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: www.skac.hr 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.
When one of my Jesuit brothers first proposed to participate in the initiative “Ultra Evangelization”, I thought this might be a very interesting experience. I had a vague idea of what the “Ultra Festival Europe Split 2019” (July 12th-14th) was (one of the biggest outdoor electronic music festivals in the world) and what young Catholics did in Split during those days, but that is all. However, after I accepted to participate at the festival, doubts started to creep into my mind: “What will I say to those people? What can I offer them?” I thought that it would perhaps be better if I said that I could not do it after all. But God in His love offered words of comfort. On the eve of the festival, I read these words from the Gospel of the following day: “Do not be anxious about how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you” (Mt 10:19-20). In short, Jesus was telling me to be still and know that He is God, that He is in charge. With that comfort, I went to bed. Upon arrival in Split the next day, several of us Jesuits went together to meet up with other participants. We arrived at the major seminary, our “base of operations,” and prayed before the Blessed Sacrament for a while before we headed out to the festival. We were reminded of Pope Francis’ encouragement to young Catholics to evangelize their peers, to go outside and to encounter them. Laying before God all my inadequacies and fears, I went with other participants to help the partygoers quench their physical and spiritual thirst by offering them free water and our testimony. In my head were Jesus’ words: “Do not be anxious… for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” As we were walking to our “field,” I was “distracted” from my fears by talking to my new friends. However, when we arrived at our destination and were divided into groups, the only question in my head was: “What now? How will I make ‘first contact’? What will I say to people when I approach them or when they approach me?” These and similar thoughts went through my mind. Then the interesting stuff began! We started approaching people and people approached us. “What are you doing here,” they would ask, and we would say to them that we were there to help people by offering them free water and, if they wanted, we could talk and even pray together. “Wow! What you are doing is great,” they responded. Some of them would then leave and continue partying, but some of them would remain and talk. Little by little, all of my fears left me and during the next three days, Jesus’ encouragement brought me strength, comfort, and security that He was in charge. We would talk about the key questions in life concerning meaning, purpose, and value. All of them were searching for God; all of them, like the woman of Samaria, were searching for living water that would quench their thirst. Of course, that does not mean they were aware of it, but in their hearts they knew that there is something more to life: for some of them it was love, for others a higher power. And this “more” was not something illusory, but something real. What the people participating in the “Ultra Festival” needed is a nudge or two in the right direction, and we as evangelizers tried to offer them exactly that without judging or condemning them, but by showing them the face of the merciful God through little acts of love and by our presence. Many of them did not know that God loves them, and upon hearing those words, some of them broke in tears. “Ultra Evangelization” was a great experience! I met so many people who searched for true meaning, purpose, and value in life. I encountered so many young Catholics eager to evangelize and serve their peers through little acts of love. I learned something about myself, about my inadequacies, but also how God can be glorified through them. Truly, one can meet God on Ultra. How? Come and see.
On Saturday, July 6, the Archbishop of Sarajevo, Vinko Puljić, consecrated the new parish church of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the Grbavica district in Sarajevo. The celebration began with the symbolic transfer of the church keys by kardinal Puljić to the parish priest Krešimir Djaković SJ. Then the relics of St. Ignatius were introduced in the church and laid down on the altar. The consecration was followed by a mass celebration. At the end of the celebration much thanksgiving was expressed towards so numerous concelebrants, but even more to benefactors who helped build the parish church in Grbavica.