Jesuits in Europe

LEBANON
“I vow before the entire heavenly court (Shouts from outside “Revolution, Revolution...”) perpetual poverty, chastity, and obedience in the Society of Jesus...” Ramez Kamel SJ and Christian Georges SJ, Jesuits in the Province of the Near East, took their first vows in Beirut, Lebanon on November 16, 2019.  As they were speaking the words, kneeling before the Body and Blood of Christ, there erupted a huge cry from outside: “Thowra, Thowra (Revolution, Revolution).”  Revolutionary cries for freedom and justice erupted from the crowds just down the street from the Jesuit residence.  Throughout the last month Lebanon has experienced an awakening of political and social consciousness that is calling into question the status quo of the political elite.  Tens of thousands of people are regularly protesting in every part of Lebanon, blocking major roads, and striking in major sectors of the economy.  These protests occur regularly, and we are all accustomed to the crowds and the chants.  However, the confluence of these chants and the vows made a tremendous impact.  Singing the Arabic translations of “Here I Am, Lord” and ‘Nada Te Turbe,” allowed us to savor the activity of the Spirit in that moment.  I found myself praying with St. Ignatius, and the UCA Martyrs of El Salvador (whose anniversary was the same day as these vows).   With them, I found myself deeply consoled that vows were offered in the middle of this complex mix of deep social longing, joy, chaos, and uncertainty.  In the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius invites us to consider the Trinity in their decision to send the Christ to linger among us.  The Trinity does not consider the world as it ought to be.  It considers the messy, chaotic, unjust and broken reality.  “With God, I can hear people laughing and crying, some shouting and screaming, some praying, others cursing.” (David Fleming SJ, Draw Me into Your Friendship.) The Trinity longs to be fully incorporated into that imperfection, and to accompany it into the fullness of life. This is our Christian and Ignatian vocation.  The Body of Christ is not present only when everything is perfect.  Christ is present in the messy in-between.   It is from this messiness that our vocation emerges. During our celebration for Ramez and Christian I wondered whether it was, perhaps, more appropriate for Jesuits to take their vows amid a noisy revolution than in some serene chapel.  We vow to be free to love the world as God loves.  We vow to be free in order to be fully incorporated into the messy Body of Christ.  We vow to be instruments of creative instability in any time or place.  We vow to live solidarity and reconciliation with courage and love. There is something revolutionary about the freedom of the vows.  Rarely has it been made as clear to me as it was last weekend.  "As you have freely given me the desire to make this offering, so may you also give me the abundant grace to fulfill it." (from the Jesuit Vow Formula) On the picture from left to right: Dan Corrou SJ, Christian George SJ, Wissam Kamel, Ramez Kamel SJ, Hossam Soliman SJ, Michael Ghobrial SJ, Ronney Gemayel SJ
HUNGARY
Are you between 18 and 35 years of age? Would you spend a meaningful week between the 1st and 9th of August, 2020, among youths, Jesuits and their friends from various countries? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone and try yourself in practical experiments? Are you into pilgrimage, the spirituality of Saint Ignatius and charity, or arts and ecology? Do you happen to speak English? If your answers are yes, there is nothing else to do then to check out the details of Magis Europe 2020, held in Hungary, and register between the 1st of March and 15th of May. You may do it via our new website »magis.jesuits.eu«, where you may also find the background and all the details of the meeting. In Ignatian spirituality, magis marks one’s effort to find what is according to the will and to the greater glory of God. With this is mind, the upcoming event, dating back to more than two decades, has two parts: Ignatian experiments and the closing event. During the experiments you will be encouraged to experience yourself, others and God in a new way. You’ll find yourself in unusual situations, and probably realize that teamwork is essential while making friends with people from various countries, and discovering that we all belong to one international community of human beings. This is also manifest in the venues of the experiments: besides Hungary, it is neighbouring Slovakia, Austria and Romania that welcome participants, all of them finally gathering in Miskolc, Northern-Hungary, for the closing event. The central theme of Magis 2020 will be the Eucharist under the motto: “You are my Bread, my Life, my Love”. One month after our event, the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Budapest, Hungary – a fact that inspired the choice of this year’s focus. Plus, the first Universal Apostolic Preference of the Jesuits is “to show the way to God”. Magis aims to do this by exploring in depth the Eucharistic aspect of Ignatian spirituality through the pillars of the daily schedule with morning prayers, noon or evening examens, holy mass, experiments and Magis circles. Though next August may seem to be in the distant future, and there is also time until the registration and check-in, the new website is already worth browsing. Our aim was to create an online platform where you may get an insight into what will await you if you make up your mind to dedicate one week of your next summer to Magis Europe 2020. Be it a retreat in the Mediterranean-like mountains in Southern-Hungary; a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Pope Francis to a famous shrine in Romania dwelled by Hungarians; a spiritual bike tour around Lake Balaton; evangelization by means of Slovakian wooden churches; learning English through fun and spirituality; spending one week as a Jesuit – the aim is the very same: to find ways to make the most and the best of ourselves, of one another, and then to render it to the greater glory of our common God.
