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British Jesuits and co-workers meet around Universal Apostolic Preferences. During the Easter week over 90 Jesuits and 40 lay co-workers gathered at Stonyhurst College for a conference entitled “Working in Partnership with the Universal Apostolic Preferences”. It is the first time that such a large number of lay partners in mission have joined the Jesuits in a collaborative discernment. Lay people included head teachers from our Jesuit schools, parish council members, and staff working in leadership roles in spirituality, finance, safeguarding, communications and social justice projects. Inspiring talks by the Provincial Fr Damian Howard SJ and Fr Philip Endean SJ reflected on the process which the whole Society of Jesus had undergone following General Congregation 36 in 2016, to develop the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) - the four strategic directions for the Society  - and set them in the contemporary context. Fr Damian, who attended GC36 and worked with fellow European provincials on the UAP, explained, “We had to ask ourselves, ‘What is our mission?’ We had to recognise that the world is changing and ask where are the needs for today?  We had to interpret events around us and choose to change our plans.” The four Universal Apostolic Preferences are: • To show the way to God – through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment • To walk with the poor and the outcast in a mission of reconciliation and justice • To collaborate in care for our common home • To accompany the young in creation of hope-filled future. Fr Philip suggested that the UAP are “Larger than ourselves: they are of God. They are not a box ticking exercise but a sign-post to God’s gift to us, showing where we can do God’s work. They represent a personal call to conversion for each one of us.” A humble response Fr Damian encouraged the meeting to consider the UAP with humility and openness: “a contrite spirit enables us to reach out in humility to the hurting world.  We must be attuned to the world in pain.  It is a cry rather than a call, to which we must respond emotionally and cognitively… We must proceed thoughtfully and helpfully to find solutions.” Referring to the priority to walk with the outcast, Fr Damian observed, “people at the peripheries have a clarity of vision about what happens at the centre, about what is rotten in the world.” Fr Philip took up this theme noting the risks presented by the UAP: “there is risk in the vulnerable spaces [where we engage] with the marginalised and the young who have very different ways of looking at the world.” Fr Philip set the UAP in their historic context, remembering how St Ignatius and his first companions spent some time discerning the role of their new Society, which they presented to the Pope, who then returned this to them as the Society’s approved mission, a process which has been mirrored with Pope Francis this year.  But even within the lifetime of St Ignatius priorities changed.  The original vision for poverty and mobility was adapted to meet the needs for education, and large institutions were established. Moving to the challenge of the secular society which evolved in the twentieth century, Fr Philip reflected that this was also an opportunity, one which has led us to focus again on the Spiritual Exercises as our key tool for helping individuals to develop a personal, rather than a societal or corporate, relationship with God. The conference split into small “discernment groups” of 10-12 people to share how the presentations had moved them, and where they most felt God’s presence as they considered how to apply the UAPs to their own work. The importance of lay partners Scholastic Luke Taylor SJ presented findings from a research project which considered the nature and extent of lay partnership in the Jesuit mission in Britain, which now comprised 130 Jesuits, around 1,250 employees (1,000 of which are in our schools) and over 2,000 regular volunteers. Reflecting on the British Province Fr Damian said, “there had been a previous assumption among us that lay partners do not have the same commitment [as Jesuits] to the mission because they are paid… Mutual trust and esteem are required.”  To this end he is proposing to establish a lay and Jesuit partners group to share about mission, to exchange ideas, experience and perspectives, to help us to listen, to communicate more effectively and to plan. Discernment in common The conference concluded with a presentation from Fr David Smolira SJ, the Provincial’s delegate for Ignatian Formation.  In response to Pope Francis’ appeal for better discernment across the whole Church, Fr David called for as many partners in mission as possible to help shape the future of the Jesuits’ ministry in Britain by sharing the process of “discernment in common” which had been initiated in the previous days. “In discernment we do not argue a position; that is a discussion,” he explained. “Discernment is a richer hearing of God’s call.  It requires trust that such communal discernment is actually possible, it requires generosity and genuine listening, the forgiveness of past hurts, a letting go of our own agendas, so that we can notice the movement of the spirit towards consolation or desolation in ourselves and others.” This process of discernment in common will be evolving throughout our ministries with our partners in mission during the coming months.
