On the 17th November 2018, four novices of the Near East and Maghreb Province, who finished their second year, and are now doing their Juniorate in Beirut, pronounced their first vows. These were Oussama Halim, Houssam Suleyman and Michael Ghobrial from Egypt and Mike Kassis from Syria. Fr. Dany Younes, the Provincial, presided the Mass assisted by Fr. Mourad Abou Seif who is the Master of Novices and Fr. Roney Gemayel, their present Superior, and a number of other Jesuits priests. The Mass was celebrated in the church of Our Lady of Salvation (Sayedet el Najat) at noon. During the homily, Fr. Dany spoke of four main points: a) our vows express our gratitude towards God the Father and Jesus Christ; b) beware of the grace you ask for, because if you ask for love of neighbor, you know the price of love, and if you ask to follow Christ you know where this will lead you, definitely to the Cross; love costs and glory is the ability to strive hard with joy. After the Mass, Fr. Roney Gemayel presented them with a cross. Then those presented we invited to a festive lunch. In the meantime, two other Novices, are doing their second year long experiment in Aleppo and Damascus.
After the ordination of two new priests in Lebanon during the months of June and July, it was Egypt’s turn. On the 31st of July, in the church of the College of the Holy Family, Mario Boulos was ordained a deacon by His Beatitude the Coptic Catholic Patriarch, Mgr. Ibrahim Ishaq. Then on the 23rd August, it was the turn of Fr. Joseph Nabil to be ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Assyut by Mgr. Kyrillos William, bishop of the diocese of Assyut, assisted by Fr. Provincial, Fr. Dany Younes SJ and a good number of Jesuits and diocesan priests. The cathedral was full of faithful who came expressly to celebrate their gratitude to Fr. Joseph who as a young layman had served for a number of years in the diocese and was greatly appreciated by all. His friends and ex-collaborators helped organise the ceremony and the festive dinner that followed the ordination. Two days later, Fr. Youssef Abdel Nour was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of the city of Minia, again in the south of Egypt, with the imposition of the hands of Mgr. Boutros Fahim, bishop of Minia, again assisted by Fr. Provincial and many Jesuits and diocesan priests. Some Jesuits came from Lebanon and France to assist at the two ordinations. This ordination too was followed by a festive dinner in the cathedral hall. Hungary On 25th of August was the priestly ordination of László Elek SJ in Miskolc.
Four Jesuits from four countries in Lebanon Impressive celebration in the Church of our Lady of Deliverance, in Bikfaya, Lebanon on Sunday, 24th June. Frs. Alexis Doucet from France and working in Ankara, Turkey, Ghassan Sahoui, from Syria, finishing his doctoral thesis at the Oriental Pontifical Institute in Rome, and taking care of the our Marian sanctuary in Taanayel, in Lebanon, Ronney Gemayel, from Lebanon, rector of our scholasticate and director of the CERPOC in our university in Beirut, and Zeljko Pasha, from Croatia, who teaches at the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome, made their solemn profession in front of the Provincial, Fr. Danny Younes. Most of the Jesuits in Lebanon were present, together with some Jesuits from Egypt and Syria, and the Provincial of Croatia and the rector of the Oriental Institute in Rome. The ceremony, which took place at 4 pm was followed by a cocktail for all those present, and later in the evening by a festive supper on the terrace of our Jesuit residence in Bikfaya, for all the Jesuits and members of the family of Alexis Doucet, who had arrived from France for the occasion, and Ronney Gemayel. The supper on the terrace allowed us to enjoy the fresh air and the beautiful panorama from the mountain, plus a splendid sunset over the sea. From left to right you have Fr. Ronney Gemayel, Fr. Ghassan Sahoui, Fr. Dany Younes (Provincial), Fr. Alexis Doucet and Fr. Zeljko Pasha   Three French fellow Jesuits in the St.Ignace Church in Paris On May 21, Pentecost Monday, the Saint-Ignace church in Paris was once again celebrating! It is not one, but three companions who took their last vows together.   