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Lukas Ambraziejus SJ on his mission in a nursing home in Vilnius. We Jesuits in Vilnius actually lived quite comfortably in quarantine in a large, cheerful household. We always had the opportunity to go outside. Nevertheless, I also experienced these privileges as a loss: I did not share the burden of the situation with my sisters and brothers. My world was small, but. I realised: in the state of emergency of a nursing station, I would learn more about God's presence than in my tidy room. So I decided to volunteer in the coronavirus hotspot Marijampolė, then later in a social care home in Utena. That was more than five months ago now. There was a specific call for help: when the coronavirus reached Saint Mary's nursing home at the end of November, a dozen nurses and almost all 40 residents of the home immediately fell ill. Feverish nurses had to stay in bed. Sick residents were left without vital care. When I arrived, I was put up in a guest house with other volunteers. Several volunteers from other religious community had already left because they had contracted the virus. Everything felt like arriving on a battlefield. In the morning, I was directly assigned to a 24-hour shift and shown exactly how to put on various layers of protective clothing. All the remaining residents were weakened by the virus and in need of care. When doing tasks like changing bed linen, sweat immediately began to run down the body as the suits are completely impermeable to air. The visors stop the circulation of air. The goggles fog up all the time. After a few hours, the skin on the ears and cheeks starts to burn. But much worse was the sight of the seriously ill. And yet: I felt happy at work. Any feeling of sluggishness or inadequacy evaporated. I clearly felt in my heart: God is with me. All this time I could not receive Holy Communion. But even that made me happy. I was one of millions of people who did not have access to the sacraments because of closed churches. It was good to share communion with the religious sisters. We had long talks with them in the evenings. I take home unforgettable moments from that time: the persistent prayer of an almost unconscious old lady: "My God, save me, my God, save me". My birthday party with work colleagues with 25 chestnuts and candles. A deep encounter just by looking with a nun who could no longer speak. My own prayer at the body of a woman who died during my night shift. Although I got very close to very sick people at both places of assignment, even without protective equipment, I never got sick myself. I spent Christmas isolated in a small room. In a very real way, I was very close to all the old people who were left alone without visitors during Corona. This article appeared in an abridged version in the JESUITEN issue 02-2021 "Jesus". This publication appears four times a year and can be subscribed to free of charge here.
The International Symposium on Ignatian Reconciliation closed on May 12 with an address by Fr. Joseph Christie, SJ, the future Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus. This three-day Symposium, prepared by the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid) and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Pontifical Xavierian University, Bogota), was also atended by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, SJ, Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Michael J. Garanzini, SJ, President of AJCU, and the Rectors of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Fr. Julio L. Martínez, SJ, and Fr. Jorge Humberto Peláez Piedrahita, SJ, respectively. The Symposium was a valuable synthesis of theoretical and practical viewpoints by recognized experts in the field, and of nearly 50 consolidated experiences on peacebuilding and reconciliation from around the world, carried out by institutions, and works, affiliated with the Society of Jesus.   At the Opening Session, Fr. General Arturo Sosa, SJ highlighted the importance of the main issue discussed at the Symposium: “The topic selected has such an enormous significance that it is impossible not to approach it from the perspective of University Institutions identified with the mission of reconciliation and justice fomented by the Society of Jesus ”, he stated vigorously. Superior General Fr. Sosa invited Jesuit institutions to be "universities of discernment for reconciliation", aligned with the Church and all people of good will in the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. This orientation also has the support of Pope Francis Himself. This challenge, as the Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus recalled during the closing ceremony, "puts the Ignatian spiritual root of common discernment at the centre of the mission of reconciliation." Christie also invited the participants to continue working on a “reconciliation network”, which after the closing of this Symposium was launched to respond to the challenges that have arisen. Ultimately, the purpose is that "we co-create this Mission together," he added. This "reconciliation network" was concretized at a networking meeting, so that the learning community of reconciliation practices may continue at the Assembly of the IAJU (the International Association of Jesuit Universities), which will take place in Boston in August 2022. This Symposium, in summary, brought to the forefront the importance for all of us to become better agents of reconciliation in a violent and unjust world, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous sessions of the Symposium may be found here. Jesuitas España
