Tuesday, August 4, 2020, around 6:00 p.m. local time, we saw and heard a very loud explosion not far from our residence. A big black smoke rose to the sky, the whole building was shaken, the windows blown out, the doors ripped open, the false ceiling on the floor.   A scene of desolation and massive destruction everywhere in our 11-storey residence. Also, the community and St. Gregory's College were heavily damaged. Thank God we only had two minor injuries.   More than 100 people were killed and 4000 injured. The hospital, Hôtel-Dieu de France run by the University of Saint Joseph, did not stop treating the wounded; in the corridors, the doctors were stitching up stitches. The buildings of the university and the hospital were badly damaged. Everywhere in Beirut, one sees shattered windows, streets littered with glass, and one hears only the sirens of the ambulances and the noise of cleaning broken windows. The city is in shock. People were already suffering under the weight of a very serious political and economic crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic that was spreading, and now a wave of destruction and demolition is descending upon them. Images: Entrance of the Jesuit Residence, Chapel of the Residence, Community room  
How should we rethink the concept of citizenship? Is it still a value as it has been thought of so far? Giovanni Moro, Angela Taraborrelli and Ruper Strachwitz replied to these questions on 9 July during the first of a series of webinars promoted by Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University. Through the partnership between La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University, a webinar series dedicated to "Civil Issues" was initiated.  This series will take place between July and December 2020. The first of the scheduled webinars - "The future of citizenship" - was held on 9 July. Global challenges have disputed traditional concepts of citizenship which were founded on nationalism. The crisis triggered by Covid-19 is just one of the most recent examples of the increase in trans-national interdependence, starting from health and the economy to politics and the environment. To what extent should we reconsider citizenship as a way of living within a cultural, religious and political ambience together? States and Citizenship During the webinar - introduced by the director of La Civiltà Cattolica, Antonio Spadaro SJ, and coordinated by the representative of Georgetown University in Rome, Debora Tonelli - Giovanni Moro (political sociologist, La Sapienza University - Rome), Rupert Graf Strachwitz (political scientist and historian, Maecenata Institute - Berlin) and Angela Taraborrelli (Associate Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Cagliari) discussed the future of citizenship starting from different disciplinary areas. Citizenship is a concept which was ignored until the early 1990s, its only identification being the passport. Then there was an awakening of interest in it, but it did not lead to a proper definition. «It is a device for the inclusion, cohesion and development of democratic society» Giovanni Moro highlighted «in relation to three components: recognition at a political, juridical and social level; the advantage of guaranteed and recognized standard of living rights and also the duty of solidarity; finally, participation in defining the standard aims and rules of competition within the political community ». Citizenship is also defined in the "deeds, sentences and contracts that characterize its substance and practices". The canonical model inherited from the 1900s, which is linked to national borders, is no longer relevant today. This was verified by migration, loss of state power, the mixture of identities, and the development of communication. "The concept of citizenship has not died out, but it is undergoing transformation", starting from gender identity, to forms of political participation, to European citizenship itself. National State and Cosmopolitan State "There are 10 million stateless people in the world," said Angela Taraborrelli, "and some states are unable to guarantee rights." Although world states have signed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, often the individual has found no channels through which he can claim global citizenship rights. "It is a question of adding cosmopolitan citizenship to national citizenship and not replacing it," she emphasized. "The European model should be followed, a model which permits citizens without national protection to find protection not only as refugees but as cosmopolitan citizens, guaranteeing financial support through contributions made by the rich and not by the poorest strata of society". It is a challenge for states "to become cosmopolitan, recognizing the rights of migrants living in their territory, not relegating them to feudal privileges as is being done by some liberal states, which have accepted to support them financially but have refused to grant them the right of citizenship". Multiple citizenship Rupert Strachwitz spoke about multiple citizenship. «The world is not only made up of different nations. Many feel that they are citizens because of other realities such as religion or the way civil society expresses itself. Particularly, young people in reality identify themselves as associations, such as Amnesty and Fridayforfuture. European citizenship is very different from US citizenship, which finds its roots in the 1800s. If it is more open it will result in a stable society that includes differences, otherwise it will not work. " An important role in this process where some nations are more ahead of others, is that of religious communities. The outcome that finally emerged was the general dissatisfaction with old concepts of citizenship and the responsibility of the city to become more inclusive.  The challenge is that of building "communities with a common destiny", citizenship education and the fact that a large number of people are seeking answers. During the "Civil Issues" webinar series Italian and international experts will continue to discuss current issues in the fields of culture, society, politics and the Church. The partnership between La Civiltà Cattolica and Georgetown University has already produced the initiative of the China Forum for the Dialogue between Civilizations (https://chinaforum.georgetown.edu/).
