Jesuits in Europe

From September 4 to 6, 2023, Dalibor Renić SJ, the new President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, was in Ukraine, where, together with Father Jarosław Paszyński SJ, Superior of the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus, visited the places where Jesuits serve: Lviv, Chernivtsi and Khmelnytskyi. It was Father Renić’s first visit abroad, immediately after taking up his new position on August 31, 2023. Its goal was to show solidarity with our brothers in Ukraine in the context of the ongoing war.   On September 2, 2023, Dalibor Renić SJ flew to Krakow. On the same day, he met with his brothers from the Residence in Krakow. The next day he concelebrated Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and then met with the College community and the scholastics, who would begin their philosophical studies at the Ignatianum University a month later. During the meeting with the scholastics, Father Renić pointed out that in the European context, the challenge for the Jesuits is the constant care for a deep spiritual life and the ability to discern in order to help people encounter God. On the Sunday evening (September 3, 2023), Fr. Dalibor Renić SJ together with the Provincial Jarosław Paszyński SJ started his journey to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Mission is an integral part of the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus. On Monday, Father Renić met with the Brothers who serve in Lviv and Kyiv. He visited the refugees’ house in Lviv, run by Jesuits (JRS Ukraine ), and a house in Briukhowychi , where JRS Ukraine cooperates with nuns in helping refugees. On Tuesday, Father Renić saw intensive preparations in Chernivtsi for the opening of the “SPACE OF HOPE” project of the Jesuit Center for Spiritual and Psychological Health, Dialogue and Communication next year. The mission of “SPACE OF HOPE” is to be spiritual and psychological help for people from Ukraine who have experienced the effects of the war, then dialogue supporting efforts for a just peace, then forgiveness and reconciliation, and finally communication enabling a meeting on the basis of truth. On Wednesday, Father Dalibor Renić SJ met with the community of Jesuits in Khmelnytskyi, who run a parish and a retreat house, which was transformed into a refugee aid house immediately after the beginning of the war. The next day, Father President returned to Krakow, and in the afternoon he came back to Brussels, where his headquarters is located. For the Jesuits in Ukraine it was a special time of meeting and reflection in an atmosphere of brotherly solidarity. It was very important for Father President to personally be with his brothers where the war was going on.
Thirteen tertians joined the 2023-2024 programme, coming from the Philippines (3), Myanmar, India (2), Poland, Hungary, Germany, France, Canada (2) and the US. Mark from the Philippines has not yet gotten his visa. His arrival is delayed. On Sunday, September 24, the programme was inaugurated by Irmo, Noel, Mar Tay, Vikram, Harry, Krzysztof, Gyuri, Helmut, Pierre, Ted, Michael and George, together with Charlie and I as instructors. Building the community with us is Salah, from Lebanon, who gave a talk on the society and the state of Lebanon. Nader, from Egypt, and currently serving as Socius of the Provincial, is also a member of the team of formators as a spiritual director. As usual, we started with a common reading of Fr Kolvenbach’s Directives on Tertianship, in order to name the aims and means of our programme. We will start soon the reading of Ignatius’ autobiography while each tertian gives time for writing his own autobiography. Tertianship is what tertians give to each other, in terms of welcome into a safe space of companionship, that allows one to be touched in the depth of one’s affectivity, and discover anew the relation that binds the Lord to each of his companions. The context of Lebanon leads us straight into the theme of Reconciliation which is the focus of this programme. What is at stake in every conflict? What role does spiritual discernment hold in the elaboration of conflicts? The figure of Nicholas Kluiters, Dutch Jesuit who was assassinated during the Lebanese civil war, will inspire us to understand how the Society finds her place in the dynamics of every conflict, and how each companion finds his own place in the context of the mission entrusted to him. In the meantime, building the community of tertianship is the common concern of all of us. Through the shared responsibility of the 200-year-old house that we live in, and the generous desire to make the eight months of community a joyful experience, the community in Bikfaya is taking shape in a very consoling way.  
