Jesuits in Europe
12 February 2017 marks the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers. On this occasion, Entreculturas and the Jesuit Refugee Service teamed up with the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network to pray and rally for the end of the use of child soldiers. More than 230 million children around the world live in areas affected by armed conflict. Although there is no accurate data on the total number of child soldiers, it is estimated that there are about 250,000. According to the UN, 17 countries and territories are responsible for this human rights violation. Every month, Pope Francis entrusts intentions to his World Prayer Network, focusing on social challenges and the Church's mission. His monthly prayer intention through The Pope's Video is a worldwide call to turn prayer into "concrete gestures". Throughout the month of December, the Pope invited us to pray and mobilize ourselves for the cause of child soldiers and children forced to participate in violence. The only weapon for boys and girls should be education. Coinciding with the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network invites us to support the projects of Entreculturas and the Jesuit Refugee Service to ensure that these children do not spend their childhood on a battlefield. People are also encouraged to support Pope Francis' initiative by signing the related petition. The campaign has been launched in both English and Spanish and has been shared in more than 20 countries. More info: menoressoldado.entreculturas.org Picture slider homepage: National Speakers Bureau, Canada
General Congregation 36: FACT or FICTION? This was my overarching thought as I read about GC 36 – It was about a group of men who have been discerning ‘the call made to us today by the Lord amidst the cry of the peoples of the earth for a more humane life’ (Letter from Arturo Sosa S.I. as forward to GC 36 Decree 1&2). Could it be that these men heard the call of God? This is quite a declaration. The next question I had was - What’s going to happen now? Is this going to revolutionise the world? Is everyone going to sit up and take notice? I’ve worked with the Irish Jesuit Province since 2007 and I am still struck by the people I work with. Since the day I started I’ve met genuine people of integrity who really care about the world we live in, the people in this world and their role in it. This was something I hadn’t met so much while working in an international transport company for sixteen years! Don’t get me wrong, the people I worked with prior to working with the Jesuits were good people but they wouldn’t have approached a general meeting of the organization the way the Jesuits did. I was quite amazed by the preparation that took place. I’ve heard of the meetings that took place in Jesuit Community houses and in Jesuit Apostolates to prepare for GC 36. I was also struck by the number of Jesuits who went to Rome to actively participate in GC36. These men took this very seriously. Forgive me if I seem to be a bit in awe of this process but that’s not the way the world usually works – look how politicians work, look how business people work, look how educators work – the list goes on. The rest of our culture goes about its business very differently. So, what did God say to the Jesuits at GC 36 – again, I was quite amazed! Here is a small example of what has been proposed: ‘The poverty of life and proximity to the poor of the First Companions in Venice must mark our lives too, that poverty that engenders creativity and protects us from what limits our availability to respond to God’s call.’ (Decree 1:6) ‘In our communities and apostolates, we hear the call to rediscover hospitality to strangers, to the young, to the poor, and to those who are persecuted. Christ himself teaches us this hospitality.’ (Decree 1:16) ‘This Congregation is deeply convinced that God is calling the entire Society to a profound spiritual renewal.’ (Decree 1: 18) ‘A special gift Jesuits and the Ignatian family have to offer to the Church and her mission of evangelization is Ignatian spirituality, which facilitates the experience of God and can therefore greatly help the process of personal and communal conversion. (Decree 1:23) ‘….we hear Christ summon us anew to a ministry of justice and peace, serving the poor and the excluded and helping build peace.’ (Decree1:25) ‘The current economic system with its predatory orientation discards natural resources as well as people. For this reason, Pope Francis insists that the only adequate solution must be a radical one.’ (Decree 1:29) These are radical calls – a life of poverty, one that rediscovers hospitality to strangers, a call to a profound spiritual renewal realising that Ignatian spirituality is our special gift. The only adequate solution is a radical one. Decree 2 is also quite revolutionary. I was struck mostly by the writings on collaboration. Collaboration had been recognised in GC 34 and GC 35. It’s good to see it being focussed on in GC 36. There are many working in the area of collaboration: Delegates, Projects, Committees and the Secretariat for Collaboration (Edward Fassett SJ). How can the Society support further collaboration? This is a real challenge but a necessary one for the future, especially in the western world. Jesuit numbers are in decline while employees and volunteers within the society are steadily increasing. The African Assistancy is the only one with an increasing number of Jesuits over the last ten years. Networks are also supported in Decree 2 – the Jesuit Refugee Service, the Apostleship of Prayer, the Christian Life Communities, Social Justice Networks and Education Networks being those most developed. How can these be supported and other networks developed? These are real challenges for the Society. What’s going to happen now? – This is a question I asked at the outset - the answer will determine if GC36 will become fact or fiction. I hope it will be FACT. Joe Greenan is "Human Resource Director, Irish Jesuit Province and Provincial's Delegate for Sacred Space website and the Pioneer Association" Documents of General Congregation 36 of the Society of Jesus Download the documents
