Jesuits in Europe

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Father General has appointed Fr Franck Janin as President of the Conference of European Provincials. Fr Janin is currently provincial of South Belgium and Luxembourg. Born in France in 1958, Franck joined the Society of Jesus in 1984 in the Province of South Belgium and Luxembourg (BML). Part of his formation was in Toronto, Canada. He was socius of the novice master and novice master in the joint novitiate of North and South Belgium from 1995-2000 after which he joined the team in the spiritual centre of the South Belgian Jesuits near Namur, becoming the Director in 2002. He has been Provincial of BML since 2011.   “I am really honoured and humbled that Fr General has chosen me to take up this mission” said Fr Janin. “Europe is at a key moment in its history. Many people are wondering about its future. However Pope Francis recently said that Europe now “is called to rediscover its proper identity’ and that “this requires recovering its roots in order to shape its future’. I believe that the Society of Jesus, based as we are in so many parts of Europe has a valuable role to play in helping Europe recover these roots. Our spirituality, which helps people find God in their lives in a very personal way and be rooted in Him, which stresses the importance of dialogue between cultures, faiths and religions, which wants to promote reconciliation and justice (GC 36) has something precious to give. The question is how to offer what we have with humility but also with confidence. Europe is looking for a new vision.  My hope is that we, European Jesuits and all of those with whom we share and carry the mission entrusted to us by Christ, together could be more and more a sign that unity and communion are possible.”  Key projects underway in the Conference just now include a project entitled Higher Education for Social Transformation, linking the Jesuit faculties and Universities with the Jesuit social centres. The CEP is currently also running an Ignatian Leadership programme as well as workshops on the safeguarding of minors.  “I am delighted that Franck Janin has been chosen by Father General to be the CEP President” said Fr. John Dardis, the current President.  “He brings many great qualities including those of creativity, energy and real spiritual depth as well as expertise in discernment.  The role of a Conference President involves building relationships among the Major Superiors and helping to promote a more universal vision. I pray that my successor will enjoy his new mission and that he will feel God’s closeness and love as he prepares to take up the role.” The CEP is composed of 22 provinces and 2 regions and has over 4,000 Jesuits as well as thousands of collaborators.  On July 31st,  the provinces of South Belgium-Luxembourg and France will form one new province; Fr Janin has played a key role in this development. Fr Janin will take office in late summer 2017.  Read also: "Getting to know the new CEP President"  
ITALY
  The desire to build together a community of life. Father General has called on us all to redouble our efforts to welcome those who suffer because of the need to migrate and to work together to build ‘a community of life’. Speaking in Rome before the World Day of Refugees and Migrants (Sunday), Fr Arturo Sosa SJ was addressing refugees, volunteers and staff from the Centro Astalli, the headquarters of the Jesuit Refugee Service in Italy. He urged all who support refugees and migrants to put pressure on governments, especially in Europe, to create channels that will give safe and legal access to children and adolescents forced to abandon their homes, their countries and often even their families, in order that they can make a future elsewhere. At the meeting at the Church of Gesù in Rome on Friday, Fr General said he was both happy and moved to have been able to listen to refugees’ testimonies and to share reflection and prayer with them. “This moment presents an important invitation to the Society of Jesus to accompany, with its few resources, and to share in the anxieties and hopes of the refugees here in Italy and everywhere in the world,” he said. Fr General explained that he had personally experienced similar situations to the refugees who gave their testimonies on Friday, on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, where he lived for ten years before being called to Rome. “I met entire families that had been forced to abandon everything to save lives threatened by injustice and violence that has taken hold of our societies. I met children and young people who had been forced to become soldiers and to participate in wars so far away from their dreams, thoughts and desires.” However, Fr General Sosa also spoke of people’s generosity - families who have welcomed as brothers and sisters people in search of a new life, as well as schools, teachers and Christian communities willing to lend a hand to those who arrive. He said it was necessary to promote citizens' movements that put pressure on States and the governments of Europe and other parts of the world to create safe and legal channels, especially for children and adolescents. “The absence of these channels adds new dangers to the path of migrants and increases the injustice suffered by those who have had to flee their homeland," he told the congregation at the Gesù. “The absence of adequate protection, the difficulty of access to humanitarian visas and efficient policies of social inclusion nourishes one of the greatest scourges of humanity in our times: human trafficking.” Like pieces of wood that need to live "It means a lot to me that Pope Francis decided to dedicate this day to refugee children" says Aziz, a 20-year-old refugee from Guinea. He had to leave his country when he was 16 years old, and travelled across Mali, then Niger, Libya and finally Italy. Aziz and other four young refugees from Afghanistan, Albania, Syria and Ethiopia shared their moving testimonies. All of them were minors when they arrived in Italy. "My father was a wood carver in Aleppo; he was able to create wonderful objects from any shapeless pieces of wood. His job was to give shape to ideas. Today, we are like pieces of wood that need to come alive" says Mirvat, a refugee from Syria. The neighborhood where she spent her childhood no longer exists. "Those who destroyed Aleppo have also destroyed the dreams, the memories, the plans and the future of a whole generation of young people". Fr General was greeted at the Gesù by Fr Camillo Ripamonti SJ, the President of the Centro Astalli, who reminded those gathered that the message of Pope Francis for this day focuses this year on child migrants. “The Pope points out that among migrants, the children are the most vulnerable group,” he said, “because … they are invisible and voiceless. And this reminds us of the need to protect them, to integrate them, and for them to be able to look to the future. Yes, dear Father Arturo, yet we continue to ignore this responsibility. We have not protected them; we have allowed them to die by their hundreds in the sea on long and dangerous crossings in the Mediterranean; and many of those who came got lost (in the) news, perhaps, and (have become) prisoners or victims of trafficking. But not only that: we are not even integrating as we should those who live with us.” He appealed for action at the international level, to work for the resolution of conflicts and serious investments in the development of the many young foreigners who need reasons for hope and seeds for a future of peace and reconciliation. A message of peace and reconciliation During the public event, ‘Refugee Youth: hope for a future of peace’, 20 refugees and migrants of various nationalities delivered a message of peace for the world that they had formulated in their original languages. Five boys and girls who had arrived in Italy as minors fleeing from Guinea, Afghanistan, Albania, Syria and Ethiopia shared their testimonies. And Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ was presented by refugees with an icon. Entitled 'foreigners and itinerant men', it depicts the three kings, the Magi who followed the star in search of the baby Jesus. The gathering concluded with a Prayer for Refugees, in which Fr General prayed: “Today we are here united by the desire to build together a community of life. O God, feed this desire of ours. In our world, we have a desperate need of peace and reconciliation … We are aware that we need your imagination, Your creative, non-violent energy. Our languages ​​are different and many and sometimes we do not understand those who are different from us, misinterpreting and distorting their words and gestures. Teach us the confidence that is at the beginning of every fruitful relationship and every walk of peace. We are here with all that we are: with the diversity of our religions and our cultures, with the fragility of our personal histories, our ways of doing and to share small companies of life. All we are is what we offer you.”   Fr General's address at the meeting 'Refugee Youth: hope for a future of peace' is available on the website of the Jesuit Curia in Rome. You can read more on the JRS website and more photos is available on the Centro Astalli website.