Guilhem Causse (Paris-Blomet) is professor of philosophy at the Centre Sèvres. L’Arbre du Pèlerin (The Pilgrim Tree) is the title of the novel that Guilhem has just published. Jacques Enjalbert (Paris-Assas) is chaplain of Political Sciences and of the Christian network of the “Grandes Ecoles” in Ile de France. Xavier Roger (Vanves) is currently national chaplain of the “Mouvement Eucharistique des Jeunes” in France.    Coming back from Amazonian Guyana to Britain Please remember in your prayers Fr James Conway SJ who professed his Final Vows at the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm St, on Friday 8th June - feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Final vows are traditionally made on a feast of particular significance to Jesuits. Devotion to the most Sacred Heart of Jesus was originally championed by the Jesuit Saint Claude La Colombiere. In his homily, principal celebrant Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ focused on the call to transformation invoked by the Sacred Heart: “the Divine Heart astonishes us by not only calling us to join Him in the outreach of His loving but enabling us to do so. To bear the embrace of mercy to others. To host His love in our freshly humbled hearts, now made supple and real and strong. In all humility, we set out at last as active participants in the love that changed our lives.” Fr Damian reminded the congregation that Christ’s Passion and the agony in the garden of Gethsemene is central to the original call to the Sacred Heart and commented on the fitness of the feast for Fr James’s final vows of dedication: “It is entirely suitable that we are surrounded by a spiritual impulse which welled up in the groves of Gethsemane as we celebrate an act of definitive self-offering to Christ and His People. Jim has done his fair share of wrestling with God’s will over the last twenty-four years…. But in a few minutes’ time, he will kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and pronounce his final “yes” to the Lord. And it’s good that we are all here to celebrate that because it is a real victory, and just as we are called to share in the Lord’s agony, so we are invited to participate in His glory, in a modest way, even in the here and now” Read more
With the end of February, the second year Novices ended their long experiment and returned to the novitiate in Shubra, Egypt. The three Egyptian novice travelled to Jordan (Michael), Lebanon (Usama), and Syria (Hussam), while Mike, the Syrian novice, had his experience at the Petit Collège (primary school) in Cairo. They had various experiences of working with refugees, giving religion classes in our schools and doing various other pastoral works. All four came back enthusiastic about their experience and very grateful for the hospitality and support of the communities they were living with. Meantime the first year novices had the thirty day Spiritual Exercises from the 7th of February to the 7th of March in a retreat house in small village south of Luxor. At the end of the retreat, the whole novitiate community, except Fr. Oliver, who was held back by teaching commitments in the Patriarchal Coptic Seminary and joined later, met in Luxor and from there proceeded to Aswan to spend 5 days together enjoying a well-earned rest and the pleasure of reuniting. Unfortunately, we were missing two members, a first year and a second year novice, who are in Lebanon undergoing some medical treatment. The time in Aswan was a time to visit some of the most beautiful Egyptian monuments from the times of the pharaohs, and the famous Aswan High Dam, as well as to meet people from the Catholic community in the city. We stayed in a small guesthouse run by a Nubian family and built in the typical Nubian architectural style. At the end of the five days, it was time to start the long journey back, with a stopover in Luxor for the night. We left Luxor at 4 pm and arrived in Cairo at 4 am after a quite eventful journey. Now the novitiate formation programme is back in full swing, with the 1st year going deeper into the book of the Spiritual Exercises and their experience of it.
