Last month the Croatian Post has released a commemorative stamp in honour of Fr. Antun Cvek, member of the Croatian Province of the Society of Jesus who died in May 2019. The stamp was printed in 100 000 copies. Fr. Cvek was a great benefactor and friend of the sick and elderly people. He was ordained priest in 1974 but from 1969 till his death he was involved in caritative work and apostolate of elderly and sick people, those who were alone. In the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Zagreb he founded a first group of people who helped him visiting those in need as well as a spiritual and prayer group as a support for such apostolate. From that small group developed a Catholic association called Kap dobrote (a Drop of goodness) as a support for those who were in need. His nick name was “The good spirit of Zagreb”, and he was also cofounder of the Foundation Biskup Lang. For his long, unselfish and caritative work Fr. Cvek received many awards and among them one of the highest Croatian state decorations.
The Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies in Zagreb. In the academic year 2018/2019, The University of Zagreb celebrates 350 years since its founding. The History of the University of Zagreb began on 23rd September 1669, when the Holy Roman Emperor and the King of Hungary and Croatia Leopold I gave the Jesuit Academy in the free royal city of Zagreb a diploma, granting it the status and privileges of a university institution. The recognition was adopted by the Parliament of the Kingdom of Croatia on the November the 3rd 1671. Therefore, the University considers 1669 as the year of its founding and November the 3rd is celebrated as the University Day, while since 1671, the studies of philosophy, which started in 1662, operate legally as Neoacademia Zagrabiensis, a public institution of higher education. Jesuit education in modern Croatia continues that tradition. Our Faculty Day is on the 6th of November as the day when Jesuit, Fr. Takač delivered his first lecture in Philosophy. The Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies (Croatian acronym: FFRZ) was founded by the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education on July 31st, 1989. The Jesuit philosophical studies that had existed from 1937 at the Jesuit College in Zagreb were thus raised to the rank of faculty education. Until 2016, the name of the Faculty was the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus. The University of Zagreb accepted the Faculty of Philosophy of the Society of Jesus as its full member on July 29th, 2016 under the present name, the Faculty of Philosophy and Religious Studies. The Faculty offers programmes in two scientific fields in the humanities: philosophy and religious studies. The Faculty seeks to foster high standards in the relationship between teachers and students, arising from the Jesuit tradition and general Christian worldview, according to which the person of a student is at the centre of the teaching process, because he is “id quod est perfectissimum in tota natura”. Such an attitude was embedded by the Jesuits in their education system from the very beginning by their famous decree “Ratio Studiorum” from 1599, which is also the intent of the Bologna Process. Such a system allows for the rational foundation of philosophy itself and other areas of knowledge and worldviews, as well as theology as a science on religion. Such studies of this scope are not performed anywhere else in the Republic of Croatia and are therefore somewhat specific. They can be found, however, at major colleges and universities around the world. The study programme in religious studies is organised according to models from other world universities, including Catholic ones, whose vision strongly highlights dialogue with other religions, dialogue between Christian denominations, but also dialogue within society in general. The study programme in religious sciences is a unique study programme and the only one in Croatia that has its interdisciplinary scientific field within the field of humanities and therefore a unique value. This year we were honoured by Fr. General Arturo Sosa who visited our Province and Faculty as his contribution to this celebration. He also spoke about Universal Apostolic Preferences.
3D formation (in English 3S) is a three years program in Croatia for the integral development of human personality. The goal of the program is the formation of a young Christian offering to him/her an environment for personal development, growth in faith and responsible engagement in the society. 1st D stands for duh (in English: Spirit) and is directed to personal knowledge about himself/herself: Who are we and what can we offer to others? Which are our personal strengths and weaknesses. This includes group work and experiments. 2nd D stands for dušu (in English: Soul) offers the basics of Ignatian Spirituality and Retreats, working on our personal relationship with God. 3rd D stands for društvo (in English: Society) offers collaboration in different projects and associations in which someone can be effective for the other. Young people from 18 to 30 years old are involved in this program which starts this autumn. Photographs have been taken during last course which ended in June this year. The whole program is run by Jesuits who are involved in youth apostolate within the Student Catholic Academic Centre, based in the Palmotićeva community in Zagreb and around the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. The program has been extended and will start also in two other cities: Osijek and Split. For more information: Here are some testimonies of participants who finished the whole three years program: “This year has brought to me a lot of good things in every aspect of my life-in my relationship with my family, others and God. ‘The door’ toward merciful Jesus gradually has become more and more open when I started to know and accept myself better and have become a mature person.” “The whole program is very meaningful, and I have felt the working of the Holy Spirit throughout the whole year; every part of the program is special. I have noticed many changes in my life, especially I managed to deal with my fears which were deeply rooted in my life and prevented me from using my talents and being more open to Jesus and others. I feel free now.” “It is an excellent way which has helped me in my formation as a person and Christian and it has given me an opportunity to remain faithful to God and to live real values and virtues.” “You are loved and supported. This helps you to love and support others.”
