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Every year, starting on Pentecost Sunday or immediately after, the Saint Benedict Community goes on retreat. For 3 days, eight Jesuits who serve the European Conference and its works in Brussels, took a break, left the house in Rue des Trévires, and enjoyed time for prayer, reflection, rest and more intense conviviality in La Pairelle, a Jesuit Retreat House near Namur. This year, we focused on the demand of Fr. General to examine how we currently live our vow of poverty. We progressed through three topics: my relationship with Christ poor and humble; poverty as source of fruitfulness in our apostolic life; shared poverty in community life. The times of spiritual conversation concluding the periods of individual prayer were very consoling. Sharing on our experience (and sometimes struggles) with poverty surely enriched us! St. Benedict Community was, this year, composed by two Polish, two Portuguese, one Spaniard, one Italian, one French and one Irish. We work in the Conference Office, the JESC – Jesuit European Social Centre, the JRS – Europe, The Chapel for Europe, and one of us, a Regent, gives Religion Classes in the European Schools in Brussels. The common language used is English, although soon there will be no English native speaker in the community, as Edmond Grace, from Ireland, has just concluded his mission in Brussels… More than just hosting ‘functionaries’ of Jesuit European institutions, the Community of Saint Benedict tries to be itself a concrete sign of Europeans from so many different parts happily sharing their differences and fruitfully cooperating for the deepening of a European Common Good. Most of the time, we actually achieve some of that goal and we have fun doing it.
👏 The Business and the Earth webinar was a big success! A fascinating opportunity to reflect on the role of business in society, and specifically in the ecological transition. Moderated by JESC's Senior Officer for Ecology Adriana Opromolla, each of the four outstanding speakers provided rich insights, and together offered a diverse and complementary vision of this topic.  🌍 Edmond Grace gave a broad overview of the role of business in our society, challenging the notion that the sole purpose of business is to create profit. He remarked that businesses are more influential than the Church ever was, which is why the self-perception businesses have of themselves is crucial. He also called for a change in the way businesses generally view resources: these should no longer be seen as beasts of burden to be exploited without limits.  💡 Josianne Gauthier (CIDSE) highlighted the importance of dialogue, for which listening and being open are essential preconditions. She warned that sometimes power imbalances or certain privileges create unbalanced situations in which dialogue becomes difficult. When referring to the current unhealthy relationship our society has with the Earth, she reminded us that we are all accomplices because we all consume and function within this system. The ecological transition is a challenge not only for businesses but for each one of us.   ✅ Enrique Meroño Sierra explained how Iberdrola decided to become part of the solution around the year 2000, and how it works not only in renewable energy production but also in energy efficiency as a way to reduce electricity consumption. In line with Josianne’s referral to dialogue, Enrique mentioned the need for a new language to enable different actors and sectors to understand each other and address system failures. He also stressed the importance of including externalities in the real economy.  🌐 Lastly, Cedric Pacheco explained how, based on its experience, the Laudes Foundation reached the conclusion that engaging with business is necessary but not enough when addressing problems like climate change and social inequality. Why? Because the way businesses operate can be a consequence of the system they’re a part of. Therefore, a systemic approach is essential. Cédric then looked more closely at the work Laudes does regarding finance. He explained Laudes’ main areas of intervention, which include changing the way financial institutions function, supporting policy changes, and rethinking the economic system.  We are very grateful to our speakers for their time, commitment and enthusiasm, and to all the participants who were part of this fruitful dialogue.  Most of JESC's team members joined the gathering: Luciano Larivera Filipe Martins Peter Rožič Telmo Olascoaga Michel Victoria Reynal 
In this report from Jesuit Missions UK, Francisca Marques reveals how many countries are putting biofuels ahead of starving people at a time of extreme global food insecurity. The fact that food such as wheat, maize and oilseeds can be converted into fuel for cars and machines may surprise most people. Biofuel presents itself as an alternative to the very polluting fossil fuels, which undoubtedly have benefits in a world facing serious climate problems. However, the development of this industry has posed new challenges that are acute now more than ever when the world is facing a global food crisis.  If biofuel was produced using non-edible food waste, it could be a very effective solution. However, biofuel is made from ingredients which are essential for the food security of millions of people. Therefore, at a moment when people all over the world are facing major challenges to feed themselves, maintaining the high production of biofuel might lead to disaster.  “Human beings are more important than fuel” Kevin Ouko is the Research and Policy Analyst at the Jesuit Justice and Ecology Network in Africa (JENA) and has been following issues relating to food and fuel closely. During an interview with Jesuit Missions, Ouko explains that things can get very bad very soon in all of Africa, including Kenya, where he is currently. “Global food crisis has been aggravated by the climate change issues, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic”, says the expert. A statement in line with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ view that “…the war, together with other crises, could unleash an unprecedented wave of hunger and economic collapse around the world”.  