Jesuits in Europe

EGYPT
Terrorist attacks During the month of April, Egypt has been in the news on most international television channels. That is due to the terrorist attacks that took place in two Coptic Orthodox churches during the Palm Sunday celebrations. The first attack took place in the city of Tanta, about a hundred kilometers away from Cairo, and it left many dead and even more injured. The suicide bomber succeeded in introducing himself into the church and reach the first rows during the ceremony, notwithstanding the security measures, and he exploded himself there, killing many people, among whom many children. The second attack took place shortly afterwards in Alexandria in the Coptic Orthodox cathedral where Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church had just finished celebrating and was still in the building. What avoided an even greater and much more serious massacre and saved Pope Tawadros and many faithful from death was the courage of two security police officers who blocked the terrorist at the entrance. At that point, the terrorist blew himself up killing the security officers and people who were near the entrance of the church. © Al-Masdar News These two terrorist acts shocked the whole country and the people’s reaction was immediate. Christians and Muslims together ran to the hospitals to give blood to save the lives of those wounded and needing transfusions. Together too they took to the squares and streets to shout that this is not our Egypt and that we all want to live together in a united country, as one people. A Pascal Triduum without incidents Of course, since these attacks, the tension is great and fear too, and it was particularly so with the approach of the Pascal Triduum, which sees the faithful filling the churches. The ministry of the interior and the army, therefore, increased the security measures around the churches. The streets leading to the churches became pedestrian areas, and security gates, such as those in airpors were installed a few metres away from each church and people had to enter one by one, presenting their id cards and accepting to have their bags searched. Luckily the Triduum passed without incident, and the Egyptians were able to celebrate Easter Monday, which is also the national holiday to celebrate Spring, in peace, even though the festive spirit was somewhat lacking. Visit of  Pope Francis © Crux now Now everybody’s attention in the country is focused on Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt. He will be here from Friday 28th to Saturday 29th April. The visit has been announced as the visit of “The Pope of Peace in the Egypt of Peace”. The announced aim is to encourage and support both ecumenical dialogue and interreligious dialogue. The Pope will be meeting the president of the republic, Mohamed El Sisi, the head of Al Azhar University, the highest Islamic authority in the country and Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church on Friday afternoon and evening. And he will be visiting St. Peter’s Church (the Boutrosiyya), on the grounds of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, where a terrorist attack in December 2016 left a large number of dead and an even greater number injured. Most were women and children. The Pope will pray in silence in front of what has become known as “The Wall of the Martyrs”, which is a wall covered with the blood of the victims, and which has become a place of pilgrimage. This is expected to be a very significant moment in the visit, both because of its ecumenical importance and because the Pope has stated clearly that he wants to pray on the place where the news martyrs gave their lives to express his solidarity with the suffering and trials of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Saturday is dedicated to the Pope’s pastoral visit to the Coptic Catholic community, with a Mass to be celebrated in a big military stadium, where 25000 people are expected to attend. He will also meet a group of about 300 young people on the grounds of the Apostolic Nunciature  and at three in the afternoon, he will be visiting the Coptic Catholic Seminary, in Maadi, on whose grounds will be held a meeting with male and female religious and the diocesan clergy. Everyone is waiting for this visit with joy and the preparations are going ahead in full swing. At the same time, we cannot deny that people are worried and security measures are going to be very tight. On a different register, the local Superiors of the Province had a three day meeting with the Provincial, Fr. Dany Younes, in our retreat house in Maryout, on the outskirts of Alexandria. It was nice to see our brethren from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, the Holy Land, Lebanon, and Syria. Read also: Pope Francis in Egypt: 'No to every form of violence'
GERMANY
Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ at the common "Provinzsymposion" of the five European Provinces GER/ASR/HEL/LIT/HUN. Schwäbisch Gmünd –  From Monday, 17th April, until Thursday, 20th April, Jesuits from the German, Austrian, Swiss, Lithuanian-Lethonian and Hungarian Provinces came together in Schwäbisch Gmünd (Baden Wurttemberg, Germany) for the first common Province-Symposion in the Easter week. 260 Jesuits from the five provinces gathered – that is actually nearly half of the present members –, which shall merge into a single province in the coming years. On Tuesday, Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ and his Assistant for Central and Eastern Europe, Fr. Tomasz Kot SJ, joined the meeting as special guests: "It is a great pleasure for me, to meet personally the representatives of the five provinces, who are taking an important step in a common future", declared Father General. "I hope that the visit during the symposium helps me to get a better insight into the worries and hopes that move your hearts." In his address Fr. General took up the impulses of GC 36. He stressed that the Society of Jesus is a collaborator of the mission of Christ given to the Church. „As Jesuits, we are collaborators of God’s action in the world. Within the Church, we try harder to make a good contribution to the missio Dei.“ Jesuits are not isolated individuals working for the Gospel but an apostolic body, gathered by the Lord around Him, organized to contribute with others in His mission. „Maybe we are arriving at a moment when we need to take seriously what we learnt in the novitiate: we enter the Society of Jesus and not the Hungarian, Austrian or German Province. We should grow in this universal dimension.“ He recalled that the Society of Jesus is not a Federation of independent provinces but a universal apostolic body organized into provinces as a way of administering its resources. As „international and multicultural body“ in a complex, „fragmented and divided world“, Discernment, collaboration and networking help to streamline governance and make it more flexible and apostolic effective. He encouraged the provinces for the restructuring process in the coming years. „To the extent that we are free and available, we will find ways to understand this new context and respond apostolically to it.” The decision on merging the five provinces into one had been announced in February last year. While there are already good experiences of the cooperation in the Formation, the timetable and governance structure have to be established in the future. Picture slider: Fr. General Arturo Sosa (3rd fr. l.) with the five Provincials Fr. Elemér Vízi (Hungary), Fr. Stefan Kiechle (Germany), Fr. Bernhard Bürgler (Austria), Fr. Christian Rutishauser (Switzerland) und Fr. Vidmantas Šimkūnas (Lithuania-Lettonia)