Adolfo Nicolàs says farewell to the Jesuit curia in Rome leaving warm hearts and grateful memories It is Wednesday February 15th in Rome. At 9am the air is still chilly but the sky is blue - a promise of warmth later in the day. The Jesuit community of the curia has gathered at the front door, along with lay collaborators, to say goodbye to Father Adolfo Nicolás. He is leaving Rome after over 8 years of service as Superior General. He embraces each of us in turn, offering a word of encouragement or sharing a special memory. He lingers somewhat longer to speak with and to embrace his successor, Arturo Sosa. Then he turns, waves goodbye, gets into a modest car and heads off to Fiumicino airport. He is on his way to Manila. It is the next phase of his Jesuit journey. So much has happened since Adolfo Nicolàs took office in January 2008: his emphasis on creativity linked to depth; his exhortation to avoid distractions; his letter on restructuring Provinces; his stress on team building in the Curia; his wisdom; his unique formation coming from a blend of early life in Spain with later years spent in the East; his love of the poor; all of this is remembered fondly in the Curia and, indeed across the world. During his Generalate, perhaps the biggest change in the Church and in the Society, was the election of Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis. Overnight, we had a Pope who used Ignatian terminology; who promoted discernment; who lived simply; who loved the poor; who spoke ordinary language. Pope Francis related easily and with affection to Adolfo Nicolás. That affection was visible when the Holy Father came to visit the Curia on Sunday 12th February for a farewell lunch for Adolfo Nicolás. It was a simple affair: no big speeches except for a moving tribute from Joaquín Barrero, the local Superior. The Pope wanted to come and honour this man with whom he had journeyed over the last number of years and with whom he had built up a strong relationship of trust and affection. Many of us were profoundly moved as we thought of the service Adolfo Nicolàs – Nico to his friends from Asia - had given. We knew the personal cost it had taken. We appreciated the way in which he had led the Society with humour, with generosity and, above all, with love. We wish him well as he takes up a new life in Manila. Ad multos annos. John Dardis SJ
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Father General has appointed Fr Franck Janin as President of the Conference of European Provincials. Fr Janin is currently provincial of South Belgium and Luxembourg. Born in France in 1958, Franck joined the Society of Jesus in 1984 in the Province of South Belgium and Luxembourg (BML). Part of his formation was in Toronto, Canada. He was socius of the novice master and novice master in the joint novitiate of North and South Belgium from 1995-2000 after which he joined the team in the spiritual centre of the South Belgian Jesuits near Namur, becoming the Director in 2002. He has been Provincial of BML since 2011. “I am really honoured and humbled that Fr General has chosen me to take up this mission” said Fr Janin. “Europe is at a key moment in its history. Many people are wondering about its future. However Pope Francis recently said that Europe now “is called to rediscover its proper identity’ and that “this requires recovering its roots in order to shape its future’. I believe that the Society of Jesus, based as we are in so many parts of Europe has a valuable role to play in helping Europe recover these roots. Our spirituality, which helps people find God in their lives in a very personal way and be rooted in Him, which stresses the importance of dialogue between cultures, faiths and religions, which wants to promote reconciliation and justice (GC 36) has something precious to give. The question is how to offer what we have with humility but also with confidence. Europe is looking for a new vision. My hope is that we, European Jesuits and all of those with whom we share and carry the mission entrusted to us by Christ, together could be more and more a sign that unity and communion are possible.” Key projects underway in the Conference just now include a project entitled Higher Education for Social Transformation, linking the Jesuit faculties and Universities with the Jesuit social centres. The CEP is currently also running an Ignatian Leadership programme as well as workshops on the safeguarding of minors. “I am delighted that Franck Janin has been chosen by Father General to be the CEP President” said Fr. John Dardis, the current President. “He brings many great qualities including those of creativity, energy and real spiritual depth as well as expertise in discernment. The role of a Conference President involves building relationships among the Major Superiors and helping to promote a more universal vision. I pray that my successor will enjoy his new mission and that he will feel God’s closeness and love as he prepares to take up the role.” The CEP is composed of 22 provinces and 2 regions and has over 4,000 Jesuits as well as thousands of collaborators. On July 31st, the provinces of South Belgium-Luxembourg and France will form one new province; Fr Janin has played a key role in this development. Fr Janin will take office in late summer 2017. Read also: "Getting to know the new CEP President"
On February 8th, a public meeting with Cardinal Dieudonné Nzapalainga, Archbishop of Bangui (Central African Republic) and Shayi Tidiani Moussa Niaibi, Imam of the Great Mosque of Granada, took place in the auditorium of the Jesuit Faculty of Theology at Granada. The meeting was organized by the Combonian Missionaries and their magazine Mundo Negro in collaboration with the Jesuit Faculty. Cardinal Nzapalainga and Imam Niaibi created in the Central African Republic a platform for interreligious dialogue in response to the violence in their country, largely by foreign interests, which often are presented as being linked with religious motivations. The narration of these actions for peace and justice were deeply emotional. The talk was a great encouragement for the effort of the Faculty promoting dialogue with Islam. On the other hand, Radio ECCA arranged a meeting with Alexis, a catholic parish priest, Patit Pavan, from Hare Krishna and José Pérez from The Baha'i Faith. They talked about hope, ethics, faith and spirituality. This talk was an introduction to a new meeting that would take place days later with 16 different confessions.