We mourn Johannes Siebner. He died on June 16th in Berlin-Kladow in the Berlin community hospital Havelhöhe. At the end of January he was suddenly and unexpectedly torn out of his office as Provincial of the German Jesuits due to a brain tumor illness. This was the last and highest of many offices, which he now held with great devotion and joy. We mourn for our deceased confrere, and we mourn together with his mother and brothers and sisters. Johannes Siebner was born in Berlin on August 24, 1961. After graduating from the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin, he first studied political science and Catholic religion. Particularly inspired by his commitment to youth work (KSJ) and by a longer stay on a kibbutz in Israel, he entered the Jesuit order in Münster in 1983. After his studies of philosophy in Munich, a two-year service with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Malaysia, after theological studies in Frankfurt Sankt-Georgen, priest ordination in 1992 in Cologne as well as additional studies and pastoral work in Erfurt he took up his first position as spiritual director of the KSJ and religion teacher at the Sankt-Ansgar-Schule in Hamburg in 1993. In 2001, he was appointed director of the international college St. Blasien in the Black Forest. In 2011 he will take up the post of Rector of the Aloisius-Kolleg in Bonn-Bad Godesberg. Twice his Province elected him as delegate to assemblies of the worldwide Order. During the 36th General Congregations Fr. General Arturo Sosa appointed him as the new Provincial Superior, also with the task of founding a new Central European Province together with the Austrian, Lithuanian-Latvian and Swiss Province. He took up his office as Provincial on June 1, 2017. Johannes Siebner's work was marked by the pastoral concern of the Order: "To help the souls". As youth pastor in Hamburg he renewed and profiled the concept of associational youth work, also beyond the Hamburg area. The pedagogical culture and also the leadership culture at the colleges in St. Blasien and Bad Godesberg shaped a thoughtful and inwardly acquired understanding of the spiritual tradition of the Order. His joy in and also his ability to engage in public discourse made him known far beyond the borders of the Order and made him a competent and sought-after dialogue partner, pastor, advisor and speaker. He participated in the foundation of the "Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy" (Ludwigshafen), whose foundations he laid by publications ("School is there for pupils - why parents are not customers and teachers are not parents", Freiburg 2011). In his many and varied activities, he has always remained an extremely humane, humorous, analytically clear and at the same time empathetic pastor. The exposure of abuse at Jesuit colleges and in the Jesuit order shook Johannes Siebner. He took over responsibility for the institutions towards those affected. In countless conversations with those affected, but also with families, years of former pupils, with employees and co-workers, he enabled individual and institutional reappraisal. He courageously intervened when those under his protection and those seeking protection turned to him. In extremely complex decision-making situations he endured hostility from the most diverse directions without losing sight of the goal, namely justice for the victims, protection for pupils and all those who entrust themselves to pastoral care. With this attitude, as Provincial he shaped pastoral standards and lived them himself. The early death of Johannes Siebner leaves a gaping void and fills us with great pain. Jesus, who called out to Johannen Siebner: "Feed my lambs, feed my sheep" (John 21:15), may he now be received by him. Impressive funeral in Berlin On Thursday 30 July was the impressive funeral of Fr. Siebner in the Canisius Church in Berlin. Together with Fr Jan Roser, vice-provincial, Tomasz Kot, assistant to P. General, Bernhard Bürgler, provincial of Austria and Christian Rutishauser, provincial of Switzerland, stood at the altar. Fr. Klaus Mertes provided a very personal and profound homily.  This celebration was broadcast live on the internet and can still be viewed here.
Sharing, prayer, community, work, challenges, growth. This is how the novices in Genoa describe in a videoclip the two years of community life as they continue to discern their call to the Society of Jesus. Sharing things and spaces, thoughts and reflections, and the spiritual life is their style of life whether during prayer, in a time of intimacy with Him, during praise, adoration, mass, vespers and during periods of silence. Community life is beautiful and a means of discovering oneself and allowing oneself to be known by others. Work is also an opportunity to get to know oneself and others better. Living in community is a challenge because our weaknesses are revealed by others and we are invited to accept the weaknesses of others. It is a time of growing together, sharing skills and attitudes to build genuine relationships, in preparation for our mission.