The last time Jesuit communicators were able to meet in person for their yearly gathering called JesWebCom was in 2019 in Madrid. A year later the get-together was scheduled to take place in Vienna, but due to the pandemic, eventually it was held online. Since the Covid situation had not become any better, the assembly this spring also occurred via Zoom from 4 to 6 May. The more than 50 participants met online every day for two hours to listen to the keynote speeches, then to share their experiences in breakout rooms. On the first day Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, internet pastor of the Low Countries Province, gave a proposal of a spiritual recap of the pandemic times.   The next day saw a talk by David Birchall SJ and Sarah Young titled “Alone yet in a Multitude” – Reaching Out Online in Lockdown. They presented a fascinating overview of the somewhat unexpected success of online retreats and individual guided retreats in daily life in Scotland and Wales during the Covid. On the third day, John Dardis SJ from the General Curia in Rome “took the screen” to speak about the strategy of his office of communications. He then answered questions, together with Pascal Calu SJ, coordinator of the Saint Ignatius Year at the Roman Jesuit centre. Beside pastoral work during Covid and the ways of online evangelization, it was the onset of the Jubilee Year that dominated the program and gave opportunity for the communicators to share their best practices. The participants represented most of the provinces in Europe and many from other continents. According to their testimonies, having been in the same shoes for more than a year, it was enriching to learn from one another’s examples as to how to cope with the extraordinary situation during pandemic times. And when the communicators said farewell to one another by saying “See you next year in Lisbon”, it was not a mere figure of speech. But also the expression of their sincerest hope that by 2022 the lockdown will be completely over, and they will at last be able to meet without any restrictions.
The Spanish novices Alejandro Sánchez and Jokin González have lived for a week in the community of Ecology and Hospitality Ana Leal, INEA in Valladolid, immersed in the spirituality of Laudato Si'. Contemplation and action focused on the ecological key, integrating God the creator and his creatures in prayer and in daily life. The daily routine began with a reflection to connect Laudato Si´ with the essence of Ignatian spirituality. The day continued with work in the orchards, verifying in the same INEA plot that the entire physical universe is the language of God's love. "The soil, the water, the mountains, everything is God's tender touch." When the work ended, the novices shared with the hospitality community, as part of the great family. "We have found, Alejandro said, that wherever we go, we are at home." The afternoons were dedicated to personal work with Laudato Si´. A reflection that gave strength to all that had been prayed and lived in this special environment: “I have lived the spirituality of Laudato Si in a different way, with greater meaning and as a whole” said Alejandro. "We have lived from a new point of view and integrating more the keys of the encyclical," commented Jokin.
Morocco had effectively opened its border with Ceuta, triggering a mass exodus. Thousands of Moroccans swam into the Spanish exclave. In an interview Fr. Claus Pfuff, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Germany, classifies the causes and effects of the refugee flow. You can listen to the whole interview here in the audio media library. Please describe the situation in Ceuta. The borders are being opened there right now to let people into the EU. You have to know that these people have been there for a long time. There are tens of thousands of people who are trying to get to Europe and among them, of course, very many minors. So far, they have failed because of political borders and closed borders. But now, because of these political disputes about the treatment of the head of the independence movements for Western Sahara, Morocco has opened the borders as a counter-reaction and is letting people into the Spanish enclaves unchecked. So does that mean that people in need are becoming a pawn in political disputes? Yes, we see this again and again, especially in countries like Libya, Turkey or Morocco. They get support to keep the refugees there, not to let them move on or to push them back onto their territory. When political differences arise, the borders are opened for a short time to increase the pressure on the EU and to push through