Portugal

Lisbon
Braga
Caldas de Saúde
Charneca de Caparica
Coimbra
Covilhã
Évora
Portimão
Porto
Póvoa de Varzim
Soutelo
The first edition of the "Évora Spirituality Encounters" brought together about 150 people who, throughout the day, were able to reflect on the theme of death, starting from different approaches. With the support of the CLC-Além-Tejo and the Eugénio de Almeida Foundation, the Jesuits of Évora hope to organise this meeting every two years. The opening of the meeting was attended by the Archbishop of Évora, Bishop Francisco Senra Coelho and the welcoming words of Fr. Alberto Brito, sj, superior of the Jesuit community in Évora. The first conference of the day was given by Walter Osswald, who spoke of "death and the fear of speaking of it", underlining that "it is important to prepare for death and for this it is necessary to think about dying. In the following moment, tracing an itinerary of the representation of death throughout the history of art, José Alberto Machado, from the University of Évora, made an intervention starting from the theme "Re(a)presentar a morte". In the afternoon, it was possible to participate in an interdisciplinary debate in which death was treated from psychological, philosophical and theological perspectives. This discussion was raised by the interventions of Isabel Mesquita and Teresa Santos, from the University of Évora, and Fr. António Vaz Pinto, sj. The day ended with a conference by Fr. Vasco Pinto de Magalhães, sj entitled "Death does not kill". In his speech, the Jesuit said that "we are in process, continuously dying physically, but it is not from this dying that we should fear, the great death is the end of relationships. There are three great things that kill us: the break with the transcendent, which destroys our ability to love and be loved, and the loss of a place in life".
In Portugal, the commemorations of the 175 years of the Apostleship of Prayer (AP) now the pope's worldwide network of prayer, ended during the weekend of October 19-20, in Fatima, with two great events: a Colloquium on the Heart of Jesus on Saturday, October 19, in which about 600 people participated; and the national pilgrimage of the AP on Sunday, October 20, which brought together one hundred thousand people from all over the country in the Shrine of Fatima. José Frazão Correia, sj, Provincial of the Jesuits in Portugal said during the colloquium that devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus must leave the "kitsch images" and find "its treasures" yet to show "the Christian faith" and the world. The Jesuit emphasized that the  devotion to the "Heart of Jesus" holds "many treasures that have not yet been sufficiently exposed, and they are what the Christian faith most needs to show to the life of believers, at a time when the Church must live on the margins, in the concrete reality of lives and families". The Final Eucharist took place on Sunday and was presided  by the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, Manuel Clemente, and concelebrated by 200 priests, 38 bishops , including Cardinal António Marto, Bishop of Leiria-Fatima. In the words of D. Manuel Clemente, the Apostleship of Prayer, "a movement that spread most in Portuguese parishes" in the middle of the 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century, guaranteed "the life of faith" in "particularly difficult periods for the very survival of Christian communities". Today, the connection between prayer and apostolate "has relaunched the Church and the mission", as "Pope Francis recently wished, taking it up again as the World Network of the Pope's Prayer". "The same fruits will surely reappear", exhorted the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference. At the end of the Eucharist, the Portuguese dioceses were consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in front of the monument located in the center of the enclosure of the Shrine of Fatima.
At the end of August, the annual meeting of the Portuguese Province of the Society of Jesus took place in the Casa da Torre in Braga.  As in previous editions, this year a theme was chosen which served as inspiration for the meeting: "Ignatian Sources". It was a time of fraternal encounter, but also of reflection on the Province. The programme included different conferences, moments of reflection, community and personal prayer, times of sharing, but also occasions for conversations, informal meetings and some entertainment. Mario Garcia, sj and Fr. Vítor Lamosa, sj, presented the meeting in a conversation guided by the theme "Returning to the Sources". After that, the Portuguese Jesuits were also invited to a moment of prayer. "Ite ad Fontes" was the theme of the second day's intervention, prepared by the Spanish Jesuit Fr. Carlos Coupeau, sj. The two interventions of the Spanish Jesuit were followed by a short time of personal prayer. In the afternoon, the plenary session "Reflecting to take advantage" took place, followed by a reflection on the new Universal Apostolic Preferences. After the celebration of Mass and dinner, there was time for a playful and social evening. On the last day, in the morning, there were a series of spirituality workshops entitled "Learning to go to the Source": the Spiritual Exercises, the Constitutions, the Letters and the Autobiography of St. Ignatius. At the end of the morning there was a time of adoration reserved for "Connecting to the Source". The meeting ended with the celebration of the Eucharist.
The NGO for Portuguese development, Lay for Development, in partnership with the Cristo Rei Social and Parish Centre, was one of the winners of the BPI "la Caixa" Solidarity Prize, with the Talent Workshops project to be developed in the Caparica-Pragal neighbourhood, located in a suburban area in southern Lisbon. These two institutions are part of the Social Sector of the Jesuits in Portugal. The award ceremony for the winners took place on 18 September at the Belém Cultural Centre, at  the 4th edition of the Solidarity Prize promoted by BPI and the "la Caixa" Foundation. This award aims to support projects that promote the transition and reintegration into working life of vulnerable young people and adults, as well as the promotion of their basic needs. The Talent Workshops project, as part of the most recent LD Mission in Portugal, will contribute to the socio-professional integration of young people in the districts of Caparica and Pragal and enhance youth employability, through the development of businesses in the artistic area. Concha Tello, project coordinator, stresses that "there is a high artistic potential in the territory, as a result of the cultural diversity of its population and that this human capacity is manifested in a very expressive way in the artistic-sports talents that have stood out there". The mission of Caparica-Pragal, which began in 2018, after the invitation addressed to LD by the Portuguese Province on a community development programme in the towns of Caparica-Pragal, specifically in their neighbourhoods, integrated in the S. Francisco Xavier Parish of Caparica.
