It is difficult to date the creation of the network of European Jesuit cultural reviews. However, one can say for certainty that it existed  40 years ago, long before internet was widespread. The directors of these reviews meet once a year in order to discuss their mission and identity, share ideas and articles, exchange information on the progress and difficulties encountered working on their reviews, as well as the current political and religious news in their respective countries. For the fourth time since 1982, the meeting this year was organised by Choisir of Switzerland, from the 25th to 28th of May, at the domain of Notre-Dame de la Route in Fribourg. Present this year were the Jesuit or lay-person leaders of Civiltà Cattolica (Roma), Obnovlejni Zivot (Zagreb), Horizontes (Athens), Etudes (Paris), Streven (Antwerp), À Sziv (Budapest), Signum (Stockholm), Thinking Faith (London) … and of course Choisir (Geneva). They were joined during one evening, by the provincial of Switzerland, Christian Rütishauser. These reviews represent for our Order precious instruments of intellectual apostolate.  Their aim remains the same: integrate faith in the local culture, and intervene discerningly in the societal debate. The means used to undertake this mission do not cease to change, for, similar to other written media, the Jesuit reviews face difficulties in terms of circulation. Thus a greater internet presence is sought along with the organisation of multiple events (conferences, book editing, etc.). These moments of exchange allow the guests to discover, and for some rediscover the social, political and cultural landscape of the host country. The relations between the Christian denominations in Switzerland are well advanced, helped by the presence in Geneva of the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Jean-Blaise Fellay, former editor-in-chief of Choisir recalls having brought his colleagues to the Mur des Réformateurs in 1982. In this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the subject  is once again relevant. Reverend Martin Robra of the WCC, expert on ecological and ethical questions, discussed the relations between the Catholic Church and the WCC during his talk with the guests. He described the key dimensions of the ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, based on recent events: the Pope's presence at the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Lund in 2016, the World Mission Conference to take place in 2018 in Tanzania, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the call for an inter-religious meeting in Cairo from the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb. "These four events represent unity, the mission, justice, peace and inter-religious dialogue" stated Reverend Robra. These four days spent together also included joint celebrations of the eucharist and recreational activities such as the visit to the College of Saint-Michel in Fribourg, site of the tomb of Saint Peter Canisius sj.
A Communication Training for not specialized Jesuits and co-workers: a challenge for those working in the pastoral, spirituality and social areas, but also for the communicators proposing an adapted useful program. 20 Jesuits and co-workers from Great-Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands and Flanders spent three extremely hot days in the coolness of the Old Abbey in Drongen near Gent, at the end of June. There was little theory, apart from an introductory session by “internet chaplain” Nikolaas Sintobin, but a choice between 5 workshops. No doubt, those who actually are working in area of Vocations, Jesuit Missions, Jrs… are eager to communicate in a digital era.  The opportunity to participate in small groups in workshops, guided by specialist was really appreciated. The proposed workshops were: “Photography for the digital environment” (Ruth Morris, London), Achievable audio & video content (Guido Attema, Amsterdam), “Writing opinion pieces/blogposts/reflections” (Anton de Wit, Nijmegen), “Success in social media” (Sim d’Hertefelt, Brugge), “Who do you think you are talking to? – Why language matters” (Stephen Noon, Birmingham). On the last morning Jane Hellings (gbsj, London) provided an overview and some reflections about the technical communications. Participants gathered in interest groups and shared about future collaboration, at Province and Assistancy level. Participants were invited to use the camera of their smartphones and make remarkable shots of the Old Abbey, or to write a column on a news fact that more young people are attracted to belief after visiting a church. Vocations promoter Walter Ceyssens found it a useful Training Conference: "This was a very helpful meeting indeed. My online competences which barely are above level 1, were upgraded. Furthermore the session met the need to gather the Society's digital expertise of Jesuits and especially lay collaborators, which is often scattered".
