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Portuguese Provincial presents Apostolic Preferences to Social Assembly. "More than a list of things to do, the Universal Apostolic Preference (UAP) should indicate a different way of doing things" and to act throughout the Society. This was the challenge left by the Provincial at the start of the Fifth Ignatian Social Assembly, which had taken place taking in the end of March at in the Almada Seminary (other side of the river from Lisbon)  The meeting of the collaborators of the 26 social institutions linked to the Jesuits,  was a time of debate, reflection and sharing. Father José Frazão Correia referred to the four apostolic priorities that were announced  by the General Curia of the Jesuits and which give indications for the action of the entire Ignatian community over the next ten years. And that are: "Show the way to God through spiritual exercises and discernment; To walk with the poor, the discarded of the world, the violated ones in their dignity; Accompany young people in creating a promising future; Collaborate in the care of the Common House ". These general orientations result from a long and profound process of discernment, which began in the local communities, and even went to the Pope, who validated the path that the Company intends to make. "More than doing something, it's about doing it in a certain way. The preferences indicate a way of proceeding, not only the fields of work in which we want to act, but a style that is born of the intimacy with the style of Jesus. The  UAP reminds us, not what is done, nor for who does it, but a way of doing, "said Father Provincial, before several dozen collaborators  who share the mission of the Company. Of the four, Fr. José Frazão, following the interpretation of Father General and of Pope Francis, underlined the first, which focuses on the importance of spiritual exercises and discernment. "Without this, other preferences do not work," he said, "without this prayerful attitude," all the work that can be done can be summarized only as an ideological work or achievement. " The provincial of the Jesuits also stressed the urgency to welcome, naturally, the secular and plural time that we are given to live, in which the Church is no longer heard as a relevant voice. "It is up to us to accomplish the mission of the Lord in the time that we are. The people of today are the people to whom we are sent, "said Fr. José Frazão Correia.”There is another that is not us, which is the center, the motor and the horizon of what we do. Our horizon is not the Church, the Company, the work in which we work. It is the Lord, it is for Him that we have to indicate the way. "
The Jesuit Publishing House Axioma - Publications of the Faculty of Philosophy has just launched a new book: Studies on Dependencies: Contributions to Practice, in collaboration with the Braga Solidarity Center. It offers essays in Portuguese, Spanish and English. This collection brings together thirteen articles that help to understand the use of substances and behaviors that cause addictions, offering an overview of the problem for a more concrete and specific approach to prevention in a family, educational and community context. With the main theme of the problem of drug use, the book also addresses the addiction of pathological gambling and the new additions caused by the use of social networks. According to João Goulão, in the prologue: "The approach to the problems posed by the use of psychoactive substances and, more broadly, the behaviors that can cause addiction, itself faces new challenges, especially with regard to prevention. A new paradigm now emerges, maintaining the assumption on which all are based, which is that it is important to reduce the impacts of both the installation of dependence and the consequences of any use. This work, whose authors have accustomed us to reflections of great value for our practice, offers important contributions to the intervention in this new environment. " This book is organized by Prof. Paulo Dias of the Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences of the Catholic University of Braga, in collaboration with Professors Álvaro Castillo-López and José García of the University of Elche (Spain). The index and the prologue can be consulted online.
On 23 March, the University of Coimbra welcomed more than 350 people for the 28th Faith and Culture, an event organised since 1981 by CUMN (Centro Universitário Manuel da Nóbrega), the Jesuit centre for university students in Coimbra, motivated by the belief that that the dialogue between faith and culture is possible and necessary  “Toxic” was elected as Word of the Year 2018 by the Oxford Dictionaries. Toxicity is present in various dimensions of our lives today: it affects our planet, the structures of our societies, our relationships… Therefore, we need to learn - through discernment - how to choose what is essential for our own way of identity and happiness. We need to know what to leave and what to keep. Hence, the challenge for this year’s meeting: “Detox - what do you keep in your heart?” Throughout the day, divided in three parts - centring, fixing, focusing - we discussed how to detox. The full programme is available on the event’s website. In the morning, the Faith and Culture “band” Je Suis Tas animated the participants before the beginning of the talks and Fr. Nuno Branco SJ, CUMN’s director, was in charge of the welcoming speech. Fr. José Frazão Correia SJ, the Portuguese Provincial, was the first guest speaker and reflected on how to cultivate an attitude that helps us focusing on the essential. He drew our attention to the paradox that nowadays even the desire of detoxing may become toxic… After that, the morning panel had the mission of “centring” us, with the participation of Paula Moura Pinheiro, journalist of the Portuguese public TV broadcaster, Adriana Calcanhotto, a Brazilian singer, and Jacinto Lucas Pires, writer and columnist. In the end of the morning and the beginning of the afternoon, participants were divided in various workshops in order to find ways of “fixing” different aspects of our lives. Environment, communication/media, politics, relationships, education and religion were the topics discussed with guest speakers working on each of these areas. To close the talks, in the last panel, we “focused” on detoxing our Common Home, our body and our spirit, with the contributions of Paulo Magalhães, environmental jurist of the Law School of the University of Porto, Chef Kiko Martins, a well-known Portuguese chef, and Sr. Irene Guia ACI, currently living in Dublin and collaborating with the JRS. Before going back home, to clean our souls, Fr. Duarte Rosado SJ sang us the poetry of the prophet Isaiah, painted live by Fr. Nuno Branco SJ. You can listen and watch this artistic moment here. The consolation felt by the end of the day is the best evidence that it is worthy to “relish interiorly” what has been said.
