Jesuits in Europe

GERMANY
The first joint Formation Gathering of Jesuits from central and eastern Europe. The merging of Eastern and Central European Jesuit provinces is picking up pace. Over 40 Jesuits assembled from Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland to the first joint Formation Gathering in Nuremberg. Mission to reconciliation and justice The Jesuits who came to Nuremberg undergo their formation at various places in Europe and the USA. At the center of the meeting stands the mutual getting-to-know each other as companions in the common mission of reconciliation and justice, as the last General Congregation describes it. The Jesuits were sent to many different places in Nuremberg and its surroundings, where they have met people, which live at the peripheries of our society. Even before the Order was officially founded, the first Jesuits had grown into one apostolic body through the common apostolic service. Encounters that transform These were common encounters in the everyday life of people – like drinking tea with the needy in the "Wärmestube", cooking together with migrants or visiting sick elderly religious sisters. "These encounters is no playing around, they change the way we live our lives as Jesuits", said Fr. Johannes Siebner SJ, the provincial of the German province as he lead the celebration of the Eucharist with the homeless in Domus misericordiae, an institution for the homeless in Nuremberg. Discernment in common Parallel to the common mission stood on the agenda the common Ignatian discernment of spirits– another element, which belongs to the daily life of a Jesuit. In small groups, the Jesuit scholastics and brothers addressed different issues concerning the future of the Society of Jesus in Europe. It was meant to help them share about relevant questions and their own experiences on the topic as well as to try out and practice various methods of discernment in common.    Building block of coalescence At the end of the meeting, a celebration of the Eucharist took place at the Jesuit church of St. Claire with five newly ordained priests from Hungary and Sweden. "Even trough the smallest works the kingdom of heaven on earth can be built up", said Fr. Thomas Idergard SJ, referring to the life of Alfons Rodrigues SJ, who is a patron saint of Jesuit brothers. This mass was small yet an encouraging building block for the coalescence of the new Jesuit province in Central and Eastern Europe. Beside the official program there were many opportunities to familiarize with the respective home countries and provinces and to create or deepen friendships. The next such meeting of Jesuits in formation will take place in January 2019 in Hungary. By 2021 the five provinces, which encompass seven different European countries, will coalesce into one new central European province.
SPAIN
How can we reach out to young people today, help them to shape their lives in the light of the Gospel? This was the main topic of the annual European meeting of Jesuits (and collaborators) in University Pastoral Care (JUPC, November 6th-9th , 2018) . Besides the traditional exchange of news and the networking during meals and activities, we had a very interesting conversation on the preparatory document for the synod on ‘Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment’ and on the survey that accompanies it. We did our own survey among the members of the group, and we were granted the chance to make our own little contribution on the topic. For this we had the chance to be accompanied by Giacomo Costa SJ, who, as part of the writing committee, gave us very interesting insights into the document. How important, for example, the theme of ‘care’ is to Pope Francis: care for our ‘common home’ (Laudato Si), care for the family (Amoris Laetitia), and now care for young people. The word is frequently mentioned in the document. Our discussion followed the structure of the letter according to the triad of Cardinal Cardijn: ‘See, judge, act’. First to ‘see’ the context in which young people nowadays are living and thinking: a rapidly changing world, where the weaker are more vulnerable, and in which the much craved for freedom is not available for many. A world that is deeply shaped by technology, everybody hiding in his or her own ‘filter bubble’. A world where there is a growing multiculturalism. It is one of the riches of this document that it doesn’t start off with a priori assumptions, but tries to interpret a concrete situation. The next step was to ‘judge’: How, then, can we help this hyperconnected generation to enter into a more reflective process to (re)orient its life, to enter into – yes, let us say it – discernment? The word was not used in order not to fall into Ignatian ‘slang’, but those who rare familiar with it, it is abundantly clear how Ignatian this document is. A triad, again, explains what discernment is consists of: ‘recognize, interpret, choose’. How young people are able to recognize what is happening and to be aware of the flavor which remains? How can they interpret it, that is to understand to what the Spirit is calling them, and then to choose a pathway of that calling? Finally to ‘act’. We need to walk with young people, like a good shepherd. Here we meet our final triad: ‘Going out, seeing, calling’. We chaplains – and indeed every Christian - are asked to reach out more to young people and meet them where they are. It was a great joy to be able to give our personal contribution to the discussion. But there was also news to be heard. We heard three (again!) success stories  – one of MAGIS Central Europe of the summer of 2017, by Lenka Caskova. Another project with the name MAGIS we heard about was in Spain, where the word became a banner for dozens of youth projects (Juanjo Aguado SJ). Finally we heard the report of youth activities in the EOF (France and South Belgium, by Jacques Enjalbert SJ) – especially in and around Paris, where new chaplaincies are built in a future French ‘Silicon Valley’. On Thursday – one day later due to a general strike in unruly Catalunya – we were following the footsteps of Ignatius in Manresa and in Barcelona. For me it took the shape of a minipilgrimage to the statue of Ignatius in of the ‘Santa Maria del Mar’ church in Barcelona. Worth the visit!