VATICANWORLD
and deplores religously motivated violence. “Every expression of religion is called to promote peace” Peace was a major theme of a recent address by Pope Francis to the members of the Diplomatic Corps. “Millions of people still live in the midst of senseless conflicts” he said. “Even in places once considered secure, a general sense of fear is felt.” Pope Francis referred specifically to acts of religiously motivated violence, saying: ”Sadly, we are conscious that even today, religious experience, rather than fostering openness to others, can be used at times as a pretext for rejection, marginalization and violence. Speaking of fundamentalist-inspired terrorism he says “We are dealing with a homicidal madness which misuses God’s name in order to disseminate death, in a play for domination and power”. These strong words show the Pope’s condemnation of using religion in order to promote violence and hatred. He calls on political authorities not just to limit themselves to providing security for their own citizens but to work proactively for the growth of peace. Striking a note of hope, Pope Francis points to the number of religiously-inspired works that build up our societies, especially in areas of great conflict and poverty. In particular he mentions work in the areas of education and social assistance. On migration he says that all countries should feel responsible and that the burden should not be carried by some countries and left by others. He appeals for an end to the Syrian conflict which is causing “a genuine human catastrophe”. He calls for “The elimination of the deplorable arms trade and the never-ending race to create and spread ever-more sophisticated weaponry”. In his address, he touches on Europe which he says, is “experiencing a decisive moment in its history, one in which it is called to re-discover its proper identity.” For him, this means “recovering its roots in order to shape its future….The process of European unification, begun after the Second World War, continues to be a unique opportunity for stability, peace and solidarity between peoples.” As Jesuits and those involved in the Jesuit mission, we can resonate with so much of what Pope Francis is saying; we can be proud of our many ministries which tackle these issues. We can think of our schools in Beirut, Kosovo, Albania, Cairo and indeed right across Europe. By their creativity and by their belief in young people, they are trying to build a whole new culture based on Gospel values. We can also think of the vital work done by our social centres as they promote justice, reach out to the poorest in our societies and foster dialogue. And the work of JRS is a light shining in the darkness of so much war and hatred. Such initiatives are key ways to fight fundamentalism, to bring about real change and to promote peace. As we contemplate the Jesuit mission in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and as we struggle with many difficult situations, we can find the words and the passion of Pope Francis encouraging and consoling. Pope Francis spoke to the members of the Diplomatic Corps on 9th January 2017 Download the complete text of Pope Francis' speech
BELGIUM
Documents of General Congregation 36 of the Society of Jesus Download the documents   Reception of GC36 in The Netherlands and Flanders. Fr Jan Stuyt (NER), socius of the provincial of Flanders and The Netherlands has just prepared the Dutch edition of the Documents of GC 36. He shares some reflections.  1.  Regarding the first Decree on Mission (D 1.4.):  I was struck by the feeling of : "Now What?"   We (the delegates to GC36) feel like we are stuck like the first companions in Venice: we had these great plans, and now what. I recognize the need to review the road travelled so far, and to think of the next step.  2. There is a strong continuity with the previous congregation and the decision to continue to see our mission in the light of reconciliation with God, with each other and with creation.  (D.1.21) We have not yet let our spirituality and our works be coloured and restructured by this need for reconciliation. It is a work in progress. 3. As a Jesuit in Western Europe I recognize the picture of the contexts where we work (D.1.24). It speaks of secularization, of interreligious dialogue and of people who seek spirituality outside the Church.  I wonder if  the picture is equally valid for all continents?  There is a fascinating expression at the end of this paragraph where it speaks of: "accompanying people from the depth of their spiritual traditions".  Now that is a great challenge -  I remember once giving the Exercises to a Japanese buddhist. I like the way that this was formulated: concise and challenging.  4.  In Decree 2 about Governance the word "discernment" is used very often  (f.i. in D. 4-5).  Where the delegates afraid of using the words "we need to make choices"?  Father Kesicki, ex-provincial of Chicago-Detroit, mentions in the last issue of the Studies in the Spirituality of the Jesuits (48/4) what he said in a Province Congregation in 2011: "I perceive the Society as a company of men and not a network of institutions". He acknowledges that it was a provocative if not polemical wording, and it certainly provoked a lively exchange.  5. The accompanying letter from the Flemish and Dutch Fr Provincial to the Dutch translation of the Decrees starts with the words: "Dear Brethren and Co-workers".  In previous edition there was a usually a notice on the first page : "Only for Jesuits".     This choice to address those who work with us together with the Jesuits is in line with the appreciation expressed by CG 36  (D.2.6) for the contribution made by our partners who are not Jesuits but co-workers and friends.       Read also: The Documents of GC 36                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

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Finding God

SPAIN
Neither the cold weather nor the distance stopped people from meeting at the CIE (Alien Internment Centre) of Barcelona. They gathered to pray in solidarity with the inmates and for violence to stop in such centers. The vigil was organized by the volunteers’ group of the Jesuit foundation Migra Studium. These volunteers are regular visitors but this time round, they were joined by many entities and groups. The prayer time consisted of a simple act of words and music. Detainees were given a voice thanks to the testimonies collected and read out by the volunteers who accompany them daily. They are witnesses of the differents forms of violence in these centres : one’s identity reduced to a number, physical and verbal aggression, the deterioration of one’s health, isolation... CIEs violate the rights of individuals and criminalize a basic right of a person to migrate. In the street, people lit candles to accompany the words, music and silence, while they heard the cries for freedom of the 200 inmates. It was a simple gesture to "bring light to a dark place, which symbolizes the worst of our societies when they close themselves." This is already the third edition of this prayer vigil.