“Hospitality: do we need it?” was the question posed last Saturday, 9th march, by JRS Portugal and Brotéria that hosted an open day dedicated to the discussion about asylum and migration issues, given the approach of the European Elections. The purpose of this event was to call for attention to this reality and to keep it in the agenda during this pre-electoral period. The day was divided in three round tables aiming to answer how the hospitality is communicated, planned and lived nowadays. We began the day listening to three different journalists from different media channels that discussed the role of media regarding the theme’s exposure and public opinion towards migrants and refugees. The second round table gathered a representative of each Portuguese political family with a sit in the European Parliament to exchange their point of view on the subject taking into consideration the European Elections next may. The third and last round table aimed to share true stories about seeking hospitality under different ways and perspectives told in the first person by a stateless refugee, a Portuguese writer and traveller, a missionary in conflict countries and a jiu jitsu teacher that found hospitality within the martial art community around the world. During the event was presented a photo exhibition with recent photographs from Syria taken by Ouwais Sadeck, a Syrian student currently living in Portugal. This event also wanted to raise awareness to the participation in the next European Elections and to the online campaign that JRS Europe is engaged in. Sign In!
On March 12, an ecumenical meeting was held at the Center for Reflection and University Meeting (CREU - the university center of the Jesuits in Oporto, Portugal), attended by representatives of three Christian churches: Bishop Sifredo Teixeira (Portuguese Methodist Church ), D. Armando Esteves (Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Porto) and D. Jorge Pina Cabral (Bishop of the Lusitanian Church - Anglican Communion). We also count on the help of António Manuel Silva (Historian of the Anglican Institute of Theological Studies), to contextualize the emergence of these Christian confessions and their presence in Portugal, and with the moderation of Catarina Sá Couto (Youth Secretariat of the Lusitanian Church) together with António Rosa (Animator of CREU). This meeting falls within the framework of the Lenten Spiritual Plan – PEQ (the Portuguese acronym) - which this year has as its general theme for all the initiatives of each Tuesday: Uniting and not separating. In the beginning, the different Churches had the opportunity to present their doctrine, their positions and their structures, in a relaxed atmosphere of informal conversation. In this space, the moderators were able to talk to the bishops about some issues that might arise, such as the fact that all present churches proclaim themselves Catholic or the position in which the Roman Catholic Church was after the Luther Reformation. In this regard, said Jorge Pina Cabral: "It was the action of the Spirit that brought us here today and that allowed us to be sitting here talking." There was also room for questions of greater relevance in today's society, in which churches may have influence, such as the experience of sexuality, the role of women and laity, or care for creation. Here the different Churches had the opportunity to show the foundations of the positions on these subjects, giving to realize that there is much (but much) more in common than different. "Respect for creation leads us to rethink how we live all our relationships," reiterated D. Armando Esteves. In the end, the young people had a small space for questions, to which the bishops responded with all clarity and openness, and the meeting ended in an atmosphere of peace and unity. "I speak in unity (not in uniqueness), because the term unity presupposes the grace of diversity," summed up Bishop Sifredo Teixeira. The meeting was attended by more than 200 university students, something that greatly surprised the three guests.
Our companions Giuseppe, James, Angel, Michael, Nelson, Anuj, Benjamin, Pedro, Lluís and João were ordained deacons by Cardinal Archbishop of Madrid, Carlos Osoro on February 9 in Madrid, the city where they study theology. The ordinands came from six countries: Spain (Lluís Salinas, Pedro Rodríguez-Ponga and Angel Benítez), Rwanda, India, Italy, Portugal and Malta. Cardinal Osoro was accompanied by the bishop of Lérida, Salvador Giménez Valls and the bishop of Ethiopia, the Colombian Jesuit Rodrigo Mejía. Also concelebrating with the provincial, Antonio España, were the provincials of Portugal, José Frazao SJ and the provincial of Mediterranean Europe, Gianfranco Matarazzo SJ and his delegate for the Elderly, Vincent Madri SJ. Carlos Osoro talked in his homily about the work and virtues that should characterize deacons. "You are what you are by pure grace (...) servants of the Gospel by pure grace" he told to the ordinands and reminded them of various conditions necessary to be so: to listen, "put our whole life at the service of the one who configures you today; let Jesus speak through you (...); do not remain on the surface, enter the depths of life... rowing into the deep; find companions on the way and place yourselves in the hands of Jesus (...) Tell the Lord: Here I am! aware that it is by his grace and that the Lord calls me to serve the Gospel in its originality". Once ordained, each of the godparents of these ten Jesuits imposed on them the stole in the diaconal mode and the dalmatic. Then the new deacons approached the bishop to receive from his hands the book of the Gospels. Finally, their superiors gave them the book of the Liturgy of the Hours. For the first time, and once ordained, the new deacons distributed communion. One of the ordained deacons pronounced at the end some words of gratitude to the Lord for his call, for the Church and for their families, for all those who accompanied them in their vocation, the absent, the deceased and the companions who preceded them in this vocation.