SPAIN
Witnesses of hope. “I don´t know how to explain to you what I felt these days… but I can´t remain silent about it. I can´t be silent to pain, anger and outrage… to the injustice I witnessed with my own eyes. I can´t remain quiet after I discovered that the same humanity is just as loved by God. This gave me the courage to start anew and consider the pilgrimage as the journey of a daughter of the Lord. A daughter among many, forming part of one humanity whose home is the world.  Guided by this enlightening message full of hope, we’re capable of going beyond walls and borders.” This is how a young woman described her 2017 Melilla-Nador Easter experience. A community experience organized during the Pascal Triduum by the Religious of Mary Immaculate and the Society of Jesus for more than thirty young people from around Spain. We want Easter wants to be an experience for young people who wish to set out on this life journey and let themselves be part of a bigger community. An experience also to those who and to create a community that shares life, prayer and celebration, while being ready to change their own perspective, open their eyes and meet Jesus. Ultimately, Easter is an experience to live with Jesus, repeat his gestures, look at the world through his eyes and accompany him along the way of the cross to discover a love that goes beyond any limit or border. The slogan of the experience was “We are sons and daughters of a pilgrim whose home is the world”. Our identity as Christians is based on following Jesus throughout his life as a pilgrim. A follow-up that moves us to the meeting and dialogue, to the desire to uninstalling ourselves, to leave our own house to discover our home in the world. It was a real gift to celebrate Easter with the Melilla and Nador catholic communities and meet with real witnesses of hope and resurrection.
THE NETHERLANDS
On the weekend of Palm Sunday in The Netherlands a group of 200 young Syrians made a pilgrimage. They did this in memory of Father Frans van der Lugt (PRO)  killed exactly three years ago in Homs, Syria. The hike is an initiative of Syrian refugees, now living in Germany and the UK, and is supported by JRS-Germany and the Dutch Jesuits. The opening ceremony took place in the cathedral of Den Bosch, where  bishop Gerard de Korte presided and the family of Father Frans, Dutch Jesuits and hundreds of others attended. Father van der Lugt organized hikes, pilgrimages on foot, for more than twenty years inside Syria, and brought together people from different ethnic groups and religions. Father Jan Peters SJ, professor of Islam, coordinated this four days event and preached during the opening ceremony. He stressed the rich image of open doors in Revelation 21,25  a symbol that speaks to refugees and to those who welcome them. Please pray for Syria.

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Finding God

IRELAND
Fr John Sullivan SJ will be beatified at 11 am on 13 May, 2017 in Gardiner Street Church. The principal celebrant and homilist will be Cardinal Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, and he will be assisted by the Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin. The Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin, Michael Jackson, will also be present on the sanctuary. The ceremony consists of a mass during which a formal request for beatification is publicly made. In an unprecedented ecumenical gesture, this request will be made by the Church of Ireland and the Catholic Archbishops together, reflecting the fact that Fr John was an Anglican for the first half of his life and Roman Catholic for the second. In fact, the entire event is unprecedented, as there has never been a beatification ceremony in Ireland before. Beatification, which confers the title ‘Blessed’, means that a man or woman is considered to be truly holy and worthy of veneration at a local level. The next stage after beatification is canonisation, sainthood, which is a recognition of this holiness by the universal Church. For this process a further miracle is required, one which is confirmed to have taken place after the beatification. (See interview with Fr Toni Witwer SJ, Postulator for Jesuit causes.) A modern Irish Saint - a portrait: John Sullivan was born in Dublin on 8 May 1861. His father, the future Lord Chancellor of Ireland Sir Edward Sullivan was a Protestant. His mother, Lady Bessie Josephine Sullivan was a Catholic. John was baptised in St. George’s Protestant Church on 15 June 1861 and brought up in the Protestant tradition of his father. From his earliest years John enjoyed the benefits of a home which radiated warm affection, high culture and sound scholarship. In 1873 John followed in the footsteps of his brothers and went to Portora Royal School, Enniskillen in Northern Ireland which had the reputation of being the most eminent Protestant school of the day. He spent happy years at Portora and in later years admitted that he went to Portora “bathed in tears” but when the time came to leave he “wept more plentiful tears”. After Portora, John went to Trinity College Dublin. He distinguished himself in his university studies and in 1885 he was awarded the Gold Medal in Classics. After gaining a Senior Moderatorship in Classics, John started to study law. It was at this time that his father, the Lord Chancellor of Ireland Sir Edward Sullivan, died suddenly. The shock had a devastating effect on John. The promising young scholar left Ireland and continued his legal studies at Lincoln’s Inn in London where he was called to the Bar in 1888. At this time, due to his inheritance, he was very comfortable in financial terms, noted for his fashionable dress and handsome appearance. He travelled extensively around Europe and was a keen cycling enthusiast. He stayed at the Orthodox monastery of Mount Athos in Greece and was friendly with the monks. Then, in December 1896 at the age of 35, he made a momentous decision. He was received into the Catholic Church at the Jesuit Church, Farm Street, London. From this time onward a marked changed was noted in his manner of living. On returning to the family home in Dublin, he stripped his room of anything that was superfluous, satisfying himself with the simplest of furniture on a carpetless floor. The young man, who was formerly noted for his fashionable dress, contented himself with the plainest of clothes. Read more