WORLD
Between 6 to 17 November, over 30 Jesuits and co-workers belonging to the Ecojesuit network participated in events during the UN COP23 climate change conference held in the German city of Bonn. Among them were two members of the JESC team, Peter Rožič SJ and Henry Longbottom SJ.  COP23 – What happened on the international stage Conference of Parties (“COP”) summits take place annually.  This year, nearly 200 countries met for two weeks of talks on how to implement the 2015 Paris climate agreement which aims to limit global temperature increases and help countries to deal with the impact of climate change.  Owing to Fiji’s presidency of the summit, there was a special focus on the plight of small island developing states.  If carbon reductions targets are not met, it is estimated that by 2050, up to 1.7 million people in the Pacific Islands could be displaced due to climate change. It is widely believed that the COP23 discussions have led to the development of a ‘rulebook’ for how the Paris agreement will work when it comes into force in 2020.  There are still however many decisions to be made at the next round of talks, scheduled to take place in Poland in December 2018.  A particular unresolved stumbling block is the need for increased climate finance, namely a roadmap for achieving a $100bn fund by 2020. Catholic groups played a prominent role at the various COP23 “side events” – meetings and conferences for state delegates, NGO workers and members of the public.  One such event was the launch a new CIDSE paper, Climate Action for the Common Good on 15 November.  Sitting on a panel with Pedro Walpole SJ (Coordinator for Reconciliation with Creation of the Jesuit Conference Asia Pacific) Fr. Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development said: “We should not underestimate the importance of the moment we are in now.  We are in the middle of the river, and we cannot go back.  We have to be together, and we have to be strong, even if one state decides to go back.  We have had the Paris agreement and now we have to move from the ethical intentions to making the political happen, and to do that we will need a new model of development that is rooted in dialogue and mutual solidarity, and that recognises the talents that each party has to contribute.” Ecojesuit’s activities at COP23 Using the Jesuit Aloisiuskolleg Bonn-Godesberg as its base camp, the Ecojesuit team comprised Jesuits and friends from around the world, from Micronesia to Central Africa, from India to Latin America.  In addition to internal sharing and strategy sessions, Ecojesuit members participated in the various COP23 talks and activities.  Blogs written by different members of the Ecojesuit team about their experiences can be found on the COP23 . Ecojesuit also hosted its own day-long event for the public on 13 November.  The first half of the day was devoted to a dialogue conference entitled “Laudato Si’ – Environment is Relationship” exploring food security and natural resources issues.  The dialogue was moderated by Andreas Carlgren (Newman Institute, Uppsala) and Cecilia Calvo (Environmental Justice Adviser, Jesuit Conference of Canada and US).  Speakers included William Kostka of the Micronesian who conveyed concerns regarding climate mitigation from the perspective of the pacific islands, François Delvaux, Food Sustainability Advocacy Officer at CIDSE who focused on agroecology and Felix Löwenstein, a large-scale organic farmer. The ensuing discussions and questions centred on how Laudato Si’ be used as an educational tool to transform attitudes towards resources. In the afternoon, Ecojesuit held a “Laudato Si Fair” at which numerous Ecojesuit members showcased their activities, ranging from the Flights for Forests and Carbon Challenge initiative, to the Justice in Mining Network advocacy group, and the Loyola University Chicago Institute of Environmental Sustainability. Thanks to the generous involvement of the staff at Aloisiuskolleg, especially its headmaster Martin Löwenstein SJ, English teacher Dr. Dorothee Rölli, and physics teacher Christian Modemann SJ, many of the school’s 700 students participated in the Ecojesuit events.

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Finding God

UNITED KINGDOM
A team of Jesuit novices with Fr Simon Bishop SJ and Vron Smith recently joined a group of prisoners in HMP Hewell in the West Midlands, to accompany them on a week of guided prayer. It was a week of surprises, with prisoners from a wide range of age, race and even faith background. Novice Luke Taylor nSJ explained, "We offered a variety of Ignatian ways of prayer. Some prisoners shared one-on-one with a prayer guide while others drew their own spiritual journeys. Some entered scripture through imaginative contemplation while others dramatised biblical scenes. "   Muslim prisoners were included in the group, which gave the week an extra dimension for Luke, "These men expressed an open and articulate interest in both the similarities and differences between Islam and Christianity. The team felt honoured to share with them." With a real concern about the radicalisation of prisoners 'inside', when conditions are not adequate and opportunities for authentic spiritual growth are restricted, perhaps this week could be seen as a model for other prisons to copy. The famous Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner said in an address to prison chaplains, "When you go from your own surroundings into a prison, you do not go out of a world of harmony, light and order into a world of guilt and unfreedom: you stay where you have been all the time. It is merely made clearer to your bodily senses what has been surrounding you all the time: the unfreedom of guilt, the imprisonment from which God's grace alone can set us free into the freedom of the children of God." Luke reflected that feeling when he referred to the prisoners as being 'prisoner disciples'. It is often noted that on a week of guided prayer the distinction between those accompanying and those being accompanied breaks down when you witness God working in people's hearts.  ''One morning, we enacted Jesus inviting Peter to walk on water. Our Peter not only walked, but tap-danced his way back to the boat – a spontaneous demonstration of joyful faith. My favourite comment of the week came from another prisoner disciple: “we are all in the same boat,” he pointed out."
LITHUANIA
Lithuanian Jesuit publishes Tukano Myths. A Lithuanian translation of Amazonian Tukano people’s myth and a selection of Yanomami people’s 40-year-old photographs of daily life, taken by the natives themselves, provided by Lithuanian Salesian missionary Kazimieras Bėkšta, compose the 335 page book “Pieno ežeras“ (Milk Lake) by Fr. Antanas Saulaitis, to promote understanding of indigenous people, pay tribute to missionaries and interest others to volunteer in local and international mission service. An exhibit on missions and Lithuanian missionaries, past and present, is planned for late 2018 in the Religious Heritage Museum, Vilnius.