In the days before Palm Sunday, the Faith in Politics interns of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) visited Rome, as each year, to help them understand how the Church and the World are served by the offices which assist the Pope there, known as the Roman Curia. The interns are graduates from all over Britain, who work with Catholic Members of Parliament or Catholic Agencies, are studying Catholic Social Teaching, the first part of a Masters Degree currently with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, while living together at More House, the West London University Chaplaincy. The programme helps them to reflect and act on how Catholics can engage in public life to serve the Common Good and given the current work of o former interns, has been extraordinarily effective. Over the sixteen years of the programme, their Spiritual Accompaniment has been offered by Jesuits, and this year by the Clapham Community of Ruth Holgate, Fr Jim Conway SJ and Fr Dushan Croos SJ (who accompanied them to Rome). During their visit, the interns met and interviewed Vatican officials at the Dicasteries for Integral Human Development, for Laity, Family and Youth, at Vatican Radio and from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as visiting the inside of the Pope’s official residence, the Vatican Palace, seeing particularly the rooms around the Sistine Chapel in which Cardinals gather and pray before electing the Pope.   On the first evening they were welcomed at the Residence of the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, near the Quirinal Palace, for a reception with many of those involved in the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. The British Ambassador tweeted “Enjoyed meeting the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales interns, who are working with MPs, CAFOD, and studying Catholic Social Teaching. We hope they enjoy the rest of their programme in Rome.” The Italian trip also included elements of pilgrimage, as the group visited the tombs of St Peter, Pope St John XXIII, Philip Neri, St Ignatius, Fr Arrupe, and on a visit to Assisi, of St Francis of Assisi and St Clare. The unplanned highlight of the visit was seeing the Pope fairly close up as he toured St Peter’s Square after the prayer of the Angelus and the Palm Sunday Mass. “The interns and I were all quite surprised at just how moved they were to see the Holy Father blessing, smiling, and engaging with people, even after the rigours of the Palm Sunday Mass,” remembers Fr Dushan. "These few days have deeply inspired the group in their faith and as well as their desire and opportunity to work with those who are serving the needs of the Universal Church from Rome."
Congratulations to Professor Michael Barnes SJ, who has received the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation for his long and distinguished contribution in this field. The award was presented the 4th of April, by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Hubert Walter was a noted jurist and financial administrator who was himself Archbishop of Canterbury from 1193 to 1205. He accompanied King Richard on the third crusade, was involved in negotiations with Saladin over access for Christian clergy to the Holy Places, and helped raise the ransom to get the king released from incarceration in Germany when he was captured on his return from the Holy Land. The award in his name was first launched by Archbishop Justin Welby in 2016. Jesuit Provincial, Fr Damian Howard SJ, said: “Michael is a worthy recipient of this prize which recognises not only his eminence as an expert in the Christian theology of religions but also his skill and hard work as a practitioner of interreligious relations in London and elsewhere. He has made a huge contribution to a complex and contested area of study by refusing easy answers and instead speaking out of the Church’s experience of encounter and dialogue. I am confident that his work will still be on reading lists for decades to come. We are immensely proud of his achievements.” The award citation for Professor Michael Barnes SJ reads: “Alongside outstanding intellectual contributions such as his Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (CUP, 2002) and Interreligious Learning (2012), he has made a concerted effort to lead in grassroots interreligious community engagement such as the De Nobili Centre in Southall. In 2007 Michael Barnes set up the Southall ‘Faiths Together’ project, with the aim of training people for interreligious relations. Michael has used the phrase ‘theology of dialogue’ to encapsulate his central conviction, that there is more to dialogue than a way of Christian witness appropriate to a pluralist world; dialogue has something to do with God. […] Michael has been instrumental in teaching generations of students on subjects such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christian theologies of relations since the early 1980s. Whilst a leading Roman Catholic scholar, his teaching has always served a strongly ecumenical and interreligious constituency, with many Anglicans benefiting from his wisdom and insight.”
