Jesuits in Europe

LEBANONEUROPE & NEAR EAST
The European tertianship in Bikfaya is 28km north of Beirut in the mountains at 900 metres with a panoramic view of the Mediterranean. Built in 1833, it was the first house in Lebanon of the restored Society.  Over the summer months, renovation was carried out to prepare for the thirteen tertians due to arrive last September: Philippines (3) India (2) Canada (2) and one from the U.S. Myanmar, Poland, Hungary, France and Germany. Because of the large numbers, Dany Younès the instructor, decided that the weekly group sharing would take place in three small groups. These groups served for liturgy and kitchen duties. An inspired decision! From the outset, all was not plain sailing: one had his visa refused and another was not allowed board his flight because the airline staff could not decipher the Arabic on his Lebanese document! Finally, we were all aboard, but as a dispersed community. A week after the 7th October attack on Israel, we had to re-assess the situation as day after day different  governments told their citizens to leave while commercial flights were still  available and as we heard reports of militants travelling into Lebanon from Iraq and Syria to join forces with Hezbollah.  Thrown into uncertainty, how were we to embrace this new reality? Fr Dalibor Renic asked us to “save the programme” if at all possible. Political uncertainty not being conducive  to the retreat, the decision was taken to postpone it. After much talking among the group, Dany brought us all together to listen quietly to how each felt prompted to do in the tense and evolving situation. It was a sacred moment as we listened in silence as each one shared honestly what he felt drawn to do or indeed needed to do.  So the experiments were brought forward, information was shared on possible places and decisions were made after speaking speaking with Dany and Charlie.  Four opted to stay in Lebanon while the others chose experiments in Rome, Dublin, Kampala, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Wales. And shortly two will travel to Armenia after a strong plea from the Missionaries of Charity. As work on the personal autobiographies had only just begun, the work load of the experiment had to be limited to allow for time to reflect and write.   For the past five weeks we have met weekly on zoom with the whole group as well as meeting in the small groups. Now on the cusp of Advent, we have to discern our way forward. Do we return to Bikfaya or not? Do we seek to do the retreat outside Lebanon in a country where all could obtain visas? And if so, for how long?  Having heard the views of the group, we will each be seeking to guided by the Lord as we make our written input into the decision that will finally be taken by the instructors having consulted with the President of the European Provincials and Fr General’s delegate for formation.    As Dany said before we dispersed: embracing the reality in which we find ourselves with all its uncertainties, but also unexpected blessings, is our way of seeking and finding God this tertianship. 
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Formation delegates met in Soutelo, near Braga, from 20 to 24 November. The reason for going to Portugal was to see the unique way in which the Portuguese Jesuits combine youth work, vocation promotion and formation. Attending the Tuesday Eucharist at the youth centre in Porto, where Mark Ravizza spoke to the young people, and visiting the juniorate in Braga, brought uplifting and memorable conversations and gave an insight into the vibrant youth work of the Portuguese Jesuits. The theme of the meeting was fragility and vulnerability. Alzira Fernandez, a “spiritual mother” in a seminary and also a good friend of the Society, helped us to reflect on how our contemporary culture has created the phenomenon of “kidults” who avoid commitment, the responsibilities of fatherhood and standing on their own two feet. Tiziano Ferraroni SJ, who has recently written a thesis on the subject, gave a fascinating analysis of how Ignatian spirituality puts us in touch with our fundamental vulnerability, which means openness to others, made possible by the deeper “vulnerability” in our relationship with God. It was easy to relate the theme to the DSS, of which Mark Ravizza gave an insightful reading key. The more we can return to the basics of our Jesuit life, to “normal” Jesuit life, the more we can help the young people who are joining us today.
TURKEY
On November 25, 2023, Antuan Ilgit, a 51-year-old Turkish Jesuit, was consecrated as the auxiliary bishop of the Anatolia diocese. He became the first Turkish Latin Rite bishop. It was like the realization of a dream for many Christians who have been working for many years towards the rebirth of an indigenous Church: a Turkish Church for Turks, in the country where the disciples of Christ were first called 'Christians' (“It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.” Acts 11:26). A true birthing process to which this event contributes significantly. The cathedral of the Anatolia diocese, located in Iskenderun, 60 km from the city of Antioch, was completely destroyed during the great earthquake of February 2023. The ceremony took place at the St. Anthony Church of the Franciscans in Istanbul. Four buses filled with faithful traveled for 16 hours from Iskenderun and its surroundings to be present. The participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople in the ceremony, H.B. Bartholomew I, added to the solemnity of the event. The Jesuits of Turkey were also gathered in full force. They too arrived by bus from the capital Ankara with a large group of parishioners. Among them, a Jesuit from the Province of South Korea who had arrived in Turkey only a few months ago to join the community: Simon CHO Chang-mo. Also present were our Provincial Michael Zammit and the President of the Conference of European Provincials (JCEP), Dalibor Renić.    As the Assistant to the Father General for the Middle East, I acknowledge the journey we have undertaken. I remind you that Pope Francis had insisted on appointing a new bishop for Anatolia following the assassination in 2010 of Bishop Luigi Padovese in his residence in Iskenderun. Thus, an Italian Jesuit, Paolo Bizzeti, was consecrated as the bishop of Anatolia in 2015. And now, eight years later, a Turkish auxiliary bishop, Antuan Ilgit, has been given to him. His first concern will undoubtedly be to work towards the reconstruction of the cathedral that completely collapsed due to the earthquake. At the same time, he will have to engage in the building of these 'living stones,' which constitute the true foundation of the Church in Turkey. Needless to say, a significant responsibility now rests on the shoulders of our new bishop. This is to say that we want to assure him of the active support of the members of the Near East and Maghreb Province and, above all, of our prayers. Fr. Victor Assouad S.J Pictures by Nathalie Ritzmann