GERMANY
5 December is the World Volunteer Day. Examples of how volunteering can contribute to building more inclusive, sustainable and just societies are provided by the voluntary services of the international Jesuit Xavier Network, including our Jesuit Volunteers (JV) program. Democracies in crisis, growing social tensions throughout the world: Chile, Bolivia, Haiti, Syria, Lebanon, Nicaragua are just a few examples of a worrying global development that can also be felt in Europe, be it through new poverty, a drifting apart of society or "hate speech" in social media. In the midst of all these problems, International Voluntary Service is more important than ever to contribute to building a committed global civilian population. An international Voluntary Service connects people from different places, life realities and cultures, promotes the reduction of prejudices and the appreciation of diversity; helps to develop values, skills and attitudes that are indispensable for building an egalitarian and peaceful world; contributes to an understanding of global dynamics and unjust structures; promotes a conscious commitment to a more just society and a simple and sustainable lifestyle; makes a valuable contribution in the locations where it is used: In a mutual relationship, characterised by proximity and trust, a learning process is set in motion on both sides; contribute to achieving the UN's sustainable development goals and promote global partnerships. Over 900 people have volunteered for the German-language Jesuit missions in recent decades, formerly as European Volunteers (JEV) and Jesuit Mission Volunteers (JMV), and since 2012 as Jesuit Volunteers (JV). Currently 20 volunteers are working in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The updated website jesuit-volunteers.org https://www.jesuit-volunteers.org/startseite provides insights into the Jesuit Volunteers programme, information about volunteer positions, activities and experiences on site as well as the application process
IRELAND
Although Christmas and the New Year bring families and friends together – a celebration of joy and happiness – it can also be a time of high stress and anxiety. Brendan McManus SJ, author of Finding God in the Mess and Deeper into the Mess, offers ten tips for keeping balance and good mental health over the festive season, drawing on the wisdom of the founder of the Jesuits, St Ignatius of Loyola. AN IGNATIAN GUIDE TO SURVIVING CHRISTMAS Ignatius Loyola is often stereotyped as a gloomy ascetic whose strictness ruled out having any fun at all. People find it hard to believe the story about Ignatius breaking into a Basque jig in order to cheer up a sad Jesuit, or alternatively Ignatius promoting wellbeing, laughter, and cheerfulness. Ignatius would say live Christmas to the full, make it rich and meaningful, and let God’s light shine! Essentially practical as usual, this is the application of Ignatian wisdom to Christmas. Here, the advice is formulated in terms of 10 simple guidelines (Ignatian points in brackets): Have a happy and holy Christmas, recover the sense of wonder and genuine joy at the heart of it! It’s all about Christ. This should be self-evident but unfortunately, it has been sidetracked such that Santa Claus is now the main (fictitious) character, or worse, Christmas is reduced to some sentimental feeling linked to having certain products, fuelled totally by advertising. Christ is God coming into our world and darkness in order that we might live in love and be light. (the incarnation is God becoming human in order that we might live transformed) It’s about a ‘gift that keeps on giving’, but its nothing to do with commercialism. We have been given a present of immeasurable worth, a line to heaven, and this requires seeing to the heart of things and being present. The ego gets in the way however, as selfishly, it thinks about acquiring things and building up superficial self-reliance and pride. Real joy, however, consists in being free of things and living our divine nature, God working through us to mend the world. (spiritual freedom is about letting go and letting God; it brings real, lasting joy) ‘Made in a mess’. The Christmas story is about a baby born in less than ideal circumstances, in a cowshed, amidst the straw and the mess. Therein lies our hope; God is present to the mess and clutter of our lives. It is miraculous and a thing of wonder, a ‘silent and holy night’. No matter who you are or what you’ve done, Christ is with you. (God is present in the experience and lived reality of our lives) The central image is light in the darkness. We need to be tuned to our own darkness and that of the world, in order to appreciate the wonder of light. It transforms everything and gives us new sight. Let’s stop pretending and do an honest stocktake of our light and shadows; real prayer will transform our lives with purpose and direction. There is always a new beginning and a new start offered, make sure you take it. (prayer is being real with God, transforming empty lives and making good choices) Keep yourself in balance. Christmas is often a fraught time with plenty of excess and tension, things can easily blow up or get out of control. It is just another day, however, and our job is to keep ourselves in good shape as much as possible, appreciating the gifts of family, friends, meals, drinks, movies, etc., but avoiding the downsides of these. Too much of a good thing is a bad thing. There is often a point where things start to go from good to bad, and we need to recognise these when they happen and take steps to keep our light shining. Knowing what you need to do or avoid to stay well and happy can be a great help; decide in advance. (keep yourself in balance before all the things of the world; use them insofar as they bring us to God/Light) Give people the benefit of the doubt. An important Ignatian principle is to put the best interpretation on people’s behaviour, works, and deeds. This can be particularly challenging at Christmas, a time of heightened emotion and drama, where tensions can erupt. Not jumping to conclusions or getting swept up in strong emotions can help alleviate many unnecessary dramas. (put the est interpretation on people’s intentions, actions, and words) Lower your expectations. Being clear about what you want or desire is key in Ignatian spirituality. Seeking after the wrong things, e.g. unlimited happiness or a blissful time free of problems is setting yourself up for failure. Instead, focus on others and how you might contribute, you will never go wrong with that. (God is present in our deepest desires, not the superficial ones) Think of those less well off. It’s a bit of a truism but Christmas is about helping others, giving from an open heart and getting out of your comfort zone. Join some of the many voluntary and charitable works to shift the focus outwards. Better still, think of someone that you need to be reconciled with, make an effort to include someone who is suffering or invite someone who has no-one. There is no shortage of people in need; real happiness is in giving away, not accumulating. (love shows itself more in deeds than in words; love consists of a mutual sharing of gifts) Christ has a message for you specifically. St Ignatius says that God is always trying to reach us, has a very specific message for us and is present in unexpected ways. What could God be saying to you this Christmas? What do you have to listen for? Where are the spaces in your life for prayer and reflection? What would it mean to listen, engage and live differently from love this Christmas? Make it real, just do it! (God communicates with each of us directly and individually) What is your life about? Christmas marks the ending of the year, the time of greatest darkness in the northern hemisphere. Take some time to look back over the last year. What are you grateful for, what do you regret, what forgiveness do you ask, how could you live the next year differently? (reflect back over your experience in order to make better future decisions)

