On September 8th four companions made their first vows in Loyola: Lucas Alcañiz (Madrid, 30 years); Luis Argila (Barcelona, ​​36); Alejandro Escoda (Barcelona, ​​26) and Alejandro Toro (Los Santos de Maimona, Badajoz, 21). On September 10 five young men made their first vows in the Society of Jesus in Nuremberg after a two-year novitiate period and thus bound themselves to the Order for their whole lives with the promise of full commitment for others. For the German Province Lukas Kraus SJ and Jonas Linz SJ made the vows, for the Lithuanian Province Donatas Kuzmickas SJ, for the Hungarian Province Árpád Tóth SJ and for the Austrian Province Gerald Baumgartner SJ. September 15 Giacomo, Cornel, Janez, Piero and Andrei have pronounced their First Vows in the Church of the Gesù of Genoa in the EUM province.
Shortly before the state elections in Hesse and Bavaria, the Jesuits sent a so-called "Wahlprüfstein" (election test stone). The respective top candidates received this touchstone in the form of the current issue of the publication JESUITEN with the title "Die Welt - unser Haus". The main topic sets a clear counterpoint to current political movements and discussions. Despite global upheavals and global connections, nationalism seems to have returned in recent years, and the signs point more to demarcation and isolation. The fear of what is one's own is disguising the link to what is common, and political actors are not initially seeking social cohesion, but exclusively their own interests. This stands in contrast to the basic idea of the Jesuit Order. The Society of Jesus was founded as an international order; Jesuits go to the limits of society; they often live and work abroad. The editors and authors of the current issue of JESUITEN, entitled "Die Welt - unser Haus" (The World - Our House), explore this topic. In the first part of the issue, the authors of Universality with all its advantages and disadvantages get to the bottom of it. The structure of the Order today relies on local units (provinces) across national and linguistic borders, and Jesuits who have never seen each other before find themselves in internationally composed communities. In the second part of the issue it becomes more political. Beatrice von Weizäcker remembers the courageous confession of Alfred Delp SJ: "A Christian can never be a nationalist". In a remarkable plea she updates this for the 21st century. A letter from the Provincial Father Johannes Siebner SJ and editor-in-chief Tobias Zimmermann SJ was enclosed with the booklet as a touchstone for the election test. The two men of the order appeal to the politicians not to stir up further fears and encourage them to promote compromises: These are the basic figures of a democratic and open society. The editorial staff of the publication JESUITEN wants to use this campaign in the last weeks of the election campaign to give politicians a thought-provoking impetus and remind them of their responsibility for democracy.
Ahead of the upcoming EU Heads of state meeting in Salzburg, Jesuits in Africa and Europe express concern based on original research. Johannes Siebner SJ (Provincial of the German Jesuit Province), Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator SJ (President of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar - JCAM), Bernhard Bürgler SJ (Provincial of the Austrian Jesuit Province) were among many of the signatories of a joint letter titled "Flows of migrants, flows of money", a petition for justice. They protest against any narrative depicting migrants as a threat to Europe’s stability and prosperity, the treatment of migration from Africa as a criminal offence ("illegal migration"). Rather than going tough on symptoms, they argue, there is need to deal with the underlying root causes for those migratory movements, e.g. illicit financial flows, which prevent African countries from developing. “Currently there is more money leaving Africa in illicit financial flows through aggressive tax evasion and money laundering, than is entering Africa in combined developmental aid and foreign direct investment. If Europe would support African governments in curbing those outflows, African states could secure much more funds for investing in infrastructure, education, and healthcare. This would, in the long run, keep Africans in Africa and ultimately curb illegal migration,” says Fr Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar (JCAM). In the fight against illegal migration, Europe and Africa need more cooperation at various policy levels. The Jesuit Provincials of Germany and Austria, Frs Johannes Siebner and Bernhard Bürgler add: “We perceive a lot of mutual benefit in developing and deepening relationships, for example, those based on a fairer trade system and exchange of technology versus one-way natural resources extraction or even balancing the demographic decline in Europe with demographic growth in Africa. Europe and Africa are in fact bound together as signatories to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Paris Climate Accord, to the forthcoming Global Compact on Migration and several other accords. All this has to be transferred into pragmatic and binding political and legal instruments for mutual benefit. We, Jesuits, are willing to help build bridges so that this will come about. These are topics worth discussing at the forthcoming informal EU Summit in Salzburg; not border fortification, abandonment of the ‘Sophia’ mission, the closing of harbours, deportations or  establishment of regional reception centers in North Africa.” So far, no reply has been given by the Austrian government. Today, 18th September, ahead of the informal EU-Summit in Salzburg, the Jesuits went public on their initiative with a press release. Read the full letter and the backup-factsheet. 