IRELAND
Hopeful Hopkins, a book on the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ, was launched by Brendan Staunton SJ, on Tuesday 31 October, in the Ignatian Chapel, in Gardiner St Church, Dublin. The author is Desmond Egan, himself a poet. His family, friends and colleagues gathered on Halloween night to celebrate his work. Among them was the papal nuncio, Archbishop Jude Okolo, Czech ambassador, Hanna Mottlová, Irish Jesuit Provincial Leonard Moloney, and a number of Jesuits. Words, wine and music flowed whilst Conor Mahon, on classical guitar, punctuated inputs from various speakers with renditions of well known pieces. Noel Barber SJ, co-editor of Vol 5 of  The Collected Works of Gerard Manly Hopkins, to be published next year, gave a few important words by way of introduction to Desmond’s book. He said that Des Egan was a poet who always has something to say that will elude the most eminent academic scholar. “His contribution to Hopkins’ studies has been immense,” he said, “in particular through his organisation of the annual Hopkins Festival at one time in Monasterevin and now in Newbridge.” (The Hopkins festival has attracted  many renowned scholars, poets and musicians to honour the Jesuit poet.) Noel said that there were certain key matters concerning Hopkins the man, that gave rise to important questions. Questions such as whether the Jesuits were good or bad for Hopkins? How to explain that Hopkins is a prose poet in his Journals but prosaic in his spiritual writings? Or how does the self-loathing to which Hopkins admits in his retreat notes of 1883 and 1889 and in the Dublin sonnets fit in with a vision of Hopkins as a man of hope? And why, in giving a retreat in Mayport, Cumberland, does the poet not exhort his congregation to go out to contemplate God in nature? He concluded that, “these were questions that Des was singularly capable of tackling.” Brendan Staunton SJ, formally launched the book by referencing the unique contribution Desmond Egan brings to the study of Hopkins. Hopeful Hopkins, by Desmond Egan is published by Goldsmith Press. Read more
MALTA
A week-long spiritual encounter, inspired by art, culture and Scripture Friday May 4th (9am) to Friday May 11th (9am) 2018 Mount St Joseph Spirituality Centre, Mosta - Malta Led by Magdalen Lawler SND and Tom McGuinness SJ, this 5-day retreat will focus on the boundless love of God in the person of Jesus.  Magdalen will use this painting by Sieger Köder and several other images by well-known and lesser-known artists to explore this theme. Tom will lead our liturgies and use his reflection songs to lead us into prayer. Magdalen and Tom have worked together over many years to offer retreats, weaving together scripture, art, poetry and song.  This retreat will be helpful for lay people and religious to deepen their understanding of God’s love and their connection with Christ. This will be a silent retreat held in an atmosphere of quiet with some input to help personal prayer. There will be time to share and opportunities to meet individually with the Retreat Leaders The retreat will be held at Mount Saint Joseph, a Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Malta. Surrounded by gardens and stretches of rolling countryside, the Centre offers a haven of peace and quiet.  Prior to the retreat, there will be an optional Pilgrimage around Malta. We will visit the oldest standing Neolithic temples, Saint John’s Cathedral that houses a Caravaggio masterpiece, the catacombs of Saint Paul and other places of spiritual significance. Optional Pilgrimage Friday 4th May 2018 at 9am – Saturday 5th May 2018 at 3pm.  Ideally participants arrive no later than Thursday 3rd so that they may have time to settle in. Cost - Eur 100 for participation, plus Eur60 per night for accommodation. Retreat Sat 5th May 2018 at 6:30pm - Fri 11th May 2018 after breakfast (6 nights). Cost - Eur360 Your visit can be extended before or after these dates by arrangement with Mount St Joseph. Bookings and Enquiries: info@mtsjoseph.org       +356 2276 0000

Promoting Justice

WORLD
The Xavier Network, which comprises 13 Jesuit mission and development organisations across Europe, Canada and Australia, is launching its new website on Friday, 1 December. This is in anticipation of the Feast of St Francis Xavier, the patron saint of missionaries and one of the founding members of the Society of Jesus, on 3 December.  The new website will inform people about the work that the Xavier Network does through the collaboration of the members.  It is also a portal which links people to the work that each individual Jesuit organisation does.  The new website link is here: https://xavier.network/ The Xavier Network was set up to help our member organisations work together to increase the impact of our activities on behalf of vulnerable people around the world. The members collaborate in response to humanitarian emergencies, share a common approach to working with key Jesuit partners, and share our experiences, training and best practice in areas like volunteering.  We are also working together to advocate on behalf of the poor and marginalised for a more just world. The 13 members of the Xavier network are: Jesuit Missions (Britain) ALBOAN (Spain) Canadian Jesuits International (Canada) Entreculturas (Spain) Fundacao Goncalo de Silveira (Portugal) HUBEJE (Belgium) Jesuitenmission (Austria) Jesuitenmission (Germany) Jesuiten Weltweit (Switzerland) Jesuit Missions (Australia) Jesuit Missions (Ireland) MAGIS (Italy) Oeuvre des Missions Catholiques Francaise d’Asie et d’Afrique (France)   The Coordinator is Fr Klaus Vathroder SJ, Director Jesuitenmission (Germany) For further information, please contact Stephanie Beech, Communications Officer, Jesuit Missions (UK)
MALTA
The Paulo Freire Institute has just launched the digital version of its literacy project Iċ-Ċavetta. Funded by the Vodafone Malta Foundation, Iċ-Ċavetta - Maltese Literacy Toolkit for Employment and Education Inclusion offers a combination of Maltese literacy skills, work values and computer orientation skills to young people and adults facing social exclusion and employment challenges. The toolkit, which took two years to prepare, is structured as a course and contains a series of 32 interactive activities. It takes the user from elementary to advanced level, allowing them to acquire basic reading and writing skills in Maltese. They can access it online or offline, at their desk and even on the go, thanks to an app available in Android and iOS versions. Iċ-Ċavetta is currently the only existing tool for basic Maltese literacy. It is based on a series of textbooks published since 2008 by the Paulo Freire Institute, and is the fruit of many years of NGO work in the field of adult education and literacy. According to the latest census (2011), in Malta there are about 24,000 people who are unable to read and write. “These people tend to stay on the sidelines and may never fully participate in Maltese and European society. Their employment prospects are hence diminished. Illiteracy makes people more vulnerable and prone to exploitation by others," said Fr. Edgar Busuttil SJ, director of the Institute. “We are confident that this app will be of great help to those adults and young people who, for one reason or another, have difficulty reading and writing. By so doing, they are encouraged to participate more fully in Maltese society. Here is a video explaining the project. Zejtun's Paulo Freire Institute is a Jesuit NGO active in the fields of literacy promotion and community development.