SPAIN
Interview with F. Adolfo Nicolás SJ. For the premiere in Spain of the film "Silence" by Martin Scorsese, the Press office of the Spanish province conducted an interview with Fr. Adolfo Nicolás SJ. Fr Nicolás reflects on evangelization in the country, inculturation, dialogue with Buddhism and the real history on which the film is based. Watch the interview Fr Alberto Núñez SJ is a Spanish Jesuit resident in Taiwan, who was helping on the film set and shared anecdotes of his work. In Madrid, a group of 150 Jesuits and laypeople went to a previous release (see video) of the film. The press office distributed a dossier about the film and the history of the Jesuits in Japan.
SYRIA
21 december 2016 He is born in a cotton shelling factory. They are talking everywhere about the East Aleppo's displaced persons. At the start they are received at Jibrine in the halls, built to become factories. When we went there to help, we were told there was no place any more, and people were placed in the cotton shelling halls (mphalege al-koton). Thousands of children, women and old people (clearly, men are lacking) are huddled up in makeshift shelters, submitted to cold and shortage of sanitary conditions: 4 W.C. for 500 people. Drink water is slightly salted, at night temperature goes down till -6°C, and the halls are 20 m. high; and it is forbidden to lit a fire, because there are everywhere mattresses and blankets. People's hands, their faces and their clothing are dirty. No possibility to take a bath, nor even to wash their faces with icy water. People are burning outdoors whatever fire can consume and they regroup around the fire, to get some warmth. I leave the word to Fr. Ziad's camera. First photo: these twins are born orphans' in the camp, and their mother is away to get the food ration, the twins are outdoor's in the winter sun, carefully looked after by their "older sister" of nine years. We are five days before Christmas. A baby in the crib! The three other photos don't need commentary. The last two are a sign of joy. Our column is on the road. And our JRS volunteers are in action, Muslims and Christians. We did then organise a column to go to the "cotton shelling place": 6 trucks and delivery vans, 85 volunteers. At the program: To record the families in order to determine the needs, and to distribute in accordance with the needs: blankets, fruit, hoods, socks, and ... originality bisquits for the children. As far as water is concerned, one pack weighs 9 kilograms. A family of 7 people - the average number per family - will get 3 packs. It is difficult for the children to transport them. Our trucks, with our volunteers went round the tents and halls and delivered the packs at the door! Never seen before in this camp! Usually international organisations do ask people to queue up, and the police beat the unrulies with a silicone pipe. Here they are served 'at home', with respect for human dignity. Our way to proceed: teams are going from one shelter to another, filling formularies in and giving tickets to the families. One member of each family comes to the place of distribution, he is received by a volunteer who accompanies him kindly to help him take successively bags of fruit, blankets, hoods, socks and bisquits, depending on what is written on their tickets. If he or she is not able to bear it all, because it is often a child, an aged person or a woman bearing a baby, the volunteer accompanies him or her until their place. Outdoors with a temperature of 3°C in the shadow, we were working without any stop from 10 H. until 17 H.. According to the statistics, 4000 people were served with respect and dignity, without queuing and without T.V. filming them. This astonished all the associations, even the international organisation. I am proud of this. Here is an anecdote: a child aged 6 years takes a banana and start eating it with the skin. Embarrassed, his mother explains to us that the child had seen them at the grocery, but had never eaten them, they were too expensive. In the evening there was a feast on Azizyé place, nearby our place. The Armenian scouts, with "SOS-Christians from the East" (a French organisation of the Front National) want to inaugurate a great Christmas's fir-tree. State authorities and catholic bishops were present, and also T.V. The event became rapidly a political gathering where all speeches were oriented towards the socalled "victory" of Aleppo. I was anxious and rightly so. A bomb exploded and made material damages, but luckily no casualties. People became immediately panic stricken. Direct T.V. was immediately cut off, and after half an hour people were called, I don't know where, to start again, as if nothing happened. Once again I did try to be a good Jesuit, obeying church authorities. Last week I did warn the bishops, through the channel of my friend, the latin bishop, about the dangers of this kind of festivities: politisation of Christmas, provocation of the Sunnites, lack of respect for the people who are suffering, etc.. They didn't listen. 22 december 2016 Yesterday it was snowing the whole day and during the night. What happens to the displaced persons? But a small comfort came to my mind: we have done what we should have done. Today I came to an agreement with an association who has milk for babies and small children, but doesn't distribute it, because water available in the camps is salty and harmful for the children. We give 540 bottles of drinking water for the babies and the small children. The distribution will happen to-morrow. The displaced persons burn everything that can be burned, in order to get warm. To-day we have distributed to the displaced persons 2 tons of wood for fireplace. Our Christmas holyday begins on Saturday, and urgent work is knocking us about. We work without any respite, just as in a bee-hive, in order to celebrate with a fairly good conscience. In fact, my conscience is not quite so peaceful: this morning a baby has died from the cold in the cotton shelling halls. I refused to get his photo. I prefer he remains anonymous, just as the childhood of his Master and Saviour. To everyone, woman or man, I wish a joyful Christmas !  Sami Hallak s.j.