Andrew Garfield, currently starring as a 17th century Jesuit missionary in the Martin Scorsese film Silence, has been talking about his experience of undertaking a silent retreat at St Beuno’s Spirituality Centre in North Wales. The actor was guest on the Graham Norton Show on BBC One on Friday, alongside Annette Bening, Harriet Harman and Asa Butterfield . Part of the preparation for playing Jesuit priests in the film, Garfield explained, was for fellow actor Adam Driver and himself to immerse themselves in Ignatian Spirituality. Describing Silence as "an amazing film”, he said that Martin Scorsese had made something quite profound. "But, one of things that we did was: we went on a silent retreat in Wales, at a place called St Beuno’s, which is a beautiful Christian retreat house … So, we had about eight days together; we had met each other once in New York ... and then we met each other again in Wales in total silence for seven days!” Andrew Garfield said on the programme that both he and Driver accepted fully the week’s silence and the only way the two actors communicated with each other was through mime; and he seemed surprised that none of the audience-members had ever gone on a silent retreat. “I found it to be a beautiful experience - gorgeous,” he went on, “and I very quickly got used to my own company and … creating a real intimacy with yourself.”Actor and retreatant, Andrew Garfield Shining a light on weaknesses and failings Part of the experience that Garfield found most disturbing was after he and Driver had completed the seven-day retreat. “We lost our minds!” he said, “this was the weird thing. We got into a car together and we had a three-hour car ride to the airport together. And it was just this torrent - this outpouring of the most vile language and imagery. It was if the devil was going: ‘where have you been for the last seven days?’ It was really scary - it was genuinely frightening! And giggling and crying with laughter.” Fr Roger Dawson SJ, the Director of St Beuno’s, said he was not surprised to hear what Andrew Garfield said. “Jesuit spirituality is about ‘finding God in all things’ and when someone comes on retreat, God takes us as we are, warts and all,” he explained. “Usually when people hear about going on a retreat they think it is about peace and tranquillity, which it can be. But in fact ‘finding God in all things’ means looking at the dark side as well - our weaknesses and failings, as much as (if not more than) our attractive, impressive or even ‘holy’ side … God can shine a light on some of our unattractive areas and say, ‘Look at this!’” Fr Dawson also believed that retreats can be emotionally intense times for a retreatant. “Not everyone might swear, giggle and cry after one, as Garfield said he did, but this may have been his way of releasing the tensions after what he described as a very intense spiritual experience for him.” You can read Frances Murphy's review of Silence on Thinking Faith, the online journal of the Jesuits in Britian. And the Graham Norton Show is available on BBC iPlayer. The section of the interview with Andrew Garfield in which he recalls his time at St Beuno's starts approximately 36 minutes into the programme.
Broadcaster and singer Aled Jones stopped off at St Beuno’s Jesuit Retreat and Spirituality Centre recently, when he visited north Wales to film an episode of Songs of Praise. He was following the pilgrim trail to Bardsey Island, reputed to be the resting place of 20,000 saints. Bardsey Island (Welsh: Ynys Enlli) lies less than two miles (3.1 km) off the Llŷn Peninsula in the Welsh county of Gwynedd. Saint Cadfan built a monastery on it in 516, and it has been a major centre for pilgrimage since medieval time. The monastery that belonged to the Augustinian Canons Regular was dissolved in 1537 and its buildings were demolished by Henry VIII; but the island remains an attraction for pilgrims to this day. En route to Bardsey Island, the Songs of Praise team visited St Beuno’s, near St Asaph, which was built in 1848 as a place of study for Jesuits. Originally a "theologate" (a place for trainee priests to study theology), it was unusually dedicated to a well-known local abbot, St Beuno, not to a traditional Jesuit saint. When the theologate moved to Heythrop College in Oxfordshire in 1926, it became a place of study for the last year of Jesuit training, the tertianship, also serving as a place of refuge for Jesuit novices who were sent from London during the Blitz of the Second World War. In the 1970s, it started developing its current role as a retreat and spirituality centre; and the 19th century building that had been designed by Joseph Aloysius Hansom (best known for the Hansom cab) was categorised as a Grade II* listed building and a Welsh Historic Monument in 2002. Silent retreats in the Welsh countryside The Songs of Praise production team say they took a slight turn off the pilgrim path to visit St Beuno’s. “Aled [Jones] explores the exercises of the Society of Jesus’ founder, St Ignatius, and finds out why many people, of Catholic faith and none, still come to silent retreats in the Welsh countryside,” explains Production Coordinator, Lauren Hodgkinson. Among the people that Aled Jones met and interviewed for Songs of Praise was St Beuno’s Director, Fr Roger Dawson SJ who described the BBC One team as “very pleasant and respectful” and James Potter, Chaplain at Wimbledon College. "I think the whole concept of a silent retreat was quite unusual to them," says James. "I tried to convey some of the understanding I have now, having experienced silent retreats, that the silence isn’t an oppressive vacuum, but a surprisingly fruitful and ‘filled’ experience; and that Ignatius’ exercises give you a real structure and direction to enter into the silence and, through it, to discover how to find enrichment and connection with God and your deeper self." Also interviewed for the programme, which was broadcast on 12 February, were Deputy Director and member of the retreat-giving team, Sr Anne Morris DHS, and Heather Ann Batterbee, who helps cater for retreatants and was interviewed in the refectory. Although St Beuno’s most famous resident probably remains Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ (1844-1889) who studied theology there between 1874 and 1877, the Welsh retreat centre has been in the news recently because actors Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver undertook a seven-day silent retreat there, in preparation for their roles in the Martin Scorsese film Silence. In an interview with Graham Norton, Garfield described St Beuno’s as “a beautiful Christian retreat house” and said that the experience of the retreat was “gorgeous”, although it was emotionally draining. Songs of Praise from north Wales, including the interviews at St Beuno's, is available on the BBC iPlayer until 14 March 2017.
