How can young people find spaces for God if God is everywhere? Where in university should we speak about God and where do we speak to God? Chapels, meeting rooms, parks, classrooms... are we shaping spaces for God? These are the questions in the JUPC meeting in Dresden, Germany, at the end of February. Jesuits in University Pastoral Care (JUPC) is a network of chaplains who gathered yearly to share initiatives and good practices, and to foster collaboration among Jesuit and friends chaplains who works on campuses in Europe and Near East. JUPC meeting in Dresden finished yesterday (28th February). We will soon upload a complete article on this event.
In a time when the gates of Europe seem closed to people in need of protection, JRS Italy is opening a new reception and integration centre for asylum seekers and refugees. The idea of opening a new centre was inspired by Pope Francis’ appeal to open the houses of religious congregations to host refugees on the occasion of his visit to JRS Italy in 2013. The new centre bears the name of Matteo Ricci, a Jesuit who dedicated his life to putting himself in other people’s shoes and looking for the path of dialogue and integration in China. President of the Republic and General Superior The Center was inaugurated 4 February, in the presence of the President of the Italian Republic and the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa. The event brought together refugees, volunteers, staff and friends of Centro Astalli as well as institutional representatives of the Church. “I believe that opening a reception and integration centre is a strong sign, from a symbolic and concrete point of view,” said Father Camillo Ripamonti, Director of JRS Italy. He also stressed that our current society has an attitude of closure towards migrants, cautioning that such an attitude “takes hold of us,” making us “dry” and “less human” if we adopt it. The inauguration of the Matteo Ricci Centre is a sign of hope. Centro Astalli continues to open a door to refugees and migrants who are experiencing difficulties in this phase of radical legislative transformation. In the Centre, they can find a home and build new relationships that arise from the encounter. The Superior General Arturo Sosa reminded attendees in his speech that one of the key words of JRS’ mission is “to accompany” migrants and refugees. “It recalls the deep respect that Matteo Ricci had for each person as a companion on the journey”, said Sosa. The Matteo Ricci Centre aims to focus especially on young people by accompanying them as they ask themselves about their own professional and training needs and allowing them to cultivate dreams for the future. “This is the only feasible way forward for integration. We are convinced that in doing so we open a door of hope also for our city, for our country, because creative and educational development within these walls will help to build a supportive community beyond them,” Father Ripamonti concluded. Picture: Mohammed, a refugee from Egypt, gives a present to the President of the Italian Republic for the inauguration of the new Matteo Ricci centre (Photo: Centro Astalli).
Fr. Paolo Bizzeti, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia Fr. General Arturo Sosa has entrusted the responsibility for the mission of the Society of Jesus in Turkey to the Conference of European Provincials (JCEP) and thus to Father Franck Janin as Major Superior. This regulation is initially valid for three years from April 1, 2019 ad experimentum. In a letter of 11.02.2019 Fr. General points out that Pope Francis, who in 2015 appointed Fr. Paolo Bizzeti a Jesuit as Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, insists that the Order continue its mission in this country. After the territorial expansion (North Africa, the Holy Land and Jordan), the Middle East Province alone was no longer able to do so. In October Father General had invited to a meeting in the Curia in which 19 Jesuits participated, among them Father Franck Janin and several Provincials. Father Franck Janin thanked Father Dany Younès and the Middle East Province for their commitment so far and called the decision an "important step" for the Provincial Conference after the responsibility for the community and works in Brussels and the European Tertianship in Dublin. "I truly hope that together we will be able to meet the challenges of society's presence in this region. Let us pray for our two companions who currently live in Ankara".
The Kircher Network (the network of Higher Education Institutions in of the Society of Jesus in Europe and the Near East) was born with the aim of a new and deeper mutual exchange of gifts of the kind that St. Ignatius evokes at the end of his Spiritual Exercises. 
 With this aim in mind, the Presidents and Rectors from the member Faculties and Universities will meet this year in Innsbruck, Austria, from the 7th to the 9th of July. The meeting will focus on several different topics, all of which are relevant to our institutions, the wider Jesuit family, the Church, and the world. Having said this, the two main areas of the meeting will be: The official foundation of the network: institutions will freely commit to building this international and multicultural body by signing the statutes. By strengthening and stabilizing our union with special concern for each other we will be able to render our service more fruitful. The Universal Apostolic Preferences: with the official launching of the UAPs, institutions from the Kircher Network will discern how they can work together to respond to the call of the Spirit. There are many possible routes to take so having an honest and discerning conversation around the 4 final preferences will be useful to guide the activity of the network for the next 10 years. The other topics that will receive attention during the meeting will be: the Higher Education for Social Transformation programme (HEST), the Pakistan Project, the correct functioning of the network, and several others. If you are interested in learning more about the Kircher Network and its activity you are invited to regularly check the newly launched website of the network. Concurrently, this year, the University of Innsbruck will be celebrating its 350th anniversary. This feat should not to be understated for a few institutions of Higher Education have only been able to attain it.