FRANCE
Storm Ciaran: the grounds of the Penboc'h Spiritual Centre devastated! Located in the Morbihan department of Brittany, the Penboc'h spiritual centre suffered extensive damage on the night of 1 to 2 November when storm Ciaran hit. Nearly 150 trees were uprooted, including a Monterey pine that is over 150 years old. Great care had been taken to maintain the pine, oak and beech trees, which had recently been audited. One of the three buildings suffered major damage: the roof was badly damaged by the wind and a falling tree. A stone cross was blown off the chapel roof, damaging slates in the process. The cast-iron statue of the Virgin and Child, emblematic of this place that welcomes many retreatants, fell from its plinth. The surrounding wall, which is currently being restored, also suffered: slates engraved by schoolchildren who have visited the site since the 19th century were loosened by the gusts of wind. Closed on 2 November, the centre was due to reopen on 12 November. The priority is to clear access and make the whole site safe. Numerous volunteers have offered their services and begun to clean up the grounds. It will take several months to restore the roofs and grounds. The wood from the felled trees will be recycled to build on what was destroyed. Once the park has been cleared, planting work will be carried out in conjunction with Arradon town council. Patrick Sicard (Director of the Penboc'h Spiritual Centre)

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Finding God

KYRGYZSTAN
In 1997, Pope John Paul II entrusted the Jesuits with pastoral care over Kyrgyzstan. Currently, the Jesuits are supported by two diocesan priests and sisters from the Congregation of the School Sisters of Saint Francis and the Missionaries of Charity sisters.  Important events took place on Sunday, October 22, 2023. The responsibility for the parish in Jalal-Abada was taken over from Father Adam Malinowski SJ by the newly arrived to Kyrgyzstan priest. Janusz Potok, Fidei Donum missionary from the Tarnów diocese, Poland. Fr. Janusz previously worked in Kazakhstan for several years and knows the context and specificity of work in Central Asia perfectly. In turn, Father Bartosz Kornatowski SJ became the parish priest in the city of Osh, with a population of 300,000, which is located, like Jalal-Abad, in the southern part of Kyrgyzstan. Both ceremonies were presided over by Father Anthony Corcoran SJ, Apostolic Administrator of Kyrgyzstan.   
POLAND
Our world is wounded by injustice, violence, wars and lust for power. So many people suffer, are destitute and robbed of hope. Pope Francis encouraged us to pray for peace in the war-torn Holy Land on October 17, 2023. In response to this call, the Editorial team of Modlitwa w drodze (the Polish language version of Pray as You Go) has prepared a special prayer. Its core is the song "Pray for Peace" composed by Dominik Dubiel SJ in cooperation with Mateusz Frankiewicz and Anna Weber. Pray with us for peace! Think about what you, your closest people are currently experiencing, what the world is currently experiencing. Try to look at it all from God's perspective for a moment. Psalm 62:2-3 My soul rests in God alone, from whom comes my salvation. God alone is my rock and salvation, my fortress; I shall never fall. Psalm 122:6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you!” Our world is wounded by injustice, violence, exploitation and lust for power. So many people suffer, are destitute and robbed of hope. Even if we ourselves feel safe, it is difficult for us to ignore it. Think for a moment about those who suffer. Everything you feel, even if it is difficult, can become your prayer now. Our immediate surroundings, our everyday life, are also not free from suffering and hurt. Our closest people sometimes disappoint our expectations, we encounter injustice at work or in society. We ourselves are not always able to love as much as we would like to. Entrust to God the relationships in which you need more kindness, care and love. This desire for love makes us hurt by the suffering of others, makes us outraged by injustice, and makes us long for deep, close relationships. This desire is deeply ingrained in us; shows us who we really are. It is the sacred space of God's presence in us, the dwelling place of goodness, beauty and peace. Stay in this space for a moment. Talk to God who is the source of peace within you. Open yourself to His inspiration: how you can convey this peace to the world. Glory be to the Father…  
UNITED KINGDOM
Church of Ireland Archbishop Michael Jackson was guest speaker at the unveiling of a portrait of Blessed John Sullivan SJ in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street, London. It was the church in which Blessed John Sullivan was received into the Roman Catholic Church in 1896. There is now a space dedicated to him there, where people can go to pray and reflect on the life of this Jesuit who has touched the hearts of people around the world, some of whom attribute cures and healings to his intercession. The unveiling of a print of the iconic portrait of Fr John by artist Sean O’Sullivan took place after 11 a.m. Mass in the chapel on Sunday 5 November 2023. British Jesuit Fr Dominic Robinson welcomed the Archbishop and other invited guests, including the Irish Socius, Terry Howard SJ, and members of the Lloyd family, relatives of Fr John Sullivan, living in London. Fr John’s father, Sir Edward Sullivan, was the Lord Chancellor in Ireland from 1883-5 and a Protestant. His mother was a Catholic. John was brought up in the Protestant faith and converted to Catholicism at the age of 35. His reception into the Church at Farm Street took place on the day of the winter solstice, 21 December 1896. He was received by Michael Gavin SJ, a Jesuit from Limerick. Blessed John Sullivan SJ was born on May 8, 1861, in Dublin, Ireland, and died on February 19, 1933. He joined the Jesuits a few years after his conversion. After his novitiate in Ireland, he was sent to Stonyhurst College SJ in Lancashire, England, to study philosophy. Because, as