Czech Republic

Meeting of the Czech and Slovak scholastics. At the turn of the year, from December 28, 2017 to January 1, 2018, an annual meeting of scholastics from the Czech and Slovak provinces took place at the Jesuit cottage in the Trlenska valley near Ruzomberok in Slovakia. Among the participants, there were students of philosophy in Poland (Krakow) and Germany (Munich), young Jesuits on regency in Slovakia and one deacon. During the whole period, eleven young Jesuits were accompanied by the Czech  Provincial Josef Stuchly. Scholastics studying in Italy were missing because they attended an ordination of their confreres in Rome. The meeting gave to the young Jesuits an opportunity to share their lives in the Society and their experiences of the formation. They talked about their studies and regencies in different European countries (Germany, Poland, Slovakia), and they also discussed current themes of  both provinces. An important topic was the merging the Czech and Slovak provinces that will take place in the future. Participants shared their ideas and feelings about that merging and they also tried to identify the most important questions to be addressed regarding this topic. Talks were followed by less formal sharing and discussions. For this part of the program also the Slovak Provincial Rudolf Uher joined the group. Serious themes were balanced by a lot of spontaneous encounters, conversations and a leisure time spent together. The participants had a time for the rest, for walks, trips and swimming, for visits in Ruzomberok, and thanks to the weather that brought a lot of show also for skiing in the adjacent mountains. Every day there was a common Eucharist and adoration. On the New Year's Eve, sisters from the Congregatio Jesu community in Ruzomberok and several other guests joined the group for the Holy Mass and a festive dinner. They welcomed the New Year during common midnight adoration in Ruzomberok, followed by a celebratory drink in a nearby parish premises. The whole meeting that took place in an atmosphere of peace, joy and a mutual support was concluded by a morning Mass on Monday, January 1st.
Meeting of the Czech Province. At the beginning of the New Year, from 2nd to 4th January, almost thirty Czech Jesuits from different communities all around the country gathered for an annual meeting of the province. It was hosted in a Jesuit Centre for Spirituality and Spiritual Exercises called the Cologne Monastery (Kolinsky klaster). Also a pilgrimage to the Czech capital Prague was included in the programme. At the beginning Father Provincial Josef Stuchly gave an introduction about the state of the Czech province, about the restructuring process of the Society and the current topic of merging of the Czech and Slovak provinces. Discussions and reflections on the concrete steps to be taken continued in small sharing groups, followed by plenary talks. Next morning, at the Feast of the Holy Name of Jesus (Wednesday, January 3rd), a titular feast of the Society, the group moved to Prague for a small pilgrimage for vocations. The participants celebrated the Holy Mass at the altar of St. Stanislaus Kostka, a saint patron of youth and Jesuit novices, in the Church of the Most Holy Saviour in the complex of Clementinum, near the Charles Bridge in the city centre. The Mass was presided by the Jesuit chaplain of a local academic parish, Jan Regner, who spoke about  God´s call and the Jesuit vocation. Then there was a time to visit the Clementinum, the first Jesuit college in the Bohemian lands, and the National Library of the Czech Republic, today housed in the historical building. The Jesuits were welcomed by the director general of this most important Czech library. Besides the restructuring process, the universal preferences of the Society were another current topic of the meeting to which an other part of the programme was dedicated. The preferences most frequently mentioned by the Czech Jesuits were the Spiritual Exercises and the intellectual apostolate, especially the pastoral care of the university students, which already has a long tradition in the Czech province. The meeting was closed by the Holy Mass with the renewal of vows of young Jesuits. The sermon was given by the master of the Czech and Slovak novices Jan Adamik (from the noviciate in Ruzomberok) who spoke about two questions that all of us have to ask. The first concerned our identity – who we are, and the second one related to our vision – to where we are going. And the Jesuit spirituality helps us to answer both questions adequately.
Central-East Europe Novice Meeting in Split. This year's the central-east Europe novices meeting took place in Split, Croatia. It was the meeting of novices from Gdynia (Poland), Ružomberok (the Slovak and Czech joint novitiate in Slovakia) and Split. The meeting was held from the 6th of June until the 11th of June. The meeting began with a holy mass which celebrated in the Split cathedral by the archbishop of Split Marin Barišić in concelebration with the Jesuit novice masters and their assistants.  The Croatian novice master fr. Stipo Balatinac held the introductory word before the mass: “The place of our usual yearly meeting happens to be, trough rotation, Split. Here we have 15 novices that arrive from Gdynia led by their novice master fr. Piotr Szymanski. From the Slovak and Czech joint novitiate in Ružemberok, due to sickness, arrived only three novices and their master and his assistant: fr. Jan Adamik and fr. Ondrej Gabriš. Next to them here we have our seven Croatian novices, alongside with me, their novice master. I am pleased that our guests can not only see the oldest cathedral in the world, but also celebrate in it our Lord the best way, through the holy Mass. In this meeting we want to enrich ourselves spiritually and rest our bodies, especially in our already warm Adriatic Sea.” 40 years of Novitiate and the feast of St. Stanislaus Kostka. Sunday November 12th saw a festive commemoration of 40 years since the Jesuit novitiate was transferred from Zagreb to Split. To mark the anniversary, Fr. Zvonko Vlah SJ – one of the novices who at the time formed the first generation in Split – celebrated mass at the Church attached to the Novitiate building Vows 2017 in Croatia On Saturday, September 16, in Split, Croatia, three Jesuit novices have taken vows. They are Zlatko Brauchler (born on August 16, 1991 in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany), Dino Stanić (born on May 24, 1992 in Rijeka, Croatia) and Matej Zdravčević (born on January 11, 1992 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany). The Holy Mass was celebrated in the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Split, Croatia. The main celebrant was Fr. Dalibor Renić SJ, provincial of the Croatian Province of the Society of Jesus. After the vows the new Jesuit scholastics have visited their families and friends. Now they are in Zagreb, studying philosophy at the Jesuit Institute of Philosophy and Theology. Let us all pray for their perseverance, spiritual and intellectual progress. May they surrender their lives completely to God, for His greater glory.
