During the recent ad limina visit of the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan and Central Asia, Pope Francis encouraged the leaders of these churches to focus on the germogli, or “sprouts” of God’s activity.  We Jesuits serving in Kyrgyzstan continue to reflect on this rich comparison as we serve the tiny Catholic communities in this area.  On May 12th, Catholics gathered at the church in Bishkek to thank God for His faithfulness to the community throughout the many decades, and centuries, of the Church’s presence in the territory of Kyrgyzstan.  The event was designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the registration, by the Soviet government, of the Catholic community in Kyrgyz capital.  Guests included Bishop Athanasius Schneider, a native of the German diaspora during their exile by Stalin at the beginning of the Second World War.  Also present were priests from Kazakhstan and Russia, including Eastern Rite Fr. Joseph Svidnitski, who ministered to Catholics throughout the Soviet Union before and after his imprisonment for pastoral and ecumenical activity.  During his homily, Bishop Schneider urged the Catholics of Kyrgyzstan to see God’s continued activity precisely in the small, reminding all that the primary reason for celebrating always emerges from the fact that the Faith is alive and that God is close. On May 13-14, the Jesuits co-sponsored with the National Slavic University a symposium exploring various topics related to “Christianity in Kyrgyzstan: History and Contemporary Reality.”  Local professors as well as experts from other countries presented solid academic research on such themes as Nestorian Christian presence in earlier centuries of Christianity within the territory of contemporary Kyrgyzstan, Franciscan missions of the Middle Ages in Central Asia, and touched upon questions and challenges facing Christians of various ethnic groups in subsequent centuries.  In addition, several local university students participated in a competition designed to attract future scholars to take up topics related to Christianity in this area.  Seven Jesuits serve several communities throughout this papal mission to the Society.  Catholics comprise a very small minority among the Christian populace, which is estimated to be less than ten percent of the overall population within this primarily Muslim country. The works of the Church include pastoral, humanitarian and smaller academic endeavors.  This service provides the Society and Church a unique opportunity, located at the frontier of various converging cultures and religions, to undertake its “ministry of consolation,” directed both inwardly, to the development and deepening of the Christian community, as well as outwardly, striving to humbly collaborate with those of other faiths and cultures in undertaking tasks which are common to the larger Kyrgyz society.   On the one hand, choosing to celebrate the official registration of one community may seem a bit like highlighting a bureaucratic formality; nevertheless, marking the realization of the dreams and efforts of the Christians living in such extraordinary circumstances provides local Catholics with the opportunity of declaring their grateful awareness of God’s remarkable fidelity throughout centuries of our presence in this land.  In doing so, we are able to witness to the conviction that the Church is alive and active, a germoglio witnessing, to a very modest extent, to God’s closeness.
The annual meeting of Jesuit Cultural Reviews of Europe, this year was organized by the Greek review “Anoiktoi Orizontes” and  hosted at the Library of the Jesuits in downtown Athens, on the 10th and 11th of May. This year the directors and editors-in-chief of eight reviews honored us with their presence, presenting their work and developments in their reviews, discussed about financial and digital challenges they face, as well as perspectives and plans for the future, in these complicated times. This year’s participants were: Streven – Belgium, Choisir – Switzerland, Études – France, Signum – Sweden, La Civiltà Cattolica – Italy, Razón y Fe – Spain, Revista Brotéria – Portugal, Obnovljeni život – Croatia and Ανοιχτοί Ορίζοντες (Anoiktoi Orizontes) – Greece Although each review is formed under diverse demographic, social and cultural contexts, we find that usually most of the reviews present common features with all others. These include: an insufficient revenue and scarce funding in many cases, difficulty in finding and retaining staff, a reduction in the number of Jesuits - who are, additionally, overburdened with other responsibilities - and who could otherwise contribute by writing useful articles, promotional issues, advertising the reviews, difficulties in reaching out to the public, acquiring and maintaining subscribers, presence and management of accounts in various social media networks. Very interesting is also the way in which each review seeks and implements solutions to address as much as possible the above issues. Spiritual enrichment of the readers. A common finding is that our cultural, social and religious reflection reviews are necessary for the spiritual enrichment of the readers and for the diffusion of the thought of the Catholic Church in our modern society. It is, therefore, an important apostolate that must continue. Our meeting is expected to generate new ideas and strategies, and further increase collaboration between magazines. This year’s program included the participation of Mr. Athanassios Papathanassiou, an Orthodox lawyer and theologian, director of the orthodox journal Synaxi and guest speaker, who presented his journal and answered a lot of questions concerning the Orthodox Church in Greece and relations with other Christian Churches. Our team of fellow Editors had a guided tour in the Acropolis, the Areopagus and the Acropolis Museum. Our next meeting will be held in Rome, from 14 to 16 May 2020 and will be hosted by La Civiltà Cattolica. Civiltà Cattolica: 8th volume of the series "Accenti" on "Europe" The Jesuit magazine has reprinted, in a digital monograph, 22 articles on the history and development of the idea of Europe, and on the contribution of the Catholic Church to this debate, over almost a century. The European elections were a good opportunity to collect part of the research and insights of “La Civiltà Cattolica” over many years, and through many events, on the theme of Europe. Europe is still in need of "founders". Today there is a need for citizens, strong in