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In the framework of the upcoming World Refugee Day (June 20th), JRS Europe, the Chapel for Europe, Don Bosco International, and Sant’Egidio held an event celebrating the positive stories and best practices with people on the move. Under the title “Voices of Hope”, the event started with Tetiana Romanchenko sharing her story of integrating in Belgium after fleeing Ukraine. She highlighted the difficulties she found along the way, including finding housing or recognition of her doctorate diplomas, but also the multiple triumphs, such as her children learning French and finding friendships in the migrant community in Belgium. Afterwards, Claudia Bonamini (JRS Europe) moderated a round table on best practices on integration with:  Pedro Ayala (Don Bosco), who presented the Salesian Youth project in Oostende and underlined the importance of safe spaces for youngsters. Eliane Maes (Saint Egidio), who highlighted the achievements of the humanitarian corridors that allowed refugees to arrive in Belgium and how it helps open the door to recognising the shared humanity and dispel fears. Geert Bukkems (Global Environment Champions and partner of JRS Europe in the Change Environment programme), who shared his experience on empowering climate refugee activists in the Global South and connecting communities from around the world who are excited to take action on Climate issues. The event concluded with snacks prepared by a refugee entrepreneur from Ukraine and a networking session amongst the participants.
The II International Symposium on Secularity was a two-day event held in Frankfurt on May 30 and 31, 2024. The symposium was organized by the Kircher Network, Sankt Georgen Graduate School of Philosophy, Universidad Loyola and Saint Joseph University of Beirut, and featured a diverse range of panels and discussions on various topics related to secularity, spirituality, and the role of religion in modern society. The program included three panels: "Common Good," "Democracy," and "Pluralism." Each panel features a series of presentations and discussions by experts in the field, including Jesuit scholars and theologians. The topics covered include the role of religion in public life, the relationship between spirituality and democracy, and the contribution of religion to dialogue and pluralism in a plural society. The event aimed to provide a platform for scholars and practitioners to engage in discussions and reflections on the significance of secularity and the role of religion in contemporary society. The group took the opportunity to discuss the strategic plan 2024-2028 for the cluster. From the Kircher Network, we would like to express our gratitude to Saint Geogern Graduate School of Philosophy for hosting the event.
During a ceremony that brought together more than 700 people at the Pierre Y. AbouKhater amphitheater at the Human Sciences Campus, Saint Joseph University of Beirut (USJ) announced on April 30, 2024 the launch of two major events : the activities of its 150th anniversary, thus marking a century and a half of academic excellence, significant contributions to society and deep commitment to the Francophonie and the signing of a pact for the creation of USJ-Côte d'Ivoire (USJ-CI), an opportunity for quality higher education in a spirit of excellence and openness to all.   The audience was composed of numerous representatives of the Lebanese State, as well as the diplomatic and academic corps, a large delegation from Côte d'Ivoire, donors, alumni, friends, students and the USJ staff. In her opening remarks, Professor Nadine Riachi, Secretary General of the USJ, spoke of the mixed feelings of pride and optimism accompanying this event. As for Mr. Naji Boulos, marketing and communications advisor, he underlined the importance of this ceremony, highlighting the historical links between Lebanon and Ivory Coast, in particular thanks to the French-speaking world and the presence of a dynamic Ivorian community of Lebanese origin in this region of Africa. The ceremony also highlighted, through videos, the achievements of USJ while paying tribute to those who have contributed to the construction and sustainability of the University since 1875. Inspiring speeches and moving testimonies, highlighting the key role of the USJ in the development of education, research and Lebanese society, were delivered by various personalities such as Professor Salim Daccache sj, Rector of the USJ, SEM Georges Kallas, minister of Youth and Sports, HE Abbas al-Halabi, Minister of Education and Higher Education, as well as prominent members of the university community: the President of the USJ High Council, Mr. Joe Saddi, Dr. Christian Makary, President of the Federation of USJ Alumni Associations, Miss Hala Dalloul and Mr. Marc Chalhoub, student representatives. On this occasion, the Rector presented the 150th anniversary medal to Ministers Abbas al-Halabi and Georges Kallas. The second part was placed under the sign of the USJ-CI partnership. Professor Carla Eddé, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at USJ, traced the genesis of the USJ-Côte d'Ivoire project. The CEO of the Farah Polyclinic and also CEO of the Ivorian Academy of Sciences, Dr Oualid Zahreddine, praised the USJ's commitment to serving Lebanese and soon Ivorian youth, thus expressing his love for his two countries, of origin and adoption. As for the Regional Director of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF), Mr. Jean-Noël Baléo, he insisted on the importance of the USJ in the Lebanese educational and scientific system, and in the French-speaking university world, and promised attentive listening from the AUF regarding the USJ-CI. Professor Salim Daccache spoke of the University's many successes and declared that the upcoming opening of USJ-Côte d'Ivoire will be a landmark moment in the history of USJ. Mr. Vamara Touré, representative of HE Adama Diawara, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Côte d'Ivoire, for his part, thanked the USJ for its welcome and its involvement in this project and underlined the role of education in the development of lasting relations between the two countries.
