Jesuits in Europe

On Saturday, May 23, in the Prague Church of St. Ignatius, Jiri Hebron was ordained deacon by auxiliary bishop of Prague Mons. Vaclav Maly. Because of emergency measures given by the Czech government in this time of the Coronavirus crisis, the celebration took place in a much more familiar atmosphere. Beside of Jesuits from Prague and also from other Czech Jesuit communities, members of Jiri´s family took part together with his closest friends and some parishioners, no more than 60 people. Despite the limitations, the celebration did not lose its joyful atmosphere given also the fact, that it was the first ordination in the Czech province since ten years. The friendly atmosphere was also contributed by the speech of bishop Maly, who in his homily relied on a reading from the St. Paul´s letter to the Philippians about Christ, who renounced himself, and on the Gospel passage with the meeting of Mary Magdalene with the risen Jesus. He encouraged the new deacon so that, like Christ, he could set himself aside so that the Heavenly Father could work in him. He pointed out that this is the mission of all Christians: "Humility is not to hinder God in his way into our lives and the lives of our neighbours." Like Mary Magdalene, we are surprised when God addresses us. Mary passed on this joy quite simply, which is an example for our testimony as well. "The deacon is to be a personified testimony and to tell others: I have seen the Lord!" said bishop Maly. The new deacon Jiri Hebron SJ joined the Society of Jesus in 2009, he did Philosophy studies in Munich and Theology studies in Rome. Now he is member of the Jesuit community in Prague. Photo copyright: Tomas Jezek
Action by CREU-IL and Círculo Xavier mobilized hundreds of people who delivered donations of food and hygiene products that will now be given to families in need. The Centro de Reflexão e Encontro Universitário Inácio de Loyola (CREU-IL), a Pastoral Center for Universitary Students, in Oporto (Portugal), in collaboration with Círculo Xavier (former CREU leaders) organized  a collection of basic necessities for families in difficulty. The collection beguin on the 18th and last until the 29th. In order to reinforce the results of this initiative, an action called "Sprint Weekend" took place during 23th and 24tm may weekend. On Saturday and Sunday, the Church of Our Lady of Fatima (Jesuits Church in Oporto) was open all day to collect donations. Each two-hour shift was secured by two volunteers who received and packed the various bags in the places of the Church. The objective was that the seats were all occupied. More than 500 bags were collected to fill the seats. This initiative started from the diagnosis of a very significant increase in the needs of the various fringes of the population covered by the works related to the Society of Jesus in Porto. The goods collected will be distributed in three distinct ways: by the Project Pobreza Envergonhada (Hidden Poverty), which for some years now has been collecting food habitually at Sunday Mass, organised by the Christian community of CREU, in the Parish Church of Cedofeita, at 7pm; by Group 10 of the National Corps of Listening, of the Parish of Cedofeita, which will forward the food to the Food Bank of Porto; by the São Cirilo Community Centre (Migrants Shelter) , which will send it to the needy families it supports.
At the request of the Ministry of Interior of the Slovak republic, addressed to the religious orders, for volunteer assistance in quarantine centers in Slovakia, several Slovak Jesuits showed their interest. Taking into account age and circumstances, Fr. Provincial Rudolf Uher complied with the request and sent two Jesuits: Fr. Martin Halčák and Fr. Peter Buša. On 2nd of May 2020 both of them started their service in the quarantine center in Bratislava. Later on, after a great impact and positive presence of our brothers, Fr. Provincial was asked by the responsible representatives of Civil Protection for the opportunity to extend the participation of the Jesuit brothers in the quarantine center from the original two weeks for a month. Fr. Provincial agreed with the request and so both of them will remain in this necessary service until the end of May. We thank so much our Jesuit brothers – Fr. Martin and Fr. Peter for their commitment and willingness to help. We would like also to ask you to pray for them. A.M.D.G
The second meeting of the Spirituality Centres was to be in Malta. The keynote speakers were ready: Archbishop Charles Scicluna, on “Faith in Europe” and Fr James Hanvey SJ, on “Our mission in the light of the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs)”. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation put a question mark over it and the only possible trip seemed to be to nowhere. The decision was fast, they went online. Where a door was closed to travel, a window – or a screen – was opened everywhere to enable the meeting. Without problems of travel arrangements and accommodation, the meeting was now open not only for Directors of Spirituality Centres or Spirituality Delegates, but also for team and staff members. On a screen is easier to keep the social distance among 50 people than in person meetings. There were three sessions in two days according to the inputs of the keynote speakers, and the following working groups and plenaries. The last session Fr Franck Janin, JCEP President, helped the group to reflect on the Ignatian anniversaries. Monsignor Scicluna, Archbishop of Malta, developed the idea of faith in Europe by joining it to the dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises: Response, commitment, action/ witness, in a meeting that changes us. Spiritual centres can focus on this encounter with God that makes it possible for people to become committed witnesses in their societies. Fr James Hanvey SJ, Secretary for the Service of Faith of the Society of Jesus, made in his talk the difference between prudence and discernment as the key to understanding the UAPs. That is why UAPs emphasize a larger reality that includes transcendence. UAPs do not tell us what to do, but are criteria for discernment. Hope is what makes the difference between prudence and pragmatic decisions. Centres of spirituality are places of hope. Hope that begins within each person, lay and Jesuit, in their personal encounter with God and in fostering ways of witnessing to and facilitating that encounter. COVID-19 Crisis: It has been a very challenging and confusing time for Spirituality Centres. In the language of Ignatian spirituality it is like the experience of the third week: God feels absent but is in fact working. The centres have closed their doors, there is a serious financial problem to be faced with staff members and house maintenance. In some cases the centre has just closed, in others the challenge of the pandemic has become an opportunity for discernment and creativity. Even one of the centres was offered to the local authorities to turn into a hospital for the emergency. In the end it was not necessary. Then next challenge for the Spirituality Centres in Europe is the celebration of the Ignatian year that will be a deep renewal commemorating the roots of our spirituality.