POLAND
Uninterrupted since 1993, under the auspices of the Academy of Ignatianum, Zbigniew Marek SJ leads the Bible Correspondence Course. So far, nearly 10.000 people from all corners of the globe have attended the course. The target audience of the course are those who want to deepen their knowledge of the Scripture. For those interested, there are no such restrictions as age, location or education level, etc. The course involves the reading of various books of the Scripture, beginning with the New Testament. The supplied course materials enable the participants to understand the Biblical narrated in the context of the events. Specific methods of reading and exploring pericopes are proposed, helping in discovering the message that they contain. Currently, course materials are available in two versions: paper and electronic.

Promoting Justice

SPAIN
Le Groupe des Deux Rives’ meeting 2016. Le Groupe des Deux Rives (Two Shores’ Group) held its annual meeting on 27th-30st December 2016 in Granada (Spain). Surrounded by the finest examples of Moorish architecture, the group had to visit   the Alhambra and other buildings of the Islamic historical legacy in Andalucia. The history and the dream of Al-Andalus, as well as Christian-Muslim relations weigh a lot, for there has been as much violence as dialogue and living together. The visit to a local Islamic community, whose president chairs the Union of Islamic Communities in Andalucía, allowed us to better understand the spiritual life of Muslims, issues related to Spanish identity of both Islamic communities and several kinds of worshippers (immigrants, their children and Spanish-born Muslims), and the institutional challenges they face. The visit to the Jesuit Faculty of Theology, whose theological reflection is intended to be done in dialogue with Islamic thought, lead us to a common priority for the Society of Jesus in Europe: the need to build solid alliances among Jesuit institutions. As usual, a big part of the meeting consisted of sharing about our lives and missions. As friends in the Lord, we didn’t just speak about topics of common interest, but on our current discernments, our joys and our sorrows. Conversations among the members of the group focused on different topics, such as the difficulties to bring together the dialogue with Muslims and catechumenal work. There was also a profound reflection on conditions for dialogue: dialogue and truth, truth framed by tradition, etc. The fragility of our presence in Maghreb and Turkey underscores the need to constantly place ourselves in the hands of Providence, whilst searching for new companions ready to share in this mission. The group also organises some common activities throughout the year, as the “Inner discovery of Algeria”, a programme aimed at college students and young professionals in Algiers, from 6th to 27th August (convenor: Christophe Ravanel). The next meeting of the Group is foreseen in Turkey (Istanbul) on 26th-30th December 2017 (convenor: Jean-Marc Balhan). The members attending the meeting were: Jean-Marc Balan (Ankara, Turkey), Christophe Ravanel (Algiers-Algeria), Damien de Préville (Constantine-Algeria), Jaume Flaquer (Barcelona-Spain), Jesús León (Constantine-Algeria), Josep Buades (Sevilla-Spain) and Gabriel Pigache (Lyon-France). Two other Jesuits were invited: Maged-William Readany from Egypt, at present studying at the Gregorian University, and Ángel Benítez-Donoso from Madrid, who has been working for two years at JRS-Lebanon as part of his regency. Unfortunately, some others couldn’t participate this time: Sylvain Cariou-Charton (Vanves-France), Jack Germanos (Beirut-Lebanon), Ricardo Jiménez (Algiers-Algeria) and Álvaro Dorantes (Beirut-Lebanon). Juan Carlos Pallardel, who is working in Pakistan, has sent a long message to the group, sharing his experience and asking for help to the Church in Pakistan with retreats and lectures in summer 2017.
IRELAND
Belvedere College SJ has just won the Global High School category of the prestigious Zayed Future Energy Prize in Abu Dhabi – the first Irish school to win the award. Their project to create an ‘off-grid’ urban farm in Dublin city centre will receive $100,000 in funding to allow for the expansion of their current urban farm project on the roof-top space in Belvedere College. Students Barry Heneghan (see photo) and Lorcan O’Kelly travelled to Abu Dhabi with urban farm co-ordinator Simon O’Donnell to enter their eco-farm project for the competition. Students had constructed a 6 kWp solar photovoltaic system along with rainwater harvesting systems to irrigate the farm on the roof. Their plan for the development of the farm project includes maximising sustainability by only using water and energy that can be harvested on-site. In a bold plan for recycling, the nutrient requirements of the farm will be provided by a closed loop aquaponics system. This means that the effluent waste from fish tanks will be pumped on to beds housing crops such as salads, tomatoes and strawberries. In order to minimise inputs, students will experiment with growing phytoplankton and zooplankton to feed the tilapia fish that can also be harvested as a food source.   The Zayed Future Energy is an annual award celebrating achievements that reflect impact, innovation, long-term vision and leadership in renewable energy and sustainability. There are five award categories – Lifetime Achievement, Large Corporation, Small and Medium Enterprise, Non-Profit Organisation and Global High Schools. Currently in its ninth year, previous winners include individuals such as former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and companies such as Panasonic and Siemens.