SPAIN
Red MAG+S celebrated Holy Week around Spain  Some 500 young people between 18 and 30 years old have been able to share an experience of joy and faith conviction, thanks to some MAG+S Easter experiences during these days. This year, The Pastoral MAG+S network (the youth pastoral network) proposed nine different experiences, not only in a location, but also in format. All experiences were connect with the MAG+S Network, open to young people with the same slogan “ON THE WAY”. Raimat Easter, in Lleida, Catalonia, is probably the most numerous. During Holy Week, the Raimat school becomes a place of welcome, creativity, joy and sharing faith for more than 250 people. There was not only music and accurate liturgy, there was also a lot of time for personal prayer, to look at the world, to share in groups... The most traditional Easter celebrations in the Spanish Province are “community Easter”. Each one om them is organized by a specific Christian community as a special moment to share faith. In Navas del Marqués (Ávila) there were almost 70 university students from the Comunidad Universitaria Francisco Javier of the Arrupe Center of Madrid and other places of Spain meanwhile in Villagarcía de Campos (Valladolid) another 100 university students from the Grupos Católicos Loyola celebrated Easter together. In Celorio (Asturias) (picture) almost 80 people were distributed in two group: around 40 from Zona Centroeste and more tan 30 in another group from Comunidad Ignacio de Loyola (Oviedo) and Pedro Fabro (Gijón). An exclusive opportunity to recognize Jesus in the natural beauty of landscape and in brothers. MAG+S Easter in Javier (Navarra) was one of the most important innovations of this year, with around 110 young people of Bilbao, Donosti, Pamplona and Zaragoza. The hostel that cares for the Jesuit community became a privileged place to live together, deep in the heart of our faith. There were many other activities like urban Easters or urban Easter around Spain: in Valladolid, 30 young people; in Zamora, another 10; in Granada, 20 people… All these Easter called “EN RUTA…” help us to see Jesus, to follow his footprints to the service (Holy Thurday), personal delivery (Holy Friday), trust (Holy Saturday) and happiness (Easter Sunday).
ITALY
8 days ESDAC training/retreat in April in Rome. We were 24 participants + a team of 4 facilitators, from 19 countries.  11 Jesuits, 17 women whose 2 from the Lutheran denomination (both of Ignatian spirituality, one is a priest). "Learning by doing" was the motto.  Personal prayer, sharing in small groups and in plenum.  One participant said : "I thought it would be a training... I made a retreat".  As we did not live or work together, we had no communal decision to take, but we developed a way to become a "corporate person".  We received tools to empower the groups, teams, couples, communities we belong to. During the session we had a presentation by John Dardis about the importance of communal discernment in the Society of Jesus. ESDAC is an international team of facilitators leading communal discernment retreats and organizing trainings in communal discernment.  If you are interested, have a look at www.esdac.net.
FRANCE
Major works at the Saint-Ignace church, the Jesuit church in Paris. It is a matter of bringing the building up to light, ensuring that the necessary standards are upheld and making necessary adjustments to enable this church to fulfill its worship and cultural mission. Essential renovations ... Built in 1855, the church has already undergone several periods of renovation but it is now necessary to bring it up to standard (electricity, insulation ...) and to reorganize the rooms and spaces of the Church. Improvements to the mission of Saint Ignatius Church In 2017, the work will lead to the development of the nave and choir. An artistic creation An artist "sculptor light" was solicited to design a specific project with a creation inspired by the Spiritual Exercises. These "glasses of light" will be monumental pieces and will give new light to the church.

Promoting Justice

PORTUGAL
«The social apostolate can´t be a mere matter of study, of advocacy of the deprivileged ones: it must be rooted in an effective sharing of the realities of poverty. To feel oneself what it is like to be without voice, the exclusion, the frailty». This was the challenge raised by José Frazão Correia, Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Portugal, to the Ignatian Social Assembly that gathered for two days in the Almada seminary. Quoting Pope Francis priorities, as well the strategic guidelines of the Apostolic Plan for the Portuguese Province, he once again reaffirmed that to be present in the areas where exclusion is more serious is “a desire” that the Society of Jesus has for Portugal. «To not protect yourself, not to defend oneself, but to take chances, to think from the outside, with others, with different habits of living and reading the reality», he said, in a video-message recorded to set the tone to two days of hard labor. More than 80 participants, cooperators, leaders, voluntaries and Jesuits from 26 institutions or movements belonging to the social apostolate of the Society of Jesus, gathered for reflection, formation and sharing  experience. In an environment of informality and closeness, it was possible to go deeper in our sense of «body», to grow in companionship between the participants and their mission and institutions, from the «Leigos para o Desenvolvimento» (Lay people for development) to «Serviço Jesuíta aos Refugiados» (JRS), and to the work realized in parishes and in our schools. The mission of every christian Besides the interventions of cooperators of our various institutions of Ignatian inspiration, the Assembly could also listen to Manuela Silva, former president of the National Commission for Justice and Peace, a person deeply involved with and knowing the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. She reminded us that it is «the mission of every Christian and the communities that he has to reach all the peripheries in need of the light of the Gospel. From this reaching out to the peripheries comes the joy of knowing that the Revelation is reaching the poor and the little ones». Well acquainted with the dramatic reality of the poorest, she told the assembly that «peripheries are born of our strong or weak aversion to inequality», and quoted recent statistics indicating that in Portugal inequality did not generated a social uproar. «We must be more aware of the demands that sprung from solidarity and fair income distribution. While we can’t denounce the gap between the pay of the modest worker and the CEO, we will not get far in inequality solving matters». During this encounter, there was time for personal prayer and reflection, for getting to meet each other and for a intercultural dinner, where we were introduced to several typical foods from other countries.