SPAIN
Welcome Association “Jesuiten Etxea” in Durango (Vizcaya) celebrates 10 years. The Jesuits have been in Durango for about 137 years. In recent years, both the school and the Jesuit Community Project have responded to changing contexts. Certainly, these decades have kept both projects in full vitality and dynamism, always seeking to respond with new ways to the problems of each moment. The Jesuit community of Durango was aware of the growing situation of refugees and migrants: the Church cannot ignore human injustice and must be prophetic, denouncing and trying to transform the world into a more just place. That is why the community decided to start in 2007 the project of welcoming and integrating migrant people. The main objective has been to offer a year of coexistence, training, social incorporation and support for immigrants, men or women. "The people who have come to “Jesuiten Etxea” during these 10 years have done it very hard but they have seen that it is possible to have a home on the other side of the barbed wire. Most of the Jesuits are 80 years old but they still think about how to restructure the community in the coming years. They are happy, because in these 10 years their home has become the home of 49 Africans who have come to stay in their hearts, they have been loved as they have loved. Their life has enriched each other. " Video: https://youtu.be/5fcq2TwWMsg
PORTUGAL
The Parish of St. Francis Xavier of Caparica (Almada, Portugal) solemnized the World Day of the Poor, celebrated for the first time on November 19, at the initiative of Pope Francis. To mark this day, a special call was made for participation in the Sunday Mass of 11.30 and an invitation to various groups with links to the community. The church turned out to be small for all who wanted to attend. At the end of the Mass, there was a shared lunch attended by hundreds of people. Following the Pope's decision to create a World Day of the Poor, the provincial of the Jesuits in Portugal challenged the communities associated with the Society of Jesus to participate a significant way to this day.  Careful preparation for the Mass was a special call for participation in the liturgical celebration and for the invitation to members of different groups linked to the Society of Jesus who collaborate in the pastoral activity of the parish. In this way, members of the Christian Life Community (CLC), young people from the Gambozinos association and members of the NGO Laity for Development, joined the parishioners. The Padre Amadeu Pinto Youth Center and the Parish Social Center were also involved in a special way in this celebration. The Eucharist was animated by the choir of the youth group and totally filled the church, whose assembly can pray inspired by African songs. Following the tradition of some African countries, at the offertory, foodstuffs were brought to the altar to be donated to families with the most needs. Following the Eucharist followed a shared lunch in the courtyard of the parish. Decorated with works developed by some children from phrases from the message of Pope Francis for World Day of the Poor, the space was filled with a festive tone. Of all the delicacies, the Cape Verdean cachupa, the Portuguese feijoada and the cake prepared by the teenagers of the Padre Amadeu Pinto Juvenile Center stood out. At the end of the lunch, it was possible to visit the facilities of the Center, where about 100 children a day pass, being assisted in their school tasks and participating in play and sports activities that contribute to their integral development. It was a day marked by the joy that contributed to foment the culture of  encouenter desired by Pope Francis. In a simple way and in an atmosphere of reciprocity and sharing, people came from different backgrounds to share the Eucharist, the table and life. This was only one of the initiatives of the Portuguese Jesuit Province to celebrate this day. Other initiatives were: a Special edition of the Cultural Magazine Brotéria; a common prayer for all Jesuit communities; a video to share within social networks; a special edition of the Passo a Rezar (Portuguese version of Pray as you Go); role-plays in Jesuit schools, etc.

Youth & Media

WORLD
Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach passed away on 26 November 2016. One year after his death, Fr. General has wished to remember him: • through a Eucharist celebrated in the Curia on 24 November, • through the inauguration, in the Curia, of the Library traditionally called “Fr. General’s Library,” renovated these past months, and which will now bear the name “Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library” • and finally, through the inauguration of a website in memory of Fr. Kolvenbach. This site is now accessible to all at the following address: https://kolvenbach.jesuitgeneral.org. On this site, one will find testimonials and photos, but also some writings of Fr. Kolvenbach on the themes of religious life, Ignatian spirituality, and Ignatian pedagogy In its present version, navigation on the site is done in English. Within a few weeks, however, one will be able to do the same in Spanish and French.
