Dear friends, After a month in office, supported by a friendly and efficient team, I am gradually discovering the many different aspects of our European Conference. Some significant movements took place in the team of companions based in Brussels: José-Ignacio Garcia took over JRS Europe and Peter Rožič from Slovenia took over JESC and became the coordinator for social apostolate in Europe. He celebrated his 40th birthday on the day of his arrival in the European capital - that's a good sign! We are happy to welcome him. Hence, I can confidently say that all the Common Works of the Conference are in good hands. During my brief journey until now,  I have been going from discovery to discovery, with the intention of participating in as many meetings as possible in order to gain the most complete view possible of the panorama of the Conference's activities. Due to the constraints of the agenda, I have already had to skip the recent meeting of European delegates for the social apostolate in Bilbao. I'm sorry about that and hope to be there next year. However, together with the other Presidents of the Conferences, I took part in the Enlarged Council (Consiglio Allargato) of Father General at the beginning of September.  The Tempo Forte was rich both in terms of content and process. Speaking of content, I particularly welcomed the time spent deepening the themes of reconciliation and apostolic preferences for our universal Society. In terms of process, in the vein of GC 36, the Spiritual Conversation on the proposed points permeated our exchanges. This is how we pursue the goal of forming a discerning body together. I was also happy to attend the opening of the Tertianship in Dublin. Never has a year been so diverse. Among the 11 tertians, only 4 are from our Conference. Companions from Africa, China, the United States and India are gaining interest in our offer. Being President of the Conference also involves other presidencies. For example, at my first meeting with the JECSE (European Jesuit schools network) board, I met with an extremely motivated team of people. JECSE is still looking for a director. Take note candidates! Likewise, I discovered the rich reality of the Xavier Network, which is a good example of the impetus that collaboration between Provinces can give to the service of the common good and solidarity. Two days with the cluster on Ignatian Studies allowed me to better perceive the potential of the HEST (Higher Education for Social Transformation) project. Finally, at the beginning of October, with the Provincial of the Near East and the Assistant of Western Europe, we will go and meet our two companions living in Ankara. Their difficult and isolated mission requires support. I am pleased to be able to count on a competent and wise Consult. We met in Brussels to finalize the greatest event of the month - our annual meeting of Major Superiors in Ludwigshafen in the presence of Father General from 14 to 19 October. There are so many topics that are likely to be on the agenda. My wish is that, far from being obsessed by the quantity of subjects to tackle, we may live a little bit of the grace of Venice that came out so clearly during GC 36, that is to say to be an apostolic body of Companions, friends in the Lord, discerning together the Lord's call and his mission in the midst of the world and its uncertainties. Pray for me. For my part, I entrust to the Lord our Europe as it finds its bearings, and each of our Provinces and Regions. May we experience the joy of being called to be part of the universal body of the Society.