their cultural identity, responsible for their community and aware that solidarity with the rest of European countries is essential to be able to continue a common journey. The volume is divided into four sections: the first is on the essential stages in the history of the European project; the second section integrates the historical overview, with a series of essays that try to recreate the panorama of ideas emerging, over the years, in the debate around this process; the third section offers the recent contribution of the Catholic Church in the European debate, with particular attention to the two Synods dedicated to Europe and to the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Ecclesia in Europa” by Saint John Paul II; finally, the fourth section is dedicated to the Magisterium of Pope Francis concerning our Continent. To interrupt the European process means to evoke ghosts that we had put to silence. Christians cannot withdraw when confronted with the fulfilment of their historical responsibilities towards the future of the Continent, and this requires clear political choices. "Accènti" is the series of digital volumes edited by the Jesuit magazine, which collect, through keywords inspired by current events, the heritage of content and reflections brought together, since 1850, by La Civiltà Cattolica. The volume "Europa" is available on the website (in PDF format) and on applications for tablets and smartphones (free for subscribers to the magazine). In paper format on the Amazon store and in all the main ebook stores.
"It's been a pleasure! The body as the place of relationship, of relationships, of encounter". This was the main theme of the PRE-T and EYM Leaders General Meeting held in Rome between the 25th and the 28th April 2019. 110 boys and girls, all between the ages of 17 and 25, from the different communities in Italy, who for four days have been reflecting, praying and raising questions together on the theme of the body and of affectivity, accompanied and guided by Father Gaetano Piccolo and by Dr Anna Martusciello, psychotherapist. Different inputs were offered and in-depth insights shared. Among the emerging issues: the awareness that the body “is speaking to us” and only by listening carefully to its messages, we are enabled to take care of others and understand their deepest needs; the body connects us to others, exposes us to the possibility of being hurt and makes us vulnerable; acknowledging fragility and wounds and calling them by their name is the first step of a healing process; faith is "incarnated" and without the body it would not be possible; the invitation not to be afraid of our weakness, because it is through it that His love for us reaches us, enabling us to become a body-community. Among the most precious moments were the general assemblies, the sharing in small groups, the penitential vigil, the daily masses - one of which was presided by the world YEM Responsible, Father Frederic Fornos – and the final feast. Many questions, both ethical and of meaning, came up with the possibility and the joy of listening to never pre-established, liberating, vital answers.
18,000 people running for girls' education: The NGO Entreculturas has arranged solidarity races in different Spanish cities. This year the funds raised (200.000 euros) will go to the program "The light of the girls" a great initiative in 12 countries of Africa and Latin America to improve the education of more than 12.700 girls so as to stop inequalities and protect them against violence.
The directors of the Jesuit Social Centres of Europe gathered in Brussels on May 6-7 for two full days of meetings and field visits. The meeting focused on two topics: Listening to the cry of the poor and taking action to protect our Common home (our Planet). The daily work of Jesuit Social Centres concentrates on three main areas of work: research/reflection, education and publishing while advocacy activities transversally cut across these areas by establishing and nurturing relationships with elected officials and other socio-political actors in order to respond to unjust structures that exist within society today. The Directors who attended this conference were from: Aggiornamenti Sociali (Milano), Centre Avec (Brussels), Centre de Recherche et d’action sociales (CERAS, Paris/Saint Denis), Centro cultural Brotéria (Lisbon), Cristianisme Justícia (CiJ, Barcelona), House of Dialogue (Budapest), Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC, Brussels), Zentrum für Globale Fragen (at Hochschule für Philosophie, Munich). The work of the conference started sharing regional and country updates and a presentation by Baudouin Van Overstraeten, Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Belgium, who talked about the dead-ends of migration policy in this Country. Listening to the cry of the excluded To move from theory to practice, Fr. Rožič along with the other directors and members of his staff went to Parc Maximilien and Gare du Nord. They met with people in need at the Gare du Nord, they then listened to the witnessing and requests of Helen Trabelssi, one of the leaders at the humanitarian hub of the Citizens’ Refugee Support Platform, a Belgian civil society initiative that provides food and medical treatment to migrants and homeless people. Another social issue of great importance in Brussels is the prevention of extremism. For that reason, the Directors had a door-to-door tour and dinner in Molenbeek, the neighbourhood in Brussels known for having hosted terrorist involved in the Paris and Brussels attacks of 2015 and 2016. The UZinne project hosted the Directors and Jesuit Social Centers staff in a squatted house along the canal’s former industrial neighbourhood. The menu was based on the concept of avoiding the waste of food. Every day UZinne collects unsold ingredients from supermarkets. The project also offers artistic projects in painting, photography and music. Listening to the cry for our Common home On Tuesday morning on 7 May, the Directors had breakfast with Philippe Lamberts, MEP and Co-President of the European Greens and Free Alliance Group. To learn more about the young people demonstrating for a better planet, the group of Directors also met with Bénédicte Rossetti, a Belgian school teacher involved in mobilisation for climate action and justice.  “The aim of the meeting was to listen to ourselves and to the world - said Peter Rožič SJ - we can live better if we share our experiences as Directors and most importantly as peers.”
