God calls each person to praise, love and serve Him. That is what ‘vocation’ means. Discovering your personal vocation takes time and prayer. Some people feel called to follow Christ as Jesuits. That is why every Jesuit Province or Region has a Vocation Promoter. His job is to accompany people in this search.

Vocation Promoters know about prayer, discernment and community life and the struggles involved. Together with other Jesuits, they organise retreats and social activities for young people and offer individual guidance.

Europese Jesuit Vocations Promoters in Lebanon. A warm, Lebanese welcome greeted vocation promoters from twelve European provinces at the beginning of May 2019. The promoters were joined by Franck Janin, President of the Conference of European Provincials, and his Socius, Jose De Pablo. Bikfaya The annual meeting took place in a town called Bikfaya, 23kms north-east of Beirut, and in the shadow of Mount Lebanon. The name derives from the Aramaic Beit Kifa which means House of Rock. When the Jesuits returned to Lebanon in 1830, after the restoration of the Society, they settled their first community in Bikfaya and constructed a Church, Notre Dame de la Déliverance, naming it after an image of the Madonna brought by an Italian Jesuit. Thought to have miraculous powers, the image, and the Church it was housed in, soon became a shrine and place of pilgrimage. The meeting provided an opportunity for the promoters to share their experience of vocations ministry in their respective provinces, and to hear input from Frank Janin on the theme of ‘Indifference: crucial for the accompaniment of vocation and discernment.’ Remembering Nikolaas Kluiters There was lots of opportunity for prayer and personal reflection and for small group sharing and liturgy. The chance to share good practice and resources was greatly valued. The days also offered ample time for visits to places of interest and especially to the village of Barqua where Dutch Jesuit, Nicolas Kluiters had lived and worked. Kluiters is remembered with great reverence for restoring pride to the village which had become despondent about its future as it started to lose its youth to the towns and cities in search of work. He dedicated himself to developing the village so that people would stay and encouraged the residents to build a school and clinic, a sewing workshop and several other micro-industries to generate employment and create wealth. On March 13, 1985, when Father Kluiters was returning from celebrating mass in Hermel, in the Bekaa valley, he disappeared. His dead body was discovered in a ditch 17 days later and showed signs of having been tortured and shot. He was 44 years old. Beirut Other visits included an afternoon in central Beirut, largely rebuilt after the civil war, and an evening barbecue with some of the community at St Joseph’s University. Towards the end of the meeting a new organising committee was selected. Damian Ristic (Slovenia,) Gregoire LeBel (France,) and Grzegorz Lojtek (North Poland) kindly accepted the appointment and offered to serve the group for the next three years. It was also decided that the next meeting will take place in Slovenia from Monday, 18th May 2020 (arrivals) until Friday, 22nd May 2020 (departures.) A number of topics were suggested and discussed as possible foci for the next gathering, and after a round of votes, it was decided to look at ‘male spirituality and its significance for religious vocation.’ Finally, the group thanked Jad Chèbly of the Middle East Province, for his careful and patient attention over the days in Lebanon and for the planning and organisation that had taken place before it started. The group were deeply grateful.   
