherhood capable of breaking down walls and building bridges continue to emerge,” he says. “We know that, like St Ignatius of Loyola, there are men and women today who bear witness to the presence of God in the midst of history. Witnesses who make each simple gesture a proof that kindness and love will prevail.” At the end of the video, Fr Sosa invites us to pray personally and as a community with the prayer points at the end of the first chapter of the book.

UPCOMING EVENTS

26-27
Tue - Wed
Oct 2021

JECSE GA General Assembly of Jesuit European Committee for primary and Secondary Education READ MORE
3-7
Wed - Sun
Nov 2021

Formation Delegates Meeting Meeting of the European network of Formation delegates. Meeting takes place in Rome READ MORE
15-19
Mon - Fri
Nov 2021

Treasurers Meeting Meeting of the European network of Treasurers. It takes place in Madrid, Spain. READ MORE
21
Sun
Nov 2021
BIRKIRKARA
Malta
Final Vows Fr. Christopher Vella (EUM) will pronounce his Final Vows at the chapel of St Aloysius’ College, B’Kara at 6:30 pm  READ MORE