FRANCE
Beginning of April, JRS France held its National Meeting in Paris during two days.  It was also the occasion to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the French organization. About 120 JRS France members came from all over the country for the occasion. Saturday, the program included a conference by Michel Agier on the different practices of Hospitality, as well as several workshops on hot topics such as the Dublin regulation, the ACAT informative campaign on refugees or specific JRS France on-going projects. The day ended with a General Meeting and a festive birthday dinner. Sunday, Jean-Marie Carrière, founder of JRS France, was the keynote speaker on how the organization started back in 2007. To conclude the day, a good number of the 31 regional branches were present and took part in a round-table discussion about their different programs and future projects. These days helped us to strengthen our network and share a common spirit of friendship with the refugees
SPAIN
Contigo en la Misión (With you in Mission) is a joint initiative of Entreculturas, ALBOAN and the Federation of Jesuit Alumni of Spain, designed to promote a solidarity network among alumni. Contigo en la Misión invites many people to join the mission of the Society of Jesus in the more impoverished places of the World and to contribute to the development of vulnerable people and their communities through education. The people concerned to join to this network can register on www.contigoenlamision.org. They will receive information about Entreculturas and ALBOAN projects in America, Africa and Asia and can participate in local and international volunteer activities, formative activities and awareness campaigns, as well as supporting different social mobilization initiatives, to achieve education right for all people. The main objective of the Contigo en la Misión project is that children from all over the world can access a quality education and have real opportunities for the future. The same opportunities that had people who have studied in Jesuit schools and universities who share the same commitment and justice, fraternity and empathy values in extremely inequality situation.
AUSTRIA
The Xavier Network, a unique collaboration of Jesuit mission offices and development organizations that works with vulnerable and marginalized people around the world, met recently in Austria for its Spring meeting.  The network is at a significant moment in its 14 year history following General Congregation 36 and the Encyclicals of Pope Francis.  Last week Xavier Network members met in Austria, generously hosted by Jesuitenmission Austria, to reflect on what these changes mean for their work. The agenda covered a wide range of topics including  future strategy, collaboration with other Jesuit networks and the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. In discussions about the Xavier Network’s future direction, the members explored how its approach to social justice, emergency response and development can be guided by recent church teaching on the care of creation and reconciliation. “Integral ecology is a core theme of Laudato Si and GC36. We want to ensure that this remains central to our work,” said Fr Klaus Väthröder, Coordinator of the Xavier network and Director of Jesuitenmission, Nuremberg.  The discussion also focused the protection of Christians facing persecution and whether the Xavier Network has a role to play in facilitating dialogue between Christianity and Islam, as well as countering growing inequality and xenophobia in Europe. Fr. Tom Smolich SJ, International Director of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS),  was present for a productive discussion about how JRS and the Xavier Network can operate together more closely in some of the world’s most challenging situations. Every member of the Xavier network recognised the paramount importance of having robust protocols in regard to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable adults. To ensure this happens, Xavier Network members have been working closely with their overseas partners to help them put in place training and procedures.  Fr. Klaus Väthröder described the meeting as “extremely fruitful”. He said:  “The Xavier Network has a great deal to offer the Society of Jesus.  With our extensive experience of working with Jesuit partners around the world, we look forward to advancing our new strategy in the months ahead.”

Youth & Media

CZECHIA
Between the 24th and the 26th March, the Jesuit residence in Prague, hosted a meeting of organizers of the upcoming international meeting of young adults Magis Central Europe 2017. About 30 participants took part, including the main team, the leaders of the Ignatian experiments, national coordinators and other Jesuits and volunteers from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Slovenia. The weekend was an opportunity to learn more about the Magis CE 2017 program and discover the places of its final meeting. It was also a time to get to know each other better, to pray together and discuss important issues. The main day of the meeting, Saturday, followed the structure of a typical Magis day with morning prayers on the focus of the day, various activities (presentations of different aspects of the meeting and of all its 17 experiments), the Eucharist and sharing in small international Magis circles. Magis Central Europe 2017 will be held from the 14th to the 23rd July in several countries of Central and Eastern Europe. The main part of the meeting (14th to 20th July) will consist of various Ignatian experiments (a pilgrimage and workshops on the arts, culture, social service, ecology etc.) The culmination will be a wrap-up meeting in Prague (20th to 23rd July), which will include lectures, workshops and a possibility to get to know better the spiritual and cultural heritage of the Czech capital. The theme of Magis CE 2017 is Contemplative in Action.
BELGIUM
This year was no different from the previous ones, as Jesuits from France, Belgium and Luxembourg engaged in the youth apostolate,  met for a weekend of exchange, sharing and reflection. In all, some 60 companions gathered in La Pareille between the 17th and the 19th March. Before moving on to serious things, we took the time to savour the joy of finding each other again. Saturday, kicked off with three presentations that were a good opportunity to get to know better and share the joys and difficulties of our various missions. The first was a presentation of the work of the JECSE (Jesuit European Committee Primary for & Secondary Education) by Olivier Barreau and Bernard Peeters, followed by a presentation by Sylvain Carriou-Charto of the targets to be reached in view of the ten-point roadmap for youth apostolate. Finally, it was Christophe Renders’ turn to give us  a presentation on the Belgian Ignatian Youth Network. We wrapped up the session with a time of prayer and personal evaluation, followed by a sharing in small groups about the consolations and desolations experienced by participants in their work with young people. The afternoon saw the group split into two reflection teams: one on work in schools and the other on work with university students. The first group considered the place of Jesuits in educational institutions; the challenges of collaboration; as well as the four Cs which characterize human excellence today : Conscience, Competence, Compassion and Commitment. The second group, assessed our participation at last year’s JMJ in Krakow, both as part of the Magis project and in that of the dioceses. The day continued with the presentation of two projects in the Ile-de-France region: the MAGIS House in rue d'Assas and the Teilhard de Chardin Center in Saclay. After a very intellectually stimulating day,  the group headed to downtown Namur to celebrate the Eucharist at the university chapel and share the evening meal with the local Jesuit community. We then had to pleasure to meet Mrs Annick Sartenaer, the president of the university’s General Assembly, who gave us an overview of the challenges facing the university, as well as its links to the Society of Jesus. The group then gathered at the CRU (University Religious Center) for a short presentation of the university chaplaincy and the religious sciences courses on offer at UNamur. We ended this long day in high spirits thanks  to some local beer tasting and a time of prayer in the CRU chapel. On Sunday morning, the discussion centered around the October 2018 Synod  - “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”. Guiding us in our exchange were the preparatory document (the lineamenta) and the attached questionnaire. We ended off the session with the  Eucharist. As the weekend draw to an end, we had  the usual sharing of news and the presentation of various projects. Here, let me take the opportunity to promote the ‘Clamours’ webseries (www.clameurs-lawebserie.fr), an original and youth-inspired way to discover the Laudato Si Encyclical’s themes. Next year’s meeting will be held at the beginning of March in Lyon. A la prochaine!