Saint Ignatius, in the Spiritual Exercises, at the beginning of each time of prayer, recommends an exercise of imaginative construction, a composition seeing the place, the people and the action of the biblical scene on which the prayer will be focused. When our imagination is occupied with the concrete material features of the matter we are thinking about, it diminishes the possibility of distraction and brings about a more affective, and therefore effective, commitment with the subject. Since the beginning of 2023, six new provincials took office within the JCEP. As members of the Conference, they are co-responsible for the common works in Brussels and many times will have to read and hear reports, discuss options and make decisions about them. A “composition, seeing the place” would surely be useful, and the sooner the better. That piece of Ignatian wisdom should not be neglected. So, they were invited and five of them (BRI, EOF, ESP, CRO and HUN) came to Brussels, from the 20th to the 22nd of September, at the end of the meeting of the Council of the President (Consult). They listened to an explanation of the structures and workings of the Conference and visited its office and the St Benedict Community, home to the Jesuits working for the JCEP here. Then, they got to know the places and people of JESC, JRS-E and the Chapel for Europe and met the Coordinator of Catholic Religion Classes in the European Schools, the common JCEP works. They heard about the mission, the successes and the challenges of each one, but also gathered real images of the city and of the buildings and spaces of the works and, more significantly, of many concrete faces that now will readily fill their imaginations when dealing with names and topics of reports. Ignatian recommendation fulfilled. Not less importantly, these days were also a good opportunity for meeting and knowing each other, starting the process of sharing common joys, worries and challenges, building the “community of apostolic discernment” that the Conference, according to its statutes, is called to be. All in all, the group, together with the part of the Consult that accompanied them, had a wonderful time of fraternal companionship. Best wishes for the next six years of service also to the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials. Au revoir. Herminio Rico sj. JCEP Socius
On September 20 we celebrated at the Chapel for Europe our Ecumenical Opening Prayer that marks the start of the social year activities after the summer break. In this occasion, the Prayer was also the opportunity to say farewell to the director of the Chapel for 11 years, Fr Krystian Sowa sj who will leave his post in mid October. We were honored by the participation in the common prayer of Rev. Sarah-Jane King (Anglican Church), Pasteur Laurence Flacon (Belgian Protestant Church), Fr Zadik Avedikian (Apostolic Armenian Church), Rev. Ar Evangelos Psallas (Orthodox Church) and Mgr Noël Treanor (Apostolic Nuncio to the EU). The Chapel was filled with friends who wanted to share with Fr Krystian his last Ecumenical Prayer at the Chapel. It was an evening of emotions, with words from Mr Herman Van Rompuy, exalting the dedication and work of Fr Krystian at the Chapel and also thank you words from his team, represented by Sabina González (Communications and Fundraising Manager). During the celebration the new director was introduced, Fr Bernd Günther SJ., a German jesuit who is really excited about his new post. As a symbol we shared the Bread with all our friends and GPS Trio - Chanter la Bible put music to the evening On the right - Bernd Günther, the new director of the Chapel for Europe

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Finding God

Prague. Saturday, September 23, marked the 400th anniversary of the founding of the Czech (Bohemian) Province of the Society of Jesus. The Czech Jesuits celebrated this anniversary with several events in the third week of September. For the general public, two talks with the British historian Prof. Gerard Kilroy were held in Prague and Brno on 19 and 20 September. He introduced the figure of the English martyr St. Edmund Campion (1540–1581), who spent the years of his Jesuit formation in the Czech lands just in Brno and Prague. The main event of the celebrations was the international historical conference, which took place on 21–23 September in Prague.  The conference was organized by the Institute of History of the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Catholic Theological Faculty of Charles University, Prague, in cooperation with ARSI and the Catholic University of Leuven. More than forty historians from the Czech Republic and abroad took part in the conference. The language of discussion was English and German. Papers covered topics such as: hagiography, political and historical thinking, contacts between Jesuit provinces, Jesuit education, inspiration and competition, Jesuit school theatre, Jesuit university festivities, overseas missions, order houses and residences, spirituality and iconography. Among other things, the conference helped to place the history of the Czech Jesuits in the period 1623–1773 in a broader Central European context, thanks to the contributions of scholars from Poland, Austria and Hungary. With their contributions at the conference also spoke Jesuits P. Robert Danieluk SJ and Br. Wenceslao Sota SJ from Rome (ARSI) and P. Pavel Gábor SJ from the Vatican Observatory (Tucson). The anniversary celebrations concluded with a solemn mass on Saturday 23 September in the former Jesuit Church of the Most Holy Salvator in Clementinum, Prague. Jan Graubner, Archbishop of Prague, presided over the eucharistic celebration together with the Czech Jesuits. (Petr Havlicek SJ)
Jesuits in action for the Rencontres Méditerranéennes and the Pope's visit to Marseille From 17 to 24 July, Marseille hosted the Rencontres Méditerranéennes, following in the footsteps of Bari and Florence. 70 bishops from 30 countries around the Mediterranean took part, including two Jesuits: Archbishop Theodore Kodidis of Athens and Bishop Antoine Audo of Aleppo. 70 young people from different countries, backgrounds and religions were also present. The aim of these meetings is to build and share the same hope within the mosaic of peoples, cultures and religions that make up the Mediterranean. These meetings were accompanied by a festival open to all, to give a wider taste of the event. Local residents and pilgrims from all over France and the Mediterranean were invited to concerts, conferences, debates, theatre, etc. organised by church movements, solidarity associations, cultural players, etc. The high point of the Rencontres Méditerranéennes was Pope François' visit to the Phocaean city on 22 and 23 September. The Pope came to close the bishops' assembly and the youth session, after entrusting the meeting to the intercession of the Virgin Mary from the Basilica of Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde, and praying for the migrants who died at sea, in the presence of representatives of other faiths and religions. On the afternoon of 23 September, he celebrated a mass open to all at the Velodrome stadium in the presence of 60,000 people. By coming to Marseilles, the Pope was continuing the Mediterranean pilgrimage he began in 2013, thus reaffirming his particular attention as pastor to the peoples of the Mediterranean. For several months, the Marseille Jesuit community rallied around the event: "The Jesuits were present throughout the Rencontres," explains Fr Michel Joseph sj. Two Jesuit centres in Marseille, the church of Saint-Ferréol and the Maison Montolieu, opened their doors to the public for the vigil on 22 September. The Ignatian family was also present throughout the event.