Month of Spiritual Exercises in English 1st to 30th July 2017 Spiritual directors : Pep Giménez sj and Paul Pace sj Immersed in the same geography where Saint Ignatius lived the Spiritual Exercises and praying in the various Ignatian holy places: close to Cardoner river, inside the Hospital of Santa Lucía and specially in the Holy Cave; with the hope to achieve the Consolation of “feeling and tasting internally” same as the pilgrim of Loyola did it in Manresa. Lluís Magriñà, sj Director More information
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Brussels, 20 January 2017 – JRS Europe is pleased to present Jose Ignacio Garcia, SJ, as the new Regional Director. He takes up the reins from Jean-Marie Carriere, SJ. Garcia takes up the leadership of JRS in Europe with a wealth of European affairs experience behind him. From 2009 to 2016 he led the Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC) in Brussels conducting research and advocacy on migration, climate change and social justice. During this time Garcia also coordinated work of the Jesuit Social Ministry in Europe, assisting and promoting the many Jesuit charities and organisations seeking to help vulnerable and marginalized people. “We’re facing a double challenge at the moment. First, as we have seen over the last two years, increasing numbers of people are seeking protection in Europe and we need to increase our capacities and resources accordingly. Second, there is a rising negative public opinion against newcomers and foreigners. We need to boost our awareness raising capabilities and ability to shape political discourse. At the same time, we acknowledge the strong response from civil society and many individuals,” says Garcia. Speaking about the current work of JRS in Europe, Garcia says: “I appreciate very much the work of so many people in the field committed to refugees and migrants.” “We feel strongly supported by Pope Francis and we feel his message is very focused, as in his speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg. We appreciate his work in setting up new structures within the Church to help migrants and refugees.” Thanking his predecessor in the post, Garcia says: “My dream is to keep the same leadership and to continue building from the same lines and vision that Jean-Marie brought to JRS and to continue strengthening the path he identified in the midst of a very turbulent time for refugees in Europe. I would like to express my gratitude for the work, cohesion and vision that Jean-Marie brought and look forward to strengthening our common work across the 18-plus JRS country offices in Europe.” It is not the first time that Garcia has worked with JRS. From 1992 to 1994 he was part of the JRS operation in Malawi and at the end of the civil war in Mozambique. The experience of helping refugees in Africa left a lasting impression: “JRS one day, JRS forever,” says Garcia with a smile.
The second phase of OFICINA’s Bgreen // ecological film festival managed to gather 300 students around the environmental concern. For two days, OFICINA’s students were able to use their creativity in the service of ecology. This year’s edition was even more special due to the presence of former students. Every year the BGREEN marathon is an excellent opportunity for students to put their technical and creative skills into practice. This year was no exception. In groups of four elements, students planned and produced a video for the festival that has conquered the four corners of the world. Under the slogan The Glocal Effect: local action, global future, this year’s edition challenges students to awaken local consciousness towards a global attitude. Another special moment of the marathon was the awarding of the prizes to the students who won the 2016 school competition. Miguel Melo and Rui Sousa, former audiovisual students, came back to school to receive their Polaroid Cube. Miguel Melo highlighted the creative dimension of BGREEN. “Our spot is a result of our humor and at the same time of our concern for the environment. I think this is the secret ingredient, the festival’s recipe. We challenge all students at OFICINA to be creative and bold in their ideas, so that they can stand out from all others.“ For Rui Sousa, “better than winning the Alphonse Luisier Award is to see our effort recognized as the award is simply one more way to show our commitment and dedication. I have to thank OFICINA for having provided an exemplary education at a professional and personal level, for those are the tools I will require to be successful”.