SPAIN
Ignatian support for the appeal. The Jesuits in Spain, along with its institutions, joined this petition signed by 430 Spanish organizations working for human rights, migration and refuge, in support of the appeal “Do not die of cold ". The appeal requests an European urgent response to protect people on the borders this winter. More than 100 institutions of the Ignatian family have been part of these 430 organization list, some of them social institutions, educational and pastoral centers, lay communities, youth centers, parishes and several university centers. The last images of thousands of refugees enduring the current wave of polar cold without a roof, as well as freezing and death of several of them, have prompted these organizations to request to the European Commission and to the Spanish Government an effective operation that provides the necessary emergency measures in order to guarantee the minimum conditions for these people. More information 
CROATIA
Zagreb, 08 December 2016 – “Paths” is the title of the new newspaper created by asylum seekers and refugees that was launched at the 36th anniversary celebration of JRS in mid-November. Covering a range of inter-cultural issues, the newspaper contains articles in Arabic, Croatian, Farsi and English. Director of JRS South-East Europe Croatia, Tvrtko Barun SJ, said that the newspaper grew from the idea of providing a platform for people who are seeking asylum in Croatia and who have received international protection for expressing their opinions and attitudes and transferring their refugee and integration experiences. “Through this project we want to encourage the encounter between cultures. Among the refugees themselves, but also between our culture and the refugee cultures. We want this project to be the intersection of refugee views, experiences, problems, longings but also future plans on their paths to safety and freedom,” said Barun. He adds that "Paths" will be published with articles in several languages and that it will be issued once a month. The first issue of "Paths" covers issues such as the integration experiences of persons who have been granted asylum in Croatia, the situation of women in Iran, the importance of learning Croatian language in order to facilitate understanding of the culture and comparison between Croatian culture and different cultures. All articles have been written by asylum seekers and refugees in Croatia. “We believe that these newspapers are important for establishing a deeper mutual trust and a confirmation of our sincere intention to offer hospitality to people who, for different reasons, have been forced to flee their homes,” said director Barun.

Youth & Media

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
The Jesuits get into Social Media. The Jesuits in Europe have opened new Social Media accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube! With these new platforms we hope to reach those people whom we would otherwise not reach with our website and have a bidirectional conversation with all of you. We see this as a new way to share the message of the Gospel with our friends and promote the vision that the Society of Jesus tries to transmit to our society like giving hope, promoting justice, supporting those most marginalised of our societies, and helping people find God,  To follow us on these new platforms you can follow the next links: • Facebook • Twitter • Vimeo • Flickr If you have any problem accessing these links please let us know at info@jesuits.eu We hope to hear from you soon!
LITHUANIA
The initiative to conduct the first Magis Catholic school games was praised in the 12th annual school sports awards, designating Vilnius Jesuit School as first in sportsmanship among the 139 schools of Vilnius, capital of Lithuania. The girls‘ track and field, as well as the downhill ski teams (the best in Lithuania), along with a fine boys‘ soccer team helped gain the tile plaque in City Hall, given to encourage sports, health and community spirit. The coaches claim that no special efforts were needed in the customary sporting program, supported by parents and benefactors.   
SPAIN
A few weeks ago the first MAG+S Spain Pastoral Assembly was held in Madrid. MAG+S is the name of the pastoral work of the Ignatian spirituality with young adults (university students and/or professionals between 18 and 30 years). More than 80 people (Jesuits, religious, lay people) from all over Spain gathered to know each other, to share what they do and to reflect and pray about their mission. The assembly explained the way of Ignatian pastoral ministry with university students and adults. This way has led us to the creation of the MAG+S Pastoral Office to enable the work in this mission. There was reflection on the need to create a vocational culture as a way of presenting the Gospel in the midst of a plurality of options. They presented pastoral initiatives developed in different places in Spain. The highlights of this first MAG+S Pastoral Assembly are the depth of the reflections, the liveliness of the exchanges and the mission received as a shared challenge.
