Jesuits in Europe

SPAIN
The cathedral of Pamplona hosted on 20 May the solemn act of inauguration of the Ignatian Year, with which we commemorate the 500th anniversary of the conversion of Ignatius. The Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, visited the Spanish Province to participate in various events marking the beginning of Ignatius500. The Eucharist in the cathedral of Pamplona was presided over by the archbishop of the diocese, D. Francisco Pérez and concelebrated by his auxiliary bishop Don Juan Antonio Aznárez, by Father General Arturo Sosa, the provincial, Antonio España and several Jesuits. The celebration can still be seen at this link. During this Ignatian Year we will have the opportunity to go to the origins of this conversion of Íñigo, both in Loyola and in Manresa, indicated Fr. General, who connected this experience with the four Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. "All things must serve to show the way to God, but especially means so dear to Ignatius such as the Spiritual Exercises and discernment. Struggling in everything for reconciliation and justice, an attitude inseparable from closeness and friendship with others like Ignatius had. By being at the side of the young in the future that is open to them, which the Lord wants to be full of hope. And, finally, caring for the creation. The city of Pamplona also hosted an institutional event with the presence, among others, of Mayor Enrique Maya, who spoke of the historical presence of the Jesuits in Pamplona. Father General visited Javier's community and castle, where he was received by Javier's superior, Txema Vicente sj and the coordinator of the Ignatian Year, Abel Toraño sj. Before the beginning of the public opening events of the Ignatian Year, Fr. General participated in a meeting broadcast on YouTube, in which he had an interview with the journalist Silvia Rozas, director of the Ecclesia magazine. Throughout the conversation, Fr. Arturo Sosa spoke about the moment in which we live, in which the pandemic has revealed the fragility of human relations in the world, the sewing of injustices, the lack of hope of the young people, and the deterioration of the environment. Father General wanted to point out that now that there is so much talk of "returning" to normality, it is not about going back, but about moving in another direction. Father Sosa regretted not perceiving any real willingness to change. He illustrated this, in the case of Europe, with the lack of acceptance of a necessary migration policy. From the experience of Ignatius' conversion, he wondered whether we, as a society, the Church, the Society of Jesus, are going to take the pandemic as an opportunity for change, or are we going to turn it into a reason to go back to the way things were before? Among his reflections, the General expressed concern about the deterioration of the quality of democracy, which is being undermined by the excuse of the pandemic. The interview can be seen at this link.
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Vocation promoters from around Europe gathered online (not in Ljubljana as had been hoped) for their annual meeting from the 10th to the 12th of May. The promoters expressed fatigue at the uncertainty of the ongoing covid situation. But, in sharing their efforts on the first day of the meeting, it was evident they had displayed many creative initiatives over the past year of pandemic lockdowns to reach out and connect with men interested in exploring Jesuit vocation and in discerning God’s call to them in their lives. New resources from Rome On the first afternoon of the meeting, John Dardis and Mark Ravizza, from the Curia’s media team, introduced the new global Jesuits’ website and vocation promotion toolkit made recently available in anticipation of the anniversary year. They reminded the group of Father General’s letter which encourages ‘a rekindling of a broad and deep culture of vocation promotion … that requires the active participation of all Jesuits and of the lay men and women with whom we collaborate.’ They also highlighted the importance of vocation promoters working closely with delegates and others engaged in young adult ministry recalling the third apostolic preference which encourages an accompaniment of the youth in the creation of a hope-filled future. Recognising the overlapping pools of shared ministry and embedding a culture of vocation in each of them will result in more men joining the Society. The vocation of Jesuit Brother On the second day, the promoters focused on the Jesuit Brother’s vocation. An excellent presentation on the historical roots and evolution of the Brother’s vocation in the life of the Society was delivered in the morning by Wenceslaus Soto. As well as his detailed knowledge of the history of the Society, he enriched the talk by sharing aspects of his own experience and wisdom as a Jesuit Brother lived out over many years in Spain. He was followed, in the afternoon, by Stephen Power, a Jesuit Brother of the British province, who talked among other things about the role Brothers served at GC36, present for the first time in the Society’s history as Electors, and about preparations for the next international meeting of Jesuit Brothers in Loyola. He shared several case studies from Brother’s around the world which showed a vast difference in the way the Brother’s vocation is understood and lived out and how Jesuit Brothers are still often treated as second class Jesuits. The presentations provoked a good level of sharing in small groups and raised questions about how to effectively promote Brother vocations in our provinces. It was agreed that many young people would find the Brother’s vocation attractive but that it was often poorly presented or overshadowed by focussing narrowly on Jesuit priesthood. The final morning attended to business matters. It was decided that the next meeting, which will gather European vocation promoters and delegates of young adult ministry together, will be held next May in Slovakia (covid permitting.) The promoters thanked Grégoire Le Bel for his three-year service to the steering group of European vocation promoters and welcomed Jim Conway as his replacement. Jim Conway SJ (BRI)