Europe and Near East, 102 novices in 10 novitiates.  They knew about by us in a diverse way, some have studied with us, other just heard about us in a retreat, a conference or by clicking in our websites. Every vocational journey can start in many different ways for many people across Europe and Near East. They could be admitted after a process of knowing each other, Jesuits and candidates, and following a aspirants programme with spiritual direction. In October, 58 young men have joined the Society of Jesus with the true intention of becoming Jesuits. They come from almost every Jesuit Province or Region in this territory gathered in 10 different novitiates that go from Portugal to Poland and from England to Egypt. Jesuit training begins with a two-year programme called novitiate. This instruction begins only after a period of vocational discernment. The role of a Jesuit spiritual director is key in this process. This Jesuit's tasks is mainly focused on helping the young man discern what God is calling him to do, and how best to explore his personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Only when mutual knowledge between candidates and Jesuits is mature enough the person will be admitted in the novitiate. Discerning a Jesuit vocation is an exercise of freedom, commitment and openness to find where God is willing to meet each one personally. All together there are 102 novices in Europe, 58 in first year and 44 in second year. A novice learns to create a community of brothers who grow in prayer, knowledge of the Society, apostolic work, and personal enrichment. He meets the Lord through the 30-day Spiritual Exercises retreat. At the end of these two years, he pronounces vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Here there are some interesting figures about the Jesuit novitiates in Europe and Near East: Birmingham (U.K.) First year: 3 Novices Second year: 2 Novices Total novitiate: 5 Countries: Northern Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands and United Kingdom Cairo (Egypt) First year: 3 Second year: 5 Total novitiate: 8 Countries: Egypt, Lebanon and Syria Coimbra (Portugal) First year: 3 Second year: 5 Total novitiate: 8 Country: Portugal Gdynia (Poland) First year: 16 Second year: 9 Total novitiate: 25 Countries: Poland, Russia, Ukraine Genoa (Italy) First year: 6 Second year: 6 Total novitiate: 12 Countries: Italy, Malta, Romania, and Slovenia Lyon (France) First year: 10 Second year: 2 Total novitiate: 12 Countries: France, Southern Belgium and Luxemburg  Nürnberg (Germany) First year: 6 Second year: 5 Total novitiate: 11 Countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary, Lithuania and Switzerland   Ružomberok (Slovakia) First year: 4 Second year: 1 Total novitiate: 5 Countries: Chequia and Slovakia San Sebastián (Spain) First year: 3 Second year: 5 Total novitiate: 8 Country: Spain Split (Croacia) First year: 4 Second year: 4 Total novitiate: 8 Countries: Croatia
Nürnberg - Birmingham  - Prešov. First vows of six Novices in Nürnberg. Nürnberg – Six Novices pronounced their first vows in the Society of Jesus on 10th of September in Nürnberg: For the German Province S. Manfred Grimm, Br. Arndt Gysler and S. Dag Heinrichowski; for the Lithuanian Province S. Lukas Ambraziejus, for the Hungarian Province Br. Ferenc Kiss and for the Swiss Province S. Mathias Werfeli. It was the first celebration for the common Novitiate for the German, Austrian, Swiss, Hungarian and Lithuanian Provinces. The Hungarian Provincial Fr. Elemér Vízi was the principal celebrant in the church St. Klara; the Provincials Fr. Bernhard Bürgler (Austria) and Fr. Vidmantas Šimkūnas (Lithuania) concelebrated, the German Provincial Fr. Johannes Siebner gave the homily. Fr.Toni Kurmann was the representative for the Swiss Province. Lukas Ambraziejus (born 1995 in Kaunas, Lithuania) and Manfred Grimm SJ (born 1992 in Friedberg near Augsburg, Bavaria) will start with their philosophical studies in Munich. Mathias Werfeli SJ (born 1977 in Basel, Switzerland) will start the integrated cycle of Philosophy und Theology at Centre Sèvres/Paris. Arndt Gysler SJ (born 1981 in Germersheim, Rhineland-Palatinate) will collaborate in the youth pastoral in Hamburg, and Dag Heinrichowski SJ (born 1991 in Hamburg, Germany) will collaborate in the youth pastoral in Berlin. Ferenc Kiss SJ (born 1991 in Hungary) will start a catechetical Formation and do social work in Budapest. Three new Jesuits take first vows in Birmingham. We congratulate the three Jesuit novices took their first vows at St Mary’s Church, Harborne, Birmingham on Saturday. The novices have completed their two years in formation at the Novice House in Birmingham which looks after novices from the three Jesuit provinces of North West Europe - Britain, Ireland and Flanders-Netherlands. Taking vows were two novices from Britain: Christopher Brolly and Stephen Noon, and Teodor Avram from Ireland. Presiding at the mass was Fr Provincial Damian Howard. Fr Bruce Bradley, representing the Provincial of Ireland, and Fr Walter Ceyssens, representing the Regional Superior of the European Low Countries concelebrated with Fr Simon Bishop, Fr Brendan Callaghan and Fr Kevin O’Rourke, who have all served as Novice Masters over