Jesuit Parishes, Communities and Schools react to Fr. Nicolás' invitation. Due to the chaotic summer of 2015, the then Father General, Adolfo Nicolás, wrote to the Society on the refugee issue, as did the Portuguese Provincial, strongly inviting our communities and institutions to help according to their capabilities. Different communities answered this call. Jesuit Parish receives a Syrian family On September 23rd, the Jesuit Parish of Nossa Senhora do Amparo (in Portimão, southern Portugal) welcomed a family of Syrian refugees. This Muslim family (father, mother and two small children) left Aleppo, Syria, last year, traveling initially through Turkey, and then crossing the Mediterranean Sea, to get to Greece. Even if they had to pay a significant amount of money, the crossing was done in a dangerously small boat, crowded with people. At that time, the mother was pregnant, expecting their second child (who is 6 months old now). In Greece, after waiting with other refugees for seven months, and having indicated no preferences in terms of destination country, they were finally taken to Portugal by airplane. At the airport, in Lisbon, someone from the Parish was then there to meet them, and to bring them by car to Portimão. Following the news of the drama involving so many innocent civilians, suffering as a result of the brutal civil war in Syria, and having also listened to the appeal of Pope Francis last year (Angelus, Saint Peter's Square, 6 September 2015), the Amparo Parish in Portimão had enrolled in a network of Portuguese organizations (the Refugee Support Platform – “PAR”), indicating their availability to receive a family of refugees for one year or two: getting an apartment ready for them, and assisting them in their integration process in Portugal. The decision to receive a refugee family in the Amparo Parish was taken with many parishioners not only approving the idea, but also expressing their willingness to collaborate in the integration process. The Parish has actually a decades long tradition of solidarity with others, with its Social Center providing clothes, and serving about seventy meals every day to people in need in the city. Even though refugee camps in Greece and Italy have been hosting way too many people in precarious conditions (not to mention those in Turkey, in Lebanon, or in Jordan), the Parish had nevertheless to wait for nearly one year, with the apartment ready and empty, until the bureaucracy (or the political will of European governments) has finally made possible for this family to travel. The same situation was unfortunately repeated in several other institutions enrolled in the PAR platform: with no apparent reason, many refugee families had to wait for months, in overcrowded camps, until they were finally able to get the green light, and to be resettled in places that, for a long time, were prepared and waiting for them. Pedro Arrupe Community – Braga In September 2015 Pedro Arrupe Community decided to welcome a refugee’s family. Pedro Arrupe Community is the house of the Portuguese Jesuits studying Philosophy. It is in Braga, a city in the north of the country, with a strong Jesuitic implantation. Surely inspired by the patron of the house on the 25th anniversary of his death, after the discernment, the Superior, Fr. Miguel Almeida, decided to register our community in a platform for refugee support. We had an empty apartment, which had been used when the house was full of scholastics, and that was the place we had available. It was also decided to involve lay people to coordinate this process. A group redecorated the house, another organized the provision of clothes, others researched leisure activities, a few prepared Portuguese classes and others helped in job finding. There were about 30 people involved, from which three were coordinating (2 lay people and 1 scholastic) those different teams. Some CLC groups decided to give a monthly donation for 2 years, because it is quite possible not to receive the money from the European funds in the first months (and, by receiving the family, the host family is supposed to supply the refugees with an allowance). After almost one year, Pedro Arrupe Community was finally told that it could receive a Syrian family. These lines are being written some days before their arrival, but we sincerely expect that the wealthy collaboration between Jesuits and the Ignatian community of Braga will be fruitful for the integration of this couple, their already born son, the baby in the wife’s womb and for the husband’s sister. Portuguese Jesuit Schools also involved Colégio das Caldinhas – Santo Tirso The Refugee