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Finding God

SPAIN
It is now customary for the Delegation for University Pastoral Care at the Comillas University to prepare for Christmas with activities and gestures that help to deepen the experience. Along these lines, the pastoral group of ICAI has inaugurated one more year - and this is already the third - the Technological Nativity Scene: one of the traditions which is becoming more and more evident during this Christmas period. The previous two years, the crib was set up in refugee camps with the presence of the SJR. This, however, has begun a new series of cribs that year after year will travel to a new location, much closer geographically: the border of Melilla (spain city, frontier with Morocco). This year, the Nativity Scene shows the presence of the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Church in the border city of Nador. In the crib appear the different projects that the Jesuits manage and support in this fishing village, accompanied by other religious orders and institutions, such as Entreculturas or the Jesuit Service for Migrants. A project that began to be planned in February 2019 and has taken months of planning and preparation. The fence and some of the buildings are projected with a 3D printer; it has sets of hydraulic pulleys that make some of the elements move and a system of lights that tries to simulate the different moments of the day. All this without forgetting the characteristic scenes of the classic nativity scenes. A very specific way of projecting what the migration of the Holy Family could be like in the 21st century and emphasising the enormous work of the Society of Jesus on the borders.spain
FRANCE
The sanctuary Saint-Régis de Lalouvesc will join the association of "Sanctuary Cities" on January 1st, 2020. Saint-Régis de Lalouvesc The Ardèche shrine becomes the nineteenth member of the French association of Sanctuary Cities. For Lalouvesc, a town of 450 inhabitants, this membership is a recognition of the work carried out in the sanctuary of Saint Jean-François Régis and Saint Thérèse Couderc. Pierre Iratzoquy sj, rector of the basilica. "We are going to work with sanctuaries such as Lourdes, Mont-Saint-Michel or Sainte-Anne d'Auray. Our little shrine will be able to benefit from the experience of the eighteen other places that welcome so many pilgrims! ». This registration as a "sanctuary town" is the result of a double approach by the Saint Regis Shrine and the local tourist office. Lalouvesc's application, prepared over several years, was unanimously accepted at the last meeting of the Association of Shrine Cities on Wednesday 4 December. A place of spiritual renewal and accompaniment, the sanctuary is marked by Ignatian spirituality and is developing in particular the welcoming of families. A great celebration is organised every 16 June, the anniversary of the canonisation of Saint Regis, which took place in 1737. On the eve of the Assumption, a torchlight procession with the blessing of the children is organized from the fountain of Saint Regis to the basilica, while on August 15 an open-air mass is held in the pilgrim's park, gathering up to 3000 faithful. > More about Saint Jean-François Régis and the sanctuary of Lalouvesc > Praying with Saint Jean-François Régis: 28 cards to enter into the experience at Lalouvesc > Discover in this video the life of Saint Jean-François Régis Pierre Iratzoquy S.J.
RUSSIA
This is the common attitude here in Russia with regards to classical organ music concerts.  Approximately three years ago our team at the Inigo Cultural Centre (inigocenter.ru) in Novosibirsk, Russia made a decision to undertake a regular program of musical concerts, three to five times per month.  Up until that point we organized 3-5 concerts a year.  We had noticed that organ musical concerts in the cathedral attracted huge crowds. So why not capitalize on that and make it a defining aspect of our apostolate?  We had so much potential.  Our cathedral is centrally located in this 1.5 million people city, the third largest in Russia.  Musicians and concert-goers acknowledge that our cathedral has the best acoustics of any building in the city. Over the past three years we have realized several significant fruits.  On the average, 100-150 people attend each concert.  People who come to the concert experience a sort of pre-evangelization because the concert is held in the context of a church rather than in a music hall and also thanks to the friendly atmosphere we create with the help of the young volunteers and staff.  Some have begun to come closer to the church community. Also, by inviting people into the church building for a concert, we help to overcome prejudices against the Catholic Church which have come heavily into play in this city in the past, such as "the Catholic Church has nothing in common with Orthodox culture” or "the Catholics are a sect, full of foreigners".  By providing a spiritual impulse as an introduction to the concert, we help people to consider their present state of affairs with God.  Seeing the imagery within the church space, they see that this is not so foreign to them after all…  Our tickets are the most reasonably price and give people of lesser means an opportunity to attend a professional concert. The apostolate has even become financially sustainable, which is unheard of in our context!  In the not too distant future we will be building a fully mechanical pipe organ with 24 stops.  This will help raise our apostolate to a new level.
UNITED KINGDOM
Opening up access for retreats at St Beuno’s. For the last year, St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales has been covered in scaffolding as part of the redevelopment of the retreat house. Last week saw the first fruits of this work with the opening of the new entrance hall by the Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Britain, Fr Damian Howard SJ. The newly-opened entrance was actually the original entrance to St Beuno’s when the house was built in 1848 for Jesuits studying theology. But in living memory, entry to the house has been from the courtyard on the other side of the building. As well as giving a much better sense of ‘arrival’ to St Beuno’s, the new entrance provides much-improved disabled access that will allow more people to attend retreats and other events. So far, the redevelopment has seen repair work to the chapel and the South Wing and included the construction of a new boiler house. Next year will see the construction of four disabled-access bedrooms, a large meeting room on the site of the old boiler house, new kitchens, and a new entrance to the chapel from the current kitchen corridor. Thankfully, the centre has not had to close down during this disruption, with retreatants showing remarkable patience and understanding. As one said: “It shows care and that there is a future, so really these are signs of love and hope”. Architect, Rob Chambers, Llion Scott (surveyor), and builders T.G. Williams, were all present at the ceremony together with the interior designers, Simon Knox and Helen Lewis, as well as the workmen, the St Beuno’s team and some of the retreatants.

