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Rose Hill
On Sunday 5 December, the Jesuit Refugee Service Greece was invited to attend the Sunday Mass led by Pope Francis at the Megaro Mousikis in Athens, during his 3-day visit to Greece. With over 2,000 people attending, Pope Francis led the ceremony in front of a packed hall and shared a message of justice and solidarity. During the homily, he called to show charity and stand along those that are inadequate, showing compassion. “Let us ask for the grace of hope, since hope revives our faith and rekindles our charity. It is for this hope that the deserts of today’s world are thirsting.” Father Pierre, the responsible of the Jesuit Community in Athens, delivered a letter to the Pope in the name of JRS Greece, to express gratitude for the empathy shown towards refugees and forcibly displaced people arriving Greece. Together with the letter, the pontifex also given a gift with photos and drawings by the children of Magistories, a programme managed by JRS Greece for vulnerable minors that frequent the area of Victoria Square, where thousands of people live homeless in Athens; and was shown a newsletter prepared by the children of Pedro Arrupe, a non-formal education centre run by JRS Greece where vulnerable kids receive extra classes and support. In return, Pope Francis awarded JRS Greece a medal as a sign of gratitude for the tireless work. An inspiration for JRS and allorganisations working on the front line, the Pope’s visit was an opportunity to reinstate JRS commitment to honouring human dignity and building a more inclusive world, where no one is left behind.   Pope Francis also travelled to the Mavrovouni tent camp on Lesbos, the largest camp in Greece, which he already visited in 2016 after almost one million people had landed on the Greek islands the year before. With numbers of asylum seekers crossing to Greece dropping, Moira appeared drastically different than during his first visit. The Pope said that “When human lives are in peril… national borders become irrelevant” and called the neglect of migrants the “shipwreck of civilisation”. But in the past 5 years, conditions for millions of migrants in Greece have not improved. Reports from multiple sources have recorded serious allegations of Greek authorities conducting pushbacks on the borders, which partially accounts for the reduced number of arrivals. New EU-funded “Closed and Controlled” centres are being opened on the Greek islands, where refugees are to be detained with limited access to services. Overall, the Greek government is implementing a strict migration policy that has an enormous impact on the migrant community.  JRS Greece joined over 36 other Greek organisations and signed a letter, directed to Pope Francis, expressing concern regarding recent developments on the refugee crisis and the European response. Condemning EU States for forgoing their responsibilities towards people seeking international protection, against European and Christian values, the letter asks the Pontifex to deploy his influence to:  Condemn European countries for deals with Third Countries, such as Turkey, which exchanges financial compensation with duties on international protection, shifting responsibility and hindering the safety of forcibly displaced people;  Call on the Greek State to formulate a plan for the integration of refugees; at the same time asking the EU to introduce a mandatory relocation plan, acting in solidarity with border countries;  Condemn illegal pushbacks of people back to Turkey and all human rights violation on European borders; calls for the establishment of an independent border monitoring mechanism to investigate these incidents; Condemn the establishment of “Closed and Controlled” centres on the Greek islands, which deprive people of their freedom and hinder their integration; instead, call for their radical reform;  Read the full letter: Letter for His Holiness
On 18 September, Fr Theodore Kodidis, 65, was ordained Archbishop of Athens and Apostolic Administrator of Rhodes. The ordination took place in the Cathedral of Saint Denis the Areopagite in Athens, in the presence of the Greek bishops, Orthodox priests, the Mayor of Athens and two government representatives: the Minister of Education and the Minister of Development. The Catholic Church in Athens is about 200,000 Catholics of which only 20% are Greek. Over the last few decades, many foreign Catholics have settled in Greece: Albanians, first of all, who were oppressed for a long time by an atheistic communist regime, then Poles from the 1980s onwards, then Filipinos, who are very much appreciated in the service of the houses, expatriates, Italians, Germans, English, French and finally, recently, many refugees who gather at Saint Theresa's, an English- and French-speaking catholic community. Bishop Kodidis has many assets to take up the challenge of this diversity as he speaks not only Greek but also Italian, French and English and his experiences of living abroad will certainly help him to understand the diversity of situations he will discover in his diocese. Theodore Kodidis studied in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), at the Centre Sèvres (Paris) and in Rome. He was director of the magazine Open Horizons. Read the portrait of Fr. Kodidis
 From September 16 to 18, 2021, a European meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization took place at the Vatican on the theme "Catechesis and catechist for the new evangelization". The meeting was intended for those responsible for catechesis from various European episcopal conferences. Father André Fossion, a Belgian Jesuit of the EOF province (Francophone Western Europe), theologian, professor emeritus of the International Center Lumen Vitae, was invited to this meeting to speak on "Contemporary catechesis at the service of the Churches of Europe".   In today's secularized context, many of our contemporaries do not feel an appetite for Christianity as it is proposed or as it is experienced. The best contribution that catechesis can make to evangelization, as underlined by Father Fossion, is to enable flow a theology of grace in the veins of the ecclesial body. Grace is what is given freely; it is the assurance of always being welcomed and loved, unconditionally, without having to pay. Christianity is entirely a mystery of grace. Christians announce the Good News of salvation not for the world be saved, but because it is saved.  