LITHUANIA
The Kaunas Jesuit Gymnasium is the centre of “Refugees Matter: from Challenges to Opportunities”, an Erasmus+ project involving six schools from five European countries. Initiatives include community service at refugee centers, film screenings, posters, photos and cultural events. Between teachers and students, there are 140 people taking care of the project. During the past years, the constant influx of refugees has been the cause of dramatic and fundamental changes in the socio-cultural, political, economic and educational landscape of the European Union.  With the rise of racial and xenophobic attitudes towards refugees accross the continent, core European values such as tolerance and solidarity came under huge pressure.  Aware of the complexity of the issue, we formed a team for an Erasmus+ project entitled Refugees Matter: from Challenges to Opportunities. The project brings together six schools from Lithuania, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey, with the following objectives: form an open and balanced perception of refugees and their cultures through research, analysis, counter narratives, intellectual dialogue, and direct encounters; gain insight from and share good and easy-to-implement practices for the social inclusion of refugees and the way host countries receive and treat them; focus on social and civic responsibilities by encouraging cultural awareness through creativity and the acquisition of English language and digital skills, and fostering a sense of initiative and leadership. Refugees Matter, has 140 core participants (50 teachers and school staff and 90 students, aged 16-19), participating inmeetings and organizing various learning/teaching/training activities, and around another 400 participants (family members, local authorities, refugees, politicians,  etc.)  involved in the implementation of the project. All the activities are interrelated, insofar as they analyze the issue of refugee treatment from different perspectives. Opting for a holistic approach, the team will start off by gaining insight into national histories related to migration and go on to analyze the root causes of the current migration phenomenon, paying particular attention to refugee-specific questions. It will also take a look at measures being taken to tackle the issue and finally, consider possible, future action/s. Hopefully, this approach will help students form a balanced, overall opinion on the present refugee crisis. Among the activities foreseen, there will be a short documentary competition with films that shed light on the plight of refugees in foreign lands; a photography exhibition; volunteering experiences for students to get in touch with refugees; dissemination initiatives highlighting the intrinsic value of the project and its potential to raise awareness and mobilize more people and interested parties for the cause; as well as a cultural week to familiarize people with the customs, folklore, handicrafts and food of the refugees’ country of origin. Besides fostering a critical mind among participants, Refugees Matter aims at changing the general refugee perception to a more tolerant and emphatic one. By transforming all those involved from passive observers to active problem solvers, it plans to bring about a complete paradigm shift. The planned events will act as motivation and provide them with tools for further action in their communities. Hence, citizens acting at the local level will be promoting and strengthening core European values such as solidarity and unity in diversity. Moreover, activities that prove themselves effective could in turn lead to the creation of other school projects, volunteering programmes and all sort of events.
SLOVAKIA
Magis retreat in the heart of Slovakia and “more” St. Francis of Assisi had in San Damiano a mystical experience with the crucified Christ speaking to him: “Rebuild my Church”. Starting to rebuild by hand the little Church called St. Mary of Angels gradually he realized that the very essence of this call was to rebuild the Church as the body of Christ. “Rebuild my Church” was a motto of a weekend retreat of Magis Slovakia in November 10th till 12th 2017. It took a place in a beautiful area of the Jesuit compound of the Novitiate “villa” Trlenska. Located in the center of Slovakia about 10 km from Ružomberok, it is surrounded by mountain ranges,  the national parks of Great Fatra, Low Tatras and the protected natural area of Chočské vrchy (Choc’s mountains). Trlenska, which was gradually built by Jesuits in the thirties of the previous century, is a compound of several buildings which consists of Trlenska villa – cottage, Chapel of Virgin Mary (with a copy of the famous icon of the Virgin Mary from the basilica St. Maria Maggiore), The House of Thomas Munk SJ (former farm barn) and the Shelter of St. Joseph (an open shelter for pilgrims). Currently it serves as an apostolic facility all though the year for different age categories and activities such as summer camps, retreats, spiritual renewals, etc. In the Summer 2013 it was hosting Magis Central Europe and since then each year it welcomes one of the Magis Central Europe groups. Twenty young adults, who are part of a larger Magis family, spent the weekend in “building the Church”. As a part of magis activity, they were working either in the Chapel of the Virgin Mary or doing some autumn cleanings of the nearby area and the villa. The history of the Chapel served the participants as a base for a kind of a theological reflection on the Church. As already mentioned, Trlenska was built in 1935. For the next 15 years it served its original purpose as a retreat place for Jesuits novices and pilgrimage point for local people. However, during the event of so called Barbarian night of April 13th- 14th 1950, the communist regime suppressed all the male religious orders in Czechoslovakia. All religious were imprisoned and the entire property confiscated by the state. Trlenska for the following 40 years was transformed into educational facility for pioneers with the Chapel changed into dining room. Only after theVelvet Revolution (1989) it could be used again as a Chapel. After that, the Chapel undertook some necessary adaptations to became again a space of worship. And yet, during last almost 3 decades, due to various reasons such as constant urgency of some other works to be done, different priorities, fundraising issues, etc., the Chapel has never been given a sufficient attention in terms of renovation. Recently, beginning from September 22nd 2017, Fr. Ondrej Gabriš SJ, responsible of the area, started with a small team of volunteers, renovation work of the Chapel. Under the supervision of the architect and constant presence of the construction professional, volunteers may join for renovation works. And this was the case also with Magis. Volunteer work in this case is not seen just as a necessity due to real lack of sufficient funds, but as an option to make the Chapel “ours”. So, common work on the Chapel to make it more hospitable, welcoming, more beautiful and warm “Church”, served retreatants as a vivid symbol of the Church. Theological meditation was accompanied by the questions such as: “How do I feel in the Church?”, “How do I care for her?”, “How can I help her to be more welcoming…?”. This way other elements of the Magis “curriculum” such as Eucharist, personal time for meditation and Magis circle were lively integrated into this short retreat. Although initial renovation works showed that under the surface the Chapel is damaged much more seriously than it was expected, including very bad condition of its original 3 stores wooden tower, enthusiasm of the volunteers promoting responsibility towards “the Church”, gives hope for the blessing in “building of the Church”. Spiritual strength of the place is enforced by the fact, that it was a place of “villa days” of many Jesuits, who later during their life, especially under the communist persecution, gave strong and attractive testimony of their faith. Pioneer among them is definitely a Jesuit novice Thomas Munk. Being of a Jewish origin, in 1944 he was forcibly taken by Nazis from the Novitiate in Ružomberok. Together with his father Francis both are candidates for beatification.