Guterres called for the flow of food and grain from Ukraine and Russia to continue so that the supply chain of wheat and maize might stabilise. Yet, at the same time this appeal is being made, many G7 countries – who will be meeting from 26 June in Germany – are buying the remaining wheat for use in the production of biofuels. Europe is currently changing 10,000 tonnes of wheat – the equivalent of 15 million loaves of bread – into ethanol for use in cars every day. No doubt biofuels play an important role in the transition to a low-carbon economy, however, the choice being made by many countries is putting cars ahead of people. “The debate over food versus fuel has been going on since the early 2000s when fuel production from food stock began. Since then, the production has been increasing significantly, but no one wants to acknowledge the challenges it poses”, states Kevin Ouko, concluding that “human beings are more important than fuel. We must look at the trade-offs of producing biofuel”. “It will not take much more time, before people starve” Worldwide, there is a great deal of concern over the global food crisis. Jesuit Missions received very worrying reports from our partners in Burundi and Malawi. “Our resources have not increased, but prices have gone up. It will not take much more time before people starve. I would say that life, in general, has become more difficult”, reveals Fr Verdaste, from the Service Yezu Mwiza. In Malawi, a large part of the economy relies heavily on Russia and Ukraine, as well as the US, for its wheat. According to the Projects Officer at Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development in Kasungu, the country imports two thirds (Laborde and Pineiro, 2022) of its wheat from Russia and Ukraine. “If the country does not find alternate suppliers, severe shortages are expected”, states Martha Piri. This may lead to the question of whether all food should be dedicated to feeding people instead of producing fuel. And as usual, poor people are the most affected by economic hardships. ‍ According to Phiri, “maize prices will have a much greater impact on the poor, as a source of 68% of calories and approximately 36% of total food purchased”.  There have been several organisations raising awareness about this issue, including Jesuit Missions, which has launched its “Food not Fuel” campaign. This is a petition which is urging the British Prime Minister to discuss this topic during the 48th G7 summit, which takes place between June 26th and 28th. Please join Jesuit Missions' Food Not Fuel campaign and sign the petition. https://jesuitmissions.org.uk/food-not-fuel/ By Francisca Marques Jesuit Missions Journalist Photo by Tomasz Filipek on Unsplash
After two and a half years, the communication delegates of Jesuit conferences worldwide gathered in Rome, in person and online, to discuss various aspects of their work in communications for the Society of Jesus all over, from Belgium to Brazil, Maryland to Manila. Led by the General Curia’s Director of the Communications Office, Fr John Dardis SJ, the Curia communications team ably hosted the delegates from the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (webmaster Fr Philip Debruyne SJ and social media manager Rafael Silva), the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States (deputy communications director Eric Clayton), the Conference of Latin American Provincials (Paulo Moregola from the Province of Brazil). Ria Limjap from the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific attended in person, while Vanessa Gorra joined online. Despite the different time zones, other delegates joined virtually, including Tiffany Trejo in Peru, Anastasia Makunu in Kenya, Fr Bipin Lugun SJ in India, and Fr Robert Ballecer SJ and Mike Laskey in the US.  Attending on the Curia side were Fr Pierre Bélanger SJ, editor of the annual Jesuit magazine, Fr Vivian Richard SJ, in charge of social media, Ignatian Year coordinator Sch Pascal Calu SJ, video producer and graphic designer Mikołaj Cempla, Jesuits Global webmaster Stefano Maero, and the office’s secretary and coordinator Caterina Talloru. It was certainly a diverse gathering of cultures and languages, especially evident during the celebration of the Mass, as the group recited the Our Father in their own mother tongue. The four-day session began with time to reflect on the work in the last two years which have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Sharing in small groups, both face to face and virtually, was a source of consolation for everyone present. On the second day, the delegates presented the new developments from their respective conferences, proving a rich resource of ideas, content, and best practices. Each conference displayed unique ways of reflecting their local context, whether the African Jesuit AIDS network or the coverage of the war in Ukraine, and show of solidarity for refugees from the European conference. The Curia had its own set materials to be launched, which include a series of short videos on discernment and synodality, a toolkit for apostolic planning, an in-depth resource for Ignatian heritage, and a special app on Ignatian places. Other sessions on vocation promotions, with Fr General’s Councilor for Formation, Fr Mark Ravizza SJ, and social media strategies with Fr Vivian Richard SJ, were focal points during the week-long meeting. There was a special treat for the communications group: an invitational screening of the documentary film, Il Cammino Ignaziano, at the Filmoteca Vaticana, the Vatican screening room. Directed by Catalan filmmaker Jordi Roigé, the film follows five people who set out on a pilgrimage to trace the steps of St Ignatius in Northern Spain. The most significant part of the gathering was an hour and a half with Fr General Arturo Sosa, who listened to the delegates and gave feedback and important points to the group. Fr General Sosa described the communications group as a network, a team working together with the same intention, and moving forward as a community. He talked about “owning the narrative”, how to be proactive and not merely reactive. “Don’t lose the complexity between the mission, the Universal Apostolic Preferences and spirituality,” Fr Sosa reminded the delegates. “There is a big temptation to simplify the language,” said Fr Sosa, which he said should be “clear but not simple”. The Universal Apostolic Preferences deepen the commitment to our relationship with reconciliation and justice, which, as Fr Sosa said, is at the core of our communication processes and our message. The meeting ended with a Mass celebrated by Fr Vivian Richard SJ, his first time to celebrate in the camerette di Sant’Ignazio di Loyola. Going back to the rooms of St Ignatius—where he lived and died, and wrote thousands of letters, ever aware of the importance of communicating—was a great source of consolation and inspiration for the small group of delegates whose job is essentially to communicate Christ to the world. Ria Limjap (JCAP)