SPAIN
Pastoralsj.org is one of the most veteran webpages we have. It is 15 years old and it supports pastoral care with a lot of proposals to enable a religious reading of the present. On Easter Monday, at 8 pm the new project saw the light. The main objective is to offer a different view of daily life (grouped in the areas: Being, Living and Believing), to be able to do a little bit specific “to look and to find God in all things”. In the new webpage there are different formats (articles, thoughts and videos), to reach people of different sensibilities. In addition, it has many resources for personal and communal purposes. Established sections such as group prayers or movies are enriched with new things: tv series, songs with lyrics to think… The Bible search engine is totally renewed to offering easy access to text. The newest thing is the organization in several tags to interlink different sections, to make easy the navigation. The page will have special links to serjesuita.es (vocational province page) and to MAG+S (official MAG+S office page, with a lot of information about university pastoral activities and youth adults people pastoral too). Pastoralsj has a huge group of collaborators. Several were in the last staff and others have joined now. Jesuits and lay people, men and woman from different ages together will be able to offer plural voices to look at the common Voice that is calling us. We wish that it will be useful. AMDG
SPAIN
On March 3 and 4, the Colegio Mayor Loyola (Madrid) arranged the 11th San Francis Xavier University Debating League, the Debate League of the Jesuit Universities of Spain (UNIJES). 16 teams from 8 universities debated the question: Should language be adapted to achieve a more just society? The participating universities in the League were: Comillas (Madrid), Deusto (Bilbao), Esade (Barcelona) and Loyola Andalucia (Sevilla), and the university residences San Agustín (Santiago de Compostela) and Loyola (Madrid) which was the host. A team of a public university of Madrid and another major residence also participated. This league has helped the debaters, but also all the participants, to reflect on an issue that clearly links to the values we want to transmit from Jesuit universities: the promotion of social justice and the tools to achieve it. This time with a focus on gender equality and language. 38 debates were held with 70 students. 20 volunteers and 18 judges evaluated the capacity for investigation, analysis, reasoning, exposition and persuasion of the arguments presented.

In-depth Reflection

UNITED KINGDOM
The Jesuits in Britain held their annual Province Meeting this week.  The meeting of all Jesuits in the British Province got underway on Tuesday evening at the Christian Conference Trust centre in Swanwick, Derbyshire.150 delegates include Jesuits of the British province and Jesuit observers from the provinces of the North West  European  Assistancy, and speakers from the United States and Rome.Twenty two lay co-workers also attended including, for the first time, several head teachers of Jesuit schools and colleges.   After input from the guest speakers in the morning sessions, delegates had time for personal reflection, and then guided sharing and further reflection in small groups followed by a further plenary sharing.  This is a new methodology for discernment which was introduced as a process during the recent General Congregation in Rome (GC36).  Fr Provincial Dermot Preston explained the thinking:"We as Jesuits are practised at individual discernment; but we are less good at group discernment – listening attentively to each other and distilling a range of responses and opinions. So we all pray and reflect for half an hour on what we have heard from our Speaker.  Then we come together in small groups for three cycles of listening and thinking. First cycle is the sharing of feelings, experiences and thoughts provoked by the talk. The second round is to make observations on what others have just shared.  The third round is for each person to attempt to bring together, as if you were “the one giving the Exercises” (i.e. a spiritual director), and the group were “the one doing the Spiritual Exercises” (i.e. receiving spiritual direction), the essence of all the thoughts and themes and influences, and intuit where that is leading. Then discussion can start."Thursday’s speaker was Fr Michael Garanzini SJ, Chancellor of Loyola University Chicago and Fr General’s delegate for higher education. He first shared his experience of listening to Pope Francis at the recent General Congregation. He described how, after his talk, the pope spent over an hour answering questions from Jesuits, and  "I noticed that his Holiness never answered direct questions which began “Holy Father, what should we do about..? or what should be the strategy for…?”   In his talk the pope explained that we ourselves as Jesuits have the tools of discernment.  If you use the discernment correctly you will be thinking with the Church and for the Church and will be able to determine what is the best route to take.  The Holy Father exhorted us to help the Church identify where to go and what to do.” Fr Garanzini described how, since GC34 and GC35, the Jesuit university sector had noticed that social justice is a popular message with faculties and lay colleagues.  “They like working at Jesuit institutions because they have a social justice mission”.  He suggested that academics in all types of institutions have a crucial role to play, not just in researching, publishing and advocating for social justice, but also in providing the safe and trusted space where bridges can be built between perpetrators of injustice and their victims.“We won’t solve the issues just by attacking and accusing. We need to bring conflicted parties to the table to be part of the solution….Reconciliation is a necessary refinement to the social justice agenda.  So a Jesuit University should be the one place where all sides can come together.”Fr Garanzini then turned his focus to Heythrop College and the future of the intellectual apostolate in Britain, the future of which is under discussion.  “This is not an in-house project” he observed, “ it must involve those we work with, they are fellow decision makers not just stakeholders in the impact of the decision. We must rethink all our higher education in terms of reconciliation.  There has never been a more obvious need for this than now.  There are issues in your country or your city demanding attention, things that cause political parties to divide and give rise to reactionary movements.  These are the issues we must ask of God “what do you want us to do now?””He pointed out that in many places across the world secular governments are withdrawing support from theologates and seminaries:  "This is not unique to the UK or even Europe.  Furthermore, scholarship itself has changed.  It is no longer a solitary pursuit. Now it is more collaborative, and has to result in practical projects, to secure funding. The Society of Jesus has always cultivated experts in all fields including humanities and sciences, not just theology and philosophy.  This is our special charism."The group reflections which followed the talk fed back in plenary with an emphasis on the need for bridge-building, collaboration, compassion, and freedom to move forward. A gallery of photographs from the meeting is available on our Flickr page