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
The spread of fake news has made truth and lies an urgent topic of political and social debate. The Association for the German Language chose the new idiom “postfaktisch” (post-truth) as its Word of the Year for 2016. The publisher of the Oxford Dictionary also chose the English term “post-truth” as its International Word of the Year for 2016. This is symptomatic of the finding that objective facts in political and social discussions are becoming increasingly replaced by emotions and arbitrary claims. In this edition of Europe Infos, Mari Sol Pérez Guevara describes the significant role of social networks in the spread of fake news. But what is truth? In the classic philosophical sense, truth is the correspondence of a statement with reality. The opposite of truth is a lie – a deliberate falsehood. Lies were openly spread during the campaigns for both the UK “Brexit” referendum and the US presidential election. In the former, claims were plastered on the sides of London buses that the UK pays £350 million a week to the EU, yet just one day after the referendum, Brexit proponent Nigel Farage admitted that this claim was untrue. Again, while on the campaign trail, Donald Trump had insisted that Barack Obama was the founder of the terrorist organisation “Islamic State”. The truth has never been given an easy ride in politics. There are politicians who, while refusing to lie, see no obligation to tell the whole truth all the time. This is especially true regarding the honouring of existing agreements. One week before the election of the EU Parliament’s new president, Manfred Weber, leader of the European People's Party, disclosed an agreement – hitherto kept secret – in which the social democrats had pledged their support for a conservative successor halfway through the legislative term. Weber warned them not to break their word. But even the reaching of this agreement and the fact that it had been kept secret were enough to pose problems, and only served to confirm and bolster the public’s growing mistrust of politicians. It is said that in times of war, the first victim is truth. In his essay, “Perpetual Peace”, Immanuel Kant demanded that “some confidence in the way of thinking of the enemy must remain even in the midst of war”, since otherwise it is impossible to conclude any peace. This can be applied to politics in the sense that some confidence in the truthfulness even of a political opponent must be maintained, otherwise the most important, most valuable capital in politics would be lost: trust. But it is not only a matter of trust between politicians one to the other, but of the trust of citizens in the political process itself. The French bishops got to the heart of this most convincingly in their essay, Rediscovering the meaning of politics in a changing world”1, which attracted a lot of attention within the Church and beyond: “The crisis in politics is first and foremost a crisis of confidence in those who are responsible for looking after the common good and general interests.” This also touches the foundations of the European Union, which Jean Monnet described in 1950 as: “We are here to undertake a common task – not to negotiate for our own national advantage, but to seek it to the advantage of all.” A prerequisite for this is honesty and truthfulness. Or, put more simply, to follow the eight of the Ten Commandments: You shall not tell lies. Martin Maier SJ, JESC Translated from the original text in German
Statement from the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S. on Trump Administration’s Executive Order on Immigration and Refugees January 30, 2017 — As members of a global religious order that works to form men and women of conscience and compassion, we denounce the Trump Administration’s Executive Order suspending and barring refugees and banning nationals of seven countries as an affront to our mission and an assault on American and Christian values. The Jesuits — through our work in high schools, colleges, parishes and signature ministries such as Jesuit Refugee Service — have a long, proud tradition of welcoming and accompanying refugees, regardless of their religion, as they begin their new lives in the United States. We will continue that work, defending and standing in solidarity with all children of God, whether Muslim or Christian. The world is deeply troubled, and many of our brothers and sisters are justifiably terrified. Our Catholic and Jesuit identity calls us to welcome the stranger and to approach different faith traditions and cultures with openness and understanding. We must not give in to fear. We must continue to defend human rights and religious liberty. As Pope Francis said, “You cannot be a Christian without living like a Christian.”
Youth & Media
Innsbruck – Student chaplains from Switzerland, Austria, Germany, Lithuania and the Czech Republic have met in Innsbruck for an exchange of ideas. Between Vilnius in the north and Luzern in the south, between Luzern in the west and Vilnius in the east the cities Leipzig, Dresden, Bern, München, Zürich, Innsbruck and Graz are located. Confreres working in student ministry coming from these cities met in Innsbruck from 2.2.- 4.2. We, the people involved in the University parish in Innsbruck, Benjamin Furthner SJ, Hernán Rojas SJ and I, we showed our premises, prayed Vespers together with students and settled in for an cosy evening in our Jesuit community. The aim of the meeting was an exchange of ideas, working on a specific chosen topic and questions concerning the future of our work. Whereas in München, Graz, Luzern and Zürich numbers of paid staff are shaping the catholic university parishes, at the other places the students are bearer of church activities and church life. We talked about our strong and weak points, just as joyful surprises and new initiatives and ideas. We read an article concerning the “unusable god” to focus on the question of believers and ministers telling others that god is necessary, but these people apparently not sharing this need of god in their lives. Not even for a so called fulfilling life. What are the opportunities and possibilities of a student ministry considering this fact? We talked about our Jesuit contribution to the upcoming synod of bishops 2018 “youth, faith and vocational discernment”. We Jesuits form a big catholic network which has the possibility to exchange best practice, which led us to pondering how to strengthen this network of Jesuit student chaplains in Europe. In addition to face-to-face encounter in a good mood we also celebrated mass together. Picture: 1st row: P. Christian Braunigger SJ, P. Michael Beschorner SJ; 2nd row: F. Hernán Rojas SJ, P. Ladislav Nosek SJ, P. Albert Holzknecht SJ, P. Martin Rauch SJ, P. Holger Adler SJ, P. Gernot Wisser SJ, P. Franz-Xaver Hiestand SJ, P. Andreas Schalbetter SJ.
On January 22nd 2017 almost 80 people’s voices echoed in the Jesuit Social Centre "W Akcji” ("In Action”) in Warsaw, Poland, during the 5th intercultural christmas carols concert. Refugees, volunteers and friends of the institution gathered to sing Polish, Belorussian, Bulgarian, Arab, English, Spanish, Ukrainian, Slovak and other languages. The Jesuit Social Centre’s mission is to serve refugees locally and globally, promote faith and justice and also to give volunteers a chance to grow by helping others.
The European Committee for Primary and Secondary Jesuit Education (JECSE) has organized in Manresa a meeting of Deputy Directors (Secondary Education). 107 leaders of Jesuit European education attended the meeting. 31 were from the Spanish Delegation (Educsi). The congress has deepened into the Ignatian Pedagogy and how the Ignatian leadership can provide answers for the next generations. With different dynamics, special importance has been given to belonging to a great and lively tradition such as Jesuit Education. The two main working areas were the talks of Fr. Antonio España sj, director of Colegio del Recuerdo (Madrid), and Ulrike Gentner, from the Ignatian Pedagogical Center of Ludwigshafen am Rhein (Germany). On Friday they shared the conclusions centred on the sense of the educational mission of the Society of Jesus.