Archbishop Jackson noted, half of his life was spent as an Anglican and half as a Roman Catholic he is often referred to as a ‘bridge between the two traditions’. Indeed, the Church of Ireland, along with Archbishop Michael Jackson, has played an important role in the beatification process of the man who they see as also their saint. Fr John himself was known for his ecumenical approach, extending compassion and support to people of various denominational backgrounds or none. But he is particularly known for his ministry of healing and love of the poor. He was devoted to the sick and the suffering, often visiting hospitals and cycling or walking long distances to do so. He was a man of deep prayer and his life was a simple and ascetic one, with little personal comforts. Blessed John Sullivan died in 1933, and his reputation for holiness that he had during his lifetime continued to grow. In 2016, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to his intercession, leading to his beatification on 13 May 2017, in Dublin, Ireland. He is now referred to as Blessed John Sullivan, and his life serves as an inspiration for those seeking a path of holiness, service, and ecumenical outreach within the Church
POLAND
Seeking the possibility to gather, integrate and collaborate is at the heart of our Jesuit mission today. One of such examples is the ministry of Fr. Leszek Gęsiak SJ, the spokesman for the Polish Bishops Conference. Since autumn of 2020, the beginning of his service, Fr. Gęsiak used the opportunity to integrate the spokesmen from different male religious congregations in Poland, initially through online meetings, but later through meetings in person. In November 12-14, 2023 there happened to be the third of such meetings in person. This time we were hosted by the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Kodeń, a town precisely at the Polish-Belarusian border - from the windows of the guest house one could easily watch the Belarusian territory. It was a good time of sharing experiences in our spokesperson ministry and expanding our knowledge of crisis management. The special guest of the meeting was Capt. Dariusz Sienicki, Spokesman for the Commander of the Nadbuzanski Branch of the Border Guard, who presented his work and the challenges associated with the service at the Polish frontiers, expanding our knowledge in a complex issue of migration. This branch of the Border Guard has under their custody the borders not only with Belarus but also with Ukraine. They were responding to the migration crisis in the fall of 2021 and to the enormous wave of war refugees from Ukraine since February 24, 2022. During the meeting, we also discussed some of the issues included in the final report after the first Rome session of the Synod on synodality. We also addressed the issue of cooperation between religious orders in media communications and the development of existing information channels.The working sessions were combined with visits to places of pilgrimage. In addition to staying and praying at the Shrine of Our Lady of Kodeń, Mother of Unity, we also visited the Shrine of the Blessed Martyrs of Podlasie in Pratulin and Catholic Neo-Uniate Byzantine-Slavic rite parish in Kostomłoty, the only parish of such rite in the world. In the past, before WW2, the Jesuits made a strong influence on that rite through our mission in Albertin, which included the Byzantine-Slavic rite Jesuit novitiate, and where one of the members of the community was Fr. Walter Ciszek SJ, the Servant of God.

Promoting Justice

UNITED KINGDOM
Supreme Court Rules Rwanda Plan Unlawful - response from Jesuit Refugee Service UK The Jesuit Refugee Service UK (JRS UK) has welcomed today’s Supreme Court decision against government plans to transfer people seeking asylum to Rwanda and called for the proposal to be permanently scrapped.   Sarah Teather, Director of JRS UK, responded to the judgement: “JRS UK has consistently opposed this cruel and unworkable policy. We now call for the government to abandon it. Forcibly removing people to Rwanda would achieve nothing except to violate their basic rights, trash the UK’s reputation on the international stage, and exacerbate fear and uncertainty among those seeking sanctuary here." JRS UK has directly supported more than twenty people, including survivors of torture, facing removal to Rwanda. The threat of removal is felt far more widely. Through our accompaniment of refugees, we understand the human impact of this policy and the profound dangers it presents to people in search of safety.   Emphasising the continued challenges facing refugees in the UK Sarah Teather added: “While this policy has been ruled unlawful, the profound trauma it caused remains, alongside a raft of other hostile policies devastating the lives of refugee friends we accompany. We will continue to advocate for a fairer asylum system that recognises our responsibility to offer sanctuary and builds upon the welcome extended by so many people and communities throughout the UK. We urge people to get involved and help us to advocate for a more compassionate system.” As a concrete way forward and reflecting the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales’s principles set out in Love the Stranger; JRS is working to: “encourage the extension of safe routes such as resettlement programmes, visa schemes and humanitarian corridors, so that people can exercise their right to migrate in a dignified and humane manner” as well as urging the government to "fulfil its obligations under international frameworks protecting migrants and refugees, such as the Refugee Convention."
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
The JESC Carbon Initiative (JCI), a JESC Ecology project aimed at accompanying faith-based organisations in their ecological transition, is developing its new school-oriented line of work in a partnership with St Aloysius College in Malta. Filipe Martins SJ, director of JESC, visited the school last week and met the Global Citizenship team, responsible for implementing the project with the 1500 students and families. Learnings from this pilot experience will be useful to expand the project to other schools in Europe. Other already established lines of work include religious and faith-based communities (with successful experiences within the French-speaking and the Irish Jesuit Provinces), offices and events (namely the 2022 Loyola Social and Ecology Congress). More about JCI and its four lines of work can be read at JESC's Carbon Initiative’s renewed website.  
