The European Webmasters Network (JesWeb)

JesWeb is made up of a group of Jesuits and lay people in charge of the websites of the European Jesuit Provinces and their major works in communication.

Every year, the meeting of JesWeb attracts communicators from different Jesuit Conferences, transforming it into a broad communication forum.

The goals of JesWeb are:

- to share and reflect upon the experience of being responsible for the web sites;

- to seek and foster cooperation among those working on the different Jesuit websites;

- to study and discuss the new technological issues in (digital) communication and their usefulness;

- to consider ways of improving the apostolic and technical quality of the web sites;

- to improve collaboration with other apostolic areas such as vocations or working with refugees.

 

European Jesuit webmasters and European Vocation Promoters use to meet every year for some days, somewhere in our continent. This year, for the first time both groups planned their meeting in Malta, in different retreat houses, but spent a day together to share, pray and discuss their common interest. Delegates from the Jesuit Conference for Africa and Madagascar (JSAM), Australia and North America also made the trip to Malta, where the JesWeb meeting was hosted at the Mount St Joseph Retreat House in Mosta. Survey Fr José de Pablo (CEP Socius) shared with delegates the results of a survey into existing levels of collaboration between province vocations and communications teams which showed that there was a need and desire to work more closely together, to be more strategic and to evaluate the effectiveness of new initiatives.  A large majority of those who approach vocations directors have first found out about the Jesuits online rather than through our schools or other ministries.  A strong online presence, including social media, is therefore vital, but it can be a challenge to present the right messages in the right way to young people, especially if you are an older Jesuit.  Fr Mathew Power (vocations director BRI) said “it’s been really useful to find out how other provinces share some of our challenges, and to be inspired by ideas for future collaboration both within and between provinces.” Delegates shared experience and heard about examples of good practice from the Irish Province and from the US Mid West Province.  Inspiring vocation stories from current Jesuits, and gentle help with discernment through video were shown to be effective tools. Communication for the entire Society of Jesus On the agenda of the communication managers was also an analysis of the public work around the 36th General Congragation last year. The American Father Robert Ballecer SJ ("The Digital Jesuit"), who was responsible for video production and social media in Rome, reported on the work of the 12-man communication team. The head of the General Congregations Communication Office in Rome, Father Patrick Mulemi SJ, announced that the General Superior had meanwhile formed a "taskforce" for the further development of the communication of the Society of Jesus with the aim of establishing a new Internet presence for the Order world-wide. Social It was very useful for members of these provinces to meet together to plan for further co-operation, and also to spend time getting to know each other in social situations.  Delegates were very grateful to their Maltese hosts, who organised a boat trip around the historic harbour of Valletta, and Mass at the spectacular Cathedral of St John which was concelebrated by Fr José de Pablo, Fr Martin Stark (German province) and Fr Michael Bugeja (Maltese province).