SPAIN
A biography in images to pay homage to the figure of Pedro Arrupe.  The Jesuit publisher Mensajero and Fundación Gondra Barandiarán pay tribute to a Jesuit figure who faced difficult challenges and took the plunge while at the head of the Society of Jesus. Pedro Arrupe spent his life in that effort to cross "the narrow bridge that connects two eras", always with a smile. More than 100 images cover this biography and bring to life his fascinating and intriguing character. Fr Ángel A. Pérez SJ compiled all the photographs for the 2007 exhibition on the occasion of Arrupe’s birth centenary. He briefly sketches the biographical milestones and reveals the signs of his deep faith. The text is written in Spanish and English with the hope that his memory will be shared anywhere in the world. This book was a gift for the Jesuits of the General Congregation. More info

In-depth Reflection

SPAIN
The first cluster meeting of the HEST Program. The first cluster meeting of the HEST programme has finally taken place on January 16, at the IQS facilities in Barcelona, thus becoming the starting pistol for the rest of the clusters. The cluster to take the lead has been the one on Economy, Poverty and Ethics. Dr. José Sols Lucia, one of the coordinators of the Cluster, welcomed us to his university and guided us during the whole meeting. It was a particularly significant moment for all of us who are working in this HEST adventure. The main goal of the meeting was to dream of what we wanted to achieve with this cluster in the next three years and contextualize and concretize in key action steps and activities. 10 people participated in the meeting:  • Javier Arellano (Universidad de Deusto)  • Pedro Caldentey (Universidad Loyola Andalucía)  • Eoin Carroll (Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice, Dublin)  • Dariusz Dankowski SJ (Jesuit University Ignatianum in Krakow)  • Marta Ramos (Universidad Pontificia Comillas)  • Albert Evrard SJ (Université de Namur)  • Mihály Borsi (IQS - Ramon Llull University)  • José Sols (IQS - Ramon Llull University)  • Frank Turner SJ (Delegate for the Intellectual Apostolate)  • José Carlos Romero (Universidad Pontificia Comillas - HEST coordinator) The meeting was divided in three main parts: in the first one, José Carlos Romero presented the general lines of the HEST programme, with its 7 thematic clusters and its clear orientation towards the collaborative work between the higher education centres of the Society of Jesus in Europe and its social centres. After a fruitful round of questions, which helped clarify some aspects related to the programme, we proceeded to a second part in which Dr. Pedro Caldentey explained the context and some possible lines of research for the cluster. Again, the presentation gave rise to an interesting exchange of views on the course of the cluster. Finally, we faced the last part of the meeting that sought to concretize the research question and propose the next steps to take. We finally chose this general research question: No one will be left behind: How can we promote justice and common good in global economy? Ideas and practices to build inclusive and sustainable societies: Beyond the paradigm of competition and self-interest. We also defined a transversal approach to that question:  A common analytical and critical perspective: a preferential option for those living at the margins And we decided to look for specific questions with a narrower and more defined approach according to one or more of the following perspectives:  • Theological and Philosophical perspective.  • Public policy/Legal perspective.  • Business perspective  • Economic perspective.  • Cultural perspective.  • Ecological perspective. In order to close the final formulation of the research, we decided that each of the assistants would send to Pedro and José their feedback to the draft proposal.  Afterwards, the Programme and the Cluster coordinators would work in a concept note from those feedbacks. The note will include the final formulation of the questions and the vision of the Cluster together with concrete proposals on research teams organization, outputs and timelines. The meeting ended with a kind farewell to everybody. The cluster is already running, or better said, flying! An exciting research process is waiting for us.
FRANCE
  On Friday January 20th, some 150 people were invited at Centre Sèvres to discover what makes the “special flavour” of the Jesuit faculties of Paris. A dozen presentations, talks and workshops were spread throughout the evening. They varied from topical issues in bioethics, to a debate about Trump’s America; from textbook readings in the field of patristics and ignatian spirituality and a presentation of some of the library’s old treasures to the discovery of a contemporary musical piece… The only problem was choosing ! After a short prayer time, a typical Syrian diner was served. All the money raised will go to a project supported by the Jesuit Refugees Service in Lebanon.
UNITED KINGDOM
There is nothing new about divisions in the Church, and all of us could tell stories of Christians faced with interdenominational tensions.That is the message of a new book by a leading Jesuit scripture scholar that would be an appropriate read during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (18 - 25 January). In The Scandal of Christian Disunity, Fr Nick King SJ argues that the Church has an absolute duty to proclaim the gospel - especially today; however, it is always vital that we check that it is indeed the gospel that we are trying to preach, since we are fallible and sinful and can get it wrong. The first chapter of Fr King’s book (The mystery of anti-ecumenism) considers the scandal of Christian disunion, and in particular the mystery whereby perfectly good people seem content to live with the scandal. He then looks at each of the 27 documents that constitute the New Testament and demonstrates that the writers were well aware of the possibility of divisions in the Church. In additon to detailed analysis of the Gospels, he looks at how Paul and his supporters attended to divisions, especially in his correspondence with the Christians in Corinth and Rome; and how conflicts were dealt with in the Acts of the Apostles.The early Christian had a way of coping with the divisions, he concludes, by keeping their eyes on God and on Jesus. Marian devotion The final part of the book considers one particular issue that divides Christians of the Roman Catholic Church from other Christians: Marian devotion - the role given to Mary the mother of Jesus, and in particular to the two teachings about her Immaculate Conception and her Assumption. The chapter contemplates whether the Catholic position represents an unbridgeable gap for Christians from other traditions. Fr Nick King SJ currently teaches Biblical Studies at Heythrop College University of London. Prior to that, he taught for many years in South Africa, and then at Oxford University. After a sabbatical year as a Visiting Professor at the School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, he was Academic Director of Theology at St Mary’s University, Twickenham. He is renowned for his translations and commentaries on the Scriptures, including the Psalms and the Gospels. The Scandal of Christian Disunity is published by Kevin Mayhew at £17.99.
SPAIN
Looking for new ways of improving coexistence and dialogue. The city is a frontier of change of our time. The cities host a large number of people (in Spain 80% population) and hold many processes because of its complexity. Cities concentrate many conflicts and most of the forgotten people in our world live in its suburbs. In this context, the campaign "We dream the city, we build it together" emerges from the Faith-Culture-Justice Centers of the Jesuits in Spain, a project to propose a contemplative and interdisciplinary perspective on the city and looking for new ways of improving coexistence and dialogue. The campaign began with a reflection published in the Jesuit magazine Razón y Fe, and now more than 40 activities -seminars, conferences, round tables or courses- have been carried out in the 22 centers. Now the campaign has just launched www.construimosciudad.net a website where you can find articles, posts, conferences and other publications reflecting on the city from areas as theology, politics or social science.