POLAND
In Poland we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the consecration of the basilica of the Sacred Heart in Krakow combined with the entrustment to the Divine Heart. In June we will renew this act in our Jesuit church in Krakow with the Polish Bishops’ Conference. Among many initiatives promoting the event and aiming to rediscover the richness of the love of God expressed in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we have prepared a programme for the youngest, which is called the Heart of Youth. It consists of 3 parts: Contests, Music and Meeting. All information (in Polish) are on our website and on Facebook event: We also prepered a short video about this programme: The contests was addressed to different groups: family teams prepared works inspired by the motto "The Heart of the Family in the Heart of Jesus", school youth made works around the motif " One sees well only with the heart", and youth groups created something based on the theme "In the rhythm of the Heart". The majority of the works received for the contest was done in painting, but there was also literary pieces and some multimedial. For the musical section we prepared a rap song. The author of this song is thein Poland well-known priest-rapper Jakub Bartczak (140 000 subscriptions YT). With Jesuit scholastics and youth from our ministries, we also produced a video for this song. The last element are meetings. Because of COVID - 19 we decided to meet online. For the youth we prepared a worship dedicated to the Heart of Jesus. The meeting is a part of „Uwielbieniowa Łódź Ratunkowa” (Youth worship meetings in Lodz) and was broadcasted live from Lodz on YouTube – 28 of May. For children we prepared a cartoon which will be also available on YouTube –on June 5- as part of the „Przepiękne Królestwo” (The most beautiful Kingdom) series for children produced by „Mocni w Duchu” from Łódź. We are delighted with the great response from children and young people to this programme from many places throughout Poland, not only from the Jesuit parishes or schools. May the joy and enthusiasm of the youth keep us inspired to continue to spread the love that flows from the Sacred Heart.  
BELGIUMTHE NETHERLANDS
On the very first day of the Ignatian Year, the digital spirituality team of Amsterdam – Nikolaas Sintobin SJ, Rick Timmermans and Guido Attema - launched an animated film about Saint Ignatius’ conversion. A pretty original way of expressing visually this founding history of the Society of Jesus and how Ignatius learned to discern, without using this kind of technical spiritual language. Apart from the original Dutch version more than ten language versions have appeared already. A touching presentation: “The animation of Ignatius is beautiful in its simplicity and depth. It immediately reminded me of 'The Story of a Pilgrim', the book about Ignatius' life. Ignatius began as a knight dreaming of heroic deeds and was led, through his own life story, to a life with God. This path was not without questions, doubts and considerations and this part of his story is also beautifully portrayed. In a unique way, this just brings the life of Ignatius closer to me. It makes Ignatius a saint to follow...” (Ann Reyniers).   Original version (Dutch) English version Spanish version French version    

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Finding God

IRELAND
Sacred Space, the online prayer website of the Irish Jesuit Province, has just launched two new apps this May, 2021. According to John McDermott, the Director of Sacred Space, these apps are the first step in what has been a year-long redevelopment of the technology behind the prayer website. They run on the new content management system that will soon power the website. A new modern interface is now used by the apps that keeps the style of the parent website sacredspace.ie, says John. “The outgoing apps required a major rebuild for security and other technical reasons,” he remarks, “and it simply was not possible to leave the apps the way they were. What seemed like bad news was, in fact, an opportunity to rebuild the apps with many new features and use a platform that allows the apps to be continually be updated with new features as they are added to the website.” One such benefit was access to content previously not available to people who prayed with the app. The highly popular ‘Growing Back Better’ Lent retreat by Margaret Silf is now available on the app, and all future retreats and novenas will be made available on the app as well. The Pope’s intentions are also included each month, and the Sacred Space team will add more content to the app as it becomes available on the website. The rebuild was also an opportunity to take the daily Gospel inspiration points and move them to their own prayer stage, according to John. “After people read the daily Gospel, now the next step in prayer is to reflect on the Gospel with the aid of the inspiration points that were previously hidden away in the menu.” While change can be hard with some users of the old app referring to it as cosy and lamenting its