the past two years. In his Homily Fr Damian described how the noviciate prepares men for life as a Jesuit: "What we do is to build up a man’s dreams about a life of love and selflessness, cramming his imagination with stories of Jesuits who were brave martyrs, intrepid explorers, brilliant scientists, accomplished artists and all sorts of other things. And then we place a broom in his hands and tell him to sweep the leaves in the drive. And, to add insult to injury, we tell him to him to find God in it." Fr Damian reflected on the temptation to follow in the path of the past heroes of our shared Jesuit heritage, but reminded us of the need to work in close partnership or true communion with others in order to fulfill our mission: "the vows are really pathways to communion. I close my arms around no one person because I open to all. I live a simple life because I depend on the generosity of benefactors, because I’m accountable to my companions and want to be closer to the poor. And I’m obedient because sometimes others know me better than I know myself and see where I can do most good. Teodor, Stephen and Christopher have all learned not to try to be heroes; you won’t catch them preening themselves, calculating their way to the next triumph, indifferent to the little ones who stand in their way. They know the real call is communion. They have become men who know how little they are and how little they can accomplish on their own. But they also know that together with God, gathered together by God, they can do anything." After the mass the novitiate community hosted a party for the novices, their families, and friends and the many Jesuits from around North West Europe who had travelled to witness the occasion. Please pray for Christopher, Stephen and Teodor as they begin Philosophy studies in France and Canada as Jesuit scholastics, and for the three new novices who have joined the novitiate this month to begin their Jesuit journey. First vows of three novices in Slovakia. The 7th of September at the SVK province meeting in Prešov, during the Eucharist celebrated by the Provincial, Fr. Rudolf Uher SJ, and in the presence of the Czech Provincial, Fr. Josef Stuchlý SJ, the second-year novices from the common Czech-Slovakian novitiate in Ružomberok, Slovakia, took their first vows: Fr. Branislav Dado SJ (SVK), Sch. Matej Sandtner SJ (SVK), Sch. Vojtěch Fojt SJ (BOH).
During Magis Central Europe 2017 17 experiments took place in the Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Kosovo, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia. On Sunday 23 of July the summer meeting of Magis CE 2017 has officially ended. Participants were coming to Prague from their experiments during the afternoon on Thursday afternoon. The opening evening began with a blessing from father Jan Regner, SJ for the upcoming days. Then the program continued with a dance evening with an opportunity to learn some Czech folk dances and also listen to folk music performed by a folk band from Hradec Králové. On Friday participants were invited to listen to and then join with their own questions a panel discussion on the topic: „Contemplative in action and what comes next?“. Father Waldek Los, SJ from Poland, sister Dorothea Gnau from Austria, and mister Danas Viluckas from Lithuania shared their experiences with being contemplative in action in their own lives. Reconciliation Later that day Evening of reconciliation took place. It was prepared by the Chemin Neuf community in the Church of St Ignatius. There was space for individual prayer, reflection or confession all in a meditative atmosphere with music. Saturday morning was time for discovering beautiful places connected with Jesuits in Prague during Prague city game. Participants divided into smaller groups visited the Church of St. Nicholas, the Church of St Bartholomew, the Charles bridge and many other places, on which they had to complete various tasks requiring cooperation in the small groups, in the end, they all joined common Eucharist in the Church of St. Ignatius celebrated by father F. Hylmar SJ. Festival of Nations Later that day participants could get to know better cultures of other nationalities during a Festival of nations. The festival started with a spontaneous street dance party in front of the church lead by the Hungarian and Polish groups and continued by beautiful performances of dance, music, traditional foods and presenting some interesting information about countries in form of videos, quizies, and others. Sunday morning continued in a joyful mood when participants set off for the final part of the program - boat trip on the Vltava river. This was a symbol and invitation to set out for a journey and ignite the world. „The boats were reminding us about missionaries who sailed to the far islands and lands,“ said father Jan Regner SJ a Jesuit who was part of the team organizing Magis CE 2017. He reminded this mission to participants also in his homily saying that to be the yeast of the world as said in gospel means to bring hope, joy, and peace to this world. This was also meant as an invitation to join the „Magis of everyday life“ which started on that very same day and is unique for every participant. Read also 'Magis in Poland'