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Finding God

On Sunday morning, invite the faithful and people from the street to have breakfast together... This is the simple idea proposed by the Saint-Ferréol church, animated by the Jesuits and located on the old port in Marseille. Thierry Lamboley SJ, superior of the Jesuit community, testifies to the joy of meeting and serving the people of the street through this initiative. Would you like to have breakfast with me? Their names are Ferhat, Emmanuel, Maria or the "king of the tramps" or the "queen of the street". They are young or already advanced in age, alone or with friends, sometimes with a pet, as they say. Our names are Thérèse, Nina, Anna, Steves, Cristina, François-Xavier, Martine, Thierry... We are from the group of apprentices of Father Fouque or members of the Christian community of Saint-Ferréol. What brings us together on this Sunday morning? The street, the quays, the pavements... These places where some people live day and night, and where others meet for a coffee and a croissant shared for breakfast. The initiative was born out of the tremendous work undertaken by Charles-Henri Garié, the Archbishop's recent delegate for solidarity. After having listed all the aids that already existed and having networked the already numerous impulses of generosity, several gaps appeared to him. With the help of Aymeric O'Neill of La Source, he spotted one that they called "Sunday morning espresso": on the square in front of a church, inviting the faithful and people from the street to have breakfast together. The Saint-Ferréol church immediately took up this simple and brilliant idea. Espresso was born. In the sacristy of Saint-Ferréol, already transformed into a sewing workshop to make masks, two coffee machines and a kettle are on as early as 8am, fresh croissants bought next door, madeleines, brioches, blueberry jam, but also a small anti-covid bag with masks, Marseille soap and disposable tissues are ready. At 8:30 am, the table is set in front of the church and we set off to meet those who are waking up. There, four young people sheltered from the wind with a breathtaking view of the Old Port: the discussion begins very quickly, exchanging good addresses where to shower as well. The smell of Marseille soap makes them happy. Further on, a gruff loner: a coffee and a croissant.  "Thank you. ...only words with a big smile. Everyone has their own morning dynamic! In front of the Hema store, a small gathering. Orders placed quickly, delivery "at home", then long conservation where the question "Do you know where I can get my teeth treated? » In front of the church, regulars from the help and accommodation centres arrive; they are already known by some of us. We sit down, we discuss, we exchange on the way the confinement happened, and the understanding of the police: "They were nice". Coffee and hot water are in short supply. Express return to the sacristy. In the meantime, others arrive in front of the church. Laughter and happiness expressed in front of the bun spread with jam... All in German between Maria and Anna... The mother tongue, it feels good! Sometimes breakfast looks like an unlikely reunion, probably the one with the fraternity, a forgotten time. The astonishment is there: "Here, I thought Jesuits were doing long studies... That also leads to the street? "Shared laughter. At the end of breakfast, the Secours Populaire teams pass in front of Saint-Férréol. New exchanges, new bonds of solidarity woven. The time came to put everything away, to return to the sacristy to clean and give thanks to the Lord. What a joy to see that respect for the gestures that are barriers does not prevent closeness and human warmth. I look forward to next Sunday to meet our future friends and ask them: "Would you like to have breakfast with me?"