Preparing for Mission

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Interview with Frank Janin, SJ. Which are your wishes as newly appointed President of the Conference of European Provincials? For the past six years, as Provincial of the BML, I have been able to appreciate all what the Conference brings to our mission in all its dimensions and areas of work. I will point out in the first place the aspect of fraternity in a concrete awareness of the universality of the Society. As a provincial I felt that I did not stand alone in my task. I have brothers who share the same concerns, the same questions, and the same dreams. The role of the Assistancies is also very important, but opening up to the European dimension makes it even more possible for me to realize that the mission goes beyond my concerns at the province level. As Jesuits, we must always keep in sight the horizon of the world. In this sense, the framework of Europe is still too narrow, but it nevertheless makes very concrete this perspective of universality that we claim to live by. My deepest wish is that we could keep on forging these bonds of fraternity and friendship in the Lord with the goal of increasingly listening to what the Spirit of God expects from us in this part of the world. The General Congregation 36, like the Pope's speech on its occasion, put the need for discernment back in the forefront. In a world that is as moving and uncertain as ours, we are constantly invited to remain open to the suppleness and creativity of the Spirit. Main opportunities now for the Society in Europe On the political level, many deplore the loss of a common European vision that endangers its identity, its very existence. This situation confronts us to a greater than ever need to be ourselves: Jesuits, carrying a vision able to bring us together and to make us overcome our differences, while respecting them at the same time. The situation of a Europe doubting itself, seeking its own path, tempted by identity withdrawals, can make us insecure. However, it can also stimulate us to run against the tide, to testify that it is possible to discuss in depth without being determined by our historical, psychological and ideological limits. In this sense, the whole process of restructuring European Provinces is a magnificent opportunity. We can live this restructuring as a constraint and a fatality due to our numerical reduction. Or we can live it as a springboard that pushes us out of ourselves and our securities, brings us out of the way we are imagining others, and enables us to dare and talk about our wounds and fears, and helps us to lower our walls and build bridges instead. If the Society of Jesus is not capable of this, who will be? This situation of poverty and scarcity can therefore be approached as a chance, a grace. Communion and collaboration in the mission becomes a necessity. It should always have been this way, and the Society has insisted on it for a long time, but it now appears in full light: collaboration between us, companions of Jesus, and with all those with whom we share the mission. The existence of a rich and numerous "Ignatian family" is emerging in many of our Provinces. Could we ever imagine a gathering of the “European Ignatian family”? However, this does not dispense us from continuing to ask ourselves the crucial and difficult question of vocations. Ultimately, whatever restructuring we undertake, vocations remain essential if we wish to continue to carry out any mission whatsoever. In this respect, particularly in Europe, we are not at the end of a major change.  The places of exchange where it is possible to increase our European consciousness are already many. Think of all the interprovincial collaboration groups (networks) that deal with faith, education, young adults ministry, ecology and social apostolate, and formation. All these groups can be centers of discernment for a renewed mission, in tune with the needs of the world, our charism, and the inspirations of the Spirit. Main challenges for the Society in Europe I have already mentioned it. It seems to me that the main challenge for the Society of Jesus in Europe (and no doubt beyond it) is to permanently remain in an attitude of discernment about its own objectives. Where does God really expect us? At the provincial level, this choice of priorities, the ability to be truly free in the face of multiple calls, in the face of a rich institutional history, is a difficult task. It is not less so at the European level. For more than a year we have been looking for a companion to coordinate the European social apostolate and become responsible for the JESC. What does that tell us? Is that mission useless? Do we lack creativity or generosity? Are we engaged on too many fronts? Our spirituality draws us, among all the "goods" that are presented to us, to seek and select "only" what is "more" in the present situation, to be "to the praise and service" of the Lord (cf. ES 22, 169, 179, etc.). Confronted - and we will be so more and more – to the fact that we cannot do everything, the question of the relevance of our choices will become more and more crucial. In addition to working in the existing networks, new and ambitious projects have recently been developed in the fields of higher education, Ignatian leadership training and the safeguarding of minors and vulnerable adults. Let us not forget the European apostolates in Brussels. Here too, we can humbly but vigorously bring our building block to a more just and more supportive Europe that does not forget how its roots plunge deep into the soil of the Gospel. Finally, the link between Conferences and with Father General is bound to be strengthened. Many topics on the agenda of the Society must be considered at the global level. To maintain a true back and forth link between this level and that of the concrete field where the mission is being enacted will require much wisdom. So many challenges lie ahead. If we can perceive and receive them as calls of the Spirit then we will approach them with confidence and with the consolation that Francis calls us to ask. This joy in seeking and finding together the will of God is my prayer for our Conference.