SLOVENIA
In 2016, a survivor of clerical abuse suggested the Vatican's Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors (PCPM) establish a global day of prayer for victims. The Commission stated: "Survivors often desire prayer as a significant element of healing."  Pope Francis invited bishops worldwide to designate a special day of prayer for survivors severely affected within or outside the Church, and families mourning their loved ones. The Slovenian Episcopal Conference chose November 18th, coinciding with the World Day for the Prevention of Child Abuse and the European Day for the Protection of Children.  The Jesuits in Slovenia organized events at St. Joseph's Church in Ljubljana to raise awareness about sexual abuse and support primary and secondary victims. A round table discussed supporting survivors and their recovery, with insights from victims and experts. The events included opening the exhibition SHAME – European stories, featuring photographs by Simone Padovani, depicting the experiences of abuse survivors until January 1, 2024.  Justice Initiative collaborated with the exhibition to open the public's eyes to the traumatic experiences of abuse victims, aiming to break the silence in society and politics. Guido Fluri, founder of Justice Initiative, emphasized the exhibition's role in shedding light on this difficult topic, giving a face and voice to victims and being a step towards change and salvation for them. Check out all the details about this event, including the prayers here
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
The commitment of  the Society of Jesus towards climate justice  Over 70,000 people will shortly descend on the city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), for the COP28 conference which begins on 30 November. Those travelling will include presidents and prime ministers, government officials, business executives, non-governmental organisations’ experts and activists. The list of notable absentees will include the American and Chinese leaders, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping.   It is in this context that some heads have turned at the fact that Pope Francis will attend COP28 and address delegates, making it the first time a Pontiff visits an UN climate conference. Despite this, it should be of no surprise to those who accompany the words and actions of the Pope that he has taken this unprecedented step.   Indeed, already in 2015, during the months leading up to the COP21 conference in Paris, Francis released Laudato Si’. In another pontifical first, this encyclical was addressed not just to Catholics but to "every person living on this planet" and was released with a hope of creating a momentum of dialogue and collaboration between world leaders ahead of COP21.   COP21 was considered a success because the Paris Agreement was ratified there, when 196 countries set out the long-term goal of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and working to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius.  Fast forward to COP28, the Pope has released another document ahead of the conference. Laudate Deum follows up the progress in the years since 2015; "we have fallen short of the commitments we made in the Paris Agreement, and the consequences of this inaction are already being felt around the world."   The language in Laudate Deum is straightforward and addresses what is needed at COP28 with Francis directly referencing the conference: "COP28 must be a moment of transformation, a turning point in our collective response to the climate crisis. It is time for concrete action, not just words and promises."  These calls ahead of COP28 cannot be avoided and put a moral pressure on the conference to make a difference. This is more important than ever in the wake of the last UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) Synthesis report which records that current emissions reduction commitments are not enough to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius, let alone 1.5 degrees Celsius.  Together with other European Jesuit institutions and the European Network of Eco-Delegates, we, at the Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC), have taken this call to embrace COP28 seriously and to help people to get involved. In order to bring the conference to peoples’ homes, we have launched a COP28@Home campaign, with Jesuit Missions in London and the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice in Dublin.   First and foremost, we invite all of those who have been inspired by Pope Frances’s message to be informed on the conference and its history, thus we have created a Guide to COP to get started. Secondly, we encourage followers to act by writing to their local political representatives and be involved in a participative process surrounding the COP. A  handy template letter has been produced for this purpose. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, we invite people to pray for the success of the conference, and a thought provoking prayer guide has been put together by two young Jesuits, Xavier de Bénazé SJ and Fabian Moos SJ, who are passionate about climate justice. You can read more about this, and sign up to our daily e-bulletin which will run though the conference in the webpage jesc.eu/cop28athome.  Finally it’s worth mentioning that the Jesuits are comprehensive in their support for the Pope and his emphasis on COP28. Over 100 signatories from Jesuit leaders, associated lay people and Ignatian institutions have signed a common statement, that you can read in the webpage climatejustice.ecojesuit.com, with a strong call to climate justice at COP28. Those are words that accompany much work already being done by many worldwide, on behalf of a justice which focuses primarily on the poorest in society, namely those who are most affected by the effects of climate change.