replacement in their life, others greeted the new app with kind remarks: “I love the newly updated app for Sacred Space, it is very user-friendly it’s new layout is conducive to taking in the day’s reading coupled with the inspirational look at that reading  ah sure it’s a wonderful job well done.” “Thank you for the app. I use it often and find it helps me start the day off right. The new look is great.” “Love the new format. Well done!” John says that these new apps allow for future updates that would simply not have been possible before. Some of the potential future updates are multiple languages, providing the app to any of the 18 languages that the website is currently translated into. “We may also be able to deliver an audio descript for the visually impaired and a daily inspirational image that can be shared with family and friends like we already have on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest”. The new app is available to download on the App Store for Apple devices » and for Android App on Google Play »
WORLD
In 2021 The Pope Video is available in 23 different languages. The Holy Father Francis announces his prayer intentions every month in The Pope Video, a global initiative of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network. The Pope Video is now celebrating five years and is already broadcasting in 23 different languages. (Vatican City, 23 May 2021)  Each month Pope Francis shares his prayer intentions regarding the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer and EYM) brings these intentions to the world through The Pope Video, a global project transmitted mainly on major social media networks. Now in 2021 The Pope Video is being broadcast in 23 different languages.  The Pope Video was developed in 2016, originally in nine official languages: Spanish, English, Portuguese, Italian, French, German, Dutch, Arabic and traditional Chinese. As time went on the project expanded considerably in scope and more languages such as Vietnamese, simplified Chinese, Polish, Swahili, Kinyarwanda, Catalan, Lithuanian, Slovenian, Hindi, Russian, Korean and Japanese were added as well. This year, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of The Pope Video, two further languages have been added, Filipino and the Mayan language Q’eqchi. Today the videos of the prayer intentions of Pope Francis have received more than 155 million views across the social networks of the Vatican and partners and have been covered in more than 17,500 international newspaper articles. Father Frédéric Fornos S.J., International Director of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, explains how important it is for the Pope’s message to be conveyed in all languages and cultures: “The Heart of the Church’s mission is prayer, Francis tells us. Praying is entering into loving communication with the Father. This is a profound, intimate relationship, and there is no better way to speak to Him than in our own language, just as Jesus himself said, in his own Aramaic tongue: “Abba”, “Father”.  In order to pray for the challenges facing humanity and the Church’s mission, there is nothing better than to follow the prayer intentions of the Pope in our own language. Each of us prays in our own language while we are all united through prayer”. The Pope Video continues to expand so that people all over the world may join in prayer for the intentions of the Holy Father.  Each one prays in their own language but all are united through prayer, for the challenges facing humanity and the mission of the Church. Where can you watch the videos?  Official website of The Pope Video
POLAND
One of the events of the Ignatian Year in Poland is the peregrination of the relics ex ossibus of Saint Ignatius. Until July 31, 2022, Ignatius will visit all Jesuit communities and parishes in the country. It is also planned to extend this peregrination to Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Kirgizstan. The pilgrimage of the relics is accompanied by the icon of Saint Ignatius, which was created in the studio of St. Luke in Krakow, operating at the Christian Association of Sacred Art Creators "Ecclesia". It was painted according to the canons of Byzantine painting, on a linden board, primed and gilded, in the tempera technique, with natural pigments. The icon was designed and painted by Fr. Zygfryd Kot SJ. The entire composition is based on the life of Saint Ignatius. The figure of the saint is painted in three perspectives: divine - golden background, symbol of the light of the Holy Spirit; spiritual - a standard with the sign of the cross referring to the meditation of two standards in Spiritual Exercises; historical - a figure dressed in the outfit of a priest from the 16th century. During the presence of the relics and the icon with the image of our founder, the Jesuits organize prayer meetings, conferences, exhibitions and presentations of testimonies of people who, thanks to the spiritual exercises of Saint Ignatius deepened their spiritual life. Wojciech Żmudziński SJ
HUNGARY