Last week the worldwide meeting of bishops on abuse and child protection has been convened by the Pope in Rome. Father Hans Zollner SJ is the director of the Child Protection Centre at the Pontifical University of Gregorian and helped to prepare the meeting for the bishops. This interview has been made before the bishops meeting. What can the World Church expect from the meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences in February? Will there be concrete results? Success will certainly also be achieved if the participants bring the issues of responsibility, accountability and transparency to the local Churches and make them effective. It is also important for the participants to assume their leadership responsibility in relation to this, to gain a greater degree of clarity regarding necessary instruments and to use these instruments. Obstacles with regard to the appropriate handling of abuse must be clearly identified, named and removed according to as fixed a timetable as possible. Participants should be encouraged to come home and actively face the realities. You travel a lot around the world: Aren't the situations of the local churches all over the world far too different to be able to regulate anything centrally from Rome at all? The universal Church must clearly identify and strengthen local responsibilities and adapt them to the respective needs of different cultures. We must face the difficulties of intercultural communication and cooperation. Every cross-national organisation is confronted with this. For us as a church, however, it is not exclusively a practical question that because it is more effective and efficient, one should somehow understand one another. For us the self-understanding, the own being must be in the foreground. Fr. Hans Zollner and Fr. Federico Lombardi with Pope Francis Is there actually sexual violence against children and young people in every culture, or is Western culture, as some say, particularly susceptible? I cannot say whether there is sexual violence against minors in any of the thousands of cultures around the world. But what is certain is that it occurs in all countries and on all continents, in all religions and in all social systems, and has done so since time immemorial. Sexual violence has always been a terrible reality. Father General will also be present at the meeting of the Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences in February - what role do the Orders play at all in the subject of abuse, if one looks at the whole Church? The large international religious communities like the Jesuits or the Salesians are altogether better positioned than individual dioceses. This is due to the fact that in the orders operating worldwide the assessment of the urgency and the experience of members from countries in which the abuse has played a role in the public discussion for decades (e.g. USA or Australia) is great. In Africa, Asia and parts of Latin America the Orders are also very important bearers and pioneers in the school system and thus also in prevention work. With regard to our own Order, for which the coming to terms with sexual abuse has been a sad reality since 2010 - have we Jesuits learned more in the almost 10 years since then and where is there still a need for action for us? We can never rest, we have to stay on the ball here as well. Otherwise one easily succumbs to the temptation of "we have already done our duty". If the prevention of abuse is to be a concern of the Order and of our Province, all members must contribute a part to it. For this we need training and discussion forums in the communities and beyond. In formation we as Jesuits are in the process of defining new standards. For us in Germany the MHG study has formulated many things very clearly. Do the findings of the MHG study play a role in the conference? We only have studies from five to seven countries that meet scientific standards. It turns out that on average 4-6% of the world priests have been accused of abuse in the last seventy years. Furthermore, it can be seen that a sustainable implementation of prevention measures leads to a strong decrease of reported cases of abuse. Approaching victims, talking about abuse, investing in prevention results in significantly less abuse. A comparison of the perpetrator groups of the priests with those of the family fathers is also revealing. Priests do their first deed relatively late. Apparently there is something in their professional life that has a catalytic effect. One can reasonably draw the conclusion that the moral integrity lasted some time and then collapsed due to excessive demands, loneliness, disillusionment or overestimation of one's self. The issue of abuse of power was a central theme of the MHG study. Since then there has been controversy over the evaluation of homosexuality, celibacy and separation of powers in the church. Will the bishops also speak about these issues? The real problem with sexual abuse, in my opinion, is not sexual orientation, but the abuse of power. How I deal with my sexuality also says something about my person and their relationship to power: my needs, dynamics and attitudes. I find the debate far too one-dimensional if it is limited to sexual orientation. All studies conducted by scientists say that celibacy does not lead to abuse. But it is a very important point to examine the suitability of seminarians and religious candidates for the celibate form of life carefully, to pay attention to it in their formation and above all to carry out suitable accompaniment after consecration or profession.   AUTHOR: Hans Zollner SJ - born in 1966 in Regensburg, Germany The Jesuit Father Hans Zollner SJ is a theologian, psychology professor and psychotherapist. He heads the Roman "Centre for Child Protection" (CCP) Zollner comes from Regensburg and is Vice Rector of the Pontifical University Gregoriana and a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors established in 2014.
A three-day meeting for the Spiritual Centres of the EOF Province in Le Châtelard - Lyon, France (18-20 January 2019). Every year, the directors, superiors and presidents of the associations of the five Jesuit spiritual centres of the EOF meet for a weekend of exchange and reflection, under the guidance of the delegate for spiritual apostolate. Our first objective was to better understand what a Jesuit spiritual centre represents nowadays and what common features could characterize it. We then had a good brainstorming session, during which each centre presented its apostolic project for the group's evaluation and criticism. At the end of this exercise we identified three common axes – spiritual exercises, formation in accompaniment and weekends for couples –, as well as questions and specific areas of action for the future. Thus, one centre is delighted to attract hundreds of young adults interested in initiation retreats; another welcomes a good number of people who are distanced from the Church thanks to proposals aimed at the professional world; whilst a third gets a lot of requests for its 'listening sessions' in its diocese. Questions raised, included: How can we better address different family realities?; What place should be given to young people?; Should more teaching be reintroduced to counter the lack of religious knowledge? A second important theme of the meeting was: volunteering in spiritual centres. Thanks to a questionnaire sent in advance, each centre was able to present the role and place of volunteers in its mission. Among the many issues raised, I would like to highlight those of the recognition of volunteers; the scope of their mission; and expenses and their support by the staff. Lively discussions allowed us to compare very different situations and the solutions or planned solutions that the various teams have already developed. What emerged was an image of living centres anchored in social reality! A pleasant evening with the Jesuit community and members of the board of directors of Le Châtelard crowned an intense weekend, one which strengthened our desire to serve better through the works entrusted to us.


Mon - Fri
Mar 2019
European Treasurers Meeting READ MORE
Mar 2019
Final vows Fr. Mate Samardžić, Fr. Hrvoje Mravak i Br. Ivan Olujić will take final vows in the Sacred Heart Basilica. READ MORE
Mon - Thu
Mar 2019
JECSE Formators Meeting Jesuit European Committee for Primary and Secondary Education READ MORE
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Mar 2019
Formation delegates READ MORE