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
Programs 2018. Program 1: March 28th – April 15th 2018  Holy Triduum and Easter in Jerusalem + 7-days Retreat + Visit of the Galilee of Jesus. This year we offer the special opportunity to live the Holy Week (or part of it) and the Easter Days in Jerusalem before attending the the proposed annual 7-days Retreat (Spiritual Exercises) following the journey of Jesus in Jerusalem. After the retreat, we shall visit in Galilee some towns & sites. The different celebrations taking place each day of the Holy Week in the different Churches and sites where the events of the last week of Jesus in Jerusalem are a beautiful opportunity to celebrate liturgically in an unique way those central days of the Year. Schedule Wednesday 28th: Arrivals Thursday 29th – Saturday 31st: Holy Triduum in Jerusalem Sunday 1st: Holy Easter Monday 2nd – Sunday 8th: 7-days Retreat The Retreat will be shaped with short points given daily in  different places in Jerusalem according to the journey proposed, leaving all the time of the day for the prayer. The sites could provide a very useful "compositio loci" where to make meditations and contemplations. During each day the Staff offers the possibility for a personal dialogue (colloquium) in  different languages to help the personal journey of each participant. Tuesday 10h – Friday 13th: Galilee Saturday 14th: Bethlehem and Ein Karem Sunday 15th: Departures Cost: € 55 per diem For the Program an extra € 500 is asked for the program itself, the visits, the stay in Galilee and the buses.   Program 2:June 2nd - 21st 2018 8-days Retreat in Jerusalem with a week visiting the Galilee of Jesus Proposal: to live the annual 8-days Retreat (Spiritual Exercises) following the journey of Jesus in Jerusalem. After the retreat, we shall visit some Judean and Galilean towns & sites. Schedule Friday June 1st – Saturday 2nd: Arrivals Sunday June 3rd –  Tuesday 5th: Introduction – getting in touch with Jerusalem Wednesday 6th – Wednesday 13th: 8-days Retreat The Retreat will be shaped with short points given daily in  different places in Jerusalem according to the journey proposed, leaving all the time of the day for the prayer. The sites could provide a very useful "compositio loci" where to make meditations and contemplations. During each day the Staff offers the possibility for a personal dialogue (colloquium) in  different languages to help the personal journey of each participant. Friday 15th – Monday 18th: Galilee Wednesday 20th: Bethlehem and Ein Karem Thursday 21st: Departures Cost: € 55 per diem  For the Program an extra € 500 is asked for the program itself, the visits, the stay in Galilee and the buses.   Program 3: July 4th – August 1st 2018 Immersion Program for Jesuits: Bible and Spirituality in the Holy Land The Program will be an opportunity to pray, visit, study and share the Land of our roots, where everything began. It can be a wonderful opportunity to live with other Jesuits in their formation journey from different parts of the world, a unique experience of faith and of the Society. The Bible, the Holy Land, Jesus and Ignatius will be our companions on this journey.  The Program offers an 7-days Retreat session in Jerusalem, followed by a “Pilgrimage” in the Land focused on the discovery of the Incarnation of God in the History of the People of Israel (Visits in the Judean Desert and into the Negev Desert) and in the Journey of Jesus (Visits in Galilee). The last days will be focused on Ignatius and his Journey to Jerusalem and our way of proceeding in the Society.   July 4th: Arrivals July 5th – 8th: Introduction and a first glimpse of Jerusalem July 9th – 15th: 7-Days Retreat in Jerusalem July 17th – 18th: Judean desert and Negev July 20th – 25th: Galilee July 26th – 30th: Jerusalem July 31st: St. Ignatius Day August 1st: Departures Cost: € 55 per diem For the Program an extra € 650 is asked for the program itself, the visits, the stays in Judean desert and Negev, Galilee and the buses.   “Sabbatical” Personalized Programs Personal journeys can be provided to all those companions who desire to spend some time in Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Here we can offer individual guidance for Retreats, visits in the Holy Land, Biblical Courses, Ignatian deepening and other opportunities. The cost of the stay in our Community is $ 55 per diem. The costs of all the different parts of the Sabbatical Programs can be arranged with the Staff. *** N.B. The Language of all the Programs (with the exception of the Program 5 and, eventually, of the Sabbatical Programs) is English. During the Retreats, though, the personal dialogue can be in many other languages.  For further information: contact: Fr. Stefano Bittasi, S.J. Director of SJ Programs, Pontifical Biblical Institute3, Paul-Emile Botta Str.P.O.Box 497, Jerusalem 9100401, IsraelEmail: jerusalem.sj.programs@gmail.com mob. +972.052.3757288