Guide for walking out in creation. Pray as you go has added a new 40-minute prayer guide for walking out in creation. The guide was written by Iona Reid-Dalglish, a Spirituality Worker and part of the Jesuits in Britain family. Iona herself loves getting out in nature and enjoying God’s creation (see video). The format includes a time of preparation to get yourself ready with a moment of stepping over a threshold and setting off on your walk. Using the Ignatian spirituality theme of finding ‘God in all things’, listeners are encouraged to intentionally immerse themselves in their surroundings, staying present to this moment with God, before finally stepping back over the threshold to return home. We hope this is a really easy way to add prayer to your walking and a creative way to add walking to your prayer life. For this resource, we have also provided listeners the option of choosing a different voice to guide you through this extended time of prayer. The guide is available on our apps and website
Ever since the start of the quarantine in mid-March there has been a continuous streaming of Holy Masses over internet channels. One original way it was done from Chicago, Illinois (where our province is active in providing pastoral care for Lithuanian-Americans) was by using Microsoft Teams to switch to different people from wherever they were: so the Eucharist would be celebrated in Chicago, the first reading read from Vilnius, the psalm sung from still somewhere else and so on. This way, a community of faith, separated by long distances was able to find together at the Mass not only passively like spectators but also by actively contributing to it.  Since mid-May all our churches accepted people to „normal“ services in accordance to physical distancing rules of the government. These masses are still being streamed for those not able or not willing to show up in person.  Multiple prayer, catechesis and sacrament preparation groups meet via messenger, hangout, zoom, meet and other platforms.
Cristianisme i Justícia (Barcelona) has just published this GUIDES number 13, in English. In fidelity to the purpose of our GUIDES collection, we offer in these pages some basic materials for understanding and practicing apostolic discernment in common. The materials include documents of the General Congregations, along with letters and other relevant texts of the Superiors General of the Society of Jesus. This compendium of texts is also an invitation to engage in a practice that will help us to respond in a realistic and relevant way to the challenges of the historical moment in which we live. The authors of this brochure are Josep Maria Rambla SJ and Josep Maria Lozano. Read more and download here

Promoting Justice

Now that discussions on economic recovery are under way, more than 90 organizations and individuals, including the FGS (NGO of the Portuguese Jesuits), are advocating a fairer, more resource-efficient and more resilient society. More than 90 organisations and personalities from Portuguese society, including the Jesuits NGO Fundação Gonçalo da Silveira (FGS), have signed the Manifesto for a Fair and Sustainable Economic Recovery in Portugal, a statement made public yesterday on the need to promote an economic recovery that places a fairer, more efficient and more resilient society at the centre of concerns. This document argues that the economic measures to be taken in this coming period must be fair and sustainable and based on the European Ecological Pact (EPE), the Paris Agreement, the objectives of biodiversity protection and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs), with a view to a more resilient and inclusive society and economy in the future. The signatories believe that the commitment to a fair and sustainable economic recovery should be assumed by all sectors of the Portuguese society, that is why they signed the Manifesto 27 non-governmental environmental, social, agricultural, forestry, development associations and cooperatives and some significant personalities of the Portuguese Society. Together, they give voice and face for a model of recovery based on social and sustainability principles, ensuring a climate-neutral economy that protects and restores nature, health and well-being to people, without leaving anyone behind. For subscribers 'this is not about creating a new economy from scratch'. It is about stating unequivocally that a fair and sustainable economy is the only way for the Portuguese economy to recover, where 'public investment must be clearly marked, and should not be applied indiscriminately to all sectors: not all sectors of activity are able to recover from this shock, not all sectors are economic activities of the future, and not all respond to present and future societal needs. In contrast, the environmental goods and services sector, critical for a fair and sustainable recovery, recorded in Portugal in 2017 growth rates above those of the national economy in employment (3.7%, compared to 3.4%) and exports (20.0%, compared to an increase of 11.6% in total exports). Throughout Europe, between 2000 and 2015, the growth rate of green jobs was seven times higher than in other sectors of the economy". The Jesuits NGO FGS develops projects in the areas of Global Citizenship, Development, Integral Ecology and Right to Quality Education. Occasionally, also collaborates in Humanitarian Emergency initiatives through our international networks.
Aleppo - A country destroyed by war in lockdown mode, people without income and discontinued aid: With these drastic words the Refugee Service of the Jesuits in Syria (JRS) has described the current challenges in the civil war country. The Corona pandemic hit the country particularly hard in this situation, said the Jesuit and JRS country director Goncalo C. Fonseca in a statement. Since the middle of March Syria has been in a so-called "lockdown": schools and universities are closed, meetings in churches and mosques are forbidden, shops had to close and even buses no longer run. In the course of the measures, which will remain in force until 3 May, food prices have risen, bread is scarce and hygiene products such as soap are hardly available, the JRS reported. In order to support especially families in the Corona crisis, the Refugee Service started to distribute hygiene packages and food already at the beginning of the crisis. According to JRS, almost 700 families in the cities of Jeramana and Aleppo alone were supported, among other things with antibacterial hand soaps. Because of the initial restrictions, there are currently hardly any job opportunities. Parents who work as craftsmen cannot earn money, Fonseca explained the social and economic consequences of the state's corona measures. Currently, families are also being accompanied by telephone, for example by the JRS community centres. In the beginning, there was a kind of "standstill". So also the facilities of the Jesuits had to be closed and activities in the learning and community rooms of the JRS had to be stopped. Meanwhile among other things the health centre in Aleppo could be opened again, reported the director of the JRS country office in Syria. In addition, the JRS is preparing a plan for the time after the COVID 19 lockdown in cooperation with a regional team and donors. Among other things, a learning folder for children is planned to enable them to learn despite closed schools.