Lyon. Willkommen! – Bienvenue! – Welcome! The habit of heartiness and hospitality is like a generally understandable language. That is what 28 novices from three noviciates (Birmingham, Lyon, Nuremberg) and nine countries could experience during the Northern European Internoviciate Meeting which took place in Lyon on August 1st-8th. Thereby a tradition of a couple of years has been continued. Certainly the point is to get to know the neighbouring provinces, their focuses, specifics, developments and challenges. And indeed the opportunity to meet the Jesuits working in Lyon was given. Therefore they visited a former Jesuit church, which is now dedicated to high-class music, the Saint Marc secondary school with its more than 5‘000 students and the research institute called Sources Chrétienne. Founded by Henri de Lubac SJ and his colleagues it is still working to discover the texts of the earliest eras of Christianity and to give an access to modern audience by translation and commentary. But the main interest of their meeting was the community, both among them and with Jesus Christ. This could grow by liturgy and spiritual sharing. In doing so the intimacy of spiritual brotherliness develops on the common foundation of Ignatian retreat and the vocation and mission of the Society of Jesus. Of course this process includes also, to speak more concretely, for example doing sports together, visiting the city of Lyon and several activities for entertainment.  As one can easily foresee, digital media will have a growing influence and impact on social life in the whole world. Directed by Fr. Grégoire Le Bel SJ the novices discussed at their meeting’s workshop also about the advantages and risks of digital media for spiritual life and apostolic work. As an huge contrast to this they also visited Le Grand Chartreuse, the main monastery of Carthusians. Not only for Ignatius himself but also for the novices nowadays this radical retreat into contemplation is obviously attracting – even when they had to be satisfied by entering the Charthouse museum nearby and having a look from a non-disturbing distance onto the monastery’s buildings. At the end all participants of this annual international meeting could take back home the consolation of a lively get-together of young religious men and the thankfulness about God’s creativity at calling that manifold characters to the one universal Society of Jesus.
18 Jesuit Volunteers sent out from Nuremberg. 18 young people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland were sent out on Sunday, 15th July in Nuremberg. As "Jesuit Volunteers" they set out in the coming weeks on partner projects of the Jesuitmission all over the world to work with children and young people, people with disabilities, old and sick people, the homeless or refugees. Bulgaria, Peru, Kosovo, Kenya - the biographies and backgrounds of the Jesuit Volunteers 2018/19 are as varied, enriching and emotional as their locations. The missioning ceremony was the final highlight after a year of intensive preparation and a special day for their relatives and friends - and the JV team. Working together to keep a world in balance is more than just a symbolic game for the JVs as they traditionally enter the divine service in St. Clare: "Even if you encounter a lot of suffering and you are often powerless to change things, your work in the projects is important and valuable. The people there are counting on you," Father Klaus Väthröder SJ, director of the German Jeusitenmisssion, gave the 18 in the concluding service. The Jesuit Mission has been offering volunteer work in partner projects in Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia and Latin America for over ten years. Voluntary service has no age limit and is not only aimed at young school leavers or students. "Jesuit Volunteers" is a cooperation of the three German speaking Jesuitmissions Germany, Austria, Switzerland under the direction of the German Jesuitenmission in Nuremberg.
Fr. Claus Pfuff is the new Country Director of Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) in Germany. With a celebration on June 11 in Berlin, he succeeded Fr. Frido Pflüger (71) as JRS Director. Pfuff, who originally is from Weilheim (Bavaria), was a school chaplain at the Jesuit High School Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin. Frido Pflüger will head the JRS in Uganda. Before moving to Berlin in 2012, he was JRS Regional Director for East Africa. In Germany, JRS provides pastoral care and legal assistance for detainees pending deportation and immigrants without residence permit. Besides the office in Berlin staff members are working in accommodation centres in Munich and Essen. Like his predecessor, Pfuff represents the Archdiocese of Berlin in the hardship commission for the Berlin State and in the Forum Deportation Monitoring at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Before entering the Society in 2009, as priest with therapeutic training Pfuff helped to build up AIDS counselling in the diocese of Augsburg. As school chaplain at the Canisius-Kolleg he got to know their situation in „Welcome Classes“ for children of migrants and refugees. At the handover ceremony, Dominik Bartsch, the representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Germany, called for deportations to be carried out "in safety and dignity". So he turned against deportations, which take place early in the morning because of the "surprise effect". How a state treats those affected makes its value system clear. Deportation should only be the „ultima ratio“ of the Immigration Controlling Policies. Stefan Dybowski, responsible for religious institutes of the Archdiocese of Berlin, emphasized that Pflüger had always brought the individual destiny of people seeking help to the fore. The former JRS director and predecessor of Pflüger, Fr. Martin Stark, assured that in addition to the comprehensive educational work in schools and universities, the Jesuits will continue to have the greatest care for refugees and migrants. Picture: Fr. Claus Pfuff receives an Ethiopian cross from Fr. Frido Pflüger