A letter about what has been shared together, realised by all and is now being translated into commitment will be sent to Card. Grech, Secretary of the Synod, by Jesuits and lay people who direct the works of the Society of Jesus in Italy, Malta, Albania and Romania. These comprise about sixty realities including parishes, schools, social centres, magazines, faculties of theology, non-profit organisations and NGOs working in the social field, and centres that welcome refugees. This letter is a result of a profound review of the testimonies heard in the presence of the cardinal himself, during the meeting held in Rome from 30 April to 2 May. ‘A thirst for hearts that listen in a non-judgmental attitude, the suffering caused by the hurts of life, the marvel of unexpected encounters, the desire to make oneself available, the joy of having found a place in the Church, the desire for liturgies that are alive’ has emerged from this review. “We have learnt that listening trustfully comes first and foremost and that welcoming people with love is a new form of apostolate, which can become a true apostolic priority, the letter says, and that people are not looking for solutions but for places of meaningful relationships. Hence the courage to put people at the centre becomes a priority, and vulnerability is transformed into strength. The commitments include, ‘giving more space to leisure time among us, putting into action shared passions, inhabiting tensions, sharing responsibility in the mission, as travellers in the same boat’.  Jesuits EUM 
The International Symposium on the Spiritual Exercises (12-14 June) closed after an intense week of work in the Cave of Manresa, to reflect on the current relevance of the proposal of the Exercises and how to deploy all the possibilities they offer to respond to the challenges of today.  More than 80 people from 27 countries around the world, present at the Spirituality Centre of the Cave of St. Ignatius, and more than 200 who followed the presentations online, were able to learn about many and diverse initiatives that are already creatively exploring languages, formats, spaces... and that allow us to follow the path that Ignatius took 500 years ago with creative fidelity to his proposal.  Very Positive Balance The Symposium has brought together speakers who have been able to convey their reflections and proposals from the testimony of experiences lived and well connected with reality, and at the same time formulated with depth and rigour. Experiences from contexts of social exclusion, migration, encounters with different cultures and spiritualities... which have allowed us to deepen our knowledge of different ways of proposing the Exercises and to welcome new possible horizons.  The last day, in fact, highlighted in particular the way of offering the Exercises in contemporary culture through audiovisual media and new communication technologies, in ecological sensitivity and in the incorporation of the body and movement through pilgrimage. The presentations on these issues served to highlight once again the risks and opportunities of technology. And to highlight, on the ecological question, that surely this must be an indispensable and central element in any form of the Exercises, and not just an adjective. The presentation on the Exercises on pilgrimage emphasized concepts such as movement, austerity and flexibility in adapting to different situations.  The Outcomes of the Week The work in the plenary assembly made it possible to evaluate the week, to recognize that Manresa is home for the whole Ignatian family coming from so many places and to share the desire to be able to meet again with a certain frequency in order to continue deepening the themes initiated. The participants particularly appreciated the balanced combination of the prayerful and experiential rhythm with the depth and rigour of the week's approach. The fidelity to the founding experience of St. Ignatius came from the fact of being in Manresa and the creativity and multiple adaptations of the richness and diversity of the participants from all over the world.   The Symposium was closed with the celebration of the Eucharist presided over by the Jesuit Josep Rambla, initiator and inspirer of EIDES (Ignatian School of Spirituality), co-organiser of the Symposium together with the Cova Sant Ignasi Spirituality Centre. It should also be noted that throughout the days, the diversity of sensitivities and cultural expressions was experienced through the liturgical celebrations.  This meeting was therefore an opportunity to reflect on and experience in depth the challenge and the task set out in the first universal apostolic preference of the Society of Jesus, namely, "to offer the Spiritual Exercises in every possible way, giving many people, especially young people, the opportunity to make use of them to enter or advance in the following of Christ".  Jesuitas España 

UPCOMING EVENTS

12-3
Tue - Wed
Jul - Aug 2022

EJIF Meeting of the European Jesuits in Formation, that will take place in Spain READ MORE
24-31
Sun - Sun
Jul 2022

MAGIS Europe Summer meeting of the young adults inspired by Ignatian Spirituality, taking place in Croatia READ MORE
14-21
Sun - Sun
Aug 2022

Faith and Politics Workshop This week-long Summer workshop in Venice is dedicated to young Europeans aged 20-35 who want to learn more about the relationship between Faith and Politics. Register here. READ MORE