In celebration of the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ historic encyclical, Laudato si’, and to mark Laudato si’ Week from 16 to 24 May, Ecojesuit and partners have launched, Drawing Laudato si’, an online art challenge that reflects the message of the encyclical on care for our common home. Daily word prompts serve as reflection points to inspire artworks Drawing Laudato si’ is part of Sketching4Change, an annual month-long art challenge started in October 2019 at the time of the Amazon Synod to encourage people to stop and reflect on issues that affect our environment and how our lifestyles affect the Amazon. The organisers believe that art has the power to provide not only comfort and anxiety in a time of great worry and confusion but also the spark to advocate hope and action. Throughout May, participants are encouraged to post photos of their artworks based on daily word prompts taken from passages of the encyclical. There are 31 word prompts representing each day of the month. Sketches, paintings, sculptures, photos, and poetry are all welcome. Anybody can participate by posting their artworks on Facebook and/or Instagram using the hashtags #Sketching4Change and #DrawingLaudatoSi. While the sharing and interaction are done virtually, Ecojesuit and their partners hope this online social movement will have an offline impact, and translate into effective actions in caring for creation and one another.
Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, responsible for the Section of Migrants and Refugees of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development of the Vatican, was in charge of presenting the awards of the Second Father Arrupe Award for Human Rights granted by the University Institute for the Study of Migration (IUEM) of the Comillas Pontifical University last May 20th. Czerny highlighted the work of the award winners - the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) and the journalist Jesús Blasco de Avellaneda - and had words for the situation of migrants in the world provoked by the COVID-19:  "Which not only aggravates the violations of human rights that are already taking place, but also acts as an amplifier, a magnifying glass or an X-ray that reveals the immoral social structures present in the world". During the event - which was held online because of the COVID-19 - Czerny revealed a handwritten letter from the Pope in which the Holy Father assures that the Father Arrupe Award "encourages us to open our eyes, ears and hands ever more to those who suffer hunger, injustice and violence, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic". Thus, the Cardinal urged that the pandemic "can and must open the eyes of those who are responsible for them. And these are not only those who hold the reins of the economy and politics, but also consumers and citizens who, more or less consciously, insist on a lifestyle based on exploitation, which is less and less sustainable, both of people and of the planet". Awards for social involvement Tom Smolich, SJ, International Director of JRS, accepted the award given to this organization which has now celebrated its 40th anniversary. The Jesuit referred to the commitment of Pope Francis, "the best advocate for refugees and displaced persons, who effectively sums up the action proposed to all members of the Church: to welcome, protect, promote and integrate". Smolich also remembered the nearly 80 million forcibly displaced persons, according to the latest UNHCR figures, and all the lay people, Jesuits, and other religious who, throughout all these years, have stood by the refugees and displaced persons, trying to give light to their lives and voice to their aspirations. For his part, the journalist Jesús Blasco de Avellaneda defined Father Arrupe as "a reference for the people who have a vocation to serve", and he thanked the IUEM for its work, for creating this award and for remembering those people who "sometimes we stop looking at our navels to try to see Christ in the face of the other and do something for him".

Youth & Media

A first step on an already common path. This meeting has been scheduled some time ago. Then the lockdown was implemented and so we followed the example of the European meeting. It was a sign that came at the opportune time. So, on 18,19 and 20 May the meeting of the communication officers of some EUM works took place online: Magis, CIS, Jesuit Education Foundation, JSN, Malta, San Fedele, Jesuits-Youth and EUM Office. Writing for the web There were 16 participants in all. This was a new experience. It was a means to deepen knowledge between the different realities and to share formation courses on common themes. Among the chosen themes, was "Writing for the Web", an in-depth study by journalist and web writer Simona Sciancalepore. Three online seminaries Language is a means of engaging into a relationship. The new technique Bert (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) has been open sourced to improve language presentation online starting from the relevance to the contents.  Attention is particularly directed towards the user who reads little and poorly by skimming through the page. In order to make users aware that the web opens unimaginable resources, it has to connect with them. Therefore, one is invited to make use of charts or lists to plan the texts, thus aiming at the quality of the contents, placing first the most important information followed by details and insights. A simple language is recommended, using the present tense, avoiding stereotypes and technicalities, limiting the use of abbreviations and using clear words – a language, which is not complicated, but which can be easily understood. Communication on social media follows. The challenge is to initiate "conversations" and to share one's identity. Search in all directions, find time for others or try to save time. Start from what you have to say and not what instrument to use. Share events, appointments, general info, campaigns, project updates, stories, insights. Try to interact by citing sources and try to be concise and clear, not posting too much data.  Make use of hastags without exaggerating and thus distorting one's identity. Always check your contents, always examine your sources when writing on a particular topic, remain relevant, test the information in several ways and anticipate trends. Focus in particular on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Telegram Podcast, Tiktok. Finally, activating "Policies for the web". Make a list of existing sources and content. Express in a sentence what you do, for whom you are writing, and the method you are using. Publish regularly. Define an editorial plan. Ask yourself the right questions At the end of the online meeting give some time for reflection on "Communication risks and opportunities during the period of the Coronavirus Pandemic". There are many possible ways of keeping contact during this time of isolation, which are precious in order to "maintain the continuity of activities, dedicate time to one another, keep in contact and encourage resilience" Valentina Gagliardi, psychologist and psychotherapist highlights. But there are also many risks. "It is the so-called zoom fatigue", which include excessive exposure of oneself, managing silence, and giving attention to what is being said.  Hyper connectivity changes our perception, facilitates multitasking, lowers concentration, promotes the risk of functional illiteracy and triggers laziness. " These risks must be kept in mind to improve opportunities.