On September 2-3, the Parish of the Immaculate Conception in Aarhus celebrated its 150th anniversary after the Reformation. Earlier, there were already Catholic communities in the city and they developed until 1537. The jubilee celebrations began on Saturday at 12.00 with the Eucharist celebrated in the Chaldean rite in the Chaldean church of Saint Nicholas. The liturgy gathered the Iraqi community, which is an important Catholic group in the city. The Mass was presided over by a Jesuit – Father Antoine Audo SJ, Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo in Syria, who accepted the invitation to preside over the jubilee celebrations. Main Sunday Holy Mass in the Latin part of the parish gathered many people from the parish community, as well as guests from neighboring parishes and other cities. The church was filled to capacity. Many people followed the liturgy on screens prepared in the parish house, because the church could not accommodate all the guests. Bishop Antoine presided over the Holy Mass together with Bishop Czesław Kozon from Copenhagen and the Jesuits from Aarhus and Copenhagen. Fr. Vasyl Bahlei from the Ukrainian Greek Catholic community, a friend of the Jesuits, was invited. The Superior of the Greater Poland-Mazivia Province of the Society of Jesus, to which Denmark belongs, was represented by Father Mateusz Ignacik SJ. Priests of the Danish Lutheran Church were also present at the ceremony. After the Holy Mass, the celebration continued at a nearby Catholic school. There was time for speeches and sharing of gifts. One of the gifts was especially touching. The Ukrainian community presented a special relic – part of a rocket brought by soldiers from the front in Bakhmut decorated with the image of Saint Ignatius. Many Ukrainians expressed their gratitude for the welcome they experienced in the Aarhus parish.
On September 13, the Jesuits came to Kalisz, under the leadership of Fr. Bishop Damian Bryl to thank God for the fact that in the times of the Polish People's Republic, thanks to the intercession of St. Joseph, the religious houses of the Society of Jesus were not liquidated. Then the Polish Jesuits entrusted both Polish provinces to the care of Saint Joseph and they were not disappointed. At the beginning of the Eucharist, the bishop wished that God's grace would touch every Jesuit and the entire Society of Jesus, and that the good God would strengthen the sons of Ignatius of Loyola in the challenges they face. During the sermon, the superior of the Greater Poland-Masovian Province, Father Zbigniew Leczkowski SJ, said, among others: “Today, here in Kalisz, we are all looking at Saint Joseph, who was close to Jesus, united with Him. In Joseph's attitude we see three important elements: he took responsibility for Jesus and Mary, he believed in the mystery to which he was invited by God, and finally he made his life a gift to Jesus and Mary”. At the end of the Eucharist, the Jesuits uttered the words of trust to Saint Joseph as they did every year for 73 years. They promised, that they would consistently follow Jesus. The superior of the Province of Southern Poland, Father Jarosław Paszyński SJ, said how much the Jesuits owe to Saint Joseph and recalled the history of Jesuit pilgrimages to the Sanctuary, which dates back to 1950.

Promoting Justice

The new secretary for European Affairs Benoît Willemaers S.J. analyzed the latest State of the Union address. On Wednesday 13th, Ursula von der Leyden presented her State of the Union address. It mixed strongly positive reminders of the achievements of her Commission in the face of past challenges, discussions about current challenges, and finished on a call to work towards enlargement to Ukraine, Moldova and the Western Balkans. Credit has to be given when it is due and there is certainly something good to say on how the EU was mostly able to preserve unity in front of the COVID and Ukraine crisis. But most commentators agree on the fact that the overall positive tone of the address was a bit tone deaf compared to the perception of the situation by European citizens faced with a cost of life crisis, geopolitical uncertainties, and the ever more obvious consequences of climate change. Leadership is about the ability to confront unpleasant truths and to present the trade-offs involved in any policy, not hide these under the rug. On climate change, von der Leyden went all in on industrial policy and clean energies. Projecting unwavering confidence on the ability of Europe to find technological solutions to the decarbonization of industry – as long as its actors are protected from unfair competition -, she offered a vision of a possible green European policy. This is certainly welcome but this single mindedness left no place for mentioning any other aspects of the necessary transition. Nothing on circular economy, nothing on changing lifestyles and certainly nothing on questioning what kind of growth we might actually want. A similar lack of ability (or desire?) to show leadership was obvious regarding agriculture and preservation of nature. Faced with the necessity to appease the EPP on the topic, von der Leyden expressed her conviction that both agriculture and preservation of natural habitats go hand in hand, threw some kind words to farmers and then proposed a “strategic dialogue” on the future of agriculture in the EU. It would have been interesting to know more about how she intends to support those who, in her own words, are already working towards a more sustainable agriculture. Continue reading here. 