10 days of sailing adventure in Poland (31.08-9.09) - why not to think about meeting God in these categories? He who is Lord of all things likes to be found also outside the typical space of the church. Following this intuition, the Jesuits have been inviting us to a wave adventure together for several years. Life on the Wave - the official name of the project - was born out of a combination of two passions: for prayer and contemplation, and for sailing. The beginnings of the project were timid and it was only during the next summer cruise in a row that the Jesuits realized that the joy of sailing on a yacht can be shared. And so for a few years now sailors have been making friends on the waters of Mazury, the Szczecinski Lagoon or Greifswald. This year we invite you to Masuria! The cruise crew consists of a dozen or so people each time, who usually sail on two yachts. New flavours of silence Phone, e-mail, Facebook, news - for many these are important elements of everyday life. So much so that sometimes you can have enough of them. Sometimes people start dreaming about jumping into a glass ball for a while, where they can spend some time with themselves. The moment you first go down to the quay after you arrive in the harbor and install yourself on the yacht definitely helps you to distance yourself from what you are coming with. The novelty of the experience, the boat and the emotions are so strongly absorbed that one quickly frees oneself from the thought of overdue exams or professional problems. Thus, the process of entering the silence, which discovers its new taste every day, begins. Unity in diversity Living on less than 20m2 in 7-8 people who share a kitchen, bathroom, toilet or moments of afternoon sleep below deck, it is impossible not to open up to others. And if the crew member does not feel like it, the others will quickly encourage him to do so! It is with them that he shares a room and less than 24 hours of his time during the day. The value of what sailors have created during the voyage is felt most strongly in the last days and hours of sailing. The moment of the crossings is almost always associated with a sense of loss. And there is no exaggeration in that! After crossing many barriers - intimacy, comfort, various temperaments, but also moments of stress experienced together, the crew becomes a living community. Life on the wave is made up of very different people, but they are always connected by their ultimately open hearts and souls. Sailing like life Facing the elements of water, wind, rain, but also your own interior, full of questions, doubts, joy or emptiness, requires attention and humility. Due to strong wind or failure, it is often necessary to correct plans. During the cruise, however, the final course is never forgotten. And despite temporary changes, the final correction is made. Who hasn't been through this in their everyday life? Crossing is also about facing your fears. When the first time a person is at the helm with a big wave and heeling the yacht, they often have to control their emotions and believe that the crew is really safe. It's no coincidence or the poets' idea that sailing is a metaphor for life. Or maybe the other way around? *Life on the Wave - Jesuit retreat project for students and so-called young workers. Participants of the cruise each day individually consider the Word of God, participate in the Eucharist and share their experiences. More about the 2020 Edition on our facebook profile:  Rafał Bulowski SJ
In a special report, BBC2's Newsnight Fr Dominic Robinson of Farm Street Church talked about the crisis facing unemployed and homeless people after the pandemic. Speaking from the Central London Catholic Churches’ refreshment hub in Trafalgar Square, Fr Dominic said: "We are seeing more and more people who have lost their jobs in all sorts of places, a lot from the hospitality sector. This is a crisis that isn't going to go away." Sarah Teather, Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service UK, which is continuing to distribute emergency food parcels to the homeless appealed to the government to lift its ban on funding to support people with irregular immigration status: "I want the No Recourse to Public Funds restrictions lifted in order to ensure that individuals are kept safe and that wider public health is protected." They are among those campaigning to have No Recourse To Public Funds restrictions lifted so that people who need emergency housing in the pandemic can be housed safely, regardless of their immigration status. As Cardinal Nichols explained in his interview in the same section of the programme: “We need to respond to that humanity in front of us, recognising the innate dignity of each person and not simply consign them into an abyss.”


Sep 2020
Final Vows Pierre Chongk Tzoun-chan will take final vows at 11 am. in the Christ the Saviour Church READ MORE
Sep 2020
Final Vows Tomasz Klin (PMA)  will take final vows at the church of St. Ignatius Loyola at 11 am. READ MORE
Sep 2020
Final Vows Gilles Barbe (EOF) will take Final Vows in the Church of St. John Berchmans  READ MORE
Oct 2020
Ordination Moritz Kuhlmann (GER) and Martin Föhn (HEL) will be ordained priest in the Liebfrauenkirche. READ MORE