humanitarian crisis was and continues to be heard and felt by Colégio das Caldinhas. Inspired by the involvement and support by Pope Francis and then by Fr John Dardis (President of the European Provincials Conference of the Society of Jesus) and Fr José Frazão (Provincial of the Portuguese Province), the Colégio das Caldinhas Group of Refugees Support was created, joining INA's Social Welfare office, as well as the OFICINA's student support office. This group, after signing the Refugee Support Platform, met with the Santo Tirso City Council and other local institutions, signing a joint protocol to promote, on the one hand, the reception of refugees who could arrive, and on the other, making people aware of this such strong issue today. With the group already formed, the Colégio das Caldinhas has made efforts in raising awareness and fundraising by the Educational Community. For example, students in the 9th grade were involved in Education for Development with the "Choose to Shelter" project, where, through creative ideas, as well as raising awareness for the issue, collected money for the furnishing of the house that the City Council has made available to host a family. In the meantime, and for a few months, in collaboration with the Red Cross, we are welcoming at meals, B. and K., two Eritrean refugees. Both have caused the natural curiosity of the students, showing that the situation is not something abstract, but concrete, with real people. After the previous year, the sensitivity to the issue has grown and we remain available to receive and welcome a family, helping its members to have a better life. Colégio São João de Brito – Lisbon Since November last year we have received refugee students in our school. With the refugee crisis in Syria, our school didn’t want to miss out on the welcoming of refugees in Portugal. Answering a request from Fr. Provincial, we accepted 7 students who came through JRS-Portugal. Before their arrival the whole community was made aware of the situation regarding refugees. This began with an explanation that no one chooses to be a refugee. Several lessons for 3-18 years olds were given, and all the students were prepared to receive the new friends. During 2 months, the students (4 from Syria and 3 from Eritrea) were learning Portuguese language. After that period, they went to their respective classes and together with the other students, started learning all the subjects, with extra support given by some teachers. The successful integration of the new students was due to the involvement of all the community: teachers, students, parent’s association, former students, friends of the school, who all wanted to do their best on the process. Regardless of the challenges, through receiving students from different religious and cultural backgrounds, we discovered that with communication, transparency and love, it is possible to integrate. Our school is much richer now with more diversity, and more sensitive to the needs of the others.
Open Ignatian Families Day. The message of the Pope's encyclical "The Joy of the Gospel" was a great experience for more than 300 people attending the ISN event “Open for Ignatian Families”. Coming from different parts of the province of Spain, they lived the joy that comes from faith. The day began almost by magic, because we were able to write, rehearse and record a song about families, and send it to the Pope, in an hour! The Provincial of Spain, hours before leaving for Rome to the General Congregation, opened the meeting inviting families to transform the world. He recalled that "our home is a key place in the world, where we find ourselves" and that "the family is important in how we look at and model our world." Then the Archbishop of Madrid, Fr. Carlos Osorio, participated in a discussion. He recalled some memories of his childhood and his family, as well as the importance it had in the transmission of faith and Christian values. His was from a big family "with a very deep heritage: Ignatian spirituality". He then invited us to be “stoves”: "Christian families must be stoves to meet others, to offer a warm heart". People worked in groups and looked at the different challenges that families face today. Meanwhile, the children had their own activities. After lunch the creativity culminated in a human heart formed by people at the entrance of the school Nuestra Sra. del Recuerdo. In the afternoon, families reflected in workshops about different aspects of the family: transmission of faith, relationships, ecology. Finally, we offered our experiences of the day in the Mass. Children also had a small role. Access to the gallery.