POLAND
Symposion on discernment in Krakow. During the meeting with Pope Francis on the WYD in Cracow, polish Jesuits heard that Pope had one strong recommendation – to teach the discernment. He said ''The discernment process is one of the biggest gifts from God to the Society, that is why Jesuits should share with this especially with other religious and priests''. Following the Pope’s Message, scholastics from the Jesuit Faculty of Theology in Warsaw (The Collegium Bobolanum) organized a symposium dedicated for the students of diocesan seminars and another religious institutes. This meeting was a great opportunity for common reflection about Pope Francis’ teaching. The main subject of the symposium ‘Understanding Pope Francis’. The Symposium was divided into four topics and four groups of attendees. A scholastic was responsible for each group. The college invited two experts, for each specific field: Poverty and Social Activity (fr. Jarosław Mikuczewski, SJ - Ignatianum University in Kraków, Michał Górski – The Community of Sant'Egidio) Spirituality (Wiktoria Wróblwska - The Warsaw School of Economics, fr. Tadeusz Kotlewski, SJ – The Collegium Bobolanum) Management of Changes in the Church (fr. Damian Wiącek - The Pontifical University of John Paul II in Cracow, fr. Stanisław Nowak, OP) Amoris Laetitia (Zbigniew Nosowski – ‘Więź’ quarterly, fr. Mirosław Tykfler – ‘Przewodnik Katolicki’ magazine). At the beginning of the symposium all the students attended the general meeting. Then an  introduction for each subject (20-30min) took place and there was time for discussion . After lunch all students attended workshops - divided into four groups. This  was the most crucial part of the symposium. After 3 hours, the participants met once again and concluded workshops. At the end of the meeting there was a common Eucharist in the chapel of the Jesuit college, diner and a social evening together with the Jesuit community. At the symposium participated together 50 people from the ten diocesan seminars and religious institutes.
FRANCE
The HEST Anthropology Cluster meets at Centre Sèvres to reflect on big questions of our societies. “What human being for the XXI Century?” A big question without an obvious answer! A group of anthropologist experts from several Jesuit European Institutions have decided to work together to do just that, namely, find an answer to this big question. This collaboration is part of the Higher Education for Social Transformation Programme (HEST). Anthropology experts from 4 Jesuit higher education institutions gathered at Centre Sèvres on the 31st of March to find suitable topics that would allow them together and with a focus on what can really make a change in our societies and unite us better as Jesuit institutions. Anthropologists have a difficult task nowadays. We are undergoing so many changes individually and as a society that it is hard to keep track of what it really means to be a human being. Just some weeks ago we were hearing about how Elon Musk wants to connect the human brain to Artificial Intelligence, what are the consequences of that? We have also seen how populist movements have grown around the world by inserting fear in our societies that together with ignorance brings out the hate in us. How can we revert this to move from hate to the solidarity in which the European Union was originally founded? The problem of evil came out again as a question that continues to worry experts and individuals, is evil inherent in the human person? What response can we give as a religious institution that aims to liberate people? Some might argue that we need anthropologists more than ever nowadays but even if there have been times when they were more needed, everyone can agree that in our current world, they are needed to give perspective and depth to these questions we aforementioned and many more that have yet not been answered as a society. That is why this group of experts is knocking on our doors with big questions that are relevant for not only the Society of Jesus but to every human person in this planet. “We need to reach the young population”, said Laura Rizzerio from l’Université de Namur “They are out there, with our same questions, we just need to find the right dissemination strategy to get to them”. The question “What Human Being for the XXI Century” is, as we were saying quite big. The grout of experts decided to start approaching the topic from different perspectives, concretely: Transhumanism and Naturalism Vulnerability Solidarity (from the European perspective) Spirituality The French Province and Centre Sèvres received the group amazingly well. The current Rector, Father François Boëdec SJ made an introductory speech that set the right tone for the rest of the meeting and reminded us the goal of HEST, to bring about change. Centre Sèvres is also undergoing interesting changes these days with the succession of Father Boëdec by Father Etienne Grieu SJ (see article). We will be sharing the development of this cluster during the next months. There is a lot to do but there is passion around this transversal topic that touches more than we might imagine!
FRANCE
Fr. Etienne Grieu has been appointed by Fr. General to be the next President of the Jesuit Faculties in Paris (Centre Sèvres). Etienne has taught systematic theology at the Centre Sèvres since 2004. He is currently dean of theology, and has been serving as superior of a community located in a tower block in Saint-Denis, a deprived part of the Paris banlieue. Besides his conventional lecturing in the doctrine of the sacraments and in mariology, he has pioneered theological methods nourished by direct contact with people on society’s edges. He was a delegate both at GC 35 and GC 36. Etienne will take over during the summer from Fr. François Boëdec, who will become Provincial of the new Francophone province in Europe.