PORTUGAL
CUPAV – Lisbon’s Jesuit center dedicated to university students – is hosting, this year, from October until June – “Projecto 18.91”, in English: “Project 18.91”, an introductory course on the Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC) with a special method inspired by the Ignatian Pedagogical Paradigm (reading – lecture – Q&A – personal reflection, sharing in groups), motivated by the recent publication of “DoCat”. The name Projecto '18 .91 'refers to the year in which the Encyclical of Pope Leo XIII 'Rerum Novarum 'was published, which became a fundamental pillar of the Church's Social Doctrine. There are 100 participants, aged between 20 and 30 and 9 lecturers, one for each monthly session. The mains goals are, first, to get people informed about how the Church interprets the links between the Gospel and social thought and, second, to incentivize an autonomous approach to doctrine in general, and third to insist on the relationship between doctrine and daily life. The initiative came from a group of young laymen and was supported by Fr. João Goulão sj, the director of CUPAV. The two first sessions were a success. When asked about how did the first session go, Rui Fernandes sj, a Jesuit student from Santarém, the first speaker at Projecto 18.91 on the topic: “Being Christian in the society – Church and society”, says: “I was very surprised by the number of people participating, also very happy to see the interest people demonstrated. From what I could perceive, I think there is a clear desire of deepening; people want to get to know stuff, they want to have an intelligent reading of them and I think that is a very good sign”. Fr. Francisco Mota sj, the speaker of November talked about the main principles of SDC. In his opinion, Projecto 18.91 “is a pertinent project, that was missing in the Portuguese Church (…) the method helps.. this relationship between a lecture and previous reading has many benefits, helps to prepare the theme before it starts, helps to dispose oneself to listen what is to be said. It’s a type of course that permits decentralizing preoccupations and doing so it can bring unity to our Church. We are studying what concerns the SDC, we are at a catechesis, being loyal to the text and applying what we learn into daily life. I hope that this is a work that brings unity.”

In-depth Reflection

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
On Monday 20th November the second Steering Committee of the HEST project (Higher Education for Social Transformation) took place, with the collaboration of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas. The meeting was presided over by Father Franck Janin, President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, and was attended by the two coordinators of the seven research groups that make up the project, together with Father Peter Rozic, delegate of the Social Apostolate in Europe, Father Jaime Tatay representing the Cultural Journals in Europe, and the two coordinators of the project: José Carlos Romero and Iciar Villacieros. The meeting had two distinct parts: The morning was mainly dedicated to present the progress of the project in this first year of its life. It was highlighted that the 7 groups have already been formed and are in the process of defining their respective action plans for the next two years; plans that, in addition to including the research activity of any academic project, will also include a programme of advocacy activities related to the study topic. After updating the situation of the project, the afternoon was devoted to working on the social transformation dimension that HEST intends to address. The coordinators proposed a working group session, which consisted of answering two questions: 1. What does social transformation mean for my own discipline? 2. What actions aimed at this social transformation can I foresee that could be carried out in the context of the project? After that time of work, we concluded the session with a sharing of the reflections that each group had made, followed by some practical questions and a final evaluation. Finally, after saying goodbye to some assistants, the rest of the group celebrated the Eucharist in the chapel of the Mag+s office and continued with a dinner at the Mandela Restaurant. This second HEST Executive Committee was a wonderful occasion to confirm that the project is slowly but firmly established on the horizon of the collaborative work of the intellectual apostolate of our Conference. And that is something to be congratulated and thanked for.