More than 3,000 people have lost their lives in Morocco as a result of the 6.9 magnitude earthquake that struck the southern part of the country on 9 September. Initial estimates confirm that more than 380,000 people have been affected and more than 5,000 injured, but the numbers will continue to grow as many areas are remote and rescue services have not yet been able to reach them.  "The people and communities affected by the earthquake remain resilient and ready to overcome adversity. Sometimes one cannot help but wonder what sustains their hope amidst the rubble and in the face of the death of their loved ones. Alhamdulillah, they respond, as they discover your question in your eyes, as if to remind you that life is a gift and that they are still there, in pain but standing, ready to continue to be grateful for it". Alvar Sánchez SJ, from Morocco.  Since 2015, Alboan and Entreculturas have been supporting the Diocesan Delegation for Migration (DDM) with projects to assist migrants in the north of the country, most of whom come from sub-Saharan African countries in conflict situations. Different Types of Support Provided  Our aim is to improve their socio-health conditions, with a special focus on the most vulnerable people on the migratory route: women, children and sick people. Specifically, we focus on: Social accompaniment: first reception to assess needs, demands and capacities and to distribute basic necessities (food, hygiene, mother and child kits) Accompaniment and medical assistance: in Nador, initial medical assistance is offered at the headquarters and medical assistance is provided in the camps through the displacement of a mobile unit. In all the sites, we also provide support for referrals to public health structures (health centres, hospitals). In some cases, coverage is also provided for consultations with specialists and/or the payment of medicines and tests. Legal/administrative support for civil registration procedures (births, deaths), for asylum cases and for people who wish to benefit from the voluntary return programme. Psychosocial support through workshops and spaces that enable the psychosocial rehabilitation of migrants. Safe residential spaces in which migrants in the most vulnerable situations: pregnant women, sick migrants, victims/survivors of violence of all kinds and traumatic events, are welcomed for a period of up to 3 months in emergency situations. From the first moment after the earthquake, we have been assessing the situation with the DDM and the network of church organisations present in the country, in order to know first hand the needs of the affected population and to coordinate the emergency response. As Alvar tells us, "the expressions of gratitude from those who have lost almost everything are delicate, simple, discreet. An old man prepares tea, a woman comes with some nuts, two young people offer a mat to sit on... In the Church of the Holy Martyrs in Marrakech, the parish community does what it can. Yesterday we went out to different valleys in nine cars, forming three caravans with food and basic necessities". Your help is very important
On 5 February 1991, Pedro Arrupe, Jesuit priest and Superior General of the Society of Jesus between 1965 and 1983, died in Rome. He renewed the order from an Ignatian spirituality, at the service of a strengthened faith and a grounded justice. The same year of his death, a network of volunteers emerged in Spain who, under the impulse of the Jesuits, took on the mission of creating a culture based on justice and solidarity. They were the seed of VOLPA, which stands for Voluntariado Pedro Arrupe and is the long-term international volunteer programme promoted by the Jesuit development cooperation NGOs Entreculturas and Alboan. Since its creation in 1991, more than 1,000 volunteers have taken part in it.  Several volunteers give us their testimonies in this REPORT (in Spanish): If you are interested in participating, the call for applications is open. All the information in this link: .
The privileged natural setting of Le Châtelard, in the heart of a 36-hectare wooded park, has been chosen to place the Ignatian spiritual tradition at the service of all those who wish to commit themselves, collectively and personally, to the paths of ecological and social transition by making them resonate with their Christian faith. Located 10 kilometres from Lyon, the Jesuit Spiritual Centre at Le Châtelard has been an oasis for almost 100 years for anyone wishing to take a spiritual break or make a decision based on the Spiritual Exercises. The spiritual ecocentre aims to accompany those seeking their place in the great challenge of integral ecology, in particular by inviting them to experience God through the contemplation of Creation. Based on one of the four universal apostolic preferences, "Working with others to safeguard our common home", the Jesuits of the EOF Province are committed to taking this path of integral ecological conversion, relying in particular on the spiritual accompaniment and discernment that are at the heart of their spirituality, following in the footsteps of Saint Ignatius. Le Châtelard spiritual ecocentre is based on three pillars: > The site: the aim is to implement the ecological transition of the site. This involves major insulation and adaptation work on the building, in-depth work on a new, more sustainable food project, better integration of the centre and its residents into the park, which welcomes retreatants and walkers, and care for the rich biodiversity already present in the area. > The human ecosystem: the Spiritual Centre relies on a large and generous team and network: 9 salaried staff, 9 Jesuits and 180 volunteers. The challenge is to build the community that will carry out the mission in the years to come and make the spiritual ecocentre shine by inspiring others to get involved. A collective of residents, made up of Jesuits and lay people, will be called upon to support and share this mission. These multiple faces and the way in which they work together to bring the ecocentre to life will be in line with the synodal approach adopted by the Church in recent years. The various activities of the spiritual ecocentre will pay particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable. > The programme: the Spiritual Exercises remain at the heart of the Spiritual Ecocentre's offering, aimed at any Christian who wants to invent a life with the Lord. The centre is developing retreats, sessions and training courses to help people embark on a process of ecological conversion and contemplation of Creation, anchoring themselves deeply in God and taking care of their relationships with themselves, with others and with Creation. A team at work The feasibility of this ambitious and meaningful project has been the subject of an in-depth study of all the facets of this transformation. In 2022-2023, this work has mobilised around thirty volunteers around a project team made up of Fr Xavier de Bénazé, Jesuit, Laudato si' Delegate for the EOF Jesuit Province, Alexandre Masson, Jesuit in training, and Jean Le Borgne, Director of the Centre. The spiritual ecocentre has already begun to take shape at Le Châtelard: the first 6 Christian ecospiritual retreats have been launched. Two ponds have been dug to welcome toads and salamanders. Some worksites have been entrusted to social integration companies. A few milestones to come : - 2023/2024: actions to care for biodiversity (planting of hedges, study of fauna and flora), change of food project and development of new Christian eco-spiritual retreat formulas. - Summer 2024: launch of a 2-month Laudato si' school of life for students and young professionals. - 2024/2026: comprehensive, high-performance renovation of the building. - 2025/2026: installation of a residents' collective. - 2027: in-depth review of the adventure and its fruits.