Youth & Media

POLAND
In July this year, the editorial team of Modlitwa w drodze (MWD) conducted a survey among its listeners. The goal was to get listeners' opinions on the quality of the meditations shared through this popular application. At the same time, information was also collected about who the statistical recipients of this online prayer application are. 2,586 people took part in the survey, which is nearly 10% of approx. 28,000 of the daily users. The average rating is 4.41 on a 5-point scale. Women (4.48) rate the application significantly better than men (4.28). Married people value it the most (4.44). The average rating of people with children is 4.46, and of people without children - 4.29. As the results of the survey show, Modlitwa w drodze greatly helps in the practice of prayer and in spiritual development and understanding of the Gospel (4.66). It helps to a slightly smaller, but still very high extent in the relationship with God and attentiveness to God's actions (4.60) and in the relationship with each other (4.37).  Modlitwa w drodze is rated best by people who listen to it while walking or running (4.45) and those who listen to the prayer at home (4.44). In questions regarding technical matters, the voice of the lecturers (4.58) and the music (4.37) are rated the highest. These opinions do not show any significant differences due to the age and gender of the respondents. A small proportion (20%) of people expect slightly more intellectually engaging content. For the vast majority of people, the content of the meditations is optimally understandable. The vast majority of respondents (78%) consider the duration of the prayer to be optimal. Also, time for reflection is optimal for the vast majority of people. Only 23% of those taking part in the survey thought it was too short. 64.31% of respondents were women. 21 people did not provide information about their gender (less than 1%). The dominant age group were people between 45 and 54 years of age (33%) and between 35 and 44 years of age (29%). The largest number of listeners lives in large cities, over 500,000 inhabitants (26%) and in villages (20%). According to the survey, 66% of MWD listeners are married and 19% are single. 71% of listeners declare having a child or children. 97% of respondents declare themselves Catholic and 3% as Christians other than Catholics. 73% of respondents declare that they listen to us every day, and 21% once or several times a week. 63% of respondents declare that they listen to us at home. 20% then drive a car. Gratitude dominated among the free responses (641 responses). Many respondents shared situations in which MWD is helpful for them (323). 247 people suggested certain solutions regarding the prayers, as well as promotional and fundraising activities. A detailed analysis of the data can be found here
FRANCE
Maison Magis, a Jesuit place for young people in Paris, celebrates its 5th anniversary On 9 October, Maison Magis joyfully celebrated its fifth anniversary: 70 friends and partners gathered on rue d'Assas in Paris to celebrate the anniversary of this third place opened by the Jesuits to support young adults in their spiritual, professional and social life with a range of proposals combining spirituality, training and solidarity. The evening began with a time of thanksgiving at the Mass presided over by Fr Thierry Dobbelstein sj. The Provincial recalled the intuition behind Magis House: to create a place of Church for young people, by young people, which, like a crossroads, breaks down barriers and encourages encounters: "Magis House is not an end in itself. Here you dream together, you experiment for the first time, as in a laboratory: the aim is that what is experienced in the laboratory should be experienced and multiplied in life. That you become men and women who live Magis in your professional, political, family and church commitments. Perhaps in the Ile-de-France region, perhaps at the other end of the world. You receive a lot, you give a a lot to one another, and I'd like to remind you: a lot will be asked of you in the creation of a future full of hope". Fr Thierry Anne sj, director of Maison Magis, was delighted with the co-leadership, without which the Maison would not have been able to see the light of day and continue on its way: "Not without the others. This could become the base line of the Maison Magis logo (...). This is the Magis of this house, the more. And that's just as well, because this house is a third place, in other words, a constant call to meet people other than myself, other than my clan, other than my environment. It is the sign of the face of God, the God of encounters, whose dream for us is to enter into communion without forgetting anyone". Young people then spoke about what they have experienced, and received, in this house that has become "their" home. Whether they were coworkers, refugees, students or young professionals, they all spoke of the importance of Maison Magis in their lives, of the friendships they had made through the many encounters they had had, and of their faith journey, initiated or deepened in this place. The anniversary of the Maison Magis will continue in the spring with a big party for all the young people attending the Maison on 26 April 2024.
WORLD
November 16th, marked the 34th anniversary of the martyrdom in San Salvador of six Jesuit priests and their housekeeper and daughter.   In 1989, amidst a long and bloody civil war, Ignacio Ellacuría SJ and his colleagues worked tirelessly to secure a negotiated peace. Targeted by the Salvadoran military High Command, they were brutally assassinated in their university residence. The sole witness to the event, Lucia Cerna, was subsequently kidnapped by the CIA and FBI. The film, ‘What Lucia Saw’, is an excellent factual dramatization of the killings and the disturbing aftermath in the United States. It can be viewed, exclusively and free of charge, on the Archbishop Romero Trust website - see bottom of this page. A Spanish production with English subtitles, it lasts for 103 minutes. The six Jesuits and their women co-workers are amongst 47 proposed martyrs brought together in a collective Cause for Beatification expected to be formally launched in 2024. The Full Movie Can Be Watched Here  
FRANCE
The first act of a year that promises to be rich in joy and surprises was a major gathering on 6 October, as Le Caousou opened its doors on 6 October 1874. More than 2,000 students, from preschool to BTS (a higher technician diploma), as well as teachers and staff, gathered for the opening ceremony of the jubilee year. After a few songs, including the new Caousou hymn composed for the occasion, teachers, staff and pupils performed the play on the history of the school entitled "Builders of Hope", which I wrote with the invaluable collaboration of Fr Pascal Gauderon sj. They played the game beautifully! Choristers and musicians wonderfully enhanced the piece with an Ad majorem Dei gloriam and a superb and moving Ave Maria. The Caousou was the first establishment in France to be dedicated to the Immaculate Virgin. On this beautiful sunny day, we exhibited a magnificent LEGO model of the buildings, made entirely by students under the guidance of a 1st year secondary school pupil - a unique piece! A film of the opening ceremony made by the students is currently being edited, and we plan to publish a book of the play, complete with old illustrations and photos of the performance on 6 October. The jubilee year continues! We are organising a large mass on 8 December for the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the former name of Caousou, and a concert of contemporary sacred music will be held on 7 March 2024 in Toulouse's Saint-Etienne cathedral, with the participation of students from the school choir. From 2 to 5 April, we will also be hosting a "Jesuit Week", with a wide range of activities: an escape game in the city based on Jesuit sites in Toulouse and on our premises, a new performance of the play "Les Bâtisseurs d'Espérance" (Builders of Hope), a student concert, classes run jointly by teachers and Jesuits, an event based on the great eloquence competition held each year with the first and final years of secondary school, a conference on the theme of "faith and science in the final year of secondary school", and so on, not forgetting our famous 20 km Solidarity Walk along the canal, which will be revisited for the occasion. Other events planned to celebrate the history of Caousou include a major exhibition of the school's archives and a book featuring photos and testimonials from former students, headteachers and teachers. On the festive side, a gala evening will bring together the entire school community and alumni on 22 June. On 4 October, a final gathering, with a mass, concert and distribution of the book, will bring the jubilee year to a close. Caousou is continuing to open up to the world and to others. We're delighted! Véronique BERNARD (educational director, head of the Le Caousou final cycle)

In-depth Reflection

POLAND
On October 10, 2023, by resolution of the President of the Republic of Poland Andrzej Duda, Father Prof. Józef Bremer SJ was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit for his achievements in the development of science. Prof. Bremer works at the Department of Logic, Epistemology and Philosophy of Science at the Institute of Philosophy of Ignatianum University in Cracow, Poland. He is also an honorary professor at the National University named after Ivan Franko in Zhytomyr, Ukraine (since 2012) and honorary professor of the Silesian University of Technology in Gliwice, Poland (since 2023). In the years 2014-2022 he was the rector of the Ignatianum Academy in Cracow. For 7 years he was a full-time employee of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Jagiellonian University, where he also held managerial positions (head of the Department of Cognitive Science) and co-founded the field of cognitive science. In the years 2011-2018 he was a member of the Committee of Philosophical Sciences at the Polish Academy of Sciences. The award will be presented on the Day of the Ignatianum University on March 8, 2024.