Promoting Justice

IRELAND
‘A day of great joy’. A Syrian family seeking refuge in Ireland has just been housed in the Cappolis Cottage, a small bungalow on the grounds of Clongowes Wood College. Khalad and Noor Al Sheblak arrived in the parish of Clane/Rathcoffey on Tuesday 10 December 2019, with their two small girls Dania and Taleen, both of whom were born in a refugee camp in Jordan. Over the last six months, the Jesuit community in Clongowes and a group of transition year students have been helping local parishioners to make possible the welcoming of a refugee family to Ireland in response to the plea made by Pope Francis that every parish around the world take in one refugee family and care for them.  Fr Michael Sheil SJ, rector of Clongowes, spoke about the process at morning assembly in Clongowes the day after the family arrived and made their home in the cottage. He said one of the conditions of a parish being able to host a family was that they could guarantee suitable accommodation. “The Jesuit Community was delighted to provide this guarantee by offering Cappolis Cottage, the small bungalow on the back avenue” In addition, he noted that “A small army of volunteers and a group of our own TY have worked to give the cottage a facelift.” He said that a great variety of events had taken place in the parish to raise funds to enable a proper reception for a refugee family. Fr Michael told the staff and pupils that “our offering the cottage is an important gesture of solidarity by Clongowes Wood College in the life of the parish,” before adding, “You will probably see Khalad and Noor and their girls from time to time on the back avenue and I hope that you will make sure to help them feel at home.”  The rector said that the Al Sheblak were one of the lucky few who have been able to escape from the suffering of being homeless refugees “just like the Holy Family all those years ago when God joined our human race and when for us and for our salvation He came down from Heaven and became man.” Read Fr Michael’s full address to the students below. Read more https://www.jesuit.ie/news/featured-news/a-day-of-great-joy/
SPAIN
Following the apostolic preference of the Care of the Common House, the Society of Jesus in Spain was present with different actions at the Climate Summit (COP25) held in December in Madrid. A group of Jesuits and lay people from different organizations participated in the official agenda of the event, both in institutional activities and in spaces of civil society and religious movements in defense of the care of the planet. The University of Comillas, the EcoJesuit group, Entreculturas or Alboan are some of the entities of the Society that participated. Among the activities, for example, Jaime Tatay SJ and Irene Ortega (coordinator of Entreculturas Citizenship) participated in two round tables of the Forum on Caring for the Common House, promoted by the World Movement of Catholics for Climate. On Friday, December 6, a group of Jesuits and lay people participated in the prayer organized by Catholics for Climate and then in the Mobilization March against Climate Change that went through the streets of Madrid. The global Jesuit ecology group, EcoJesuit, had a very active participation in COP25 with the presence of its coordinator, Pedro Walpole SJ, and other representatives from Alboan, Entreculturas and Comillas. Also, Jaime Tatay SJ, Professor of Theology of Morals and Sustainability, participated in the round table "The role of religions in the face of the climate challenge". At the same time, the Pastoral Service at Comillas University organized an informative conference on the Climate Summit in order to become more aware of this global challenge which is so important for the life of all, and the role that the University should play in it. In addition, mobilizations and commitment to a campaign to collect signatures on the Visibles.org platform was encouraged. And there have been numerous appearances in the media.
SPAIN
At the headquarters of Cristianisme i Justícia in Barcelona, the project "Move Nonviolence" has been presented, a pedagogical proposal that wants to make known and contribute to educate in the culture of nonviolence. The initiative is the result of the work of the Working Group on Christian Nonviolence of the study centre Cristianisme i Justícia. Iit seeks to reach all audiences. Jesuit Joan Morera is one of the promoters of this work. He is the author of the booklet “Disarming the Underworld. Jesus' Nonviolent Proposal”, which was presented two years ago. The interest it aroused and the will to promote nonviolence from the Christian perspective led to the establishment of the Working Group on Christian Nonviolence, within Christianity and Justice. The project offers twelve didactic units that contain a video and practical and interactive activities to energize training sessions. It can be downloaded for free at the website www.muevelanoviolencia.net  and is available in Catalan, Spanish and English. Among its contents you can find, for example, how violence works, how to manage fear, the need for self-criticism... It also warns of the most frequent mistakes when trying to practice nonviolence and addresses the issue of religions and nonviolence, as well as gender violence. The coordinator of Moving Nonviolence explained that the project is aimed at a very wide audience, as it contains materials adapted to different age groups. It can be used in schools, in the world of leisure education, activism, organizations, but also for professional settings and many others. Joan Morera explained that the project also includes historical brushstrokes with experiences, because there is a lack of content on nonviolence in the school curricula. Wars and violent conflicts are explained, but the nonviolent struggle is difficult to explain. The project is supported by ICIP (International Catalan Institute for Peace), Barcelona City Council, Espai Societat Oberta and NOVACT (International Institute for Nonviolent Action).