Light Up! Glow with your life! This is the theme chosen for the Choose Life 2020 Festival, which brings together 150 young people aged 12 to 18 every year. In response to the events, the Festival has reinvented itself as 'LIVE'. This is the first time ever, according to Fr Éric Vollen sj, the event's designer and coordinator. From 14 to 18 April, the Choose Life Festival was to take place in Soignies, Belgium, bringing together, as every year, some 150 young people aged 12 to 18, led by young people aged 18 to 30.  Due to coronavirus, this long-awaited event has been cancelled. We had to reinvent ourselves. That's how an animator, Christophe, who excels in digital technology, combined his skills with those of Vincent, a former animator who lives in Morocco. With the help of Olivier, a graphic designer and former animator, they decided to create the Festival 2.0. With their help, the coordination of the Festival decides to give birth to a virtual Festival. The Festival Choose LIVE was born! The principle is simple: from Tuesday 14 to Friday 17 April, at 2pm, one hour of "live" for everyone who wants to. Another way to shine! One hour of "live" programming Of course, the appeal of the Festival to 150 young people for a week cannot be experienced in the same way. However, our goal is to make it possible to live the Festival in community with all those who wish to do so. Each day is structured in the same way: an introduction to the theme of the day, humor and gravity, a speaker for 15 minutes, live, with questions and answers, tracks for reflection, a live prayer time of about fifteen minutes, and 3 possible workshops presented by animators. All this is punctuated by several songs. And the incredible thing is: yes, it is possible to recreate an atmosphere - certainly different - of the Festival "at home". This was especially experienced at the time of prayer. A dozen songs were recorded remotely, by the six singers and musicians. A technical achievement. Quality speakers On the first day, Eric Vollen, a Jesuit from Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium), spoke of joy and consolation.  On the second day, Grégoire Le Bel, Martin Rondelet and Louis Tonneau, from Paris (Blomet), shared their experience of being a witness today, through everyday life and on the net. On the third day, Isabelle Meeus, prison chaplain, spoke to us about her experience and the forgiveness lived in prison.  Finally, on the last day, Olivier Caignet and Bénédicte Malfait spoke to us about their professional commitment, and how to witness to his faith through his profession. About twenty animators were engaged to animate these various moments. A great team effort!  The "Young Church 2.0" was born! An audience success Every day we had about 200 different people logging on to the site. And, during the "live", we had between 50 and 65 people logged on at the same time. Many comments and questions showed the interest shown by the young people, the animators, and the elders; some parents were able to see what was going on at the Festival. And many people who didn't know about the Festival were able to enjoy it. In 2021, from Monday 12 to Friday 16 April, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Festival in Soignies, Belgium. Already 2500 young people have been able to renew their faith since its creation.  By becoming "actors" in the Youth Church.
The response of the SAFA Foundation - grouping 26 Jesuit schools in Andalucia - to the students, families and the civil society in the face of the health crisis and the difficulties arising from the state of alarm and confinement has been very diverse, responding to the most pressing needs. Diverse assistance and emergency funds Among the developed actions, the guidance and help services offered by the schools in collaboration with other organizations stand out. The centres are coordinating with Social Services of the Town Halls, Parish Caritas, the Red Cross, among others, to provide support and diverse assistance, such as covering basic needs such as food in several centres. They have also opened emergency funds for families with serious economic difficulties. 3D printers for health protection equipment Furthermore, on the initiative of a group of teachers, the SAFAMakers project (4C3D) was born to use the 3D printers of the professional training centres to manufacture health protection equipment against the Covid. More than 10,000 pieces of protective equipment have already been delivered. Finally, among other initiatives, financial aid and the lending of technological material to students stand out. SAFA schools are providing Internet connection and technological devices (laptops, tablets) to students during the time that the online teaching mode is extended.