A lot of youth activities at the Dalmatian Coast this summer: Spiritual exercises in an austere previous imprisonment camp, or a Laudato si camp. Spiritual exercises on the "Bare island" On the Croatian island Goli Otok (goli = naked, bare, otok = island) for a fifth year in a row groups of young people come to experience Ignatian spiritual exercises, organised by the Magis association and guided by Croatian Jesuits. The island of Goli used to be a notorious imprisonment camp for the political enemies of Tito's communist dictatorship from 1940s through 1950s and 1960s (started with Tito-Stalin split in 1948). Now, several decades after the last of the prisoners left, young people from different parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina come here to deepen their connection to God, nature and themselves. The conditions of accommodation are modest to say the least. The young people are sleeping in their sleeping bags on the wooden floors of old buildings. There is no electricity, no water supply (drinking water must be transported in canisters from the nearby island of Rab), no TVs, no smartphones or any kind of modern gadgets. The daily routine consists of three meals, an hour of work, lecture about Ignatian Spirituality, free time in which they are encouraged to pray and meditate. The day ends with the Holy Mass and adoration. Apart from a 30-minute daily conversation with their spiritual guide, they spend the week in complete silence. But the hard conditions in which they spend their time seem to have a beneficial effect on their spiritual exercises. It seems that in this silence and isolation from the outside world they have a better chance of hearing God's voice. It also seems that with their presence and prayer camp is in those days transformed in the place of holiness and that each one of them experiences a transformation of his own. And after a week, they go back to their homes enriched with this new experience and encouraged to search for and find God in all things. Youth camps based on Laudato si' In the Nature park of Lastovo this summer there were two youth camps based on the Papal encyclical Laudato si. Forty young people participated in a program as well as in practical outcome which means cleaning costal and island’s areas from different kind of rubbish. The biodiversity of Lastovo island nature park and its history were learned by visiting historical and sacral places, climbing and celebrating Mass. The camp has a missionary role also for many local people participated in spiritual and working activities. Having prayer and meditating out in a nature participants recognise God’s presence in their lives. Main emphasis in the program is integral ecology which connects experiences in natural and human environment. The main purpose of this camp is to restore relationships with God, neighbour and nature.
Since decades many catholic families in Croatia have been reserving summer to attend Family Summer School organized by the Family Institute at the Philosophical-Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb. This year the Family Summer School was organized by the Family Institute and the catholic movement Cursillo from 24th to 31st August on the small Dalmatian island Krapanj. This Summer School programme was the combination of the Cursillo programme and the usual Summer School approach through lectures and sharing experience coming from the experts from various fields: psychology, theology etc. As always it was combined by leisure time (swimming, playing... especially for children) and the spiritual programme.
Twenty one young Jesuits, Scholastics and younger priests (up to 5th year of their priesthood), gathered together for the annual meeting at the Novice house in Split between 12th and 15th of July 2019. The agenda of this meeting was very busy and there were many issues discussed sharing different experiences during formation time, studies, regency and priestly life. During that time participants were also reading, reflecting and discussing the new Universal Apostolic Preferences given to the whole Society. Special accent was given on youth apostolate (Journeying with Youth) and a guest speaker was invited (Salesian Fr. Ivan Terse) so that participants could hear different experiences from other Religious orders concerning youth apostolate. Fr. Dalibor Renić, Provincial of the Croatian Province also joined the meeting answering different questions. Since our young priests and scholastics have been dispersed all over Europe (Croatia, Italy and Poland) it was an opportunity to gather and to know each other better, discussing and reflecting about our Jesuit identity in a time that lies ahead.