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Brussels, 20 December 2019 – 2019 has been a year of elections, which brings change, but also often means a paralysis of any substantial political activity for months. In early 2020 the European Commission must come with a ‘fresh start’ to work towards a ‘New Asylum and Migration Pact’. 2019:  a year both of change and stalemate 2019 was an election year. In May 2019 we voted for a new European Parliament, and several countries in Europe went repeatedly through elections and change of government. Elections bring change, but they also often mean a paralysis of any substantial political activity for months. The European Commission is a clear example. It took from the end of May to the beginning of December to finally install a EU College of Commissioners. We can also find examples at national level - Belgium and Spain have not yet formed governments. What does this mean for the Common European policy on Asylum and Migration ? A complete stalemate. The CEAS reform was put on hold and even the intergovernmental attempts to address, for instance, the issue of search and rescue in the Mediterranean Sea did not go very far. New dynamics in Europe The European elections brought us a parliament in which the far-right growth was more limited than many feared. Nevertheless, with the traditional parties, the Christian Democrats (EPP) and the Socialists (S&D) no longer holding the majority together, other political balances and dynamics must emerge. Groups, such as the liberals of Renew Europe and the Greens, will have more weight in future discussions. The formation of a new European Commission started off on the wrong foot with a president designate that was not one of the leading candidates supported by the political groups, and with an unfortunate proposed title for the vice-president with migration, security and integration in its portfolio. While the name was changed, it remains to be seen if the attitude will really be one that wants to reverse the poisonous and polarising discourse that dominated the  asylum and migration debate for the past five years. Look forward to 2020: changing the narrative and more human policies In early 2020 the European Commission must come with a ‘fresh start’ to work towards a ‘New Asylum and Migration Pact’. How this pact will look is still unclear. JRS hopes this ‘fresh start’ will bring: A principled choice for expanding safe and legal pathways for refugees to seek protection in Europe with EU Member States embracing their legal and moral duty to welcome and protect forced migrants and acknowledging that no protection is possible without access to the territory. The end of push-backs once and for all. The end of criminalisation of NGOs and individuals providing help to forced migrants. The full implementation of the current European legislation on asylum. Although not perfect, the current CEAS, if corrected implemented, would provide a considerable improvement in the condition of asylum seekers throughout the EU. A reform of the Dublin regulation that ensures the participation of asylum seekers in process of determination of Member State responsible to examine their application A change of narrative from one that presents refugees as a threat to one in which European citizens are called keep an open mind in the encounter with people from different cultures and background so that such encounter can be mutually enriching and build stronger and inclusive communities.

Youth & Media

SPAIN
“En bonne compagnie. Ignace de Loyola", the French edition of the story "En buena Compañia. Ignacio de Loyola” (Editorial Mensajero, 2019) about the life of our founder dedicated to the little ones has been published. It’s a text adapted for the classroom (6-8 years old), but also intended to be used as a story at younger ages and to be read, even without knowing how to read. In addition, the volume is being translated right now into Czech and will soon appear in Indonesian idiom. Because it is important for our students to know what happened before the cannon fire, how Iñigo met Jesus and who his friends were in the Lord... That is how this book came about, with drawings adapted to children and adults that aim not only to introduce the curious reader to the world of reading but also to learn as soon as possible what Ignatian spirituality or the search for God consists of. There are three authors of this story, the Jesuit Alvaro Lobo, the teacher Rocío Esteban and the cartoonist and father of students of a Jesuit school, Fernando de Pablo. Furthermore, by reading this book, one collaborates in solidarity with educational projects of the Society of Jesus in the world. At the moment there are many students who are discovering through this story that the life of St. Ignatius is more than a story of a gentlemen. We hope that the dream of our protagonist will continue to reach the hearts of many more people and always... "In Good Company".
FRANCE
From 9 to 11 November 2019, the leaders of the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM) met in Reims for the Effata gathering. This event was an opportunity for the animators, leaders and other volunteers involved in the movement to reflect for three days on the orientations of the EYM for the coming years. A reaffirmation of the identity of the EYM and its links to the Ignatian family These three days reaffirmed the identity foundations of the movement, the true DNA of the EYM, which must be preserved and transmitted: the importance of the prayer of offering, the "integral" formation (human, pedagogical and spiritual), especially through fundamental tools, the preponderant place of a strong visual identity, as well as music and singing, for a better sense of belonging to the movement. Effata was also the ideal moment to reiterate the very special relationship that the EYM has with the Ignatian Family. Thus, it was decided to make the proposals of Jesuit spirituality to the 18-25 year olds more widely known, while at the same time developing the links between the EYM and the other offerings of the Ignatian Family (MAGIS teams, Chemin Neuf, CLC...). The leaders gathered for the event were able to benefit from the interventions of many Jesuits, including that of their provincial, Father François Boëdec. Finally, in the spirit of openness, it was decided that the EYM France, in parallel, would progressively turn towards the international scene, developing deeper links with EYMs in other countries. Testimony of Samuel, participant in the Effata weekend: Meetings, music, celebrations, but also reflection, sharing and prayer, it is difficult to sum up the richness of Effata in a few words! Effata was first of all an invitation to reflect on what we, the leaders of the movement, wanted to bring to the young people we supervise during the year and in camps during the summer. Having myself grown up in the EYM since I was 8 years old, I am aware of the importance that the EYM has had in my journey, and of all that it can bring to young people in building their faith. The times of reflection were oriented towards the unity of the movement, its pedagogy and its place in the Church and the Ignatian family. In addition, more festive times punctuated these reflections: we sang, prayed, discovered the city of Rheims during a big game and even attended a live interview with Saint Ignatius during a show presented by 75 young people! I retain from this weekend the feeling that everyone was able to express themselves in listening and benevolence, and the final resolutions reflect the participation of all in their elaboration. However, I do not forget that they are only guidelines, and that it will be up to each of us, at our own level, to implement them in the field. There is still a long way to go, but the energy that emerged from Effata is proof that the EYM still has a lot to say and to live within the Church! www.mej.fr
HUNGARY
Are you between 18 and 35 years of age? Would you spend a meaningful week between the 1st and 9th of August, 2020, among youths, Jesuits and their friends from various countries? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone and try yourself in practical experiments? Are you into pilgrimage, the spirituality of Saint Ignatius and charity, or arts and ecology? Do you happen to speak English? If your answers are yes, there is nothing else to do then to check out the details of Magis Europe 2020, held in Hungary, and register between the 1st of March and 15th of May. You may do it via our new website »magis.jesuits.eu«, where you may also find the background and all the details of the meeting. In Ignatian spirituality, magis marks one’s effort to find what is according to the will and to the greater glory of God. With this is mind, the upcoming event, dating back to more than two decades, has two parts: Ignatian experiments and the closing event. During the experiments you will be encouraged to experience yourself, others and God in a new way. You’ll find yourself in unusual situations, and probably realize that teamwork is essential while making friends with people from various countries, and discovering that we all belong to one international community of human beings. This is also manifest in the venues of the experiments: besides Hungary, it is neighbouring Slovakia, Austria and Romania that welcome participants, all of them finally gathering in Miskolc, Northern-Hungary, for the closing event. The central theme of Magis 2020 will be the Eucharist under the motto: “You are my Bread, my Life, my Love”. One month after our event, the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Budapest, Hungary – a fact that inspired the choice of this year’s focus. Plus, the first Universal Apostolic Preference of the Jesuits is “to show the way to God”. Magis aims to do this by exploring in depth the Eucharistic aspect of Ignatian spirituality through the pillars of the daily schedule with morning prayers, noon or evening examens, holy mass, experiments and Magis circles. Though next August may seem to be in the distant future, and there is also time until the registration and check-in, the new website is already worth browsing. Our aim was to create an online platform where you may get an insight into what will await you if you make up your mind to dedicate one week of your next summer to Magis Europe 2020. Be it a retreat in the Mediterranean-like mountains in Southern-Hungary; a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Pope Francis to a famous shrine in Romania dwelled by Hungarians; a spiritual bike tour around Lake Balaton; evangelization by means of Slovakian wooden churches; learning English through fun and spirituality; spending one week as a Jesuit – the aim is the very same: to find ways to make the most and the best of ourselves, of one another, and then to render it to the greater glory of our common God.