"The protection measures that have been established led to the cancellation of Holy week celebrations and so since our activities were discontinued, we have asked ourselves how we can accompany the people of our community", Fr. Zef Bisha SJ from Tirana explains.   “We realized very clearly what people were requesting, especially their need for some type of presence. So, we decided to activate a YouTube channel to transmit the Holy Week liturgies and make them user-friendly at home, at work or in the hospitals. Once the video was uploaded it continued to remain available. In our parish, some people who had filming and editing expertise offered to help us to produce a good quality presentation. It was a decidedly new, strenuous, and interesting experience. " The image has its language - consisting of shots and skilful use of light, composition and editing: "We have received a lot of support during the process of improving the content. We are currently working on short 4-5-minute videos with short messages centred on the Word to share with the faithful and thus supporting them. "The feedback is positive" Fr. Zef stresses. “People are grateful for this form of proximity and they also follow us through facebook. Through this channel a large number of people can be reached, and its contents can be reviewed at different times and under different circumstances. On the other hand, a lot of time and professional work is required to set up such channels.". We shall continue to keep up this commitment for the next few days: "We are also thinking of preparing short contents for the boys of the Ate Pjeter Meshkalla College. We have committed ourselves to reflect upon this method of communication at present and even on the possibility of carrying it on beyond this time of emergency."

In-depth Reflection

Last Wednesday, May 20th, a webinar was organized by the Sankt Georgen Theological Faculty of Frankfurt, the University of Innsbruck and the University of Granada on Islam-Christian relations. The meeting was also attended by a person from the Centre Sèvres in Paris. The webinar was to replace a more ambitious joint study week that was to take place in Granada and which had to be suspended due to the COVID 19. The webinar was attended by the research teams and professors interested in the subject from the three institutions, and the participants included a significant number of Muslims from different backgrounds. After a first round of presentation of each other, the webinar had two main parts: an introduction to the theoretical framework from which we want to work, given by Tobias Specker SJ, who seeks to reflect on the possibility of a contemporary Islamic-Christian civilization; and an introduction to the problem of the presence of religions in society, given by Ignacio Sepulveda, from the University Loyola Andalucia. This webinar, and the study week it replaces, is part of the work of the cluster on Islam-Christian relations of the HEST project (Higher Education for Social Transformation) of the Society of Jesus in Europe. The aim of these efforts is to create a research network on various topics of capital importance for the Society in Europe, such as Islam-Christian dialogue. The joint work and the mutual knowledge of the teams of these three institutions committed to research in Islamic-Christian relations is intended to advance the development of a joint doctorate on this topic.
Jesuit universities in Spain continue to add initiatives to alleviate the consequences of the Pandemic. From job counselling for the most vulnerable people, the search for a vaccine and the study of the infected population thanks to the Big Data.  One of these initiatives is that which has brought together the legal clinics of ten universities throughout Spain to produce a guide that provides understandable answers to legal problems that arise during the crisis. And thus bring the law closer to those who suffer the consequences of the COVID-19 but are unaware of the keys to understanding the legal implications of the situation. The Jesuit universities of Madrid (Comillas) and Bilbao (Deusto) are participating in this initiative. In addition to professors, 44 students are taking part. For its part, the Jesuit faculty IQS participates in the CoviNanoVax project, led by two professors from its Department of Bioengineering, which investigates the development of a vaccine against the coronavirus in order to vaccinate the healthy population. This project has obtained funding in the call for research projects on SARS-CoV-2 and COVID19 promoted by the Ministry of Science and Innovation and the Carlos III Institute of Health of Spain. And the Institute for Technological Research (IIT) at Comillas ICAI is collaborating with the medical company Savana on the first international study based on Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and natural language processing (NLP) on patients with COVID-19. The aim of the project is to define the clinical characteristics and predictive factors for the evolution of patients with SARS-CoV-2 Given the social and economic impact of COVID-19 in most countries, the results obtained aim to improve the clinical management of patients with COVID-19 infection and to optimize the management of health resources. The study uses the latest advances in artificial intelligence, which allows for the automatic extraction of aggregate information from the texts of anonymized electronic medical records.