Jesuit Media Initiatives, in collaboration with the Diocese of Westminster Marriage and Family Life team, launch Where Two Are Gathered, a new series of 7 audio sessions designed for married couples to celebrate Marriage Week, which is running from the 13th to the 19th May. The project partly follows the success of the Advent reflections for married couples Imagining the Nativity. The sessions are designed to be more interactive than normal Pray As You Go resources: they allow couples space to discuss the questions and reflections together through an invitation to press pause at various points. Written by Stephen Hoyland, each one of them lasts between four to six minutes. They are voiced by newlywed actors Martin Delaney (known for his work in ‘Now You see Me 2’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, and ‘Beowulf & Grendel’) and Emerald O’Hanrahan (‘The Archers’, ‘Silk’, ‘Father Brown’), both Catholic and who have already collaborated together with PAYG for the Significance Examen. The theme of Marriage Week 2019 is about the best ‘ingredients’ for a healthy relationship. It comes easy a comparison with cooking. One fun way of exploring this initiative, indeed, could be for the couple to spend some time together preparing a meal together. This implies teamwork and possibly not a little laughter if the culinary skill-sets of the two are not quite equal to the taskMeals require thought, adequate preparation and sometimes a little compromise to make sure that the ingredients and flavours meet the needs of differing palates. “The same applies to growing a healthy, life-long and sustaining marriage. The most memorable meals include a variety of courses and different flavours,” reflects Roger Carr-Jones, the head of Marriage and Family for the Diocese of Westminster. “Marriage brings together a ‘mix’ of different ingredients and it takes time to blend them together to produce a new way of existence. Sometimes everything is in balance and the flavours combine perfectly. At other times we need to revisit the mix, working together to ensure that the right balance is achieved and maintained, and that the flavours have not been dulled over time!” In daily life ready-made meals are available to be purchased: although not being always what the person needs, these provides just enough to meet the demands of work and family life. It is good to know that ready-made marriages are not available off the shelf, or if they were, it will soon be found that the product is not to our tastes or needs. What is needed, instead, is to find the right mix and proportions for every couple to enjoy a healthy, balanced and nourishing married life. The mix and proportions will change as the nature of the relationship grows and matures over the years. Sometimes adding a new flavour or ingredient transforms the zest and taste of the meal. The Pray As You Go new series of prayer exercises uses as its base ingredients Scripture, the Ignatian tradition and other Christian insights to provide a simple recipe, which can then be enjoyed blending together to make a tasty, exciting and balanced meal to feed the listeners’ marriage. It would be advisable perhaps for the couple to approach this time of prayer by asking first for the grace to look back on the ingredients which has made and currently make their marriage, to heal those times where the taste has been soured or the mix burnt, and to be given new insights as to the elements needed for the next course.

UPCOMING EVENTS

26
Wed
Jun 2019
ĐAKOVO
Croatia
Ordinations Zvonimir Marinović (CRO) and Šimo Marinović (CRO) will be ordained priest by Mons. Đuro Hranić, Archbishop of Đakovo and Osijek, at the Saint Peter Cathedral at 10.30 am. READ MORE
29
Sat
Jun 2019
ROME
Italy
Final Vows Fr. Gabriele Gionti (EUM-Vatican Observatory), Wieslaw Jonczyk (PMA-Pontifical Biblical Institute) and Matteo Daniele (EUM) will take final vows at 5 pm in the St. Ignatius Church       READ MORE
29
Sat
Jun 2019
KRAKOW
Poland
Ordinations Paweł Dudzik (PME) and Krystian Mółka (PME) will be ordained priest by Mons. Marek Jędraszewski, Archbishop of Krakow, at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus at 11.00 am. READ MORE
30
Sun
Jun 2019
NAPLES
Italy
Deaconal ordination Luigi Territo (EUM) will be ordained deacon by Mons. Beniamino De Palma, Bishop Emeritus of Nola at 11.00 at the the Seminary Chapel Posillipo, Naples READ MORE