Innovation was the main issue at the 6th Assembly of Education Directors in Madrid, on February 9 and 10. More than 100 representatives of 72 Jesuit schools from Spain and Portugal attended the meeting. They debated about innovation based on Ignatian pedagogy. The current situation of this area is at a turning point. This follows from the results of a survey carried out by Enric Caturla, from JesuÏtes Educació and Rafel Barceló, from Montesión school in Palma. This survey for directors shows that "education teams are determined to continue innovating within the framework of the Ignatian Pedagogy". "The driving forces of innovation are children and primary education, where teachers are fully involved with these practices; there is more resistance to change in Secondary education" Caturla said. Contextualizing the survey results, he concluded that in the Jesuit centers it does not work any innovation, but the one in line with the educational ideas of the Society of Jesus.
Preparations for the Jesuit Universities and Faculties Meeting in July. Diversity. This is one of the first words that come to our minds when we think about all the Jesuit Higher Education institutions in Europe and the Near East. How can we think of networking in Higher Education given this diversity of cultures, languages, contexts …? On the 18th of February, Father General addressed many Jesuits at the Vidyajyoti Theology Faculty in Delhi to discuss this same topic and to encourage them to network more in order to be more effective in their ministries. Can this happen in Europe and the Near East when the realities are so different? This is one of the key topics that the Rectors and Deans of Higher Education Institutions will discuss in Paris from the 9th to the 14th of July 2017. The Steering Committee organising this meeting, met the past 15th of February at Centre Sèvres (the institution that will be hosting this event). This group, formed by Philip Endean SJ, Tomas García-Huidobro SJ and Carlos Coupeau SJ, was missioned by the JCEP to think on the sessions that would help the discussion on further collaboration of the Higher Education Institutions in Europe and the Near East. The task is not easy. Does the Conference need something like what exists in Latin America (AUSJAL) or in North America (AJCU)? Is there a need for something different? Is there no need at all? What about UNIJES, which is doing a good job in Spain? Many questions will be addressed in July. The words of the first father, however, came to their minds to cast a light on the whole issue: "Each should have a knowledge of and a concern for the others, leading to a richer harvest of souls; for spiritual power, as well as natural, is intensified and strengthened when united in a common arduous enterprise far more than if it remains fragmented in many parts" José Carlos Romero, the Coordinator of HEST (Higher Education for Social Transformation), also joined the group. They discussed how the project was going and they worked on the session that will take place in July. A great opportunity to get the feedback and reflections from Rectors and Deans! What will be the outcomes of all of this? We will have to wait until July to know!
Father General Arturo Sosa has urged Jesuits serving in higher education to draw on networking as a way of becoming more effective in their ministries. Speaking to the Vidyajyoti Theology Faculty in Delhi, on February 18, Father General pointed out that "The 36th General Congregation makes a strong invitation to Jesuits to collaborate and network as the way of proceeding to be effective in our mission today." He observed that Jesuits are responsible for over 200 faculties of philosophy and theology, as well as higher education institutions around the world. "Taking seriously the General Congregation's invitation, I want to insist that you and all the Higher Education institutions in South Asia form an effective network. This would be the best way to improve collaboration among Jesuit institutions," he said. Read more...
From Facebook to databases, the Bollandists remain young! Why is Valentine the patron saint of lovers? Where do the names of the three Magi appear for the first time? Good questions! For the past year and a half now, the Bollandist Society has created a Facebook page where following the liturgical calendar some historical light is shed, in English and French, on a particular question relating to the saint of the day. Some of these posts make it clear that hagiography is actually related to current events: the destruction of the Ummayad Mosque of Aleppo was reported in the media, but who knew it was built with the stones of the sanctuary of the Christian martyrs Cosmas and Damian in Cyrrhus? We are very much aware of the tragedy of child soldiers, so why was one of them, the Mexican José Luis Sánchez del Río († 1928), martyred at the age of 14, canonized last October? Social networks enable the Bollandists to reach a new audience, far wider than that of the academics to whom their traditional publications are addressed, and to make them aware of the “science of the saints”: not a devotion devoid of critical sense, but an academic discipline ready to use the methods of history and philology to illuminate the Christian past (and thus the present). Eighteen months after its launch, nearly 2,600 people regularly follow the page, but it is not uncommon to reach 6000 to 7000 views! Special attention is given to the choice of images: our page is thus an introduction to the richness of the iconography of the saints as well. So many innovations have come to enrich the life of the Bollandists in the last months that it is not possible to list them all. But the arrival of a new Bollandist is too rare an event to be passed over in silence! Marc Lindeijer, from the Dutch Province, worked seven years in our General Curia in Rome as assistant to the postulator general, responsible for the canonization causes of the Jesuits. He will be able to develop his research on modern and contemporary holiness, thanks in particular to the exceptional collection of Positiones - the printed dossiers on the martyrdom or heroic virtues of the servants of God - possessed by the Bollandists, a continuously growing collection. Mrs Irini de Saint Sernin is Greek by birth, Orthodox by religion, and passionate about this four-century