political issues. So what we are seeing at the moment is actually just another example of the EU's policy of sealing itself off? Yes, because the EU is paying money to various countries, including Morocco, giving support so that refugees do not enter the EU, but are stopped there at the borders. In this way, of course, the problem of the refugee issue is outsourced and passed on to these countries. The others then have to do the work and we just give the money or stooge services to keep it at bay. In spite of everything, the isolation does not work. People continue to make their way. Why is that? Ultimately, this planned deterrence does not prevent people from setting out, because it does not solve the problems in the countries of origin. Of course, for many this also means that the standard in the EU is higher than the standard of living in the countries of origin. Medical care or basic services alone are guaranteed here. On the other hand, people often live in unjust systems and have no prospects for the future. So many young people, especially unaccompanied minors, set out to find a new future here, to escape the political pressure in their countries. The only truly sustainable solution would be to effectively combat the causes of flight. Why has that failed so far? On the one hand, it fails because the global political situation has changed, since common solution strategies are no longer sought at the negotiating table. It often fails because the economy also obtains cheap raw materials from these conflicts. And the New Silk Road project is also changing situations in the countries again, a new colonialism is emerging again. This is also associated with new challenges or new problems in these countries, which continue to fuel the refugee flows. Climate change also plays a role and the associated disasters. In what way? Because often no more reconstruction aid is paid there. Because people say that these climate changes will mean that in the long term there will be no perspective for people to live there and that people will ultimately be left alone and thus lose their basis for life, their homeland. The interview was conducted by Dagmar Peters, Domradio, Radio channel of the Archdiocese of Cologne
“If the entire Ignatian Year helps even a single person to grow closer to Christ, it will have been a success” – says Pascal Calu SJ. The Belgian Jesuit in formation coordinates the whole Saint Ignatius Jubilee Year from Rome, from the centre of the Society of Jesus. I became coordinator of the Ignatian Year at the General Curia in Rome in a surprising way. I was supposed to go to Myanmar for my regency, but the pandemic stopped me so an alternative regency had to be found. My provincial sent me to Rome, to work at the Communications Office of the General Curia for the Ignatian Year. Quite a different setting and apostolate than the one initially planned. It is inspiring to me that something similar happened to Ignatius. He wanted to go to the East, but in Venice the ships were not sailing. So the first companions decided to go to Rome and offer themselves to the Pope. And then, against his desire, Ignatius was elected the first Fr. General which meant he stayed in Rome in an ‘office job’, quite different from his first desires to be close to the people in the mission. For me it is inspiring to think of that part of Ignatius’ life. Like him, I wanted to go to the East and I could not, and came to Rome, ending up in an ‘office job’. From there, Ignatius had a broad view on the worldwide Society, and I am happy to have a similar experience, receiving much information from all over the world, learning a lot about the global Society. What would St. Ignatius do in 2021-2022? How would he be present at the various events of the Jubilee Year? Ignatius would not like to be in the spotlights. He would only allow it if it would be for the good of souls, if it would help people to grow closer to Christ. He would not be focused on the past, but rather aimed at the present and the future. How can we look at the world, our brothers and sisters, the Church, God, and ourselves in a different way? Read the entire interview – in English on the site of the Hungarian Province: https://jezsuita.hu/the-spiritual-side-of-an-office-job/ Péter Pásztor

UPCOMING EVENTS

25-26
Fri - Sat
Jun 2021
KRAKOW
Poland
Ordinations Przemyslaw Gwadera (PMA), Damian Krawczyk (PMA), Adam Szymanski (PMA), Lukasz Wysocki (PMA), Mateusz Kowalcze SJ (PME), Tomasz Matyka SJ (PME) and Piotr Stanowski SJ (PME) will be ordained a priest by Bishop Andrzej Jeż (Bishop of Tarnów) on Saturday, June 26, 2021 at 11:00 at the basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Krakow.  READ MORE
26
Sat
Jun 2021
VELEHRAD
Czech republic
Ordinations Samuel Privara and Petr Hruska (BOH) will be ordained priests by Mons. Tomas Holub in the Church of the Assumption of Virgin Mary and St. Cyrillus and Methodius. READ MORE
28-2
Mon - Fri
Jun - Jul 2021

Novice Masters Online Meeting of the European Network of Novice Masters READ MORE
3
Sat
Jul 2021
LONDON
Great Britain
Deaconal Ordination Xavier de Bénazé will be ordained a deacon  READ MORE