WORLD
“Jesuit Schools: a Living Tradition in the 21st Century – An Ongoing Exercise of Discernment, provides 10 key identifiers of Jesuit Schools. These are another important element to help in the reflection about what makes a Jesuit school today Jesuit, enabling us to navigate the challenge of keeping our identity to serve our mission of reconciliation and justice central to what we do and who we are.” Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General, Rome, November 5, 2019 Feast of All Saints of the Society of Jesus Open the document   In this video published on the Feast of All Saints of the Society of Jesus (November 5th) Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ presents a new document on education: “Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century – An Ongoing Exercise of Discernment”. “Jesuit Education, as human history itself, is a living tradition that calls for open eyes, ears and hearts. This document wants to be an invitation to continue this conversation at all levels in our schools and school networks. We are, at ICAJE, even hesitant to call it a document since we want this to be a living text that can help us keep pace with our era in which fast change is the new normal, with all the positive and problematic aspects this entails.” José Mesa SJ. Worldwide Secretary for Education. Society of Jesus In this video Fr. José Mesa SJ introduces the new document “A Living Tradition” and explains its three interrelated parts. The first part is a reflection on the foundational documents of Jesuit Education, the second part is the new global reality, the third part offers 10 Global Identifiers that should be present in any Jesuit School. 

In-depth Reflection

GERMANY
Dresden - After 77 years, 23 books confiscated by the National Socialists return to HohenEichen. "In February of this year I received an e-mail with the subject 'NS-Raubgut'", says Wilfried Dettling SJ, director of the retreat house HohenEichen. He almost deleted the message. Nadine Kulbe of the Saxon State Library - Dresden State and University Library (SLUB) informed him that the SLUB was in possession of books which had been stolen by the National Socialists and which could clearly be assigned to the House of HohenEichen as the owner. These 23 books were now to be "restituted" to the Jesuits. What is Nazi looting? For the legal concept of "cultural assets seized due to Nazi persecution" the term "(NS)-robbery" has established itself. In addition to art collections, books were also affected whose robbery was frighteningly perfectly organized from the very beginning, as recent research has shown. The search for books is difficult: individual collections were often torn apart and distributed to different libraries, where they were incorporated into the holdings without any indication of their origin. Today, the traces in the books themselves are often the only indications of their previous owners, of their "provenance", for example through seals and stamps. There is no legal obligation to conduct research into the loot of public institutions in Germany. However, institutions such as the SLUB have made it their task to check their holdings for loot on the basis of various declarations. These include the "Washington Principles" of 1998 (principles of the Washington Conference with regard to works of art confiscated by the National Socialists) and the "Joint Declaration" of 1999 (Joint Declaration - Declaration of the Federal Government, the Länder and the central communal associations on the discovery and return of cultural property seized as a result of Nazi persecution, in particular from Jewish property). Provenance research at the SLUB Since September 2017, the SLUB has been carrying out a project to identify Nazi loot, sponsored by the Stiftung Deutsches Zentrum Kulturgutverluste (German Centre for the Loss of Cultural Property). Nadine Kulbe is one of the project staff members and succeeded in identifying the books from the HohenEichen library, as she explained at a press conference on the occasion of the "Restitution", the return of the 23 books. The books bear a stamp with the inscription "Xaveriushaus Hosterwitz", after the co-founder of the Jesuit Order, St. Franz Xaver, patron saint of Haus HohenEichen. The SLUB does not regard itself as the owner of the objects in its inventory in the case of proven Nazi looting and endeavours to return them to the owners. From HohenEichen to the SLUB and back again Since 1940 the Secret State Police (Gestapo) observed the Jesuit retreat house on the Elbe slope in Hosterwitz. In May 1941 the Gestapo confiscated the house and the Jesuits had to leave HohenEichen. House and property were expropriated in January 1942 as "property of enemies of the Reich" and HohenEichen served afterwards as home school of the Hitler youth. A quantity of books from the library of Haus HohenEichen, which can no longer be precisely quantified today, was given to the Saxon State Library by the Gestapo in 1942 as a gift. Of these, only 23 survived the bombing of Dresden in February 1945; the remainder were burnt in the Japanese Palais, the former seat of the State Library. After the end of the Second World War, the Jesuit Order received back the expropriated real estate in Dresden-Hosterwitz and since then has run the house again as a retreat house. But the books remained in the possession of the Saxon State Library (now SLUB) - until they could be identified in 2019 within the framework of provenance research and handed over as a "beautiful conclusion" to an elaborate work in HohenEichen. The return of the books is a "great pleasure" for the SLUB, according to Nadine Kulbe. The majority of the books are from the 18th century, the oldest being dated 1616. Even though their material value is low, they are still of great non-material value. They are spiritual books, but also travelogues are included - and a copy of the holy legend book, in which Ignatius of Loyola read on his sickbed.