To those who have just joined our Jesuit novitiates in Europe. November 5th is the European day of Prayer for Jesuit vocations. Here, Conference President John Dardis shares some reflections for our new novices. Dear friends and companions By now you have arrived in the Novitiate, unpacked your case and you are adjusting to a new way of living. You are probably getting up at more regular hours than before. You are being introduced to Ignatian prayer and being helped to deepen it. You are meeting new companions and learning how to live in community with people who are quite different from yourself. You have joined the Society at a time of new beginnings: a new Father General in Rome; a sense of excitement in the Society around the world as we look at new frontiers and how to tackle them. The Jesuit mission is wonderful but can also seem a bit overwhelming – so many challenges, so many inspiring people who have gone before us, all those Jesuit saints and martyrs But all of those men are just like you - ordinary people with ordinary struggles and concerns. It was God who made them great. Their lives testify that even in frailty the mission can be brought forward. “We hold the treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Cor 4:7). It is often in and through our frailty that the Lord works. As we experience the Lord’s loving and merciful gaze in our daily prayer, we learn to be compassionate to ourselves and to others, to be and to bring Good News. The Pope’s motto ‘miserando atque eligendo’ expresses entirely this idea. In the end, it is not about us, it is about God, it is God’s mission. He is leading it. So, do not be afraid, be open, share with one another and let the Lord reach out to you and to your heart. We are invited to build relations of depth, to be open with each other, even concerning difficult issues. An amazing gift and a core element of Jesuit formation and Jesuit life is transparency. In that way we let our vulnerabilities become our strengths and we make true the phrase of St Paul “When I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10) You will be sent on different missions – “experiments” – during your time as novices. You will learn a lot about yourself and about others. You will live out of your comfort zone. You will be challenged to grow, to change, to deepen. All of that is positive – even if sometimes not easy. It is a journey with the Lord Jesus who never abandons us. Rely on the help of your friends and the prayers and support of others. And be assured of my own prayers and the prayers of 4,000 other Jesuits around Europe who have heard the same call and who are answering it day after day, sometimes in situations of great danger, sometimes in the ordinary call of the everyday, always desiring to love and serve in all things. With best wishes John Dardis SJ CEP President
Putting God at the Centre. Launching Leaders, an interfaith project that links religion and business, has become the latest exciting new initiative to make its home at Manchester Universities' Catholic Chaplaincy. The Launching Leaders Group - a 12-week programme which pairs participants up with mentors – had its official launch at the Chaplaincy at the beginning of this month. With the help of online modules, talks, workshops and strategic planning, the participants on the course (many of them university students) are encouraged to develop themselves personally and professionally, whilst putting God at the centre of their decision-making process. The course sees participants from a range of religious and academic backgrounds meeting very Tuesday for workshops facilitated by Chaplaincy Communications Officer Lisa Burns and Catholic languages student Michael Tomlin. During each session, mentors and participants discuss long and short term life plans and goals in workshop settings. Participants are paired up with mentors from different faith traditions - Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, and from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons). While the Launching Leaders programme has been tried and tested internationally, it is now being piloted in its interfaith form at Manchester, at the invitation of Lead Chaplain Fr Tim Byron SJ. A buzz of excitement Launching Leaders is part of the Empowerment Plus programme, a fruit of years of research undertaken by Professor Brian J. Grim. Professor Grim, the founder and president of the Religious Freedom & Business Foundation, has looked extensively at the link between religious freedom and economic growth. His findings have shown that there is a positive correlation between the two, and that countries and regions where religious freedom is stifled have experienced economic decline. View his fascinating TEDx talk The much-anticipated global pilot of the interfaith Launching Leaders sessions at the Chaplaincy instigated a buzz of excitement, as the significance of its potential became tangible. After the first session had ended, Professor Grim shared his thoughts: "The launch of Empowerment Plus at Manchester Universities' Catholic Chaplaincy reflected one of the true great contributions of Ignatian spirituality - we saw God working through people He created, as diverse as Catholics, Mormons and Muslims, all sharing the goal of seeing Him more clearly in the day-to-day." He went on: "I couldn't have been more pleased with the launch - it was amazing to see young adults from multiple faiths come together to share so naturally about life, jobs, faith. Their enthusiasm indeed reflects hope from the Lord." Hinna Parvez, a member of the Chaplaincy staff team, and coordinator of the Launching Leaders programme in Manchester also runs the Chaplaincy's weekly night shelters. Inspired by the Empowerment Plus vision, she has devised a timely business proposal to convert disused presbyteries and church buildings into Empowerment Plus Communities.