Nürnberg - Birmingham  - Prešov. First vows of six Novices in Nürnberg. Nürnberg – Six Novices pronounced their first vows in the Society of Jesus on 10th of September in Nürnberg: For the German Province S. Manfred Grimm, Br. Arndt Gysler and S. Dag Heinrichowski; for the Lithuanian Province S. Lukas Ambraziejus, for the Hungarian Province Br. Ferenc Kiss and for the Swiss Province S. Mathias Werfeli. It was the first celebration for the common Novitiate for the German, Austrian, Swiss, Hungarian and Lithuanian Provinces. The Hungarian Provincial Fr. Elemér Vízi was the principal celebrant in the church St. Klara; the Provincials Fr. Bernhard Bürgler (Austria) and Fr. Vidmantas Šimkūnas (Lithuania) concelebrated, the German Provincial Fr. Johannes Siebner gave the homily. Fr.Toni Kurmann was the representative for the Swiss Province. Lukas Ambraziejus (born 1995 in Kaunas, Lithuania) and Manfred Grimm SJ (born 1992 in Friedberg near Augsburg, Bavaria) will start with their philosophical studies in Munich. Mathias Werfeli SJ (born 1977 in Basel, Switzerland) will start the integrated cycle of Philosophy und Theology at Centre Sèvres/Paris. Arndt Gysler SJ (born 1981 in Germersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate) will collaborate in the youth pastoral in Hamburg, and Dag Heinrichowski SJ (born 1991 in Hamburg, Germany) will collaborate in the youth pastoral in Berlin. Ferenc Kiss SJ (born 1991 in Hungary) will start a catechetical Formation and do social work in Budapest. Three new Jesuits take first vows in Birmingham. We congratulate the three Jesuit novices took their first vows at St Mary’s Church, Harborne, Birmingham on Saturday. The novices have completed their two years in formation at the Novice House in Birmingham which looks after novices from the three Jesuit provinces of North West Europe - Britain, Ireland and Flanders-Netherlands. Taking vows were two novices from Britain: Christopher Brolly and Stephen Noon, and Teodor Avram from Ireland. Presiding at the mass was Fr Provincial Damian Howard. Fr Bruce Bradley, representing the Provincial of Ireland, and Fr Walter Ceyssens, representing the Regional Superior of the European Low Countries concelebrated with Fr Simon Bishop, Fr Brendan Callaghan and Fr Kevin O’Rourke, who have all served as Novice Masters over the past two years. In his Homily Fr Damian described how the noviciate prepares men for life as a Jesuit: "What we do is to build up a man’s dreams about a life of love and selflessness, cramming his imagination with stories of Jesuits who were brave martyrs, intrepid explorers, brilliant scientists, accomplished artists and all sorts of other things. And then we place a broom in his hands and tell him to sweep the leaves in the drive. And, to add insult to injury, we tell him to him to find God in it." Fr Damian reflected on the temptation to follow in the path of the past heroes of our shared Jesuit heritage, but reminded us of the need to work in close partnership or true communion with others in order to fulfill our mission: "the vows are really pathways to communion. I close my arms around no one person because I open to all. I live a simple life because I depend on the generosity of benefactors, because I’m accountable to my companions and want to be closer to the poor. And I’m obedient because sometimes others know me better than I know myself and see where I can do most good. Teodor, Stephen and Christopher have all learned not to try to be heroes; you won’t catch them preening themselves, calculating their way to the next triumph, indifferent to the little ones who stand in their way. They know the real call is communion. They have become men who know how little they are and how little they can accomplish on their own. But they also know that together with God, gathered together by God, they can do anything." After the mass the novitiate community hosted a party for the novices, their families, and friends and the many Jesuits from around North West Europe who had travelled to witness the occasion. Please pray for Christopher, Stephen and Teodor as they begin Philosophy studies in France and Canada as Jesuit scholastics, and for the three new novices who have joined the novitiate this month to begin their Jesuit journey. First vows of three novices in Slovakia. The 7th of September at the SVK province meeting in Prešov, during the Eucharist celebrated by the Provincial, Fr. Rudolf Uher SJ, and in the presence of the Czech Provincial, Fr. Josef Stuchlý SJ, the second-year novices from the common Czech-Slovakian novitiate in Ružomberok, Slovakia, took their first vows: Fr. Branislav Dado SJ (SVK), Sch. Matej Sandtner SJ (SVK), Sch. Vojtěch Fojt SJ (BOH).