What are you doing in Ankara? This is often one of the first questions I hear when I travel. Each of the four of us of course has our usual activities: Michael writes for various publications (now on the “universal call to holiness”); Changmo studies Turkish, begins to engage with young people at the parish and gradually acclimatizes to Turkey; Alexis, responsible for this Turkish-speaking parish and the training of its catechumens, is also involved in media and the practical management of the residence; As for me, superior of the latter, I work in training and support in the service of the Church of Turkey, and have some commitments outside the country for interreligious dialogue, in various capacities.          Activities and meetings also break up everyday life. This is how Michael, originally from a family who gave three of his sons to the Company, spent the month of April in his native land on the occasion of the accession of one of his brothers, already a bishop. and who attended the recent Synod on behalf of Ireland, at the Belfast headquarters. Changmo invites and is invited by his course companions but also Koreans living in Türkiye; thus during the Ramadan holidays, he was in Ephesus with a group of Korean religious working in the Middle East, while Alexis participated just nearby in the national training meeting for catechists. For my part, just before these days of celebration, I was at that of the Jesuit superiors of the Province which was held in Cairo; after that, following training activities in Istanbul for future local permanent deacons, I accompanied the local delegation to Bursa, while the diocese is expanding to this city by opening a new presbytery there. I took advantage of this stay in this former capital of the Ottoman Empire (before Istanbul) to go right next door to İznik (Nicaea), where the universal Church is preparing to celebrate next year the 1700th anniversary of the first ecumenical council (325) which defined the consubstantiality of the Son with the Father and fixed the date of Easter. By a happy coincidence, all Christians will celebrate Easter on the same day in 2025: will this be prophetic of what could happen, as Patriarch Bartholomew pleads in this direction? In any case, it seems that the Pope will come on this occasion: and you?          At the community level, thanks to Changmo, we have welcomed new companions: four goldfish now frolic alongside us in a magnificent aquarium, while we take our meals served by one of the best cooks in the province ( says the Provincial! )… when she is not “in the village”, where she is now absent for a month… More seriously, we have just welcomed Dalibor Reniç, president of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials and currently our major superior, with whom we thought about our current projects. In this context, we went as a community to the neighboring town of Eskişehir (250 km to the west, 1.20 hours by fast train) for a time of relaxation and reflection on a possible extension of our parish activity to this university town. crossed by a canal which gives it a seaside town atmosphere. Just before his arrival, we welcomed Zarina for a few days, a young Kazakh Christian, originally from one of the Central Asian countries where our Türk cousins ​​live. She was stopping over in Ankara, returning to her native country, Almaty after studying theology in Poland. This gave us the opportunity to compare our ecclesial presences and to create links which could perhaps give rise to a twinning, while the Company which, if not present in this country, is responsible for the Church in Kyrgyzstan, on the southern border. If you want to know more about Kazakhstan and its Church, I invite you to watch an excellent report from KTO in French (2022, 50 min), where you will also hear Zarina ( https://www.ktotv.com/video/ 00409071/under-the-sky-of-the-Kazakhs ). For Kyrgyzstan, you will find an interview in French with the new apostolic administrator on the curia website ( https://www.jesuits.global/fr/2022/02/16/anthony-corcoran-sj-administrator-apostolic-au -kirgyzstan/ ) and numerous articles on the Conference website ( https://jesuits.eu/component/tags/tag/kyrgyzstan ). I am delighted to see several of you again in Berlin at the beginning of July at the meeting of the Jesuits Among Muslims (JAM) but even more to see you all again at the end of the same month in Taanayel on the occasion of the Province meeting where our entire community will be present. Jean-Marc Balhan, SJ
The International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education (ICAJE) convened in Rome from May 21st to 24th, 2024, to address significant topics for Jesuit secondary and pre-secondary education. Attendees included representatives from the six conference networks that form the Jesuit Global Network of Schools (JGNS), the General Coordinator of Fe y Alegria, the Secretary for Education, members of Educate Magis and the Assistant to the Secretariat. This year, the meeting included a special audience with Pope Francis. During this encounter, the Pope expressed his gratitude for the work done in our Jesuit schools and Companion Schools, as he highlighted the transformative potential of Ignatian education and emphasized the importance of keeping Jesus at the heart of our mission. In his message, he urged educators to lead by example, and our schools to put the formation of educators at the center, offering the necessary training to discover their vocations as educators. Pope Francis also recalled the Global Compact on Education, calling for a shift from a culture of the ‘I’ to the culture of the ‘we,’ and stressed the importance of patience and perseverance in the long-term task of education. Some of the key discussions and presentations held during the meeting:  Each ICAJE member delivered a presentation on the current state of Jesuit education in their region, focusing on the preparation for the II Seminar JESEDU-Jogja2024, engagement