More than 7,000 young people from over 25 countries celebrated the "Festival of Youth" of the Loretto Community during the Whitsun weekend in Salzburg, Austria. Companions from the Austrian, German and Swiss provinces gave workshops, heard confessions, and got in  dialogue with young people. The meeting under the motto "New Fire is needed for this Country" lasted four days in and around the Salzburg Cathedral and is one of the largest Catholic youth events in Europe. Companions who participated were Christian Marte, Markus Inama, Hans Brandl, Markus Schmidt, Johannes Herz, Benjamin Furthner, Stefan Hofmann, Pascal Meyer, Fabian Moos and Sebastian Ortner. The six workshops with the titles Vocation, Exam, Listening to Gods voice, Make Decisions, Faith and Reason and Faith and Justice were well attended with about 70 participations each. Most workshops were held by two people. Sebastian Ortner says: “After the workshops and between the programs was time to get in contact with young people. The question, if we are Jesuits was quick asked. We met many young people, who were looking for their path in life. “How could I know for sure, what God wants for my life?”, asked one attendee after the workshop “Do you have a plan?”. Some of the people study theology, others are interested in the topic. Of course we recognized familiar faces among the 7.000 participants, also a lot of young members of other congregations.”
Opening of the Holy See Pavilion at the 2017 "FutureEnergy" Expo in Kazahkstan. Cardinal Peter Turkson, prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, has visited Astana, Kazakhstan, as the “Commissioner for participation of the Holy See” at the inauguration of the EXPO 2017 Exposition, “Future Energy,”  from June 8-11, 2017. The Holy See, which has participated in the Universal Expositions since 1851, will be present with its own pavilion, entitled “ Energy for the Common Good: Caring for our Common Home,” realized with the contribution from the local Church. It explores the theme of energy for the future, interpreted as an opportunity for the promotion of humanity and the improvement of the “common home” on the basis of an equitable and sustainable use of natural resources. The display structure of the Holy See, which makes use of digital installations and will enable visitors to be accompanied along photographic, artistic, cultural and spiritual itineraries, develops four thematic areas: the love of God as the origin of the creation of man and of the earth; energy as a tool placed in the hands of man, who has not always made adequate use of it; energy directed towards the development of the person and the care of the common home; and the strength of spirituality, with particular reference to prayer, the search for meaning, and interreligious dialogue. The inauguration of EXPO 2017 will take place on June 9, and that of the Holy See pavilion in the morning of the following day. Cardinal Turkson will be accompanied by Msgr. Francis Assisi Chullikatt, apostolic nuncio in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and by representatives of the local Church. The Holy See National Day is scheduled to take place on September 2.
120 Delegates from Jesuit Parishes meet for three days. Over three days last week almost 120 delegates from our parishes came together to learn from each other and from a panel of experts, how to breathe new energy into parish life to make them  “ centres of constant missionary outreach” (Evangelii Gaudiam 28).   Delegates from Scotland to the south coast, ranging in age from 21 to 89, and representing cultures on all continents, spent time together considering the three key documents issued by Pope Francis: Evangelii Gaudiam – the first Apostolic Exhortation Laudato Sii- the Encyclical on the Environment Amoris Laetitia – the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation (following the Synods on marriage and the family in 2014 and 2015) Dr James Hanvey SJ gave delegates an overview of the pope’s key messages for the Church and her people. He stressed that the Church needs to move outwards, to the margins, if it is to be truly a Church of the poor.  Quoting Evangelii Gaudiam Dr Hanvey called the Church “a mother with an open heart, not an institution”. In relation to Laudato Sii, Dr Hanvey suggested that as God made the world for all, all have a right to a share in the goods of Creation.  But we should also treat Creation itself as “one of the poor”, one which requires our care and nurture.  On Amoris Laetitia Dr Hanvey reminded participants that the pope has called for a rebuilding of the family, as a response to the prevailing throwaway culture, believing that strong families will ensure strength and resilience in wider society. He finished by quoting paragraph 28 of Evangelii Gaudiam “The parish is not an outdated institution; precisely because it possesses great flexibility, it can assume quite different contours depending on the openness and missionary creativity of the pastor and community.” Three groups then spent the rest of the day learning more about and discussing the three documents. Key themes On Saturday parish groups met together to discuss how the key themes and ideas from the documents could be implemented  in their parish.  