BELGIUM
Documents of General Congregation 36 of the Society of Jesus Download the documents   Reception of GC36 in The Netherlands and Flanders. Fr Jan Stuyt (NER), socius of the provincial of Flanders and The Netherlands has just prepared the Dutch edition of the Documents of GC 36. He shares some reflections.  1.  Regarding the first Decree on Mission (D 1.4.):  I was struck by the feeling of : "Now What?"   We (the delegates to GC36) feel like we are stuck like the first companions in Venice: we had these great plans, and now what. I recognize the need to review the road travelled so far, and to think of the next step.  2. There is a strong continuity with the previous congregation and the decision to continue to see our mission in the light of reconciliation with God, with each other and with creation.  (D.1.21) We have not yet let our spirituality and our works be coloured and restructured by this need for reconciliation. It is a work in progress. 3. As a Jesuit in Western Europe I recognize the picture of the contexts where we work (D.1.24). It speaks of secularization, of interreligious dialogue and of people who seek spirituality outside the Church.  I wonder if  the picture is equally valid for all continents?  There is a fascinating expression at the end of this paragraph where it speaks of: "accompanying people from the depth of their spiritual traditions".  Now that is a great challenge -  I remember once giving the Exercises to a Japanese buddhist. I like the way that this was formulated: concise and challenging.  4.  In Decree 2 about Governance the word "discernment" is used very often  (f.i. in D. 4-5).  Where the delegates afraid of using the words "we need to make choices"?  Father Kesicki, ex-provincial of Chicago-Detroit, mentions in the last issue of the Studies in the Spirituality of the Jesuits (48/4) what he said in a Province Congregation in 2011: "I perceive the Society as a company of men and not a network of institutions". He acknowledges that it was a provocative if not polemical wording, and it certainly provoked a lively exchange.  5. The accompanying letter from the Flemish and Dutch Fr Provincial to the Dutch translation of the Decrees starts with the words: "Dear Brethren and Co-workers".  In previous edition there was a usually a notice on the first page : "Only for Jesuits".     This choice to address those who work with us together with the Jesuits is in line with the appreciation expressed by CG 36  (D.2.6) for the contribution made by our partners who are not Jesuits but co-workers and friends.       Read also: The Documents of GC 36                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
FRANCE
132  Jesuits from the province to be EOF meet in Lyon. The assembly of the GAL and BML provinces at Francheville near Lyon brought together 132 Jesuits, 103 from the present French province and 29 from de present BML province. To debate about the question: “after the 36th General Congregation to go forward into the open sea, what are our horizons?” It has been treated, I think, according to an approach that mobilises as much the hart as the intelligence. I did appreciate that as introduction three General Congregation participants told us how they lived it: the election of Father General (Thierry Dobbelstein); the report ‘De statu’ and the universality of the Society of Jesus (François-Xavier Dumortier); the joys and sufferings of discerning (Etienne Grieu). From these testimonies I pull out the importance of taking one’s time, to discover and appreciate the diversity of the universal body that we form, and also the utility - for organising the work - to use counsellors. We have been able to listen to the first of the two (?) decrees of the General Congregation: “Companions with a mission of reconciliation and justice”. We did it with the help of Etienne Grieu and Thierry Dobbelstein. This text has been matured for a long time in a meeting that can be called ‘a spiritual conversation’. If this kind of exchange - made of active listening rooted in a desire to speak about  what touches us most deeply - has contributed a lot to the quality of the GC ‘s good work, we will understand  that the decree commands it to us  (?) for the life of our communities. The decree unfolds a triptyque, with each element closely tied to the two others: community (‘of discernment with open horizons’); identity (fiery people with a passion for the gospel’) mission (‘with Christ the Reconciler’). As it can be seen, the decree 1 is able to nourish the reflexion and the life of our communities, as well as of each one of us. The members of the GC36 felt the necessity to be co-responsible for our companions who live in a dramatic situation on different places of our planet. Hence they have written “A message and a prayer for the Jesuits who live in a war and conflict zone.” Sylvain Cariou-Charton has evoked for us its genesis. With a very just tone that calls on us and is marking us. It has been introduced into the mass for peace, celebrated on the 29th of December. Concerning the second decree of the GC36 “a renewed Governance for a  renewed Mission” (whose text has not been distributed), François Xavier Dumortier gave us elements to be reflected on, that are very useful to understand the range of significance of this document, and Sylvain evoked for us some key-elements, as the discernment (for a spiritual government rather than a managerial one), the collaboration, the net. What I have felt: the complexity and the importance of being thematic. And for what at stake is, we can especially note the formation for governing and the place of giving an account of one’s conscience.   Another strong element of this common encounter: the exchange of opinions among us members of the province to come. From this point of view, I did appreciate the demand addressed to Pierre Ferrière to evoke the spiritual figure of Pierre Favre, future patron of the EOF province. Pierre has done it with brio. The day’s program had saved two meetings in groups of 9 to 10 people. A success, I think. Especially the meeting that was held as a spiritual conversation.    Other moments favoured a fraternal spirit among us: the meals at small tables, more festive evenings, organised visits of Lyon. And moments of common prayers, well prepared by the liturgy team.      Thanks to the organising team (François-Xavier Boca, Guy Vanhoomissen, Sylvain Cariou-Charton). Thanks also to the Spitual Center “Le Châtelard”, who’s warm and efficient welcome has undoubtedly contributed to our meeting’s success.
MALTA
Why should a group of 39 Jesuit scholastics from Italy, Malta, Spain, Romania and France spend five days in Malta between Christmas and New Year? For a holiday?! No, not this time! Bearing in mind the creation of the new province comprising Albania, Italy and Malta as from this July, the main aim of this encounter was that the foreign scholastics (Italians in particular) could get a first-hand taste of the Maltese context, of some of our communities and apostolates… and possibly learn a word or two of this strange Maltese language! For us Maltese, this was a great opportunity to share our mother-land with brothers who have shared theirs with us during various stages of our formation.    We had moments of group sharing about our dreams for the new province and possible challenges we’ll face; though we also availed ourselves of very brief touristic visits and a one-time participation at a Mass in Maltese with local parishioners. The meeting also included an exclusive chat with Archbishop Charles Scicluna who shared with us how he sees the Church in Malta, and his sources of   consolation and desolation. One day was dedicated to visit some of the Jesuit communities and apostolates there: St Aloysius’ College, the University Chaplaincy, and the province infirmary. The communities generously welcomed us with typical Maltese pastizzi, a sumptuous lunch, and some tasty cakes and tea respectively. The older Jesuits at the infirmary were delighted to see so many younger companions, and some were quite proud to “show off” their Italian language skills! On the last full day we listened to the Italian and Maltese Provincials’ experience of GC36, and then drafted a document to present to the Provincials with some reflections and proposals for the new province from us scholastics. A hidden treasure of this meeting was definitely our ability to collaborate together to put up the meeting and live in great unity this encounter: definitely a blessing from God and a big sign of hope for the future province.