St Thomas Institute in Moscow. On June 23, almost 50 students in five different educational curricula received their graduation diplomas. Such an unusually large number (for our capacities) was due to the fact that both two biennial (Theology, Psychology & Spirituality) and three one-year programs (Art & Spirituality, Christology, and a shortened version of Psychology & Spirituality) were finished in the Spring 2017 semester. The graduation day is always the occasion to share the gratitude and the wealth of experience of studying at STI, as well as the moment to celebrate – for example, by enjoying the delicious cake with STI logo, prepared by one of the students! Here are the words of Anna Menner, a graduate of the Psychology & Spirituality program (and the professional translator into Russian of many books in psychology and spirituality), who now continues to deepen her knowledge in this field, taking advanced courses in the new curriculum: “For me, studying at STI is another step in discovering the complex reality of the human person… I want to understand how the spiritual and the psychological principles interact within us; how the human person should be treated in a holistic way, without detracting any of the aspects of his or her inner world; how to help those who suffer from emotional and behavioral problems stemming from their childhood traumas, and those who have a false image of God and are unable to accept His love.” In 2017/18 academic year we offer two advanced curricula in Theology & Art (entitled “Theological Thought in Images of Art”) and Psychology & Spirituality (with the name “Personal and Spiritual Growth: Guidelines and Paths”). On September 9, about 17 students in each of the programs have begun attending classes (or continue from the previous year). As a novelty, from October 2017 we will start offering some courses online through a distance-learning technology (“webinars”). This way we respond to numerous requests to make our curricula available to those who cannot attend our Institute in person. The first such course is entitled “The Christian Witness and Identity in the East and in the West: Past and Present” and will consist of a series of ten online sessions. In perspective, we expect this new branch of our academic activity to grow considerably and become a priority for us.
ROME - Pope Francis’s right hand man on migration is calling for legal and secure channels to guarantee that tomorrow’s migratory movements aren’t marked by the “travesty” of human trafficking. He also urged nations to recognize the “forces of demand,” such as labor below minimum national standards that makes human trafficking “very profitable.” Jesuit Father Michael Czerny said that the migration process often begins with “high hopes and expectations” for a better future, but that since “regular and affordable routes are generally not available, many migrants employ smugglers.” Traffickers, he said, can “easily take advantage of the desperation of migrants and asylum seekers,” after which they end up in an irregular or undocumented status, which puts them at further risk of being exploited and enslaved. Czerny - handpicked by Pope Francis to be Undersecretary of the Section for Migrants and Refugees at the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development - was speaking at a United Nations’ Fifth Thematic Session on the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration on Monday. The topic of the session is: “Smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrants and trafficking victims.” The priest also said that factors contributing to vulnerability, such as “poverty, statelessness, joblessness, lack of education, discrimination of women and girls, do not in and of themselves necessarily lead to trafficking.” It’s the combination of factors, “mutually reinforcing each other,” that increases the vulnerability. Here, the prelate called on societies of the countries of destination for immigrants to recognize the role they play, through the forces of demand, “for example, for prostitution, or for labor below the minimum national standards - that are at work domestically to make human trafficking very profitable.” Human trafficking is the world’s third most profitable illegal industry, after drug trafficking and the arms trade. The low estimate puts the numbers of yearly victims of trafficking at 21 million, half of whom are women and 28 percent children, most of them girls. A great number of them become slaves. “Slavery must not be an unavoidable aspect of economies,” Czerny said on Monday. “Instead, business should be in the vanguard in combating and preventing this travesty.” The prelate then praised the meeting for focusing on trafficking and contemporary slavery in the migration scenario, one which he said, quoting Francis, is sadly characterized by “new forms of slavery imposed by criminal organizations, which buy and sell men, women, and children.” Czerny praised the “great achievements” of international agreements, which have helped asylum seekers and migrants, but acknowledged that despite these, many “are still and ever more vulnerable, especially to criminal organizations.” As representative of the Holy See, he called on nations to guarantee assistance to victims of these crimes - trafficking and slavery in all its forms - providing them with psychological counseling and other support and rehabilitation. Victims, Czerny said, should be allowed to stay in the country for the duration of their therapy and have their stay extended with the opportunity to work. Once again quoting Francis, the Canadian Jesuit said, “We ought to recognize that we are facing a global phenomenon which exceeds the competence of any one community or country. In order to eliminate it, we need a mobilization comparable in size to that of the phenomenon itself.” For this matter, he urged not only political bodies to come together to face the migrant crisis, which in Europe has long been labeled the worst since WWII, but also business, academia, civil society, and communities of faith.