JECSE Elementary Education Congress. About 100 Directors of Jesuit Primary Schools met from 18 till 31 of October in Ludwigshafen (Germany) for a JECSE (‘Jesuit European Committee for Primary & Secondary Education’) Congress. We came from Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Belgium. All together we were about 107 participants, staff members included. The congress was led by the Delegate of JECSE, Mrs Marie-Thérèse Michel. The Flemish part of Belgium was represented by Mr Peter Knapen, delegate of CEBECO (central colleges’ management). Ignatian education in a changing world What do we take with us? Which tools were given to us? What did inspire us? What did touch us? … The world is changing. From his birth onwards, man has to do with change - and adaptation. To die is also a process of accepting and changing. Everyone has to deal with changing. It is not difficult to seek and find examples of change in your immediate surroundings. The world is changing. Changing is a process. Changing needs time (to adapt). Change slowly. Changing is good. Changing is to step into a way, always looking for ‘the best possible answer’. ° Have the courage to dream about the future (how is your school looking in 2050?) and don’t be paralyzed by fear. Don’t be afraid to partake one another’s different dreams. Put your own aims first. ° To learn by doing, not doing nothing. ° To learn whole your life: keep your competences up, knowledge brings you further. ° To listen is important ! To start conversations, to use the correct attitude: “Yes, we can!”. To complain can only thwart. ° Changing is a process. To keep connecting in this is important, a transforming plan is necessary. ° Convince, motivate to change together. In a changing world there are 5 ignatian characteristics (5 c’s), which offer a guideline. Conscience: To be aware of your strengths, weaknesses, emotions, surroundings … Competences: To use knowledge, insight and skills Commitment: Strong commitment, involvement Compassion: To practice empathy and start a dialogue, to connect Creative: To be creative, to find new ways to deal with change.
Across the Jesuit world preparations are continuing for the 36th General Congregation (GC36) – the ultimate authority in the Society of Jesus. GC36 will commence on 2nd October in Rome. The first task of the congregation will be to elect a new General, as Fr Adolfo Nicholas has asked to stand down. Once this task has been accomplished the congregation will discuss future direction and priorities for the international Society. Following consultation at province and conference level two discussion themes have been identified • The Call to a Renewal of Jesuit Life and Mission • The Call for Renewed Governance for a Renewed Mission Commissions are researching and preparing the agendas for these two themes. Their hope is that GC36 can give an integrated vision of Jesuit life and mission and can propose governance structures to support and develop it. A communications committee has been established and they invite all Jesuits, co-workers, supporters and fellow travellers to sign up for the GC36 bulletin which will be issued regularly before and during the Congregation. There is also a new website at GC36.org. Your prayers for the success of the Congregation are specially requested via an online oratory To see this infographic in detail please click here Infographic by Marcus Bleech - JCU News
7-10Mon - Thu
University Ministry (JUPC) 6th European JUPC meeting – Dublin, Ireland Dear University Chaplains and Collaborators, We are very happy to invite you to the 6th European meeting of Jesuits in University Pastoral Care. This year’s meeting will be held in Dublin from Monday, 7th of November to Thursday, 10th of November in Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality. We are glad to announce the main topic and the main speaker of our meeting! Main topic: “How Pope Francis' 'revolution of tenderness' is changing the perception of the institutional Church and how this might impact on our ministry of university pastoral care” Main speaker: Jimmy Burns - an award winning journalist and author, who wrote the internationally acclaimed book “Francis: The Pope of Good Promise”. His input promises to be stimulating, engaging and also challenging. Our time of discovering the Irish Province will include an introduction to James Joyce, a visit to Trinity College Dublin and Book of Kells, a visit to UCD chaplaincy with talk on Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins by Fr. Noel Barber SJ and an experience of traditional Irish entertainment presented by UCD students. As usual our JUPC international meeting will be an opportunity to broaden our views, have time for formation, discussion, sharing best practices and Magis experiences while finding new ways to collaborate in Europe. Place: Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality, Dublin: http://www.manresa.ie Price: The cost of the meeting is 220 € (includes accommodation, food, local transportation, etc.) Dates: Monday, 7th of November (7:00 pm) - Thursday, 10th of November (2:00 pm) Please register following this link: https://goo.gl/forms/iAIDFQDKI2I1rOhw2 We kindly ask you to register as soon as possible and no later than October 15th. Best regards in Christ, Danas Viluckas, Leon Ó Giolláin SJ, Pedro Azpitarte SJ and José de Pablo SJ, Socius JCEP READ MORE
16-19Wed - Sat
Schools (JECSE) www.jecse.org READ MORE
19-20Sat - Sun
Xavier Network meeting READ MORE
BOGOTA - KRAKOW
Ordination and Final Vows Bogota, Colombia: Vincent Lascève will be ordained deacon. Krakow, Poland: (PME) Jacek Poznański will take final vows at the Christ the King Church at 18 pm. READ MORE