SWITZERLAND
On 5 November, the Jesuit review choisir celebrated its 60th anniversary in Geneva. The opportunity for its director Pierre Emonet SJ, and for the Provincial of the Jesuits in Switzerland Christian Rutishauser SJ, to pay tribute to all those who have enabled the journal to become what it is today. This special event also saw the launch of a short story competition for young writers which will result in the publication of a collection of fifteen of the best original texts co-published with Slatkine. To mark this anniversary, choisir’s editorial team, headed by its editor-in-chief Lucienne Bittar, decided to shake things up a little and entertain the hundred or so guests with two hours of literary readings interspersed with music. As most of the guests were friends and loyal readers of the journal, and equally passionate about literature, the result was an evening filled with pleasure and sharing. The fact that the writers themselves were there to lend their own unique voice to their prose added extra soul to the stories and won over the audience’s hearts. Thank you viele male! Having travelled from Zurich especially for the occasion, Provincial Christian Rutishauser SJ used his speech to highlight the importance of a strong Jesuit presence in Geneva. For him, the launch of the journal in 1959 was a judicious choice. He noted that Jesuits in French-speaking Switzerland were quick to pick up on the changes taking place within the Catholic church which was “no longer seeking to act as a bulwark against modern times, but to support believers” in the changing society. Geneva’s Fathers listened to their contemporaries’ needs and reacted by launching a journal offering guidance, discernment, information and fundamental knowledge. Tools which are still very much needed today to help us “live in a responsible and free manner, as Catholics, and as citizens, in a multicultural society.” Be bold Speaking just before the Provincial, the director of choisir, Pierre Emonet SJ, also made reference to the founders’ perspicacity in their desire to “provide French-speaking Switzerland with a journal of Ignatian inspiration which is neither strictly confessional nor a simple mouthpiece for directives from the Catholic hierarchy, but ecumenical, which encourages readers to think about their own responsibility, their freedom, by sharing thoughts and analysis, to help them make choices. In a word, a journal for discernment.” He went on to say, not without a touch of humour, “The main thing is not to wallow in or lament the past, but to envisage the future with realism and gain new momentum, without thinking too much about retirement, even though we are 60.” He thereby expressed the wish that in the future, as in the past, Jesuits are able to adapt and show flexibility by working alongside laypeople to guarantee the longevity of a publication as important for the formation of adults as the journal choisir. Showcasing the young generation Before moving on to the recreational part of the evening, Pierre Emonet SJ and Céline Fossati officially launched the “Short story competition for young authors” open to all writers under the age of 35, Swiss or living in Switzerland, writing in French and having been commercially published no more than once (full rules are available on the journal’s website www.choisir.ch). They were delighted to announce that a jury of professionals from the world of publishing and books will select the fifteen best stories. An exciting project enthusiastically welcomed by the writers present as well as by the Provincial and the guests. Let the celebration of words continue!
SPAIN
New Cristianismo y Justicia (CJ = Christianity and Justice) CJ booklet in English: “Believing in sustainability. Religions facing the environmental challenge”. In this essay the author proposes ten reasons for involving the world’s religions in the environmental debate. The ten reasons offer important keys for understanding the religious declarations of recent years as valid strategies for personal, institutional, and social transformation. The author seeks to open up the prophetic, ascetical, penitential, apocalyptic, sacramental, soteriological, mystical, wisdom, communitarian, and eschatological dimensions that pervade the spiritual experience of humankind. The articulation of these ten elements allows us to elaborate an environmental proposal of an interreligious nature. The author is Jaime Tatay Nieto, jesuit. He has a forestry engineering degree from ETSIM-Universitat de Lleida. He holds a licentiate in theology from Boston College and a doctorate in theology from Universidad Pontificia Comillas, Madrid, where he is currently a professor. He is also director of the journal Razón y Fe.
BELGIUM
For 150 years, the NRT (New Theological Review) has been involved in theological reflection and dialogue. A jubilee symposium was organized in Brussels on 10 and 11 November to review the main moments of this Belgian (and somewhat French) history and discuss current theological topics: the place of the Bible in dogmatic reflection, bioethics or the relationship between philosophy and theology. Created in 1869, the NRT have had as first mission to make known in Belgium the canonical decisions taken in Rome and to report on pontifical discourses. In 1921, when the reins were entrusted to the Belgian Jesuits, the magazine became a place for reflection and debate among theologians. The specificity of the NRT is to study religious questions from a strictly theological and ecclesial point of view, according to Christian Revelation, as well as according to the sciences of religions or other human sciences. In each issue, the NRT also includes an impressive number of reviews of recently published books: it is undoubtedly the only theological journal to offer such a broad and sustained overview of publications in the field of religious sciences. If this review, halfway between the magazine and the book, is not really intended for the general public, it is nevertheless addressed to any Christian who wishes to be trained in the theological questions of our time. The conference: 10-11 November in Brussels During two days, historians, philosophers and theologians spoke on different issues. The first day was devoted to the memory of the journal. Historians Bernard Joassart S.J. and Guillaume Cuchet have demonstrated how modernism and the affair of "new theology" have given the NRT its distinctive marks of universality and moderation. The former directors also discussed key points in the history of the journal, such as the appropriation of Vatican II or the still topical issues of bioethics. The next day, a dozen speakers followed one another to lead the dialogues on the main themes of the review today: exegesis and dogmatism (notably by Jean-Louis Ska S.J., Biblicum); the place of the mystery of Israel in Christology (Michel Fédou S.J, Centres Sèvres); the role of the Bible in solving problems of moral theology (Alain Thomasset S.J., Centre Sèvres; Sr Noëlle Hausman, NRT); finally the relationship between theology and philosophy (by Pierre Piret S.J., Forum Saint-Michel). This conference was the occasion for a prayerful thanksgiving, under the chairmanship of Bishop Lode Aerts of Bruges, and a celebration around a large birthday cake... decorated with the names of the 9000 authors of the magazine! NRT in figures - 106,000 pages published since 1869 - 400 books reviewed every year - 1850 subscribers in 2019, living in 85 countries - 2911 articles published on the website www.nrt.be Alban Massie S.J., Director of the NRT