Youth & Media

The title of the Youth Meeting in Syria, which was held in Homs in the Center of the Earth, was “A Realistic Dream” that included about 275 people, young men and women, monks and nuns, in addition to a team of organizers and accompaniers, who came from various Syrian governorates and its countryside, in addition to a group of Lebanese youth. A group of Jesuit and lay fathers and brothers participated in preparing the meeting. We traveled together in our dreams with the dream of Joseph, his brothers, and his father in Genesis 37, in addition to six Syrian personalities who spoke about their experiences in a series of short films that extended over the course of five days. We built the Youth Days on three main axes: The first axis was entitled: “Who am I, and where do I come from?” What does it mean to be special? To learn about my history, myself and my family. The Global Coffee game helped us each of us to open the pages of the past, to read them and return to its black lines that one escapes from, and its white parts filled with flowers and big dreams, just as Joseph dreamed of the sun, moon, and stars prostrating to him. However, his dream aroused the jealousy of his brothers, which in turn led to them trying to kill him. From there, we proceeded to the second axis: “Where am I today?” It is the way I use it to distinguish myself from others. In the middle of the morning prayer was a large piece of raw cloth, which each one of us colored with his own weights and dreams, symbolizing Joseph’s colored shirt. Both the “Treasure Game” and the “Friday Market Game” were a way of embodying our daily life. The reality I live in sometimes forces me to use my abilities and points. My strength is to serve others, and sometimes to compete with them. Then we were divided into different workshops, each one according to his talent, and they varied between artistic, scouting, environmental, and writing skills. Let us conclude our day on the second day with the “Evening of Stars.” Each individual contemplated his own star and hung his dream on the “Dream Tree” that decorated our courtyard. On the third day, “The Evening of the Well,” we threw into that hole what annoys and annoys us, and what we constantly run away from. As for the third axis, it was built on the future. In order to live my future realistically, I must acknowledge what I experienced in the past and present, and make them the basis for building my future. Therefore, it was necessary for me to look at my inner museum on Saturday in the game “A Day at the Museum.” Whatever I did wrong in the past, I must learn from it and reconcile with it in order to continue my path towards my dream.  Wasn't this a spiritual exercise? No and yes at the same time. Our days were filled with fun and games at times and prayer at times, with side conversations at times and personal participation in groups at other times, without forgetting the Aleppo, traditional and foreign songs of Fayrouz and Qudud that we sang together and danced with, and the sweet hymns that helped us lift up our prayers.
This summer, two weeks of Jesuit missions in Marseille and Ardèche brought together young people and Jesuits. Here's a look back at this first edition of fraternal and missionary life.  Mission has always been part of the DNA of the Society of Jesus. That's what we wanted to experience with young people this summer. It was also a way of responding to the Pope's invitation to be a missionary "Church on the move". In Marseille, each day was organised as follows: in the morning, a time dedicated to the group, to prayer, to spiritual formation through short talks, and theological formation through the reading of Joy of the Gospel; in the afternoon, an abundance of different activities in the city, in groups of two or three. The mission as we have lived it has thus assumed several balances: deepening our relationship with Christ through prayer and intellectual formation, while at the same time committing ourselves concretely on the ground to service and encounters; articulating the service of charity (meeting and serving the poorest, isolated people, people in rehabilitation, the elderly, street people...) and the service of faith (through church visits, animating the shrine, meetings, short sermons...). The evening of adoration on 14 July in the church of Saint-Ferréol, which preceded the fireworks display on the Old Port, was one of the most memorable moments. In Lalouvesc, in the Ardèche, we tried to live this same experience, with the special feature of a three-day begging pilgrimage: we set off in small groups to beg for food and shelter. This pilgrimage allowed us to live a certain deprivation and to experience the generosity already at work in the hearts of the people we met. The week also provided an opportunity for a happy collaboration with the Cenacle sisters, who were in Lalouvesc to celebrate Saint Thérèse Couderc. From these two periods of mission, I remember the great joy of working together as companions of Jesus, from different generations and different countries, and of sharing this fraternity in mission with young people, all filled with a great desire to follow Christ. Finally, these two weeks allowed us to return, in the heart of summer, to a form of ideal of the mission, nourishing us to continue our commitments during the year: a simple fraternity, a sobriety of life, the discovery of a place with what it brings unexpected...
The Jesuit Education Foundation has carried out an extensive reflection in recent months as a follow up of the July 2020 document on Companion Schools. Entitled: “Jesuit & companion schools – companions in mission,” the document aims to better define the position and consequent relationships between the Society of Jesus and the schools that insist, in different forms, on the Global Network of Educational Institutes, through defining the distinctive criteria and processes for validating the relationship.  JEF has produced a “Protocol for Accreditation as Companion Schools in the EUM Province,” which has been approved by the Foundation’s Board of Trustees and the Provincial Father, with simultaneous authorization to initiate the accreditation process for those entities in the Province that request it. Below is the document in dual language. Here is the document in two languages:  “Protocol for Accreditation as Companion Schools in the Province EUM.”