PORTUGAL
Ignatian seminar: The inspiration of Mary and of the Ignatian Spirituality on the role of women in the Church “Come and see: with Mary, see” was the inspiration for the 12th Study Seminar on Ignatian Spirituality (SEEI) that took place from November 17 to 19, in Fátima, Portugal, and was organized by the Portuguese Province of the Society of Jesus. About 400 people from different communities and Ignatian groups, scattered throughout the country, gathered for two days of debate and sharing. In the light of Mary, whose apparition is celebrated in this centennial year, SEEI was an opportunity to meet and reflect on the paths that the Church and each Christian are called to follow. The role of women in the Church was one of the main topics of the event. “Women must have in the Church the role they had for Jesus in the Gospel”, said Father Vasco Pinto de Magalhães sj, speaker at the event. “Women should have an increasingly active and considered voice, and should have the intervening role that is due to them, at all levels.” About the priesthood of women, Fr. Pinto de Magalhães encouraged the reflection on the best way “to mature, in the Church, the feminine side of the sacerdotal charisma received in the baptism”. The Italian theologian Stella Morra, professor at the Gregorian Pontifical University, stated that “women in the Church already animate the lives of Christian communities, contribute to pastoral action at the local and national level, teach theology, and in many cases, guide liturgical acts in the absence of the priest." Stella Morra encouraged a collective and fearless discernment by the Church as a diverse and collective people, the "us ecclesial", looking at the present times as promising for the conversation about diversity in the Church. Other topics of Marian inspiration were part of SEEI: "the openness to the Spirit", addressed by Fr. Carlos Carneiro sj, or "the vocation for justice" by Joana Morais e Castro. Inspiring personal stories were also told by women and men who, like Mary, let God incarnate in their lives. Margarida Alvim, Teresa Olazabal, Isabel Figueiredo and Filipe Costa Lima shared some of the testimonies.Organized since 1991, SEEI takes place every two years. The book with the speeches of the Study Seminar on Ignatian Spirituality 2017 will be available soon.
GERMANY
„The Paradise Paper Leaks increase in a timely manner pressure upon European Political Leaders to speed up their efforts to combat aggressive tax avoidance, tax evasion and money laundering. All this causes unacceptable losses of tax revenue, which is needed for investment in infrastructure, education, containment of climate change or the reduction of inequality and public debt. It is further expression of the disdain which private, corporate and criminal wealth holder display against democratically defined obligations and violates the Principle of Ability to Pay for the Commonwealth”, says Fr. Jörg Alt SJ. “A number of countermeasures are indeed underway since the Panama Papers, but there are still too many legal loopholes, administrative shortcomings and attempts of individual states to save their little ‘extra advantages’ in global tax competition.” As to the latter, European states should be aware that among themselves are a number of states which deserve the term “tax haven”, too: it is not correct to point to the Caymans, British Virgin Islands or Mauritius without criticizing equally attractive tax conditions for Big Money in Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Malta or Cyprus. It is also not correct to blame the US or the UK for dragging their feet on counter measures, while states like Germany block attempts suggested by the European Commission to increase public transparency in the beneficial ownership of trusts or shell companies. “Combating the hemorrhage of tax revenue is a complex task for states”, says Alt, “and given the indeed lacking willingness on the side of the US and the UK it would be big progress if the EU 27 could reduce tax avoidance and evasion instruments and end tax have practices within their own area of responsibility, both in the area of legislation and administrative cooperation. This would give the EU also more clout and a moral edge towards other jurisdictions.” Until reforms are in place it should be secured that Whistleblower, revealing these illicit, illegal and criminal malpractices, are not being punished: Given the situation as it is, those leaks are the main driver behind reform movements. Fr. Jörg Alt SJ, PhD, MA, BD, (*1961) works at the Jesuitenmission Office in Nuremberg and is cooperating on the research and advocacy project „Tax Justice &Poverty“ with Jesuit institutions in Kenya and Zambia, See http://www.taxjustice-and-poverty.org/
RUSSIA
In November St Thomas Institute in Moscow has become the place of two ecumenical events. On November, 17-20, we hosted a patristics seminar on the teachings of St Irenaeus of Lyons as the bridge between Western and Eastern theology, where the main speaker was Paul Mattei, a renowned French scholar, scientific advisor of the Institut des Sources Chrétiennes. The participants represented various Orthodox academic institutions (for example, Moscow Spiritual Academy), as well as other Christian communities (including Roman and Armenian Catholics). Patristics is one of the topics where there is higher interest in dialogue on the part of our Eastern brothers in faith, so such academic events are a priority for us.  Another initiative was a colloquium on the theological issue of justification, organized together with the Lutheran community of Moscow on November, 21-23. Rev. Jose Vegas from the Catholic seminary of Saint-Petersburg and Rev. Anton Tikhomirov from the Lutheran seminary presented the respective views of the two confessions in the first two days, and on the third day there was a debate on various questions, raised by their lectures. It was an excellent occasion to learn about the specifics of the theological views of each of our Christian communities, to abandon prejudices and to be enriched by the others’ experience of faith. Earlier, on October, 13, our Institute co-organized with the Institute of Europe of Russian Academy of Sciences a conference entitled “Defense of religious values in modern society”. Diego Alonso Lasheras SJ from the Gregorian University was the keynote speaker, with a reflection on the contemporary situation in this field in Europe. Among other speakers there was a famous lawyer who shared his experience with representing the cases of the Christian communities before the judicial system in Russia. Recently a group of the students and friends of the Institute visited the newly built Church of Holy New Martyrs and Confessors of Russia on the territory of the famous Sretensky monastery, which is also the home of prestigious Srentenskaya seminary. All of these initiatives aim at promoting dialogue among Christians, the priority of our Institute’s activity. 