After 1,5 year of renovation, the Hungarian Jesuits’ retreat house, Manréza welcomes spiritual practitioners with quieter rooms, better heated spaces and some minor interior remodelling in the hilly area of of Dobogókő. The spiritual centre offers a wide range of individually directed retreats that provide quiet time for rest, prayer and reflection. These retreats can be four, eight or even 30 day long. The month-long retreat can also be made over a period of 10 months, known as the Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life.  Furthermore, the “Gries Way” of contemplative retreats, initiated by Fr. Franz Jalics SJ, are also available. During the Lent period, the online retreats – that were developed by the Scottish Jesuits and were translated into Hungarian – became very popular. More than 2600 people followed the daily prayer sent by e-mail, the retreat house’s team guided about 200 people via virtual sharing groups, and, thanks to the social media campaign, the reflections have reached thousands of people on the internet. In the meantime, the Manréza Spiritual Centre has launched a call for volunteers. If you find joy in serving others, it’s a great opportunity to join the house team for a minimum period of one month. For more information visit the website: www.manreza.hu. Jesuits Hungary

Promoting Justice

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
... and reception of asylum seekers in Covid-19 times. ‘Stories from immigration detention and reception of asylum seekers in Covid-19 times’ presents the findings and recommendations of JRS Europe’s reports on the impact on Covid-19 on immigration detention and asylum reception through first-hand accounts from forced migrants who lived through these situations, as well as JRS staff members and volunteers who listened to the testimonies. The collection of factsheets lays out the facts in a format that is easy to read and digest, can be used to quickly inform someone of the reality of homelessness and destitution caused by improper reception policies, or the toll isolation is taking on migrants in detention centres. The reports and the fact-sheets are the results of the work of JRS Europe and its partners in nine countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malta, Portugal, Romania, Spain) within the framework of the project ‘Learning from Covid-19 Pandemic for a more protective Common European Asylum System’. Download the stories
GERMANY
The German Region of the Jesuits has joined the extended procedure in recognition of the suffering of victims of sexual abuse. The new rules for the procedure, which the German Bishops' Conference made effective on January 1st, 2021, concern both the procedure and the payment of an appropriate compensation. The German Region of the Jesuits is part of the Central European Province since 27 April 2021. As a public corporation, it is thus the legal successor to the former German Province of the Jesuits. By participating in the procedure, the Jesuits commit themselves to securing funding for future recognition. “Also in the new Central European Province we face the continuing responsibility to do justice to those affected and to let a changed culture grow out of their experiences in our province, in which any nourishment for such acts is removed in the future," assures Fr Bernhard Bürgler SJ, Provincial of the Jesuits in Central Europe. "Our goal is to create situations in which coming to terms with and healing the wounds can become possible." Affected persons who have already received recognition payments can again apply to the Order for recognition under the new order, which will then be offset against the recognition payment already made. Therapy costs remain unaffected. The novelty is that a commission independent of the province decides on the award and the amount of recognition benefits and is guided by state jurisdiction. Both external and internal contact persons of the Order can be found here.
ITALY
The testimony of Paola Piazzi, President of the Jesuit Social Network. My first meeting with the "latter" took place thanks to the scout movement of which I formed part from 1975 to 2001.Three words describe their style: street, community and service. After the formation period, I chose to take the "venture", to dedicate my life to the service of others. I was 19. Fr. Fabrizio Valletti SJ accompanied me throughout my formation. It was he who told me about his activity inside the Bologna prison. So, having slowed down my service in the education field within the scouts, I decided to commit myself to this new area. Since 1998, every Saturday, together with 3/4 young people from the "Il Poggeschi per il carcere" association, I met the inmates of the "High Security" section where the "mafia" are held in a secluded area. We talk about and discuss the Sunday Gospel together or meet the prisoners individually if they ask for it. It is a very rich experience on a human and spiritual level, but also on a political and social one. The issues that emerge are complex. They require preparation, listening skills, and a non-judgemental attitude. The association of which I form part is mainly made up of university students and young workers, who are accompanied by us adults, to help them live this experience as an opportunity for growth and awareness. Many declare themselves non-believers, but willing to get involved, to dedicate their time to those who suffer. Thus, they gradually become aware of the spiritual dimension of their service to the poor. Many of the detainees also declare that they are non-believers or that they do not belong to any religion. I was lucky enough to see a real change in some of them. They were just waiting for the opportunity and the right people with whom to take this step. My journey in the social apostolate would not have lasted so long if I did not feel God’s discreet, helpful, and active presence always close to me. Desolation and fatigue are never lacking. In the people I accompany I see small improvements and then suddenly a dramatic backslide in front of which I remain helpless. I thank the Lord for giving me this opportunity to live my life in the service of others and for His support. I know that future challenges await me, but I will not be alone in dealing with them. 