What is spiritually right will not be found in Corona times in the attitude of being right and knowing better, but it shows itself elsewhere, writes Klaus Mertes SJ in his editorial in the new issue of "Stimmen der Zeit".  "There is a place beyond right and wrong. There we meet." This sentence is regarded as one of the program sentences of non-violent communication. It is attributed to the medieval Sufi Mewlana Rumi. Of course, in an open society, there has to be a dispute about right or wrong. But there are situations in which the usual culture of debate fails because it is too obvious that the challenge is greater than a public interested in quick judgement can even grasp. The legitimate urge for certainty and predictability is then no longer served by reliable projections and forecasts. The avalanche is rolling, and we are all in it. This is also the case in these Corona days: the possibility of calmly weighing up between health policy gains and the economic and social, and in some cases health-related losses that are achieved by the drastic measures is limited. System logics collide which normally tend to work hand in hand - infection protection logic versus fundamental rights logic, protection of the health care system versus protection of the economic system and the social security system, solidarity versus proximity. Issues that until recently were the subject of controversy are now completely relegated to the background - as far as some personnel debates are concerned, one breathes a sigh of relief, and less so as far as other issues are concerned, such as the situation on the Turkish-Greek border or the climate problem. Our problem is now called a) corona and b) the consequences of the measures to contain corona. The billion-euro package to support the economy, which the Bundestag recently decided on, was unanimously approved - except by the members of one party because they considered the astronomically high amount, which will certainly not alleviate all the damage, to be too low. My gut tells me that even twenty or thirty billion more will not be able to fill the hole that has opened up. In Corona times, meanings from outside fail. It just doesn't work with commentary if you are rolling along in the avalanche yourself. Corona time is not a time for comments. A bishop in Switzerland, who speculated about Corona as a punishment from God, should only be mentioned here to name the own shame that one feels as a Catholic Christian in the face of such statements. The secular variant of the philosophy of history comes across as somewhat less unbearable: "The earth is pressing itself against man" (Jogi Löw). Certainly, we will probably have to think anew about globalization, also with regard to what it does to people. Otherwise, those voices that spoke hastily of "crisis as opportunity" have become quieter. One can philosophize about chances if one is socially secured, if one does not bear any responsibility for a medium-sized company, or if one does not have to support home schooling at the PC as a single, working mother, if sports clubs remain closed during the day, children suffer nightmares at night with the thought that they could infect their grandmother, and social contacts outside the own four walls are to be avoided. Even "solidarity" becomes more and more a confusing word, when old people are barked at in discount shops because they don't stay at home, although they are the ones who should be protected by social distancing. "There is a place beyond right and wrong..." I think of this sentence especially when I look at the political leaders. I would not like to be in their shoes right now. How is one to decide right and wrong beyond the place of right and wrong? In spring 2010, when the abuse scandal broke out with full force, I found myself in a place beyond the place of right and wrong. Together with the other people in charge, I held on to the sentence: "Whatever I do, it is wrong. So I'm doing the wrong thing I think is right." This is perhaps similar today to the Chancellor, the Minister of Health and other politically active persons, who are not only the executive organs of the findings of virologists limited to their own areas of responsibility, but also bear the political responsibility for decisions with enormous consequences. An insight similar to that expressed by Rumi is found with Ignatius of Loyola in the letter to Francis Borgias of July 5th 1552: "It may be that the same divine spirit moves me to it (to the one position) for one reason and moves others to the opposite (to the opposite position) for another reason. What is spiritually right will not be found in Corona times in the attitude of being right and knowing better, but beyond right and wrong through empathy, through a sense of responsibility and - let us say it calmly - through prayer. This text appeared in the "Stimmen der Zeit" in May 2020.   AUTHOR: Klaus Mertes SJ - born 1954 in Bonn Father Klaus Mertes SJ studied classical philology and Slavic studies in Bonn after his high school graduation in 1973. After joining the Jesuit order in 1977, he studied philosophy in Munich and theology in Frankfurt. Since 1990 he has been active in the teaching profession, 1990-1993 at the Sankt-Ansgar-Schule in Hamburg, 1994-2011 at the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin, whose rector he was since 2000. Since 2011 he is the director of the international Jesuit College in St. Blasien. He is also a member of the editorial board of the cultural magazine "Stimmen der Zeit".
New Cristianismo y Justicia  booklet in English The issue of women and the notion of the feminine has again come to the fore, both in the secular world as well as in the ecclesial sphere. Could this be why women are taking on leading roles in a turbulent, violent and changing world? Could this be why Pope Francis has brought up the issue time and time again? Whatever the reason, at this point in time, when the world as a whole finds itself immersed in violence, and facing so many economic, political and social problems, there is a widespread sense that women can play an important role in the process of change. The author of this booklet, Maria Clara Lucchetti Bingemer is professor of Theology in the Pontifical Catholic University of Río de Janeiro. She participated in the inauguration of this course in Cristianisme i Justícia 2017-2018. In this booklet, we have compiled some of the contents of the opening presentation of that course.