Preparing for Mission

EGYPT
Terrorist attacks During the month of April, Egypt has been in the news on most international television channels. That is due to the terrorist attacks that took place in two Coptic Orthodox churches during the Palm Sunday celebrations. The first attack took place in the city of Tanta, about a hundred kilometers away from Cairo, and it left many dead and even more injured. The suicide bomber succeeded in introducing himself into the church and reach the first rows during the ceremony, notwithstanding the security measures, and he exploded himself there, killing many people, among whom many children. The second attack took place shortly afterwards in Alexandria in the Coptic Orthodox cathedral where Pope Tawadros II, Patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church had just finished celebrating and was still in the building. What avoided an even greater and much more serious massacre and saved Pope Tawadros and many faithful from death was the courage of two security police officers who blocked the terrorist at the entrance. At that point, the terrorist blew himself up killing the security officers and people who were near the entrance of the church. © Al-Masdar News These two terrorist acts shocked the whole country and the people’s reaction was immediate. Christians and Muslims together ran to the hospitals to give blood to save the lives of those wounded and needing transfusions. Together too they took to the squares and streets to shout that this is not our Egypt and that we all want to live together in a united country, as one people. A Pascal Triduum without incidents Of course, since these attacks, the tension is great and fear too, and it was particularly so with the approach of the Pascal Triduum, which sees the faithful filling the churches. The ministry of the interior and the army, therefore, increased the security measures around the churches. The streets leading to the churches became pedestrian areas, and security gates, such as those in airpors were installed a few metres away from each church and people had to enter one by one, presenting their id cards and accepting to have their bags searched. Luckily the Triduum passed without incident, and the Egyptians were able to celebrate Easter Monday, which is also the national holiday to celebrate Spring, in peace, even though the festive spirit was somewhat lacking. Visit of  Pope Francis © Crux now Now everybody’s attention in the country is focused on Pope Francis’ visit to Egypt. He will be here from Friday 28th to Saturday 29th April. The visit has been announced as the visit of “The Pope of Peace in the Egypt of Peace”. The announced aim is to encourage and support both ecumenical dialogue and interreligious dialogue. The Pope will be meeting the president of the republic, Mohamed El Sisi, the head of Al Azhar University, the highest Islamic authority in the country and Pope Tawadros II, the head of the Coptic Orthodox Church on Friday afternoon and evening. And he will be visiting St. Peter’s Church (the Boutrosiyya), on the grounds of the Coptic Orthodox Patriarchate, where a terrorist attack in December 2016 left a large number of dead and an even greater number injured. Most were women and children. The Pope will pray in silence in front of what has become known as “The Wall of the Martyrs”, which is a wall covered with the blood of the victims, and which has become a place of pilgrimage. This is expected to be a very significant moment in the visit, both because of its ecumenical importance and because the Pope has stated clearly that he wants to pray on the place where the news martyrs gave their lives to express his solidarity with the suffering and trials of the Coptic Orthodox Church. Saturday is dedicated to the Pope’s pastoral visit to the Coptic Catholic community, with a Mass to be celebrated in a big military stadium, where 25000 people are expected to attend. He will also meet a group of about 300 young people on the grounds of the Apostolic Nunciature  and at three in the afternoon, he will be visiting the Coptic Catholic Seminary, in Maadi, on whose grounds will be held a meeting with male and female religious and the diocesan clergy. Everyone is waiting for this visit with joy and the preparations are going ahead in full swing. At the same time, we cannot deny that people are worried and security measures are going to be very tight. On a different register, the local Superiors of the Province had a three day meeting with the Provincial, Fr. Dany Younes, in our retreat house in Maryout, on the outskirts of Alexandria. It was nice to see our brethren from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt, the Holy Land, Lebanon, and Syria. Read also: Pope Francis in Egypt: 'No to every form of violence'
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
A new and dynamic relationship. Sunshine, music, prayer, reflection, laughter. These are the words summarising this year’s meeting of the high level group that promotes collaboration between African and European Jesuits. This year’s meeting took place in Kigali, Rwanda. Memorial shrine to the 17 people killed in 1994 at Jesuit Centre Christus. “As I write this report I can hear music and singing from a Mass which is being celebrated just outside my room” said John Dardis, CEP President.  “Rwanda is a society that has come through a genocide in 1994, has picked itself up and is moving through the challenging and painful process of reconciliaion. Faith is playing a key role in that reconciliation. In Africa, faith is never far from people’s minds and hearts. Europe can learn a great deal from this wonderful continent.” The Commissio Mixta was set up to develop, deepen and promote mutuality between African and European Jesuits and our mission partners.   It comprises the two Presidents, the head of the Xavier NGO and mission office network, three provincials from JESAM and three from CEP. When the meeting is in Europe, three Provincials from Europe attend; when it is in Africa, three provincials from JESAM attend. “Mutuality is our guiding principle” said John Dardis “In the past, Africa was receiving from Europe and Europe was giving.  That is changing; the relationship is becoming one of mutual benefit.  Africa has so much to give in terms of ideas and relationships.  There is so much richness of vision”. This year’s meeting included an update from the Conference Presidents on new events in the two Conferences. We also shared about our Solidarity in Formation Programmes. We reviewed the visit of some of the CEP Provincials last year to Kenya, Rwanda and Congo and discussed possible future visits by European Provincials to Africa and by African Provincials to Europe. The meeting acknowledged the financial aid given by CEP to the Historical Institute in Nairobi to fund its work. We reviewed the joint project in Madrid where a scholastic from Zimbabwe-Mozambique and a scholastic from South Poland are working side by side in a project for migrants at La Ventilla. It is a small but significant symbol of the desire in both Conferences to reach out to migrants and refugees and of a commitment to tackle this crucial issue of our time. “We are working together to challenge stereotypes from the past and to build a new understanding” said John Dardis. “Things are moving, many changes are afoot, the mission is going forward, watch this space!” The Commissio Mixta meeting was on 27th April in Kigali, Rwanda. The next meeting will take place on October 13th 2017 in Ludwigshafen Germany, just before the annual assembly of CEP Provincials. Picture slider: Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator (JESAM President), John Dardis (CEP President), José Minaku (Provincial Central Africa), Klaus Väthröder (Xavier network), Michel Istas (Socius JESAM), Chiedza Chimhanda (Zimbabwe-Mozabique), Chukwuyenum Afiawari (North West Africa). 