Preparing for Mission

UNITED KINGDOM
Please pray for our five novices as they embark today for their various "experiments", a key stage in their journey towards taking their First Vows. “Experiment” is a term Jesuits use to talk about the various activities (designed by St. Ignatius) that test a man’s vocation throughout the two-year novitiate period. All these experiments mirror the various steps taken by St Ignatius after his conversion. For centuries, Jesuit formation has included these same methods as a means to test, stretch, clarify, and confirm the novice’s vocation. Typical novice experiments include hospital work (meaning work with marginalised people, who in St Ignatius' day tended to live in "hospitals" or places of safety run by religious), a pilgrimage, the 30-day Spiritual Exercises, teaching and learning a foreign language.  Paolo, Matthew and Ian (from left to right in the photo) are in their first year as novices.  They will be going to St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales to make the full Spiritual Exercises 30 day retreat, beginning on Saturday 19th. The 30 day retreat is a programme of meditation and contemplation focussing on the life of Christ, which enables the retreatant to deepen their awareness of Christ at work in their life, and the meaning of their vocation.  All Jesuits undertake the full 30 days Spiritual Exercises at least twice during their lives: once in the novitiate and again during tertianship, the final stage of Jesuit formation, which usually occurs about fifteen years later, after ordination and before final vows. Luke and Pascal are in their second year as novices and their experiments involve working alongside marginalised people (hospital work). Luke will be joining Peter McVerry SJ in Dublin to assist in his day centre for homeless people, and helping Gerry Clarke SJ in the parish of St Francis Xavier SJ in Gardiner Street. Pascal will be living in the L’Arche community in Preston, one of eleven such communities in the UK where people with and without learning disabilities share life together, living and working in community.  Pascal will join six disabled community members, supporting them to access local colleges, to get involved with local organisations and churches and to get out to leisure facilities.  Please do remember them very especially in your prayers.
UNITED KINGDOM
Please pray for Kensy Joseph SJ who was ordained to the diaconate on Saturday 11th November at Holy Name Church Manchester by the Right Rev John Arnold, Bishop of Salford. Concelebrating were Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ and the Superior of the Manchester community Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ, along with assistant chaplain Fr William Pearsall SJ and over twenty other Jesuits and diocesan clergy.  Music was beautifully performed by the Manchester University chaplaincy praise group,led by Afonso Luís Barroso and Hana Bútorová. Soloists Kirsten Miller and Rebecca Clayton of the chaplaincy Classical Choir Group led the Litany of the Saints. The organist was Simon Leach and lead pianist was Patrick Goh. Kensy, who was brought up in Kuwait, was joined by his parents and brother, who had travelled from India, and other relatives who had all travelled long distances.  Kensy’s family were very much involved in the ceremony with his parents undertaking his vesting with the liturgical vestments of the deacon, his brother Kevin reading from Isaiah in Malayalan, and his cousins bringing up the offertory. Kensy, Bishop John, Fr Provincial and Kensy's familyIn his homily Bishop John reminded Kensy of some of Pope Francis’ advice to clergy on the need to be in three places at once: at the front leading by example – the example of the gospel manifested in our action; in the middle alongside the flock we are trying to serve, so that we can understand their problems and recognise and harness their gifts; and at the back, making sure no one is left behind or marginalised. Bishop John referred to the pope’s encyclical Evangelii Gaudium in which he asked the people of God to become missionary disciples – tasked with growing in our personal faith and our love of others.  He reminded Kensy that those ordained have a special responsibility to help people on this faith journey, discovering how they can best use their personal gifts to serve God.  He finished with a blessing: “I wish you well on your journey, so that through you many may come to know the power of Christ, I will be with you on your journey blessing all that you do”. Kensy joined the Jesuit novitiate in Birmingham in 2007.  He studied Philosophy at Heythrop and in Pune, India, and took his Bachelor of Divinity at Heythrop in 2016.  During his two-year regency he taught Religion, Philosophy and Maths in Limerick, Ireland.  He is currently completing an MA in Religions and Theology at Manchester University, and has been a member of the Manchester Universities’ chaplaincy team since August 2016. Please also remember in your prayers Philip Harrison SJ, who joined the Jesuit novitiate with Kensy in 2007.  He will be ordained deacon in Bogota Colombia, where he is completing his Theology studies, on 25th November. Both Philip and Kensy will be ordained to the priesthood in London in June.
GERMANY
Pia Dyckmans and GER Provincial Fr. Johannes Siebner Shortly before the end of the year, the German Province of the Jesuits will receive a new public relations and PR official. Pia Dyckmans succeeds Thomas Busch, who after 18 years has taken over the public relations of the Order, as of 1 December. Dyckmans was previously a radio editor at the Sankt Michaelsbund in Munich, the Catholic media house of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, and a trainee at Vatican Radio in Rome. The 28-year-old comes from the Lower Rhine, but has moved it to the South: first to St. Blasien to the Jesuit boarding school and then to Munich for her studies in theology and German. There she also attended the Catholic School of (Institut zur Förderung publizistischen Nachwuchses e. V. ifp), in order to train as a journalist while studying. After 18 years Father Siebner says goodbye to Thomas Busch as the press and media relations officer with great gratitude.: "Personally, as in the name of the Order, I express my heart felt thanks and wish him all the best for the future." New JESUITEN redaction Also in our publication JESUITEN there will be some changes of personnel: From 2018 Tobias Zimmermann SJ will take over the post of editor-in-chief of JESUITEN in addition to his duties as rector of the Canisius-Kolleg in Berlin. He succeeds Klaus Mertes SJ, who has decisively shaped the profile of this publication since 2007. At the same time, there will also be a change in the editorial office. Thomas Busch commit the post of CvD (Chief of Service) to his successor Pia Dyckmans.