old institute with its extraordinary library. The Bollandist Society’s precarious financial position cannot jeopardize its future. We must act. For the past year and a half, she has embarked on a long-term venture aimed at making the Bollandists and their work better known and providing them with the necessary financial support for the pursuit and development of their activities. The first results of her efforts were quick to come. The Baillet Latour Fund has offered a substantial subsidy to digitally catalogue some 22,000 volumes printed before 1800. Three cataloguists have joined the team. The bibliographical data they enter, are immediately available online in the catalogue of the Catholic University of Louvain (UCL) that hosts our catalogue. The Bollandist Society possesses an immense documentation in books and manuscripts, but the inventories are on paper and can only be consulted on the spot. Through electronic databases consultable online, our collections can be made accessible to all. In this way, several scientific projects have been undertaken, in partnership with other academic institutes: census of hagiographic manuscripts, within the broader framework of a database of Greek manuscripts developed by the Institut de Recherche et d’Histoire des Textes (CNRS, Paris); updating and computerization of the Bibliotheca Hagiographica Latina, a directory of Latin hagiographic texts prior to 1500, together with the KULeuven, etc. In order to carry out these projects and ensure the future of the oldest but still young Belgian scientific society, the Bollandist Fund was created within the King Baudouin Foundation: it is intended to collect donations from those who wish to support our great enterprise. Robert Godding, s.j. Director Nouvelles BML, February 2017 Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bollandistes
"Stay in the open sea. Be not just intellectuals but also workers": the mandate of Pope Francis to the writers of "La Civiltà Cattolica" Rome, February 9th, 2017 “La Civiltà Cattolica ” has just published its 4000th issue. The magazine has recently launched editions in four other languages. The Director, Fr. Antonio Spadaro, commented that the publication remains, "Abreast with change, clearly Catholic in orientation but not tribal." During a private audience, Pope Francis gave three words and associated with three Jesuit figures as inspiration for how to proceed: Peter Faber and his restlessness; Matteo Ricci and his incompleteness, his openness of thought, neither closed nor rigid; and Andrea Pozzo, who "imaginatively unlocked open spaces, domes and corridors, there where there were only roofs and walls." The oldest Italian cultural magazine is celebrating this landmark edition with a commemorative volume; but also looks to the future by broadening its international horizons. The Pope met with the writers and staff of the magazine during a special audience. In his speech, the Pope recalled the "special mission" of the magazine, which “is that of being a Catholic magazine. But being a Catholic magazine does not simply mean that it spreads Catholic ideas, as if Catholicism was a philosophy. As your founder, Fr. Carlo Maria Curci, wrote, La Civiltà Cattolica must not “seem like something from the sacristy.” A magazine is truly “Catholic” only if it has Christ’s gaze on the world, and if it transmits it and witnesses to it.” “In my encounter with you three years ago,” said Francis, “I presented your mission to you in three words: dialogue, discernment, frontier. I reaffirm them today. In the greeting note that I sent to you on your 4000th publication, I used the image of the bridge. I like to think of La Civiltà Cattolica as a magazine that is at the same time a “bridge” and a “frontier.” 4000 publications, 5 languages The February 11th 2017 edition will be released with a special surprise on the cover. Created on April 5th 1850, La Civiltà Cattolica, directed by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, is virtually unique in the history of cultural magazines. Before Francis, each thousandth issue has previously been celebrated by the Popes Leo XIII (1892), Pius XI (1933) and Paul VI (1975). 12 Popes have addressed messages and speeches directly to the magazine's writers over the years. These are being published for the first time in the Rizzoli volume, and will be accompanied by an extensive historical introduction. On February 11th, for the first time in the magazines history, four editions of the magazine will be published in Spanish (presented on 9th February at 18.00h in the Embassy of Spain to the Holy See), English (presented on February 28th at 18.30h in the Ambassador’s residence of the United Kingdom to the Holy See), French and Korean. The 4000th edition will be presented at the offices of the magazine in 1, Via di Porta Pinciana on Saturday February 18th at 18:00h at a round table event involving Prof. Giuliano Amato, the Hon. Emma Fattorini and Prof. Andrea Riccardi. Other celebratory events will follow in the coming months. The international dimension of the magazine continues to flourish. "The continuing of the tradition requires growth," suggested Pope Francis in his conversation with Fr. Spadaro, which was published in In your eyes is my word. The magazine – written exclusively by Jesuits - experienced a major graphic design update in 2011, followed by a number of innovations to improve its digital presence. In the meantime, the contributors have grown in number as well as geographical and cultural diversity. Alongside these changes, the magazine is now producing editions in French (Parole et Silence), English (Union of Catholic Asian News), Spanish (Herder) and Korean (by the Korean Province of the Jesuits). This expansion will influence the very identity of the magazine as the perspectives of other countries and cultures become integrated like never before. Pope Francis, in 2013, revived and enriched the mission of the magazine by providing three keywords: dialogue, discernment and border. For La Civiltà Cattolica, these three words have become a program to be implemented faithfully and carefully. The editorial of the first issue from 1850 states: "A Catholic Civilization would not be catholic, that is universal, if it could not be reconciled with public affairs." The Jesuit writers believe this to still be true today.