LEBANON
To be a delegate for formation is to be in charge of the formation of our scholastics, but also to be formed ourselves. And this is exactly what we had the occasion to do during these days. That’s what the European delegates for formation had in mind during their annual meeting in Taanayel, Lebanon, from the 2nd till 6th of April, 2017. Organization of Jesuit Formation First we talked about how Jesuit formation is organized across the Provinces, and how it should be organized, both structurally and in terms of content. A survey on the quality of our formation centers was discussed. We discussed how to advise our Provincials about the English speaking formation after the closure of Heythrop. We also touched the question on how to integrate Child Protection into our programs. We as delegates were in Lebanon – at some 15 kms of the Syrian border to be exact -, and therefore we could not but address the burning issues which are right at the borders of Europe: the place of Islam in our societies and the tragedy of the refugees.  We felt we were a little bit at the frontiers of which Paul VI spoke at GC32. Two days were spent on these subjects, during which we received a realistic yet hopeful idea of the challenges Europe is facing. What image do we have of Islam? On Monday 3rd, for example, the results were presented of a survey the delegates conducted amongst scholastics: what image do they have of Islam? It was expected to be critical but there was also the desire to look, in an Ignatian way, for the (many) good elements in what Islam and Muslim culture can offer. In the afternoon we went to visit Saint Joseph’s University in Beirut, – indeed, the only Jesuit University in an environment dominated by the Muslim culture. There the rector, prof. Salim Daccache SJ, talked about the historical role of the University in Lebanon. Afterwards, we had an interesting encounter with the Provincial of the Near East Province (PRO), Danny Younes. Appropriately he called his Province – running from Morocco to Turkey, mind you – ‘a Province for the Arab world’. Many possibilities are offered for scholastics to spend a time of service - some months or regency or longer still - in the Near and Middle East, also for those who do not master the Arab language. The next day, April 4th, we met M. Mahmoud Youness (Lebanon), who gave us a brief overview of the history of Islam theology. For centuries the central question for Muslim theologians was how to relate human responsibility and freedom to divine transcendence. It did remind us of traditional debates in Christian theology about nature and grace, or on the place of good merits and justification through faith. Later that day Fr. Salah Boujaoudé SJ (PRO) gave us a realistic insight in political Islam and the ideological sources of terrorism and Muslim extremism (Muslim brotherhood, Salafists, Shiites, Jihadists, etc.). Despair and pessimism - Light and hope Especially the latter could have given rise to despair and a deep pessimism on our side. However, in the afternoon, we also discovered rays of light and hope. Mr. Melhem Khalaf (Lebanon) told the story of association which organizes interreligious youth camps, an initiative which was started at the height of the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1991. Another source of hope were the retreats ‘Points of Light’, inspired by the Spiritual Exercises. It proved that spirituality can play a positive role in interreligious dialogue. These retreats are open to Muslims and Christians, and the texts which are used for the retreat, are drawn from several traditions, including the Qur’an. The most impressive moment for many of us was the visit of a camp for Syrian refugees. We could see how they accommodated themselves in difficult circumstances after 6 years of conflict. JRS helps to set up small schools and formation centers. After all this time many tents have made way for small wooden houses, with a little gas stove. Live goes on as good or bad as it can. It is more survival than life, so it seems. Most refugees depend on chance seasonal work for their livelihood. One cannot but wonder what all those lives could have been, what the future of the children will be. Indeed our time in Lebanon was to form Ours and to be formed ourselves. Many thanks to Nader Michel (PRO), to Alessandro Manaresi, delegate for European formation and to the steering group for formation in Europe.
ITALY
Italy and Malta to become EME next July. On 14 April 2017, Father General signed a decree establishing the Euro-Mediterranean Province (EME), which will come into existence on 1 July 2017. The new province will unify the current provinces of Italy and Malta, which will consequently be suppressed on 1 July. Father General has appointed the current provincial of Italy, Father Gianfranco Matarazzo as the provincial of the new EME province. Fr. Gianfranco Matarazzo has accepted the new assignment with generous availability. He writes: "In these years, with Patrick Magro, Provincial of Malta, we walked together to create the conditions so that the two provinces could merge into a new reality. From the very beginning, we have tried to involve everyone in this process, Jesuits and lay people. There have been difficulties, but I am very happy for the response we received. In the zonal meetings we held recently in different places, I felt a strong desire for renewal, especially interior one: it is a sign that we are alive and full of energy to revitalize our mission. We are at a new beginning. The new Province has different languages, cultures and traditions. It will not be easy to hold it all together, but we will do our utmost to bring about a unity of spirits that will not jar with local contexts. In this journey the Lord was always close to us. I pray that he will continue to accompany us so that we will not miss his consolation." May the good Lord grant us his consolation as we embark upon this transition.