WORLD
Rainbows and Catastrophes. When we see a rainbow, it is difficult not to be surprised by its beauty and promise. Though we know the scientific explanation, that does not take away the sense that it is a gift, and, for a moment, the earth can both delight and reassure us. Of course, in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, the rainbow appears after the great flood; God’s sign that the earth is secure again. Many world religions have stories of a devastating flood that cleanses the earth and punishes the humanity that abuses it. One of the oldest is the Epic of Gilgamesh. There are also versions in Hinduism, and one can find such stories in the religions of many native peoples.  The story in Genesis (chapters 6-9) tells of a time when people misused the gifts of God’s creation, behaving as if ‘they’ were gods. They, too, were oblivious to all the warning signs. Reading the story, we have a sense that they thought time could be manufactured and that they were beyond accountability. God destroys their illusions and the earth they had polluted and He even comes to regret the creation that had once been the source of His delight (6:7). Yet, there is also something strange, even beautiful in the Genesis story. Although human beings have been the disfiguring agents of destruction, they are not eliminated. Humanity is integral to God’s creation so, in the figure of Noah and his family, humans are also restored; they are part of creation’s new beginning. But Noah is not a hero in the conventional sense. He is far from perfect, and even though God chosen him, he is also flawed. God is prepared to risk it all again on this very human, human being. When Noah sees the rainbow, he knows that the waters of the great flood have abated. God’s gives the rainbow as the sign of a new covenant with the whole of creation – a cosmic covenant. In the story of the great flood, Genesis not only teaches us about ourselves, it teaches us about God. More than God the creator, we encounter a God who is not afraid to take the risk of beginning again, even with imperfect people like us. In this act, God is also teaching us. We know we are not perfect and all our beginnings tend to be flawed, but we can begin again and with each new beginning something changes and we discover even great possibilities for the good. In 1947, the scientists of the Manhattan Project who had helped to make the atomic bomb established The Doomsday Clock. It is a symbolic device designed to warn us how close we are to catastrophe. Formerly, that catastrophe was an atomic war the threat of which is still with us. Now, however, there is the more urgent reality of human-induced climate change. Today, the hands of the clock stand at 90 seconds to midnight. That is how close we are to the irreversible destruction of our earth, our home.   We cannot claim ignorance. The Paris Accords of 2015 made it clear that by continuing with our current domestic and industrial policies we are reaching unstable levels of global warming. As Laudate Deum sounds the alarm; the evidence is there for all to see, even though there are always the false prophets of denial.  In the relatively short time between Paris and Cop 28 (November 2023) we are already experiencing these effects and their consequences: vast fires, droughts, crop failures, floods, the displacement of people, and the loss of biodiversity. The rainbow is hidden by the flames and the smoke which pollutes the air. Yet Governments and businesses continue as they did in the time of Noah. Their complacency is barely disguised by token gestures, still grasping the illusion that money and technologies will ultimately preserve us and a profit can still be made. The promise of a deep and flourishing life is in the gift of children, who will pay the price for our failures to act today. Children are more vulnerable to climate and environmental shocks than adults. Approximately 1 billion children – half the world’s children – live in climate-risk countries and areas that experience multiple climate stresses and hazards, creating new situations of disease, famine, and displacement, the dislocation of families, cultures, and histories. Of course, they live with the consequences of the ever-increasing inequality gap between classes and between nations. At the moment, for them the future holds no rainbows, and the chimes of the Doomsday Clock are already sounding. The problem does not lie with technologies and science but in the failure of moral and political will. There are solutions, but they are not quick fixes. They require sustained effort and perseverance – moral and imaginative stamina and responsibility. This is why we now need not only the commitment of today’s governments, but commitments that will shape the policies of the future. The lasting solution requires a deep conversion and commitment of us, the people, the voters and those without this privilege. It needs the commitment of us all – a new rainbow coalition, the democratic ‘sensus fidelium’. For this reason, we need reliable information and expert guidance; we need to be inform and be formed that we may take those actions which are within our power not matter how limited or insignicant we feel ourselves to be. We need to educate and train ourselves and our families to cherish the earth and husband all its resources with knowledge, understanding, gratitude and respect. We need to cultivate an ‘integral ecological imagination’ which can inspire new values and new behaviours. We love our children and want to give them the best we can offer them. There is no greater gift for us to give than a flourishing earth, rich in diversity, creativity, and potential – rich in life! Such a gift is the world we can create if we wish to. A world that is also a home in which all have a secure place. It is a world that is the home in which we learn the humility of serving creation rather than exploiting it; we see that our very inter-relatedness with everything on our planet is itself a blessing, not a limitation, for God has entrusted his work to us and made us the ministers of its goodness. It is our responsibility to the promise and to the future, which God continues to offer us. The ‘risk of beginning again’: Renewing our Covenant.   