Pope Francis has said, ‘Today the Church needs to grow in discernment, in the ability to discern.’ His reforms are motivated by a desire for a more discerning Church, whether at the level of the bishops’ synods, in the local Church, or in the pastoral accompaniment of individual Christians. Above all, he has emphasised that the faithful ‘are capable of carrying out their own discernment in complex situations’. About sixty people gathered at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales this March to discuss what the discerning Church might look like in the twenty-first century. The conference, which was co-sponsored by Campion Hall, Oxford, addressed aspects of this topic ranging from Saint Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises to discernment in the thinking of the early desert saints; from the prehistory of human ethical thinking to the Christian engagement with the contemporary corporate sector and with young adults. The Bishop of Wrexham, Peter Brignall offered a welcome to participants in a brief address that turned out to foreshadow a core theme of the conference. He outlined the structure of the disciples’ encounter with Jesus on the way to Emmaus. The Lord accompanied them; their hearts were opened; they set out on a journey, right away. Frank Turner SJ, Delegate for the Intellectual Apostolate, reflects on the address: "we know that the Lord accompanies us. We pray, not least in the Spiritual Exercises, for our hearts to be truly open to that presence in the power of God’s Spirit. We recognise that discerned decisions must lead, where appropriate, to action and sustained commitment.” The keynote speakers were Dr Nick Austin SJ, theological ethicist & Master-designate of Campion Hall, Prof Celia Deane-Drummond, theologian & Director of the Laudato Si’ Institute at Oxford University, Dr Cécile Renouard RSA, Professor at the Institute for Research and Education on Negotiation in Europe (IRENE), Dr Patrick Goujon SJ, theologian at the Centre Sèvres Jesuit Faculty of Paris, and Fr Mark Rotsaert SJ, Ignatian scholar and spiritual director. They addressed the role of imagination and memory in practical wisdom, aspects of Ignatian discernment of spirits, and the importance of a collective social and ecological discernment that can address the structures of society that impede social justice and care for our common home. The particular role of the Ignatian family in fostering a culture of personal, pastoral and communal discernment in the Church was recognized. Afternoon workshops also ranged widely, looking at the place of decision in discernment, discernment in personal vocation, in diocesan life, and in the accompaniment of refugees. We engaged with another form of ‘prehistory’, in the Old Testament (we found ourselves writing Midrash on the Book of Esther). Finally, a workshop explored the deepest theological grounds of discernment: how St Augustine understood the experience of God. The Conference participants themselves recognized the need to go beyond talking about the discerning Church, and to engage in the process of becoming, at least in microcosm, the discerning Church, in the communities and institutions to which they returned.
New book announced in honour of Joseph Munitiz s.J. Nineteen scholars join forces to pay tribute to one of the leading scholars in Byzantine studies, Father Joseph A. Munitiz SJ. As one of the founders of the Series Graeca of the Corpus Christianorum and because of his own exemplary work, Joe Munitiz had and has a lasting impact on the development of Byzantine studies. There is no better way to honour him and his work than to offer him a Festschrift with contributions that mimic his quality, passion, and curiosity. The Festschrift contains several “firsts”: the first English translation of Eustathius’ Letter concerning the Two Natures against Severus, and the first critical editions (and studies) of an anonymous iambic canon on St John Chrysostom, of letter Z of the Etymologicum Symeonis, of some additions to letter A in the Florilegium Coislinianum, of a possible credo of Metrophanes of Smyrna, of a letter by Nicolas Pepagomenos to Gregory Palamas, and of Maximus Confessor’s Tomos to Stephen of Dor against the Ekthesis. The innovative studies in this volume deal with the Slavonic and Greek catenae on the Song of Songs, with Athanasius’ Letter to Marcellinus, with an ascetic miscellany in a thirteenth-century Atheniensis, with the so-called ‘First Chapter Titles’ in the second recension of the Florilegium Coislinianum, with the date of composition of the Maximian Corpus, with Raimundus Lullus’ knowledge of Byzantium, with the reception of the Catalogue of Inventors in Gregory of Nazianzus’ fourth oratio, and with Titus of Bostra’s polemic against the Manicheans. It comprises contributions by Pauline Allen, Theodora Antonopoulou, Davide Baldi, Reinhart Ceulemans & Margaret Dimitrova, Barbara Crostini, José Declerck, Eva De Ridder, Tomás Fernández, José Maksimczuk, Basile Markesinis, Juan Nadal Cañellas, Stefaan Neirynck & Peter Van Deun, Jennifer Nimmo Smith, Paul-Hubert Poirier, Antonio Rigo, and Bram Roosen. Fr Joseph Munitiz SJ edited three volumes in Brepols's collection for the Corpus Christianorum, which attempts to update the Migne Patrologia Graeca with critical editions of theologians writing in Greek, not only the Fathers but also the later Byzantine authors who are less well known. He worked on two writers from the 13th century, but also on the Questions and Answers of Anastasius of Sinai (c. 700 A.D.). In the course of his work, Fr Munitiz had to travel widely and came to know and help many other scholars. He commented: "I am pleasantly surprised to find contributors to this Festschrift who are not personally known to me, but who must have found my publications helpful." The book has been edited by Dr Bram Roosen, research associate at the KULeuven (Belgium) and former editor of the CCSG, and Prof dr Peter Van Deun, head of the Institute for Palaeochristian and Byzantine Studies (KULeuven) and the general director of the CCSG. The volume it's the 15th in the series "Byzantioς. Studies in Byzantine History and Civilization", published by Brepols Publishers, and is scheduled to appear in June 2019 on the publisher's website.