Preparing for Mission
The president of the Conference has usually four consults per year. This one in Lisbon was the first in 2017. Fr. John Dardis is working simultaneously as President of the Conference and as Counselor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning. For the first time, Fr. Franck Janin, new appointed JCEP President, joined the Conference consult. It is a time of transition at Conference level, many important themes are on the President’s desk that cannot be overlooked. It is also transition times for many provinces in Europe, with important changes coming next summer like the merging of the French and Southern Belgian provinces, and Italy and Malta. Amongst several themes for discussion, there are many ongoing projects and programmes, like the upcoming Conference of Safeguarding in Budapest, Ignatian Leadership Programme in Beirut or the next JCEP general assembly in Ludwigshafen this October. Besides the current and new Presidents of the JCEP, the team is formed by one socius, two counselors, and three moderators (who are elected by the provincials of each assistancy), these three moderators are: Fr. Johan Verschueren, from The Netherlands and Flanders Provinces, Fr. Bernhard Bürgler, from Austrian Province, and Fr. José Frazão Correia, Provincial of Portugal and the host of this event. The Portuguese province was hosting this event, their warm welcoming in Santo Inácio Retreat House was excellent for the Consult process. It was consoling to look at the ocean from the terrace in between each of the consult sessions.
And the small brave steps we can take towards the healing of hearts. Broken hearts and spirits are difficult to heal. There are no easy remedies and comfortable solutions. What can we do then? How can we help those most vulnerable move forward with their lives and regain some of that, often lost, love for creation? The Jesuits in the Netherlands offer us a simple symbolic gesture to walk towards the healing of broken hearts. On Sunday, January 29th, in the Petrus Canisius church (Nijmegen, Netherlands) a monument was unveiled for the victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. In recent years several other churches in Flanders (Bruges, Antwerp) and The Netherlands (Maastricht, Hengelo) had lead the way. It all started with a promise, a promise made by Provincial superior Fr. Johan Verschueren SJ to the victims of the Canisius College. With all of them there had been mediation processes and some form of compensation but Fr. Verschueren felt that a symbolic gesture was needed to finalize the mutual understanding that had grown with time. The monument in Nijmegen is a glass fussion window by Hans Janssen, a local artist. The key word the Jesuits gave him in commissioning this work of art was 'brokenness'. The victims chose the material and the design for the work of art. Furthermore, the place where to put the piece of art was decided by them and they felt that the Canisius church, localized in the city centre of Nijmegen, would be ideal. The large number of people visiting this church to pray, light candles or buy rosaries etc., guaranteed a lasting visibility and awareness of the painful history. Even the precise spot of the monument is symbolic: it is hung in a hall, passageway between outside en inside space. This is no coincidence, since for many victims it is quite hard to enter a church building. In this way it will be accessible for everyone. “The hall was full” said Fr. Theo van Drunen SJ, one of the main organisers behind this event, “the atmosphere was very intense and the attendants were very impressed”. “We hope that this encourages other initiatives in the Church, initiatives that heal hearts and spirits,” added Father Dardis. “This has been a small step, but with a deep meaning” Informative note: The Superiors of the Society of Jesus in Europe and the Near East are organising a conference on the issue of Safeguarding from the 26th to the 29th of March in Hungary this year. All the provincials and participants taking part in this conference are looking forward to this event given the importance of this topic in their provinces. For more information contact email@example.com
During a simple ceremony held in the novitiate of two Polish provinces (PMA, PME) and the Russian Independent Region (RUS), located in Gdynia, Poland, 10 first-year novices received their cassocks. The event was preceded by a 30-day-long so-called "great retreat” during which the candidates reflected on their vocation and relationship with God in light of the Ignatian spirituality. The ceremony began with a liturgy of the word. The novitiate’s master, Fr. Piotr Szymański SJ, recalled words from the Gospel according to Matthew (5:16): No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house." In the same way your cassock should be a visible sign of your love to Jesus” he added. Later on each of the young jesuits received a cassock and the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. Older colleagues helped them wearing the new outfit, which since that moment would be obligatory for all novitiate activities.
Delegate for the Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works Father General has appointed Father Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves (ESP) as his Delegate for the Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works. Father Guerrero Alves was born in 1959; he entered the Society in 1979, and was ordained in 1992. He was provincial of the Castilla Province from 2008 - 2014. In 2014, he moved to the then Mozambique Region (now Zimbabwe-Mozambique Province) where until his new appointment, he has been working, first as Assistant Administrator of the Region and recently as Director of Jesuit Projects in Mozambique and Director of Saint Ignatius Loyola School. Father Guerrero Alves succeeds Father Arturo Sosa (VEN) as Delegate. New Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology Father General appointed Father Xavier Jeyaraj, (CCU), Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology replacing Father Francisco Javier Álvarez de los Mozos (ESP). This appointment will take effect before 15 June of this year. Father Xavier Jeyaraj was born in 1962; he entered the Society of Jesus in 1982 and was ordained a priest in 1993. He has a long experience in social ministries, and he already served as Assistant to the Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology in Rome. The latest issue of Promotio Iustitiae from the Secretariat for Social Justice and Ecology has just been published. It focuses on Jesuits working in the prison ministry across the world. Digital versions are available on the Secretariat website, http://www.sjweb.info/sjs/PJ/