GERMANY
Morocco had effectively opened its border with Ceuta, triggering a mass exodus. Thousands of Moroccans swam into the Spanish exclave. In an interview Fr. Claus Pfuff, Director of Jesuit Refugee Service Germany, classifies the causes and effects of the refugee flow. You can listen to the whole interview here in the audio media library. Please describe the situation in Ceuta. The borders are being opened there right now to let people into the EU. You have to know that these people have been there for a long time. There are tens of thousands of people who are trying to get to Europe and among them, of course, very many minors. So far, they have failed because of political borders and closed borders. But now, because of these political disputes about the treatment of the head of the independence movements for Western Sahara, Morocco has opened the borders as a counter-reaction and is letting people into the Spanish enclaves unchecked. So does that mean that people in need are becoming a pawn in political disputes? Yes, we see this again and again, especially in countries like Libya, Turkey or Morocco. They get support to keep the refugees there, not to let them move on or to push them back onto their territory. When political differences arise, the borders are opened for a short time to increase the pressure on the EU and to push through political issues. So what we are seeing at the moment is actually just another example of the EU's policy of sealing itself off? Yes, because the EU is paying money to various countries, including Morocco, giving support so that refugees do not enter the EU, but are stopped there at the borders. In this way, of course, the problem of the refugee issue is outsourced and passed on to these countries. The others then have to do the work and we just give the money or stooge services to keep it at bay. In spite of everything, the isolation does not work. People continue to make their way. Why is that? Ultimately, this planned deterrence does not prevent people from setting out, because it does not solve the problems in the countries of origin. Of course, for many this also means that the standard in the EU is higher than the standard of living in the countries of origin. Medical care or basic services alone are guaranteed here. On the other hand, people often live in unjust systems and have no prospects for the future. So many young people, especially unaccompanied minors, set out to find a new future here, to escape the political pressure in their countries. The only truly sustainable solution would be to effectively combat the causes of flight. Why has that failed so far? On the one hand, it fails because the global political situation has changed, since common solution strategies are no longer sought at the negotiating table. It often fails because the economy also obtains cheap raw materials from these conflicts. And the New Silk Road project is also changing situations in the countries again, a new colonialism is emerging again. This is also associated with new challenges or new problems in these countries, which continue to fuel the refugee flows. Climate change also plays a role and the associated disasters. In what way? Because often no more reconstruction aid is paid there. Because people say that these climate changes will mean that in the long term there will be no perspective for people to live there and that people will ultimately be left alone and thus lose their basis for life, their homeland. The interview was conducted by Dagmar Peters, Domradio, Radio channel of the Archdiocese of Cologne

Youth & Media

GERMANY
The German Bishops' Conference has appointed Fr Clemens Blattert SJ (Frankfurt am Main) as the new director of the Centre for Vocations Pastoral (ZfB). At the same time, this Centre supported by the bishops will be moved from Freiburg to St. Georgen (Frankfurt am Main), thus linking youth and vocation pastoral ministry more closely at the national level. Bishop Dr Felix Genn (Münster), Chairman of the Commission for Spiritual Vocations and Church Services thanked Fr. Blattert SJ for his willingness to take on the new task on 1 August 2021 and Provincial Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ for releasing Fr. Blattert SJ: "I am very pleased that with Fr. Blattert we have been able to win an experienced vocation guide for young people and a creative priest for this task. The SJ Future Workshop (Zukunftswerkstatt SJ) of the Jesuits in Frankfurt has established itself as an outstanding location for vocational guidance of young people. The ZfB will benefit from being in the same location in the future." In addition to the support and networking of the diocesan offices for vocation pastoral and a promotion of spiritual vocation guidance, the networking between youth and vocation pastoral is to be ensured in the future through a separate position in the office for youth pastoral (afj). In his post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Christus vivit”, Pope Francis expressly desired the connection of youth and vocation pastoral care. "We Jesuits are happy to say yes to this interesting cooperation with the German Bishops' Conference in the area of pastoral care for vocations," emphasises Provincial Fr Bernhard Bürgler SJ. "Pope Francis has written four Universal Apostolic Preferences for the coming years into our Jesuits' diaries. The third preference is: “To accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future”. With the development of a vocation campus for a renewed pastoral care of vocations in Germany, a courageous and innovative offer for the accompaniment of young people is emerging. For this we Jesuits gladly make ourselves available."