Preparing for Mission

Life took its normal course in Bujumbura. Belonging to the other part of humanity still "safe and sound", the ground for this ugly virus was growing with the wild hope of being spared. There was, unfortunately, no doubt that the Covid-19 epidemic was coming to the shores of Lake Tanganyika. The question was: when? and what would be the reaction of the public authorities? But not for a second did I imagine that such a small creature would come to take me away from my regency, my pupils, my dear hills of Burundi. 1 April: the first two cases of Covid-19 were detected in Bujumbura. Twenty-four hours earlier, Father Provincial spoke to me about the possibility of an early end of regency and a return, without delay, to France. The total shock. End of the line, everybody off! It was a serious moment, but also filled with compassion for the sacrifice that was being asked of me. I felt the beginnings of the tearing within me. I was confused: nothing was officially decided yet, but the future was becoming blurred, a storm of emotions. Holy Week passed, with a painful heaviness. Was it possible that everything could end like that? So quickly, so brutally? I wished that "this cup" would pass away from me. . . Then a memory of the novitiate came back: when we studied the vows, we learned that obedience is not only lived in an act that conforms to what is asked, but must go as far as to love what is asked. In those same moments, a companion, confined in Paris, aware of the drama that was unfolding for me, never ceased to encourage me to trust and hope. In the open air, the empty tomb of Easter morning did the rest ... and I finally obeyed. In reality, I had never thought of disobeying, but I was not yet in Jesuit obedience. Even though the pain of departure remained, even though the heart was heavy, the eyes moist, there was the promise of something just and good in agreeing to love what was asked of me. On Easter Monday my return became official, I was ready (at least internally!). Obedience was a form of salvation for me. After breathing a sigh upon hearing of my imminent departure, a Burundian sister had only these few words: "Obedience is victory". Then, everything went very fast: the luggage, the registrations on the repatriation flights, the business to be settled with my replacement appointed in extremis, and, above all, to say "Goodbye! "as much as possible ... The thorn in the flesh of this ordeal was not being able to say goodbye one last time to my pupils. I left Burundi on the eve of the new school year ...  If all this was trying, and still leaves me with a strange taste, this sudden return cannot darken twenty-one months of joy and service. This experience of obedience finally brings its share of light and is now part of my regency. I remember, too, that Jesuit fraternity which does not care about distances and which has supported me every day. Finally, I can never thank enough for having been sent to Burundi where part of my heart has remained. A last image: that of friendship and celebration to end almost two years of football with the boys of the hills. It was the eve of departure. Beware, this picture may offend those who are sensitive to social distancing! In Kirundi, we say "turi kumwe" when we leave someone, "we are together" ...
Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, 30th Superior General of the Society of Jesus (2008 to 2016), died at the age of 84 in Tokyo, Japan on 20 May 2020.  This video made by the Asia Pacific Jesuit Conference, whose president Fr. Nicolás has been, sketches a nice overview of his Jesuit formation and life.
Every child is so naive when he dreams about his future. And so was I, when I imagined myself exploring the world or as a missionary in Africa. All this contrasted with my reserved character and the small world of Sardinia, the island where I was born and of which I am so fond. I lived the traditional way as a young boy: school, catechism, the sacraments, but I also had a desire for truth and for deep relationships. And so, as I grew up, I changed from "dreamer" to "lawyer of lost cases", affectionately defined, as my concept was that sensitivity towards the most vulnerable and the sense of justice that I cultivated was a beautiful value but something that couldn’t be put into practice in concrete reality. I studied Jurisprudence, more as a second-best solution rather than by choice and, in the meantime, I met the groups linked to the Jesuits, with whom I began a journey of human and faith maturity. There I found space to share and experience that desire for deeper friendships, renew my traditional and formal faith, learning also what affect the Gospel has on my life, and experiencing ways of giving service which in reality were still unknown to me at the time. The Astalli Center in Rome, which hosts refugees from Ethiopia comes to my mind: here it was possible to experience that across border encounter that I had always dreamed of! And during those years, during one of these experiences, I met two novices, species I had never met before but who opened up a new world to me, because I realized there were other possibilities of a state of life besides marriage. I therefore embarked on a time of experimentation which lasted almost ten years, where I continued my journey with the CLC Community to which I belonged with an even greater commitment. I did a retreat every year and was accompanied by a guide during the experience of the spiritual exercises.  I was in charge of a youth group. In recent years I was preparing to become a guide of the Ignatian Retreat.  This was the type of life I had been searching for.  In my everyday life I sometimes experienced a distressing restlessness, because I could not find prospects of work that would give me peace, allow me to live the values ​​that were close to my heart and in the most radical way that I desired. I was unable to make up my mind and I was looking for compromising solutions, as it made more sense to me to put into practice the legal studies which I had by now completed and which cost me a lot of effort. But while I was preparing for public competitive examinations for the judiciary, during a time when I was more at peace, the Lord gave me His word, during a school camp for young people: "Do not be afraid, I will be with you, you belong to me" ( cf Is 43: 1-6). In a few minutes I understood what I had experienced in previous years and from then on, I never doubted again. It was the call to follow Him and the choice for a concrete way of life was pointing towards the Jesuits and their spirituality which had also become my spirituality. I entered the novitiate in 1994, so glad of having finally fulfilled my childhood dream and my desire to spend my life closer to those on the periphery. After years of formation my mission in Albania was a gift, a fulfilment of that desire that had such distant roots. This is all God's timing ... and the necessary journey to arrive there. I have learnt so much from the eight Albanians of the community; The not so simple language and the new culture have been a great challenge; I was immersed in a human element that overcame me and made me acknowledge that I had finally found that dimension of life that I had always sought. Then I was asked to leave everything and offer a delicate and important service to the Society as a master of novices. It took me a lot of effort to leave everything, but I was so grateful for having fulfilled my desire and for an experience that has really matured me as a man and in my understanding of the priesthood. This is how the Lord works, always introducing new challenges. And this is our charism, to be available to go where there is the greatest need.  In this vocation of being a pilgrim today I find my roots and desires for the future.
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.