The "family meeting" of the Jesuit and companion schools of the Central European Province took place from 21-23 September at the Zentrum für Ignatianische Pedagogik (ZIP)  in Ludwigshafen, Germany.  Every two years the staff of this international network meet in Ludwigshafen to reflect together on their own pedagogical work in schools, boarding schools or all-day institutions. This year the focus was on Ignatian pedagogy. In recent years there has been intensive work on the compatible translation of our own Christian educational approach in a secular and diverse society, and on the digitalisation of the schools in the network. In 2023, an in-depth reflection on our own tradition, i.e. Ignatian pedagogy as a distinct version of Christian humanism, was on the agenda.  Results of the “Ignatian Personality Formation” research project are available During the conference, the results of an important research project carried out in collaboration with the ZIP Centre were presented. "The research project 'Ignatian Personality Formation' was commissioned by the University of Bern, Institute of Educational Sciences, Prof. Dr. Elmar Anhalt and Prof. Dr. Thomas Rucker. "The aim was to determine the position of Ignatian pedagogy from the point of view of educational science", explains Ulrike Gentner, director of the ZIP, "the results are now available". What developments can be seen in this concept of education from an educational science perspective? How can the contribution of this form of Christian humanism be evaluated from the perspective of educational science in view of the challenges to a contemporary concept of education? And, of course, this also includes the question of where, compared to the concert of modern concepts, other accents are (self-)consciously set that are suitable for enriching the modern discourse, for example on how education and schools can be successful.  A wide variety of personal pedagogies "The exciting thing about the study is that Prof. Rucker classifies Ignatian pedagogy in the field of educational science as a special kind of personal pedagogy. In our training courses, the question of the contribution of education to human development is often central - now we have a pedagogical classification so that we can also speak in this field," says Verena Urban from ZIP. The "Days of Ignatian Pedagogy" were not only a time for theoretical reflection on pedagogical concepts. In workshops, practitioners from schools, boarding schools and day-care centres had the opportunity to deepen their own understanding of Ignatian pedagogy and to re-orientate their own educational work in the classroom and in everyday school life. This year the following themes were emphasized: - Global Citizenship - Education for Responsibility for Creation and (Global) Society". - Ignatian pedagogical development - teaching and learning with joy and confidence". - Words like arrows! - Towards a pedagogy based on appreciative authority".   To think about the global dimension "In Jesuit schools, young people should learn to act justly, in solidarity and responsibly. If we take this goal seriously, we must always consider the global dimension," says Kai Stenull from ZIP, who led the Global Citizenship workshop. "The guiding principle of 'Global Citizenship' is a concept that fits wonderfully into Ignatian pedagogy," emphasises Kai Stenull. "With the political youth education at the Henrich Pesch House (HPH) we want to strengthen the virtues of young people, which are necessary for the world of the 21st century". Alexander Mack from the ZIP team adds: "This becomes particularly clear with the example of climate". He emphasises that political youth education has the important task of informing young people about these changes, reflecting on their effects and showing them options for active participation. "Political youth education strengthens young people's resilience and tolerance of uncertainty. "We offer young people space to experiment with their own actions, on an individual and structural, local and global level," he says, referring to the wide range of ZIP offers. To protect trust "The theme of 'protecting trust' is an important one in Ignatian pedagogy. "Ignatius of Loyola was far ahead of his time with his pedagogy and demanded that students should not experience violence at the hands of Jesuits," emphasises Cathrin Rieger from ZIP, who led the "Words like Arrows" workshop. It was about boundary violations and what a shame-free and relationship-oriented pedagogy could look like. In addition to the workshops, there was the opportunity for peer advice on one's own educational work. Rarely does so much professional expertise from educational practice come together. Finally, the participants reflected in workshops on contemporary forms of spiritual practice and prayer, and shared examples of best practice. Network of Ignatian Schools The meeting in Ludwigshafen brought together representatives of the regional education network, which includes 13 schools from Germany, Austria, Lithuania and Hungary, as well as the Centre for Ignatian Pedagogy (ZIP). The meeting was also attended by representatives of the European Network of Jesuit Schools (JECSE) – organization that unite all Jesuit and companion schools in Europe and the Middle East, Jesuit Worldwide Learning - an institution that enables refugees around the world to study, and partners from foundations linked to the work of the network. The "Days of Ignatian Pedagogy" also provided a fitting stage to welcome Gabriele Hüdepohl, the new Delegate for school education of the Central European Province of the Jesuits. In the area of school education, she represents the political leadership of the Central European Province both internally and externally.

In-depth Reflection

Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has appointed Fr Nuno da Silva Gonçalves SJ , as the new editor in chief of “La Civiltà Cattolica”, effective 1 October. He will replace Fr Antonio Spadaro SJ, who has led the international Jesuit journal for 12 years. Born in 1958 in Lisbon, Portugal, Fr Gonçalves was ordained a priest on 12 July 1986. He has served as Provincial Superior of the Portuguese province of the Society of Jesus and Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University and has published various works on the missionary history of the Portuguese Church and on Jesuit history. “Proud of our identity and of our history, we wish to be a journal that is capable of speaking to everyone”, Fr Gonçalves stressed. “In a world that is divided, wounded and in need of healing, “La Civiltà Cattolica” offers a message of hope, and is committed to a Christian reading of the world today with a gaze turned to the future”. “After 25 years spent in continuous service to this journal, 12 of which as editor, the time has come for me to thank you, and to pass the baton to my successor”, Fr Spadaro wrote in a farewell letter to readers. Because the Journal is “a journalistic and not an academic publication”, he noted, it “expresses ‘opinions’” that are open to debate. “Today I feel grateful to all of you: both to those who agreed with the thoughts expressed in our pages and to those who criticized it in a serious and intelligent way, thus widening the concentric circle of reflection on our chosen topics”, Fr Spadaro said.
Fr. Marek Inglot, SJ was appointed chairman of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences Pope Francis has appointed Father Marek Inglot SJ as the new president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences. This appointment was announced on September 14, 2023. Father Marek Inglot belongs to the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus. He is a professor at the Department of History and Cultural Properties of the Church of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and serves as a consultor of the Congregation (currently Dicastery) for the Causes of Saints. He was the director of the Roman Archives of the Society of Jesus. He published several books, among others biography of priest Jakub Wujek – a 16th-century Polish Bible translator. In 2020, he became a member of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences.
