Portugal

Lisbon
Braga
Caldas de Saúde
Cernache
Charneca de Caparica
Coimbra
Covilhã
Évora
Porto
Póvoa de Varzim
Soutelo
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.
On 14th July João Manuel Silva, sj was ordained, in the Crypt of the Sanctuary of Nossa Senhora do Sameiro, in Braga, together with three new priests from the Archdiocese of Braga. With almost 11 years of life as a Jesuit, João Manuel Silva was ordained in the city where he was born. The new Jesuit priest received the Sacrament of Order from the imposition of hands of Archbishop D. Jorge Ortiga of Braga, together with other three new priests from the Archdiocese of Braga: Fernando Jorge Carneiro, José Tiago Varanda and Vítor Hugo Gonçalves. The provincial of Portuguese Jesuits, P. José Frazão Correia, and many other jesuits were at the celebration, as well as well as members of the diocesan clergy of Braga and family and friends of the new priests. During the homily, D. Jorge Ortiga invited the assembly to give thanks for the vocations that God offers to the community. He also spoke about the need to find new rhythms of celebration and the need that each disciple must feel to deepen his intimacy with the Lord. Commenting on the Gospel of the Good Samaritan, Archbishop D. Jorge Ortiga emphasized that "there is no true worship without service to one's neighbor". The Archbishop of Braga also asked the new priests to never cease to combine "knowledge by doing", keeping open to ongoing formation. After the Eucharist, the guests of Fr. João Manuel Silva, sj and the Society of Jesus were received at Casa da Torre in Soutelo for a festive moment of encounter. Fr. João Manuel Silva was born in Braga in 1984, where he lived until 2008, the year in which he joined the Society of Jesus. Before that, he graduated in Law from the University of Minho (2007). As a Jesuit, he studied Philosophy at the Faculty of Philosophy of the Portuguese Catholic University in Braga, worked at the the High-School of Imaculada Conceição (CAIC) in Cernache (Coimbra) and studied Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome, where he was ordained deacon in April 2018. He currently lives in Boston, where he will continue his studies in the area of Personal Moral Theology in the next academic year.
"The new approach to families will be one of Francis's great legacies." Austen Ivereigh, the Pope's biographer, and Fr. James Keenan, an American Jesuit and moral theologian, spoke to more than 400 people about how Pope Francis has invited the Church to a conversion in the area of family ministry. On 19th July, the auditorium of S. João de Brito Scholl was filled for the conference "The Pope of the Families" organized by the Pastoral of the Family of the Society of Jesus and by Brotéria. Austen Ivereigh and Fr. James Keenan, SJ, gathered to help people understand the context in which the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) arose, what the Pope's vision of the Church and the family is, and how the Apostolic Exhortation has been received and implemented in different parts of the world. Fr. Miguel Almeida, sj, responsible for the Pastoral Care of the Family for the Portuguese Province, emphasized that the objective of the meeting was "not to allow the Pope's concern for the Pastoral Care of Families to die". The Jesuit gave several examples of how the action of Francis in this field has been a driving force for change in different groups of the Portuguese Church. In his speech, Austen Ivereigh was convinced that "the new approach to families will be one of the great legacies of Francis". The English journalist emphasized the fact that with Francis there was no change in the doctrine of marriage. For him what happened was a change "in the mentality of the Church regard to approaching the reality of marriage". According to the Pope's biographer, we have moved from a way of viewing marriage "as an institution supported by a convention, by the law and validated by the Church" to the consideration of marriage as "a path of conversion and openness to grace. This way of looking at things "is much closer to the Gospel," concluded Ivereigh. It is a demanding way of understanding marriage in the midst of a culture marked by transience. For Austen Iverigh, more than "blaming the culture", the Church must ask herself what She must change "in order to evangelize in a new context". The theologian James Keenan chose seven words to synthesize Francisco's vision, which is reflected in Amoris Laetitia. The first of the words chosen by the Jesuit was pastoral. Keenan explained that in the apostolic exhortation that followed the Family Synod is "a new understanding of the Church as profoundly pastoral”. On the other hand, "the word "pastoral" links Pope Francis to Vatican II which was the Council of Pastoral Doctrine”. The pastoral dimension of the Church is intimately linked to the second word uttered by the Jesuit: local. It is up to each local Church to understand the way in which the accompaniment of families must be put into practice, without this implying the loss of the bond with the universal Church. In choosing the word synod, Keenan emphasized the fact that Francis clearly bet on a Church that listens, knowing that "listening is more than hear". This attitude of listening is also reflected in the fourth idea emphasized by the moral theologian, the centrality of conscience. Recalling the number 37 of AL, the theologian recalled that as Church "we have been called to form consciences, not to replace them". However, the Jesuit did not fail to mention that "true conscience only works with humility". The call to closeness and the formation of conscience would be impossible without two more dynamics enunciated by Keenan: moral discernment and accompaniment. The last of the seven words chosen by Keenan is deeply associated with the pontificate of Pope Francis and is central to understanding AL: mercy. Defining mercy as "the decision to enter freely into the chaos of another person," the American priest underline that before approaching others, we need to understand what Christ has done for us, how far He has gone.  James Keenan ended his speech by giving examples of how the reception of LA has transformed the practices of the Church at different levels and contexts. Fr. Francisco Mota, sj close the conference on behalf of Brotéria, underlining the importance of organizing moments of reflection such as this that meet the issues that people face in their daily lives.