Catholic Church of England and Wales The Jesuits in Britain's online prayer ministry, Pray As You Go, collaborated with the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation for a special resource to be presented at the 2019 Flame Congress. The event, which took place on Saturday 2 March at Wembley Arena, is the biggest Catholic youth gathering in England and Wales. This year, over 8,000 participants arrived from all over the country, and some even from overseas. The theme for the day was ‘Significance’, defined as “worthy of attention,” “with meaning,” “important.” The word resonates particularly in the Scripture passages of the Baptism of Jesus and the Transfiguration. With today’s hectic networks and digital relationships, it can be easy to feel under pressure, especially for young people who may be well drawn to measure self-esteem in likes, social media resharing, followers, and other virtual entrancing reactions/distractions of the online world. Flame 2019 proposed to offer a deep perspective for the youth to understand better their centered position in their creation in the image and likeness of God. Jean Vanier The programme was packed with insightful talks, testimonies, and moments of prayer. Among the speakers, there were the philosopher Jean Vanier, Archbishop Eamon Martin, who was a Synod Father during the Synod on Young People in October 2018, Robert Madu, and many more. A group from Wimbledon College, accompanied by Fr Tim Byron SJ and James Potter, attended the event. From the British Province, Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ, Fr Paul Nicholson SJ, Fr James Conway SJ, Delegate for Ministry to Young People, and Fr Dushan Croos SJ were also present. A joyful and energy filled atmosphere Jesuits at Flame “This is the fourth time we have taken groups from the College to Flame, and certainly the best," commented James Potter, chaplain at Wimbledon College. "From a lively worship led by Tim Hughes and MOBO award winning Guvna B, to moving messages from Jean Vanier and compelling and entertaining preaching from American pastor Robert Madu. With over 8000 young people in the arena there was a joyful and energy filled atmosphere, whilst also a deep sense of community and prayer, none more moving than the moment when the whole arena fell silent in adoration of the blessed sacrament.” The ‘Significance Examen’ by Pray As You Go was created with CYMFed as a short resource to be used as a supplement to follow the event. The idea is that young people have the chance to reflect on their own significance to God and to those around them, and to provide a reminder that we are all precious to God and that God has a purpose and plans for us. A chance to create a resource specifically for young people Emma Holland, Producer of PAYG who also was present at Wembley Arena on Saturday, said: "I was really pleased to have a chance to create a resource specifically for young people. We want Pray As You Go to be as helpful as possible to people of all ages and stages of life. 'Significance' is a crucial theme for our times in a world of social media dominance and confusion. It's my hope we can help young people grab a bit of space to pause and reflect on the high value God places on their lives." The voice for the Examen is actor Martin Delaney (known for his work in ‘Now You see Me 2’, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, and ‘Beowulf & Grendel’), who records for PAYG with his fiancée Emerald O'Hanrahan, also an actress (‘The Archers’, ‘Silk’, ‘Father Brown’). Both are Catholic and passionate about the faith of young people. To accompany the meditation, a piece of music was used called ‘Renew' by Salt of the Sound (feat. Narrow Skies') from their album 'Meditations Vol. 3'