Preparing for Mission

ITALY
The responsibility of those in authority. "During Tertianship I had one of the most beautiful experiences in my life: when I was in Salamanca, my instructor, a strong and fervent Jesuit, twice Provincial and rector, well known among the Spanish Jesuits, got angry frequently and raised his voice. Once, during my Tertianship, he got angry with me, thinking that I had planned a pastoral experience different from the one planned for Lent. I was completely unaware of it. I had agreed to a specific request made by the Provincial, who suggested that I go to Albania. I remember that after a few minutes he realized that he was overreacting. He came to my room, asked for forgiveness, knelt down and wanted to confess. The humility of this man who got angry and immediately came to ask forgiveness to restore our friendship was a lesson that inspired me and I hope to continue remembering this lesson throughout my life. Such a gesture made by a person who carries the weight of authority on his shoulders inspires others to open their hearts and welcome the King of Kings. There is a similar beautiful biblical example, that of Jesus who enters Jerusalem riding a donkey, as David did in his time when he entered Hebron. These are responsibilities that are sometimes particularly heavy, others may be lighter, but all indicate that we are all responsible and custodians of our brothers". This experience was recounted by Fr. Massimo Nevola, Superior of the Community of St. Ignatius in Rome, in an aside to the meeting organised by the Euro-Mediterranean Province for Superiors on the balance between the needs of the person and the authority over them. This was a precious opportunity to deepen the understanding of the dynamics of “power in its most noble form", as Fr. Stefano Bittasi, executive secretary of the Centre for the Protection of Children of the Pontifical Gregorian University indicated during his sharing. "The more vulnerable a person is, the more responsibility needs to be exercised," Bittasi explains. It is no longer a question of defending the Institution. The intervention made by Pope Francis in August 2018 in letter to the people of God is prophetic: "the attitude is clearly reversed. It starts with the discernment of people’s vulnerability and consequently the proper behaviour is adjusted accordingly”. "Be increasingly aware of what is going on inside you in order to become more and more apostolic in caring for the other". This was the appeal made by Fr. Bittasi, as he highlighted the boundaries that should be set between those who carry out apostolic activity and those who receive it. "Professional competence is necessary" such as high intellectual competence and suitable formation for the particular mission and the ability to examine one's inner self. "Recognizing one’s own vulnerabilities is essential," Fr. Massimo Nevola, Superior of St. Ignatius Community comments " in order to understand how one might seek compensation directly or indirectly through the service given. Avoid having people depend on you and encourage such freedom with gives rise to forming teams and developing friendships between brothers and within the apostolates, as people on an equal level". Vigilance also is important and taking care of the brothers, “taking on the burdens of others, promoting the positive talents of those close to us. Discovering their potential and empowering them is important: This creates trust and increases self-esteem, releases energy and enables one to be hospitable. It also allows others to be themselves and share their difficulties ".
CROATIA
Last month the Croatian Post has released a commemorative stamp in honour of Fr. Antun Cvek, member of the Croatian Province of the Society of Jesus who died in May 2019. The stamp was printed in 100 000 copies. Fr. Cvek was a great benefactor and friend of the sick and elderly people. He was ordained priest in 1974 but from 1969 till his death he was involved in caritative work and apostolate of elderly and sick people, those who were alone. In the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Zagreb he founded a first group of people who helped him visiting those in need as well as a spiritual and prayer group as a support for such apostolate. From that small group developed a Catholic association called Kap dobrote (a Drop of goodness) as a support for those who were in need. His nick name was “The good spirit of Zagreb”, and he was also cofounder of the Foundation Biskup Lang. For his long, unselfish and caritative work Fr. Cvek received many awards and among them one of the highest Croatian state decorations.
MALTA
From Manager of the Crowne Plaza to Jesuit - The testimony of Fr. Michael Bugeja. “As a young man I never thought about religious life. I was a very ambitious guy” confesses, Fr. Michael, the 49-year-old Jesuit, who is delegate for Malta and the Romanian Mission, "I was interested in the tourism sector. Malta is an island and work in this area is easy to find. At 22 I already had a good job as marketing manager for a 5-star hotel. I travelled a lot and negotiated contracts with many agencies. But when I reached the goal that I desired, I realized that I was m issing something. I wasn't really happy. Through a friend I started my spiritual journey in a group. I met the living God there, not the one portrayed in a book or the one I was taught about, but a God who knew me and loved me. The strongest experience I had of God took place in Italy while serving at a camp. I was meditating on a Scripture passage in July surrounded by nature, looking at the trees and the leaves with their various colours. There I started to realize that God exists, that He is real, and He said to me "go preach my Word". My father was very happy and wanted this so much for me. My mom was not so happy at the beginning. She knew that I would have to go abroad, far away from home for formation and that there would be no guarantee that I would be able to return to Malta. Now she is very proud of me and peaceful. I have 2 married sisters, a brother and 5 nephews/nieces. They are happy even if at first they were wary of a choice that I had been thinking about for some time. My happiness is for them proof of a right choice. I kept asking the Lord often what he wanted of me. I didn't know at that time where to knock. I had read the life of Saint Ignatius. His story had not impressed me as much as his being among people and working for souls. So I knocked on the Society’s door. Even if we are not faithful, God is always faithful. And today I am happy that I made this choice.
EUROPE
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.