These ideas were shared in plenary and included: More active welcoming at each mass Having churches open for longer hours  Changing times for confession to make the sacrament of reconciliation more accessible  More ecumenical involvement  Environmental audits of the parishes, resulting in policies on recycling, energy suppliers etc Including environmental issues in homilies and newsletters or parish events Solar panels on church roofs Holding jumble sales to encourage re-use of second hand goods Offering more support for married couples Offering more activities for young people between the age of confirmation and becoming parents – many parishes acknowledge there had been a gap in provision for this age group. Bereavement support Visiting for elderly and disabled people, and dementia support groups Inspiration Perhaps the most important outcome was the way in which participants took inspiration from each other, with parishes sharing ideas, experience, success and failure. As one participant put it “I came away feeling valued, affirmed and energised”.  Another commented “I really welcomed the opportunity to worship together, the liturgies were very enriching.  It is so refreshing to meet and learn from those in other parishes which share our values and Jesuit ethos.” “We are all busy people but making time for an event like this really reminds us how Christ is at work in the lives of each and every one of us, and how we can make a difference even just in small everyday things.  I feel very blessed by this companionship” observed another participant. A follow-up progress meeting is planned in twelve months’ time.
31 May 2017, Brussels – JRS Europe, today, releases key data analysis of 315 community building initiatives mapped as part of I Get You. The European Mapping Report shows that grassroots projects working on integration with refugees have a big impact combatting racism and xenophobia in the nine countries taking part. Across the 9 countries in Europe involved in I Get You, 315 community building initiatives (CBIs) were mapped. The CBIs that were mapped broken down by countries are: 62 in Italy, 55 in France, 50 in Germany, 37 in Belgium, 31 in Spain, 31 in Portugal, 20 in Malta, 15 in Romania and 14 in Croatia. “Despite anti-migrant political discourse influenced by populist parties, our mapping campaign has shown that the local movement to welcome, support and learn together with refugees is stronger than ever – and we have only scratched the surface of the huge array of social events and activities that are out there,” says I Get You coordinator Carola Jimenez Asenjo. ‘Integration not isolation’ is the motto of one of the initiatives mapped, located in Plauen, eastern Germany. By bringing local youth and families together with migrants for gardening, football matches and even speed-dating, stereotypes were broken down and new understanding and relations were built. The main findings have shown that most CBIs across Europe are small in scale and size but have impactful scopes in communities among the individuals that participate in them. Key results from our data analysis: 25-300 participants on average per initiative Participants are working age adults - forced migrants and local citizens Very few initiatives focus on children or the elderly 70 percent of the volunteers are host country nationals, while 20 percent are from other EU countries and 10 percent from third countries A variety of activities and services for people are covered such as skills training, leisure activities and intercultural activities On average initiatives operate on budgets of 25,000 Euros or less 41 percent are financed via grassroots fundraising; 34 percent receive private funding and 25 percent receive public funding National variations in funding include: Public funding was 53 percent in Romania, 39 percent in Portugal and 36 percent in Croatia Germany, France, Spain and Italy had over 50 percent grassroots funding From April to November 2016, quantitative data was gathered on initiatives bringing locals and refugees together via an online questionnaire. A European overview of the data collected is present in the I Get You Europe Mapping Report. More in-depth country mapping reports are also available in the national languages of the partners via the I Get You website. Partners are currently completing in-depth interviews with CBIs to collect qualitative data. Best practices will be analysed according to 12 criteria established by a committee of experts through the DELPHI methodology. These criteria are: Interaction & Encounter, Participation, Awareness Raising, Education, Support & Service Provision, Interculturalism, Dignity, Hospitality, Sustainability, Innovation. This project is co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union.


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Apostleship of Prayer Last meeting: Rome, 31 July - 4 August 2015 READ MORE
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Higher Education for Social Transformation Last meeting: Rome, 31 July - 4 August 2015 READ MORE
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Social Delegates READ MORE