This gratuity and universality of salvation invites Christians to join the crossroads of existence, to dialogue along the way with anyone as a friend talking to a friend. We are always evangelized by those we evangelize. "He goes before you into Galilee, there you will see him" (Mat 28,7), say the angels on Easter morning.  To labour in mission is always to harvest. Europe, a land of mission, is also a land of harvest. But this mission requires that the Church constantly reforms herself with audacity, in her services, in her liturgy and in her governance, in particular by walking towards a parity between men and women in the decision-making that concerns the People of God, at all levels.  Pope Francis came to greet the hundred or so participants in the meeting, paying homage in particular to the work of catechists. “They are people”, Pope said, “who tirelessly proclaim the Gospel of mercy; people who are capable of creating the necessary bonds of acceptance and closeness that make it possible to better appreciate the Word of God and to celebrate the Eucharistic mystery by offering the fruits of good works.” Andre Fossion S.J. Read the whole presentation
The Jesuits of French-speaking Western Europe are launching the new portal Prie en Chemin (Pray as you go), the French-speaking digital space of reference to discover and experience the Spiritual Exercises at the heart of one's daily life! Building on the success of the podcast launched in 2017, the Jesuits of EOF are launching the new Prie en Chemin to discover and experience the Spiritual Exercises. Nurturing and supporting the spiritual life by offering a range of services to "Seek and find God in everything" is its ambition. Open to all, it offers a gold mine of proposals for growing in freedom and humanity at the school of Saint Ignatius. 4 proposals to discover in the heart of daily life: - The podcast: every day, a 15-minute guided audio mediation of a passage from the Word of God from the liturgy of the day: (Downloadable app) - Towards Sunday: throughout the week a meditation to pray with the Gospel of the coming Sunday (downloadable app); - The Minute: a weekly video to enlighten our faith. - Spiritual retreats: online retreats are offered during liturgical times or according to the wishes of Internet users, to be followed from home and at your own pace. A search engine gives access to all the retreats offered by the 16 Ignatian spiritual centres using a number of criteria (place, theme, dates, etc.). A lot of contents to enter into the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises: - Discernment: the Ignatian pedagogy for making a free choice by listening to one's inner motions and rereading one's life; - Commitment: according to the choice of four orientations for working with God in the world: showing the way to God, journeying with the poor and the excluded, accompanying young people and working to safeguard our common home. To be discovered in application and on www.prieenchemin.org  
Belgian Jesuit Bernard Pottier has been appointed by Pope Francis as a member of the International Theological Commission. This body, which brings together the world's leading "theological experts", is responsible for studying complex doctrinal issues for the Holy See. Bernard Pottier SJ is a member of the Jesuit community of Saint Michael in Brussels. He has a degree in philosophy and psychology and a doctorate in theology, author of a thesis entitled "God and Christ according to Gregory of Nyssa", published in 1994. For many years he taught dogmatic and fundamental theology, as well as philosophy, at the Institute of Theological Studies (IET), the Jesuit Faculty of Theology in Brussels. As a member of the editorial board of the theological review Communio, Fr Bernard Pottier sj was also a member of the Study Commission on the female diaconate, as requested by Pope Francis. He has also been, for twenty years, the parish priest of a Portuguese diaspora parish in Brussels. Today, he is the director of the Saint-Michel (Jesuit) Forum in Brussels, where he is also in charge of the Christian Formation Department. Appointed today to the International Theological Commission, he will serve for the five-year period 2021-2026. He has already been a member of the Commission in the years 2014-2019. What is the International Theological Commission? Created by Pope Paul VI in April 1969, this body of the Roman Curia has as its mission "to assist the Holy See, and principally the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in the examination of doctrinal questions of major importance". This consultative body is composed of theologians from various schools and countries, renowned for their expertise. It has a maximum of thirty members, all of whom are appointed by the Pope. Cathobel
On the occasion of the Ignatian Year and the gathering "Au large avec Ignace" in Marseille, the Jesuits of EOF (French-speaking Western Europe) are offering a comic book dedicated to the founder of the Society of Jesus. An innovative graphic novel, full of twists and turns and humour, recounts the inner conversion of Ignatius, a Spanish nobleman. The attraction of the Society of Jesus for the image is not new: from its origins, it very quickly seized it to witness to Christ; the frescoes of the baroque churches are a good example.  This new comic book, rich in this iconographic tradition, aims to reach everyone, believer or non-believer, from 7 to 77 years old, to invite them to live a spiritual experience, and to help them understand how the experience of Ignatius relates to that of our contemporaries.  The life of Ignatius of Loyola is not guided by a will that breaks down in contact with reality, like the crisis of Covid today, but by discernment, animated by a real love of Christ, his compass of life. In this album, the story is not linear but focuses on five precise moments in Ignatius' life, as many conversions that he experienced and that invite interiority. To write the script for this comic strip, Étienne de Forges, a Jesuit in formation, with the help of Fr Michel Kobik SJ, drew on Ignatius' writings. Their scenario was then entrusted to the cartoonist Quentin Denoyelle. Étienne de Forges SJ, Quentin Denoyelle, Ignatius of Loyola, Éditions Jésuites Fidélité, October 2021https://www.editionsjesuites.com/fr/livre-ignace-de-loyola-bande-dessinee-2386.html  Jesuits EOF