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
One of the six study-intensive courses organized for the Scholastics in Munich during the semester breaks by the moderator of the Formation Center, Fr. Rüdiger Funiok (GER), is dedicated to the challenges of globalization. What are the consequences for our Jesuit identity, for our commitment for political solutions, for our pastoral care? As three years ago, this course took place together with the Jesuit scholastics studying philosophy at the Ignatianum in Krakow. This time they came to Munich: 14 Scholastics (9 Poles, 2 Czechs, 2 Slovaks, one from the Russian region) - the 2nd and 3rd year of studies. From the Munich Formation Centre 8 scholastics participated (2 Germans, 2 Indians and one Swiss, Czech, Hungarian, Lithuanian). During the three-day course (from 27 to 29 September) there were a couple of workshops. One half day each was planned by Fr. Marcin Baran (PME) and Fr. Szczepan Urbaniak (PME). Two members of the Centre for Global Questions in Munich participated: Fr. Andreas Gösele (GER) and Ms. Karin Hutflötz; also Br. Michael Hainz (GER). All the participants visited also the Frans van der Lugt Project – the social work of JRS (Br. Dieter Müller, GER) in an asylum seekers' accommodation. Some 15 Syrians joined us and gave uns concrete experience of companionship with muslim refugees.
Jesuits ran in four relay teams in the Munich Marathon for mercy-in-motion. They delivered a great effort that ended in a big success and hopefully a lot of fun. Eleven Jesuits took part in this year’s Munich Marathon, and team one reached the finish line in 47th place among more than 700 relay teams in the event. Supported by five friends and co-workers, the runners from five provinces were unique in being the only officially registered religious group. Perhaps Saint Ignatius was watching over them and maybe even cheering for them as they turned in an excellent performance for the benefit of better education in refugee camps where Jesuits are working. By the sweat of their brow they supported the project Mercy-in-Motion of the Jesuit Refugee Service. Along the route they were cheered on by spectators, and their athletic efforts prompted several people to make a donation. Now they are already talking about participation in next year’s competition. Who will join them?
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).
Nuremberg - The new school year is here - and with it the run on the stationery shops. According to research by the "Tagesspiegel", families spend an average of 65 euros per child and school year on paper, pens and notebooks alone. An alternative to the assortment in the specialty store and supermarket are the exercise books and college blocks of "Mercy in Motion": as an eye-catcher, as a message - and for a good cause! In Germany, around 11 million pupils are just starting the new school year. According to UNICEF, almost 50 million children and young people are fleeing the world; at least 3.5 million of them have no chance of attending school. The action Mercy in Motion of the Jesuit mission helps to bring these contrasting realities of life closer together. Mercy in Motion helps children and adolescents in crisis areas in the Middle East, Africa and Asia to enjoy their right to education. Schools give stability, provide a piece of normality and open up perspectives for the future. Each picture tells its own story With the sale of exercise books, college blocks and through donations, refugee children are able to provide school education. The covers of the booklets and notepads were painted and designed by refugee children in the Middle East and Africa. Each picture tells its own story. Mercy in Motion intends to use the proceeds to create a further 100,000 school and training places for refugees worldwide by 2020. The money goes directly into the school education of children and the education and training of young people and teachers in refugee camps. The place in an educational program of the Jesuit Refugee Service costs about 100 euros per year and child. Per month this is 8,33 Euro - 28 Cent per day. A small sum that can change everything in a child's life! Education is a key to breaking the vicious circle of violence, to give people in desperate situations hope, to build peace and to rebuild destroyed countries. The offer ranges from elementary school to university qualification and also includes vocational and teacher training. Schools provide children with the support they need to cope with the loss, fear and violence they have experienced. Visiting a school can protect children from gender-based violence, recruitment as child soldiers, child labour and forced marriage.
Rome (KNA) - The German Jesuit Hans Zollner SJ has called on the Catholic Church to deal more intensively with the consequences of sexual abuse. There is a lack of "theology in the face of abuse, a theology of childhood", said the president of the Child Protection Centre at the Pontifical University of Gregoriana at an event in Rome. He also called for a "culture of protection of the particularly vulnerable". Although sexual abuse has been reported in the church for about 30 years, there is still no theological discussion of this topic, said Zollner. Whereas in the 19th century a number of Christian communities were formed, which took on the social problems of that time, there were no initiatives for those affected today. Zollner said at the presentation of the German translation of the book "Father, I forgive you!" by Daniel Pittet in the German Embassy at the Holy See. In it, the Swiss man describes how a Catholic Capuchin priest raped him for four years. The then youth priest abused the boy from 1968 to 1972 in the most brutal way. To face the sexual abuse of minors by priests is "shocking and heartbreaking,"said Zollner. "It's about sexuality and violence, abuse of trust, destroyed life, and hypocrisy - all in the bosom of the Church." But if you don't face your own dark side, sooner or later you'll catch it all the more vehemently. Christians must "arrive in reality", the Jesuit said. Zollner said that no one could ever completely defeat evil, including the abuse of children. That is a fatal misjudgement. However, much could be done to "minimize the risk of assaults".