If we are to renew this covenant we first need to commit ourselves to change, not only of our economic and political systems, but in our hearts and our wills. It is time to claim our freedom, and choose to live with new models, values, cultures of sufficiency that we might all enjoy a simpler, more sustainable, connected and responsible life. It is time to leave our seductive captivity to the old gods of rapacious consumption, to start the new exodus from our old ways and habits that creation, too, can be free. Our earth is not a ‘silent planet’. Even though every form of life has its own language of pain and lament, it also has the song of life – the great celebration – Laudato Si!  Both Laudato Si and Laudate Deum invite us into this great song of praise that rightly belongs to a creation which knows and rejoices in its own blessedness.  As their titles indicate, Laudato Si and Laudate Deum remind us that all creation is a great and joyous hymn of praise to the Creator for the triumph of life over nihilism and death. It is creation’s Magnificat and for too long the clamour of our lives have made us deaf to it. If we wish to take up our part and join the wonderful polyphony we must learn to sing together and adventure with trust to follow the score which God has composed. Such a conversion to the communion of life is not such a difficult thing once we give up our addictions and illusions and say ‘yes’ to the gift of our world, its beauty and complexity, its abundance and generosity, its goodness and its blessing. As with the story of the flood and the flawed but faithful figure of Noah, God does not despair of humanity. Behind the black clouds of polution, the rainbow still breaks through. It is there to call us; to give us hope that we can change and together we can act. Time is God’s creation and God makes time for us to change. We can reset the hands on the Doomsday Clock, end the suffering and exploitation of creation. We can discover how to use our science and technology for the benefit of life and become the creative carers of our common home once more.
ITALY
The political crisis? It calls for a change of course. Administering communities takes place not through a new party but through a new method which brings together good practices. So, since 2009 there have been three experiences initiated by Jesuits in Rome, Palermo and Milan. The vision: to generate change. Comunità di connessioni – Rome Comunità di connessioni (“Community of Connections”) was founded in 2009 in Rome as an association committed to exploring issues of social and political life in light of the Church’s Social Doctrine and the principles of the Constitution, which establish and promote the dignity of the person. A nonpartisan and pluralistic entity, Comunità di connessioni has established dialogue and confrontation as its working tools. It offers political formation programs, spiritual dialogues among professionals, publishes an online magazine and collaborates with several newspapers, works through commissions connecting experiences among administrators at the local level, offers annual spiritual retreats and offers formation to businesses and administrators, and collaborates with the Vatican Foundation Fratelli Tutti. Fr. Francesco Occhetta coordinates this initiative. The “formpol” formation journey offers five meetings each year with the participation of ministers, faculty and association leaders and an official event is also organised. People and structured practices have established it as a community, rich in contacts by linking virtuous points of experience. More than 1,000 people have been involved over the years.   GenerAzioni – Palermo “GenerAzioni” is the journey offered in Palermo by the “Pedro Arrupe” Political Formation Institute, in the wake of the school founded by Fr. Bartolomeo Sorge in 1986. This is an intergenerational workshop for community leaders, committed to the regeneration of territories, able to identify problems and opportunities. About 40 people were involved in 2023. They range in age from 18 to 55, all with experience in civic engagement. Social change, third sector, active citizenship, direct engagement in politics are some of the concrete points that emerged. “It is a residence for those who intend to work in the social field and engage in the community to give new life,” explains Fr. Gianni Notari. “Faced with the crisis of politics we believe that we need to reverse course. We are convinced that it is necessary to get out of the private dimension and personal self-references to turn to the building of communities.”   I Care Lab – Milan Promoted by Aggiornamenti Sociali magazine and a think tank of the Italian Jesuits, “I Care Lab” was set up in Milan. The program of six-monthly meetings consists of exploring personal motivations, to difficulties in the field of work, to procreative communities as well as witnessing, games, simulations, moments of sharing and exchange. Thirty young people aged between 21 and 35 took part from Lombaria, Liguria and Tuscany. “A positive response that encouraged us to go ahead,” Fr. Giuseppe Riggio, who heads the initiative explains. “We cultivate a dream which is to develop within the participants the ability to confront the complexity of the reality in which they live and operate, to be attentive to individual episodes without losing sight of the broader socio-political framework where they are inserted, to look upon realities even the most distant from us, to recognize the positive and productive forces within a territory and a community, in order to be able to collaborate with them in carrying out their service.” The Ignatian pedagogical paradigm is recognizable in the “watermark” of all three experiences: starting from experience – personal or that of witnesses – reviewed and amended in order to arrive at forms of action and intervention in different contexts, through personal discernment and the common good.