A reflection by Fr. Silvio Alaimo, who has been ministering in Trieste prisons for 20 years. It is a common, widespread, and popular concept that the harsh conditions of prison life are inevitable, indeed, just, since they are an integral part of the punishment that those who have been guilty of a crime must endure. It is an idea of reparation as a punishment that fits a crime: you have made someone suffer so you must suffer in the same way, indeed, more. Only in this way can the victim have “satisfaction” for the wrong suffered. This principle, which differs little from that of “revenge,” goes hand in hand with another judicial mantra: certainty of punishment. Translated: the offender must pay all the way through and suffer until the last day as stipulated by the sentence. No concession, no alternative opportunities. I never cease to be amazed (and a little indignant) when I realize that this view is based on a completely upside-down perspective of reality: both with respect to the state and its right to condemn and punish, and with respect to the people affected by this view, and, last but not least, at least for me, from the perspective of a Christian life. From the earliest years of my experience as chaplain in the Trieste prison, during my meetings with prisoners, I was and always am receiving professions of innocence. Everyone, but really everyone, proclaims themselves as such. Initially I did not know how to interpret these convictions. Then, over time, as I went deep into the tragic stories of those people who had nothing, I understood their astonishment at such harshness, coldness, inhumanity, which cannot be inflicted for any kind of wrong committed. “I am innocent.” Precisely in that affirmation of their innocence, I also caught a legitimate aspiration: they did not want to hide guilt from me; theirs was a tale of hope. Over the years, I have made this reversed perspective my own, completely opposite to that of the current world and the judicial machine: a perspective that I recognize as absolutely Christian. One who has made a mistake and fallen must be able to get back up, must find a hand to help him rise again. If he has caused suffering, it must not be forgotten that the pain belongs to him as well: falling, failures, are never without suffering. Can prolonging and institutionalising this condition of suffering really benefit anyone? Or does it become cruel torture towards a person who has the right to continue his journey, not to lose self-confidence and hope in the future, to live with dignity the life he has received as a gift? Among Pope Francis’ many speeches on the lives of imprisoned people, I like to recall this one: “Prisons always have a window and a horizon … no one can change his life if he does not see a horizon.” How much pain, for me, to see that these windows are missing, that they are walled off by the absurd hotchpotch of a thicket of laws, strings and ties. A horizon is missing, to look beyond, to not cease living. When I cross the threshold of the prison, I am aware that I am entering an environment of confinement and containment, aimed at separating, dividing, isolating, distancing. I meet there, people abandoned, forgotten, often alienated in a condition of no project, no perspective. They are locked up in a non-space, a non-time, they no longer know anything about themselves or what awaits them, they no longer know anything about their families, their origins, the world they come from where hope was already precluded. They enter a container that afflicts them, having lived in other containers, those of the suburbs, which are often real open-air prisons. Again, in the words of Pope Francis, it is possible to describe the negativity of the prison institute: “culture of discard,” “spaces to lock up in oblivion,” “places of depersonalization.” What good is such a reality? Who does it benefit? What does the affliction of people bring to society? Many of these people whom I meet personally have lost hope, if they had any at the beginning of their lives: we are often born marked and predestined. I do not want to lose hope, but I struggle to give them an answer, I feel the weight of their call for help, their need to rely on, to believe in something, in someone. I place their burden on myself, aware of the enormity of the task and the impossibility of meeting the challenge alone. Those walls, however, must be torn down, because they prevent relationship and produce abandonment. Those windows must be reopened to the world, so that they become possible relational spaces of true life. It must be ascertained that those who go through that experience, at the end of the journey, do not find themselves in the same tragic spot from which they started.
The San Fedele Cultural Foundation is promoting the new edition of San Fedele Visual Arts Award 2023/2024 'The City: Between Reality and Dreams'. The San Fedele Visual Arts Award is a competition open to all artists born after 1st January 1989, through personal application, or by invitation of the curatorial jury. Following the model of international awards dedicated to the visual arts, in order to encourage greater interaction between young people and to reflect together on the proposed themes, the Award has a residential aspect. The residency will include seminar sessions with the participation of internationally renowned artists, philosophers and sociologists. The residency will take place from 19 to 21 January 2024 (from 6:00pm on Friday to 1:00pm on Sunday). With the San Fedele Visual Arts Award, the San Fedele Cultural Foundation desires to stimulate artists to reflect on the deeper meaning of art, to deepen the relationship between the aesthetic dimension and our human existence - against all exclusively aestheticizing tendencies. Furthermore, besides awarding the historic San Fedele Prize, the competition will also award the Paolo Rigamonti Prize, dedicated to an artist who died prematurely. The announcement regarding the San Fedele Visual Arts Award can be downloaded from the Foundation's website, in Italian. [insert link] INFO:

Preparing for Mission

 It was 11 years ago that Krystian Sowa became the director of the Chapel for Europe in Brussels. It is a unique Chapel, located in the middle of the EU quarter and it has a clear ecumenical, European and inter-religious mission.  Thanks to Krystian this very special place of worship has become the Soul for Europe where people meet, pray, exchange views, learn, enjoy, deepen their faith, discover….  It all happened thanks to Krystian’s natural ability to bring people together. When I started working with him 9 years ago it was one of the first things he told me about as his vision for the Chapel. To connect people in faith and create understanding through knowledge. It was clear that is was his calling and this is what he has been doing for the last 11 years. It is not an easy task but he managed to create a common space, friendly atmosphere and an exceptional welcoming spirit within the Chapel so that anyone who comes by, regardless of background, opinions or beliefs can feel like at home.  It has been a wonderful experience for me to work with Krystian through all these years. He is an exceptional person, dedicated to his work and his friends and I am honored to say I am one of them.  I am of Spanish origin and with Krystian I rediscovered my own country. He is a enthusiastic lover of the Camino de Santiago, which he has walked at least five times! And he still plans to walk it in new, other ways. He speaks Spanish like a native and listens to Spanish audio-books while riding his bike.  His next adventure will take him to Rome, working at Radio Vaticana in the Polish section. He already has experience in making of a radio show thanks to collaborating in our monthly radio program “A Soul for Europe” in RCF station in Brussels.  He will be much missed by all our team, Esmeralda, Laura and myself, and also by all the friends of the Chapel. For his new chapter in life we all wish him a MUY BUEN CAMINO and he will be in our prayers!  Thank you Krystian for being you and sharing it with all of us!   Sabina Gonzalez Vilas Communications and Fundraising Manager at the Chapel for Europe - Brussels