LabOratório 2019 was intended to be an intensive week of community and prayerful living in order to provide liturgical and musical formation, linking music and spiritual life; create new music for the liturgy, with diverse musical styles; and provide a community environment, open to people from different movements, parishes and spiritualities, as a plural Church experience. After a first edition in 2017, of smaller dimensions, the idea was to broaden horizons, increasing the number and diversity of its members, coming from all over the country and from the most different origins and sensibilities. To this end, around 60 people gathered at the Convent of Santo Domingo in Lisbon, from 31 August to 8 September, forming a living and prayerful community: our daily life was savoured at the rhythm of the Liturgy of the Hours, with Lauds, the Intermediate Hour and Vespers marking a true inner compass, which assumed a true perfect rhythm at the end of the day, with the Eucharist. It was precisely this immersion in prayer that brought us most into contact with music, not only because it allowed us to open our minds to the Word of God, but also because prayer itself was almost always helped by music. It was against this backdrop that the labOratory took place over the course of a week. In the morning, with strong times of formation, both theoretical and practical, guided by teachers from various areas; in the afternoon, with workshops on music and spirituality, with the most diverse guests to present different musical styles; in the evening, with the Evenings Lab, moments of enjoyment through small concerts, which proved to be real windows to the experience of the spirituality of the various artists who passed through there and gave testimony of their creative process. We were also divided into four programs, which are presented in broad strokes: LabCanta, for the training of singers; LabToca, for instrumentalists, focused on techniques of improvisation and accompaniment; LabMaestro, dedicated to choral direction; and LabCria, for composers, from the most inexperienced to those already established. In between, there was no lack of time for rehearsals together, moments of relaxation and improvisation, or for some more adventurous to dare to create new compositions, or even new texts to be sung in celebrations! And, of course, a final concert where we were able to show a small sample of the much that was lived there throughout the week... It is also important to note that this LabOratory was not closed in on itself, but was directed to a community: in fact, a large part of the program, including the prayer proposals, was open to those who visited us during those days. There, in a Dominican monastery and under the proposal of the Jesuits, different sensibilities and ways of being in the Church... which also correspond to different musical styles and languages met to celebrate the faith in union! The fundamental motto of the LabOratory - and particularly reinforced for the participants of LabCria - was the conviction that what makes a song liturgical is not a style, but its adaptation to a context (that of the celebration for which it is intended). This great diversity of styles and forms of singing was, in fact, very evident in the grey book. And it has, I believe, a very great correspondence with what we learned from St. Paul: "There is diversity of gifts, but the Spirit is the same; there is diversity of services, but the Lord is the same; there are different ways of acting, but it is the same God who accomplishes everything in everyone. (1 Cor 12:4-6). This was a small but living sign of what the Church wants to be in the 21st century, a very privileged time when the Church has been invited to revisit its roots and to rediscover the centrality of the Gospel message; and, from there, to be a light and a path for its faithful, with an ever greater desire for depth and encounter with God. Through silence, music, prayer, liturgy, the promise was fulfilled: the Lord showed us the power of His Love as He had announced it through the mouths of the prophets!
On Sunday, September 15, the Parish Church of Cernache, in Coimbra, celebrated a Eucharist in which three novices of the Society took their first vows. José Maria Ribeiro, Afonso Espregueira and Domingos Perloiro professed their vows of poverty, chastity and perpetual obedience in the Society of Jesus, thus ending the period of the Novitiate, the first phase of formation as Jesuits. José Frazão Correia sj, and was attended by about 30 Jesuits. Many family friends of these Jesuits were also present. In his homily, inspired by the readings of this Sunday, Fr. José Frazão began by recalling that "the love and mercy of God reaches us before anything we can do for the Lord or in the name of the Lord. As St. Paul experienced, it is the Lord's forgiveness that converts us. Towards the end of his reflection, the provincial of the Portuguese Jesuits underlined the importance of making vows on one's knees: "Vows must be made on one's knees because the body has to follow the meaning of the words, the vows cannot be made proudly. All the good that those who take vows today do will have to be done by rising from this prostration, from the desire to go to the humus, to go to the earth. In this way they will give voice to the experience of having been reached by God's mercy". He added that "kneeling down is an experience of rupture," and stressed that "there is no story of love and freedom without that rupture. And the greatest rupture is the rupture with oneself, because leaving ourselves is what costs the most. And then there will be this story and this adventure of freedom. This rupture with yourselves is the beginning of a history of freedom, in the form that God's love takes on in your lives". After the celebration, the feast continued in the Novitiate house, with the presence of family, friends and benefactors of the Society, as well as religious from other congregations. Once the novitiate is over, the new scholastics will live in Braga where they will begin their juniorate, dedicating themselves to the study of Philosophy, History and an introduction to the Social Sciences.