with Educate Magis, and the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in education. The reports highlighted the enduring impact of the pandemic, including long-term changes in educational practices and strategies for fostering resilience among schools. The Secretary for education shared updates on various projects and initiatives, emphasizing their alignment with the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) and their ongoing support to global educational collaboration. ICAJE members shared their proposals on initiatives for enhancing inter-regional collaboration, sharing best practices, and establishing spaces for joint reflection. Participants engaged in a spiritual conversation to discern ways for Educating for Faith in the 21st Century. This dialogue builds on the topics that a group of Jesuit educators from around the world will be discussing in the Global II Seminar JESEDU-Jogja2024, that will take place in June 2024 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia. Fr. James Hanvey SJ, Secretary of the Service of Faith participated in this conversation. The representatives of Educate Magis presented updates on their projects, emphasizing their role in building an online apostolic community of Jesuit educators. The feedback from ICAJE was gathered to better meet the needs of the network and enhance their offerings. The Organizing Committee of JESEDU-Jogja2024 presented the updates on the organization for the upcoming seminar in Indonesia. ICAJE members provided valuable feedback to refine the event. John Guiney SJ and Dr. Sandra Racionero joined the meeting to share with ICAJE the details of the PCCP Project (Promoting a Consistent Culture of Protection in our Schools), that was introduced by Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ in late 2023.  Special Highlight: Audience with Pope Francis On Friday the 24th, the meeting participants had an audience with Pope Francis. The purpose was to express the commitment of the Jesuit Schools to support and promote the New Global Compact of Education launched by Pope Francis. We also presented the Pope with a copy of the document Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century, and a special edition of the Educate Magis Global Map of the Schools. As part of this encounter, the Pope shared an inspiring speech in which he expressed his gratitude to Society of Jesus for her work in the schools, highlighting the immense evangelizing potential of education that St. Ignatius and his companions soon realized. He emphasized that Jesuit education must keep Jesus at its center, integrating the Gospel into the schools and “accompanying young people so that they discover in service to others and in academic rigor the construction of the common good”. Pope Francis reminded us that Fr. Arrupe’s call for “educating people for others” means to define education by “its humanizing results and not its economic results”. The Pope praised the effort to turn education from a personal success mindset to one that focuses on collective well-being, advocating for a shift from the culture of ‘I’ to ‘we’. He stressed that true education involves leading by example and urged educators to accompany and develop their students, especially those at the margins of our societies. Finally, he highlighted the importance of the upcoming JESEDU-Jogja2024 Seminar in deepening the meaning and connection of the first Universal Apostolic Preference and the others: “without a true relationship between educators and the Lord, none of the rest is possible”. Read full speech Closing remarks The meeting concluded with a Eucharist in the “rooms of Ignatius,” where St. Ignatius of Loyola spent his final days. Fr. José Mesa SJ remarked, “This meeting was pivotal in reinforcing our mission as a global network. The topics we addressed are crucial for the future of Jesuit education, and ICAJE remains a vital force in our journey toward becoming a universal body with a universal mission.” After the Eucharist, the participants went to St. Ignatius Church asking, before the tomb of St. John Berchman’s -patron of the Jesuit Global Network of Schools, for strength and perseverance in our service to the mission of the Society entrusted to us by the Church.    
On 23 May, we had our online meeting for directors of European Spirituality Centres. The group meets in person every two years and, in-between, meets online every six months.This meeting was organised differently than previous meetings. Instead of having a keynote presentation and discussion, it was an open meeting with three breakout rooms where people could join freely to discuss the topics that were chosen: Formation programmes, Facilitating communal discernment and the ecological commitments in our centres. Here is what some people shared at the end of the meeting: “It is nice to see known faces, feeling a kind of connection among us.” “I found it very enriching to LISTEN to the others.” “I have valued the time together very much.” We intend to have two other similar online meetings in October 2024 and May 2025 before meeting in person in October 2025.May this network help us grow towards a better service in the Lord's vineyard.

UPCOMING EVENTS

17-22
Mon - Sat
Jun 2024
GDYNIA
Poland
Novice Masters Meeting of the European Network of Novice Masters READ MORE
21
Fri
Jun 2024
NOWY SąCZ
Poland
Final Vows Leszek Wilczak SJ (PME) will pronounce his solemn profession on Friday, June 21, 2024, commemoration of St. Aloysius Gonzaga SJ, at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Nowy Sącz, during the Eucharist at 6:00 p.m. READ MORE
21
Fri
Jun 2024
BRUSSELS
Belgium
Barbecue JCEP Works End of year gathering of collaborators of the European Jesuit works in Belgium. READ MORE
22
Sat
Jun 2024
BERLIN
Germany
Priestly Ordinations S. Pascal Meyer(ECE) and S. Fabian Retschke (ECE) will be ordained priests by Archbishop Heiner Koch on 22 June at 11 a.m. in Sankt Matthias/Berlin-Schöneberg. READ MORE