An important page is being turned in the communication department of the Conference of European Provincials. After 16 years of service, Fr. Philip Debruyne (ELC), JCEP's webmaster and communication officer, has decided to step down for a well-deserved rest. He has known so many provincials, so many province communicators. He has tirelessly hunted for the best information to communicate for the Conference newsletter. He mastered every step of the process, from gathering information to publishing it on the website ( We saw him at work again during the production of the latest video for our 2023 Easter greetings, imagining the scenario and orchestrating the cutting of the scenes and the movement of the camera. We are really going to miss you Philip. With your skill, you could have wanted to impose your ideas, and you knew how to share them with conviction, but you were also a formidable team player and transmitter of knowledge. So much so that we have everything in hands to ensure the transition and think about a successor. But it will be difficult. Very difficult to do without you and your long experience.  The whole Conference team in Brussels and all the Provinces are infinitely grateful to you for your services. May the Lord bless your journey ahead.  Franck Janin SJ Outgoing JCEP President
It was five years ago that Pope Francis invited Jesuits to share the gift of discernment with the Church, saying that ‘the Church today needs to grow in the ability of spiritual discernment’. The Discerning Leadership Program was founded in response to that invitation. This year it held a two-week course in Oxford that brought together nine young Jesuits from seven provinces to learn how they might grow as discerning leaders in the service of the Church. The Art of Discerning Leadership The program complimented modern leadership theory with ethics, psychology and the latest thinking on Jesuit mission. Campion Hall at the University of Oxford provided the perfect setting for this evocative blend of ancient wisdom, contemporary thought and current challenge. The course was facilitated by David McCallum SJ, an authority on leadership, and Roger Dawson SJ, a clinical psychologist. Other speakers included Nicholas Austin SJ, a specialist in virtue ethics, John Dardis SJ, Father General’s counsellor for discernment and apostolic planning, Austin Ivereigh, a journalist close to Pope Francis, and  Deirdre Rowe, an experienced manager and spiritual director. This range of different perspectives refracted the varied experiences of the young Jesuit leaders so that they might develop an integral model of leadership directed towards human flourishing.  The program began by focussing on what it meant to be a leader in today’s changing world. Combining a thorough knowledge of their discipline with an adaptive pedagogy, the course facilitators brought about deep experiential learning. One of the highlights was a presentation by Nicholas Austin, the Master of Campion Hall. He explained how the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus offer a portrait not just of the Father General but of the virtues to which any leader could aspire. The hallmark of discerning leadership is its humility founded upon a deep familiarity with God, both in prayer and in action. De Statu SJ 2023 The second week of the program turned to the practice of leadership. A keenly anticipated presentation by John Dardis SJ explained the thinking behind the De Statu Societatis Iesu 2023 which sets out the global challenges facing the Society of Jesus today. In the document Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, Father General of the Society of Jesus, proposes that one of the pivotal aims of leadership is the formation of apostolic teams which are ‘living communities of discernment’. He has emphasised that ‘trust and transparency’ are the two necessary conditions for the communal discernment upon which local leadership and province planning depend. There was a general realisation among the young leaders that our world is approaching challenges deeper than the previous generation. Just as a canoeist might navigate a series of unpredictable rapids, so too are Ignatian leaders supposed to make an agile response to those challenges. The quiet acquiescence to defunct structures and technical solutions is no longer an option. The challenges we face can only be met by adapting to the new environment where the grace of God, in all its freshness, is waiting to be discovered. One participant said, ‘It was amazing to see how the insights of Ignatian Spirituality and leadership theory could be combined to create practical tools that we can apply in our mission.’ Another said that he ‘enjoyed the immediacy of the facilitation’ which enabled him to combine his own experience with theoretical knowledge. All the participants were delighted by the hospitality they received at Campion Hall and benefitted from the cultural opportunities provided by the city of Oxford. A Church "going out of itself" The model of Pope Francis' leadership provided a fitting conclusion to the course. His call that the Church ‘go out of itself’ in order to evangelise our world resounded in the ears of the young Jesuit leaders as they entered their final day of reflection. This was devoted to the development of a ‘peer coaching’ group. The facilitators invited the young leaders to continue these in the months ahead as they reentered their missions. In this way the deep learning facilitated by the course will continue to provide an ongoing source of nourishment. As our appreciation of discerning leadership began to grow so to did our confidence in our ability to put it into practice. As today’s faith leaders we realised that we may never see an abundant harvest from our ministry, but we dedicated ourselves to preparing for that springtime of faith that is coming in the next generation. With eyes fixed on this horizon, our hope is that, nourished by companionship and love of Christ, we might be ready and willing to serve the Church with the gift of discerning leadership.   Philip Harrison SJ
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.