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
The Kircher universities, faculties and centres participating in this Project recognize the benefits of providing inter-institutional course enrolment to interested students or partner institutions. These institutions also share a commitment to the potential positive outcomes of curriculum and enrollment sharing: an enriched educational experience for students, curriculum enhancement, professional development opportunities for faculty, and the conservation of institutional resources. The concept of inter-institutional course enrolments benefits both the students and institutions. Students would have the opportunity to study with a broader network of peers from sister Jesuit higher education institutions in Europe and Lebanon. Furthermore, due to a network of esteemed educators, the students would learn from a different cultural perspective, increasing the resources and knowledge available to them. Get to know more here

Preparing for Mission

CZECH REPUBLIC
From Saturday, November 11 to Thursday, November 16, 2023, Father General Arturo Sosa SJ visited the Czech Province (BOH). He successively visited all the places where the Jesuits are active in the Czech Republic and was able to personally get to know the Jesuits and the apostolic work that they and their collaborators are engaged in. During the visit he was accompanied by his assistants P. Tomasz Kot SJ (ECO) and P. Cipriano Díaz Marcos SJ (EMR). On Saturday, November 11, after arriving from the Vienna airport, Father General stayed at the Jesuit community in Olomouc, where he also celebrated the Eucharist on Sunday morning in the chapel of the Centrum Aletti. The service was also attended by collaborators from the Centrum Aletti, from the academic parish and from the Catholic University Students Movement of Olomouc, with whom he met informally during a common breakfast in the Jesuit community. Father General's Sunday program continued at Svatý Hostýn, where members of the Jesuit community congratulated Father General on his 75th birthday. The Jesuits in Olomouc had done likewise the day before. In addition to getting familiar with the pilgrimage site, he also spoke with members of the Hostýn Jesuit community about the importance of the reflection (examen) of the De Statu Societatis report. The next day, Monday 13 November, was devoted first to a visit to Velehrad, where he met with students of one of the classes of the “Stojanovo Gymnázium Velehrad” grammar school and answered their questions. He also had meetings with the Czech Provincial and his consultors, with whom he discussed, among other things, the future of the province in the process of restructuring. He then moved on to Brno, where he celebrated an evening Mass in English for university students in the Jesuit church. In his homily he recalled the personality of St. Agnes of Bohemia, whose memory the Czech Church celebrated that day. He also stopped in the crypt of the church to see the relics of Ven. Martin Středa SJ (1587–1649). The service was followed by a debate, during which he answered questions from the faithful for about an hour. On Tuesday, November 14, Father General went to Prague, where he spent the afternoon touring the centre of the Czech capital and the monuments connected with the history of the Jesuit Order. In the evening he also met with members of the Prague Jesuit community. Wednesday, November 15, was devoted to a visit to Děčín in the north of Bohemia and the Nativity Primary School, which is run by the Czech Province. There he met with its pupils and teachers. In the evening, back in Prague, he presided over a Mass in English for university students at the Church of St Ignatius. After the service, he also had the opportunity to speak personally with the students during an informal meeting in the hall at the Jesuit church. He left Prague early on Thursday morning, November 16. This was the first visit to the Czech Republic for Father A. Sosa. Before him, Father General Adolfo Nicolás SJ last visited the Czech Province in November 2012. (Written by Petr Havlíček SJ, Photos by František Ingr)
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Just two weeks after the promulgation by Fr. General of the revised Statutes on Religious Poverty in the Society of Jesus and the new Instruction for Administration and Finances (SOP-IAF), the treasurers of the provinces and region of the JCEP met in Ludwigshafen, Germany, hosted by the ECE province. The IAF is the day-to-day Jesuit manual for all the functions of a treasurer, and it is not every year that such fundamental guidelines undergo a complete update. No surprise, therefore, that this time the group was larger than usual, 27 participants overall. All the provinces were represented, and many assistant-treasurers came too. The General Treasurer, Sebastian Jeerakassery, led the work during the two days dedicated to the instruction, highlighting its main novelties and fundamental features. There was also time to try the new budget and report forms to be sent annually to Fr. General. The usual times of spiritual conversation on the mission of the treasurer, the sharing of relevant aspects of the financial situation and the main joys and challenges lived in each province and a brief report on the JCEP Formation Solidarity Mechanism completed the program of the meeting. The hospitality offered by the Heinrich-Pesch Hotel was outstanding. Contributing highly for the relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere very much appreciated by all. The group had also the opportunity to visit the Romanic Cathedral in Speyer, occasion to also have a conversation with the local Bishop about the situation of the Church in Germany. Herminio Rico sj. JCEP Socius/Treasurer
TURKEY
JCEP President Dalibor Renić made his first canonical visit to the Jesuit community in Turkey from 29 October to 6 November. He first visited the St Ignatius Residence in Ankara and the four Jesuits who live there. Jean-Marc Balhan (originally from Belgium), Alexis Doucet (France), Michael McGuckian (Ireland) have recently been joined by Changmo Cho (Korea), who arrived in September and began his Turkish language programme. Two young Jesuits from Vietnam completed their summer immersion programme in September and returned to their province. The Jesuits work in various apostolates in Ankara and throughout Turkey (religious formation, international ministry, intellectual apostolate, media), but their focus is on building a local Church of the Turkish-speaking faithful.  Accompanied by Jean-Marc, Dalibor then travelled to Iskenderun to visit Bishop Paolo Bizzeti SJ, Apostolic Vicar of Anatolia, and Antuan Ilgit, also a Jesuit, who has been appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the same Vicariate. Antuan will be consecrated Bishop on 25 November in Istanbul.  Antuan took Dalibor and Jean-Marc on a visit to the Catholic communities of Mersin and Tarsus, where they were warmly welcomed by the Capuchins and the monks of the Institute of the Incarnate Word.  The next day they visited the ancient city of Antakya (Antioch), which has been destroyed by the earthquakes in February. Some 60 per cent of the buildings have to be demolished and that process is still underway. The reconstruction will last for years. But just a week ago the Catholic priest returned to celebrate the Eucharist for the small group of Christians who still live there. The diocesan Caritas is very active in providing all sorts of help in the area and will also continue to help in the reconstruction.
EUROPE
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.