European Delegates Apostleship of Prayer meet in Vienna. The Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network is the new name of the Apostleship of Prayer. European representatives met in Vienna from 21-25 September. 29 delegates representing national teams attended the gathering which was facilitated by Fr Frederic Fornos SJ, who was appointed as International Director of the network in July 2016 by Pope Francis. Fr Frederic outlined the process of recreation of the Apostleship of Prayer as the Pope’s Worldwide Network since 2010. This process included the adoption of a new logo and vision for the network and the creation of digital tools such as The Pope Video, a ninety-second clip in which Pope Francis introduces his monthly intention; and Click to Pray, an app to encourage young people to pray at three moments of the day, that includes challenges to live out the Pope’s monthly intentions. Pope Francis entrusts to the network these intentions, which address the challenges facing humanity and assists the mission of the Church. In January 2017 the Pope specifically asked all Catholics to participate in the network. The Pope’s intentions “call our attention to the worldwide issues that preoccupy the Pope”, Fr Frederic remarked, explaining that praying with the Pope for his monthly intentions is not meant to be done alone but with others. “It is an outward act, which is connected to the world and opens oneself to the other”, he said. According to Fr. Frederic “prayer is oriented apostolically towards the world”, and in this way it should lead people to encounter others and “get out of the culture of indifference”. Digital services alone are not sufficient for the recreation of the Apostleship of Prayer, Fr. Frederic asserted, explaining that “we must meet people in the parishes”. Mission to the Parishes is the next step of the recreation process. We need to go out into the world and find the missionary spirit that the Apostleship of Prayer had in the beginning, he said, explaining that the goal of the network is “to help people to be available and ready for the service of the mission of Jesus Christ in their daily lives”, as outlined in ‘A pathway with Jesus in apostolic readiness’ the document approved by Pope Francis in 2014, which describes the re-creation process. Directors of the network in each country presented about where they are in the recreation process of the Apostleship of Prayer as the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.
Ignatian youth meeting in Portugal. Around 40 Jesuits and more than 300 young people gathered in Cernache, Portugal between the 1st and 3rd September. The idea was to reflect together on Pope Francis’ recent visit to Fatima on the special occasion of the centenary of the apparitions. The opening on Friday was as artistic as impressive, with music, canoes on the lake, lanterns, coloured powders and even fireworks. This introduced participants to the meeting’s theme: “I need to feel you close”, an appeal taken from Pope Francis’ message in Fatima. He then continues by inviting the Portuguese people to be “one heart and one mind” with him. For bedtime reflection, participants had a panel share its impressions and testimonies of the Pope’s visit. Throughout the weekend, morning and evening prayers were a harmonious mixture of silence and music. An exceptional choir guided these moments, with all those gathered, singing and praying in perfect communion. On Saturday morning, it was time for individual prayer followed by a moment of sharing in groups. Participants then had the chance to take part in one of the workshops, according to their age group. Topics varied greatly, ranging from the daily examen to ecology and from the Pope’s hidden prayer life to the refugee crisis. At night, a vigil of adoration and reconciliation , united the group in prayer with Pope Francis, as together they contemplated God’s infinite mercy. The day ended with an open air concert, thanks to some in-house talents who put a very lively atmosphere. On the last day, more people were invited to join the youth meeting. After talks to different age groups on the theme The Church, servant, as Christ, Father Provincial José Frazão Correia offered to give his testimony and answer to questions. Finally, the announced celebration and closure of the meeting was the ceremony of Fr José Maria Brito SJ’s last vows. A beautiful outdoor Holy Mass crowded with the three hundred participants plus his friends and family. To sum up, a great weekend. Jesuits and youth gathered on the Pope’s request to be with him. On an environment of celebration and prayer, lots of encounters, re-encounters and emotions.

UPCOMING EVENTS

16-20
Mon - Fri
Oct 2017
BRAZIL
International Congress JECSE International Congress for Jesuit Education Delegates READ MORE
21
Sat
Oct 2017
BUDAPEST
Hungary
Ordination Gábor Bellovics will be ordained priest by the bishop of Győr (Hungary) in our Church. READ MORE
6-9
Mon - Thu
Nov 2017
MANRESA
Spain
JUPC Jesuits in University Pastoral READ MORE
3
Sun
Dec 2017
LYON
France
Final vows Benoit Coppeaux will take final vows. READ MORE