Based on the pilgrim story, a comic strip about Ignatius was created in the SJ workshop of the future. Dr. Tobias Andrea, a former student from Leipzig, drew him. An emotional approach to the person of Ignatius should be made possible, and Ignatius should be portrayed as the patron saint of seekers. The message is: "Despite crises and broken plans,  Your way can succeed with God!" Therefore, at the end of the comic you will find some hints on vocation and help for vocation clarification from Ignatian spirituality. 1st edition for the altar boy pilgrimage The first edition will be published for the international altar server pilgrimage to Rome, which will take place from 28. July to 04. August. 45,000 altar servers are expected from Germany who will have an audience with Pope Francis on 31 July. For travel reading we have offered the dioceses the comic as a gift. 35,000 orders were received for Germany and Austria. 2nd edition Now we have a second edition. Enclosed is a reading rehearsal. The Ignatius comic is suitable for young people, students, friends, family, employees, brothers... as a gift, teaching material... 72 pages, size B5, stapled.Per issue we ask for a donation of 50 cents. Delivery by the end of July If you would like to receive the comic, please send an e-mail with your name, address and quantity by 29 June to: zukunftswerkstatt@jesuiten.org. Of course you can also order later. First of all, it is a matter of planning the run length. Actually different Vocation promotors are preparing translations of this strip. So, the Comic will be published in 4-7 different languages (Portugiese, Tchec, French, English, Dutch,… perhaps Hungarian and Russian)
Everything that has existence has a vocation! God created the world and its inhabitants, and by creating them he called them and missioned them. This was the introductory idea of Fr. Timothy Radcliffe’s input which was the highlight of our gathering this year in Frankfurt, as promotors of vocations for the European Provinces of the Society. This year 15 Jesuits attended the meeting and I can happily say that we all took a lot out of it. Many thanks to all those who contributed to its good planning and organization, not only the steering committee but also those who generously helped us on the spot! The meeting started with a day of reflection, with personal time to think about our mission, to get in touch with ourselves and become aware of how we are doing, as vocation promotors. We also had time to share this in a personal way, by forming groups of three and embarking on an Emmaus walk from Sankt Georgen to the city centre. The highlight of the walk was coffee and black forest cake in a local cafeteria which, according to Clemens, has the best coffee in town!! On the second day we had the luxury of sitting back and listening to a master in Religious life speak to us about his experience in the promotion of vocations. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, who very willingly accepted to be with us, gave us a very inspiring input which brought out very clearly the spirit of the religious vocation and how we should promote it. After his input we had ample time to ask questions, reflect personally, and share in groups. At the end of the day, we all felt blessed to have had the opportunity to meet such a great man and to have received so much wisdom which will inspire us in our delicate but beautiful mission as vocation promotors. We then started to reflect on a job description of the vocations promotor. When we, the steering committee, had started preparing this meeting way back in October, we strongly felt that we need clearer guidelines to what is expected of us as vocation promotors. More and more Provinces in Europe now have full-time promotors, and this is a huge step forward. At the same time, it is common that we feel lost and alone in such a difficult mission. During our meeting we did not get anywhere close to having a concluded final copy of the job description, but we opened a very healthy discussion on a draft proposal, which will continue electronically among us promotors and our Provincials. This is a big step forward and we are definitely moving in the right direction. During our meeting we also had some time to share a few examples of best practice going on in our Provinces, even though time was limited for this part and we all felt that during future meetings we can dedicate more time to sharing what we are doing and what is helping our promotion of Jesuit identity and vocation. Also we shared our different approaches to our work in each province. To strengthen our brotherhood we celebrated eucharists with lovely music, we shared our personal spiritual experiences and very helpful was also a wine tasting in the beautiful wine region‚ Rheingau‘.  This experience has been a very rich one and we look forward, as vocation promotors, to continue working together and supporting each other.
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).
The third phase of the Jesuit digital vocations strategy, an online course entitled ‘Why would you join the Jesuits?’, went live on Wednesday 20 July. The first phase, the building of the new website jesuit.ie, was launched in January 2015 and resulted in a three-fold increase in the number of unique visitors to the site. It was quickly followed by the second phase, the online 8-Step Guide to Making Good Decisions. Almost three thousand people from around the world have signed up so far for the 8 e-mails delivered over 30 days on various steps toward making a good decision based on Ignatian spirituality and wisdom.  Everyone who signs up receives  a personalised email every few days which features a short video in which the late Michael Paul Gallagher SJ addresses themes such as talents; dreams; alternatives; commitment etc. The video material for each day is expanded on, in an accompanying text. Phase Three, ‘Why would you join the Jesuits?’,  just launched, is another video email course. Those who sign up for the ‘Making Good Decisions’ series are offered this online course which can also be signed up for on jesuit.ie. The course features a number of Jesuits and novices who are interviewed on camera about a variety of aspects of Jesuit life and work such as: Jesuit and Ignatian spirituality; community life; missions; obedience; and more.  In addition, all speak frankly about their personal vocation story. The course is only available to those who subscribe to it but the video from day two of the course features a photo story video on the history of the Jesuits in Ireland, and that is available on the website. You can watch it here: http://www.jesuit.ie/news/featured-news/why-would-you-join-the-jesuits-series/