EUROPE & NEAR EAST
The network of Young Adult Ministry Coordinators continues to develop its identity and structure. A second plenary meeting took place at the end of May. The main topic was the discussion of a proposal of guiding document on the General Objectives of the ‘YAM’ Network. This text relates the foundations of the mission of the network to the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus and the recent emphasis on the promotion of Jesuit vocations. In this context, four purposes are indicated as structural for its working: to be a place of exchange and inspiration, spreading knowledge about is being done and making possible the sharing of practices and resources; to sustain and support Jesuits who often feel alone in this mission, developing a sense that each one is serving a common mission and it may be possible to try to organise together common initiatives at the European level; to look for the particular ingredients or traces that characterise Ignatian youth ministry which, once clearly affirmed anywhere, may allow young people, evermore universal in their outlook and moving around frequently, to identify everywhere the Ignatian pastoral offer to which they are familiar; finally, to promote evaluation and reflection and challenge the Society to be more responsive to the pastoral needs of youth. As a concrete decision for a step forward, next year, in May, the Young Adult Ministry Coordinators will meet with the Vocation Promoters for four days to start a conversation about how the missions of these two groups relate to each other. Picture: MAGIS 2016
MALTA
St Aloysius College (Malta) and Vassallo Group, through its subsidiary company Learning Works Limited – a company providing education and training – have reached an agreement regarding the renovation, modernisation, and expansion of the College’s Sports Complex. Learning Works will develop and operate a new private college specializing in sports which will be named the Mediterranean College of Sport (MCS). The new sports college will provide various sports facilities, including  a new football ground, swimming pool, various gymnasia,  and a new sport science centre, all of which will be served by underground parking. As part of this agreement, both students attending St Aloysius College and the Mediterranean College of Sport will benefit from the use of the latest state-of-the-art  facilities. After school hours, the Complex will also be open to sport organisations and the general public. The new plan also comprises extensive renovations and upgrading of existing facilities pertaining to the current Sports Complex, such as the Sports Pavilion (a large indoor hall designed for handball, basketball and other sports), the gymnasium, cafeteria, and more. Fr Jimmy Bartolo SJ, the College’s Rector, said: “As a result of this agreement, not only will we be seeing to the required maintenance and works related to existing facilities built around twenty-five years ago, but creating a much larger and overall more prestigious sports complex. I am particularly proud of the fact that we will be able to do so while remaining true to our College’s vision and mission, and that we have invested in sports as key to the holisitic and inclusive education that we provide.” Mr Pio Vassallo, Chairman of Vassallo Group, Learning Works’ Chairman, as well as St Aloysius College alumnus said: “We believe that education and sports play a crucial role in society, and this project will help nurture this positive impact further. We will therefore invest the Group’s various resources and skills in creating a unique sports complex for Malta, for the benefit and enjoyment of many students and the general public”. Works are expected to take place over two years, once the application has been duly approved by the Planning Authority.
WORLD
The Conference Communicators met once again, for the second year online for five two-hour sessions. In this meeting, the communicators addressed several actual topics in the Society of Jesus namely the Apostolic Preferences, the Ignatian Year and Vocation Promotion. The Roman Curia Communications Office (4 Jesuits and 5 lay co-workers) organized and moderated the meeting. All six conferences were represented: Africa, Latin America, North America, South Asia, Asia Pacific and Europe. For the JCEP Philip Debruyne s.J. and Rafael Silva attended the sittings. Fr. Marc Ravizza, Fr. General’s Delegate for formation made a warm appeal to use all means of communication for vocations promotion throughout the world, including the new site vocations.jesuits.global. During the meeting, the Roman Jesuit Curia Office shared the fruits of their work: A brand new image, video and documents database “Brandfolder” is being developed and several videos and templates have been created. The director of the project “One Gospel Step at a time” Mikołai Cempla announced that  this year 40 one minute videos have been published already. This can represent a tremendous opportunity for each conference (and provinces) to improve the quality of their communications and to improve the time efficiency of their work. There was also a time to share each conference’s experiences and learn from the other. It was extremely enriching to understand how different each Conference’s reality is. It is clear that the future is digital, but it is even more clear that unity and cooperation are the key words for the years to come. In the end, we all have the same mission: to spread God’s word to the World.

In-depth Reflection

SPAIN
The International Symposium on Ignatian Reconciliation closed on May 12 with an address by Fr. Joseph Christie, SJ, the future Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus. This three-day Symposium, prepared by the Universidad Pontificia Comillas (Comillas Pontifical University, Madrid) and the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Pontifical Xavierian University, Bogota), was also atended by Cardinal Giuseppe Versaldi, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa, SJ, Bruno Marie Duffé, Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for the Promotion of Integral Human Development, Michael J. Garanzini, SJ, President of AJCU, and the Rectors of the Universidad Pontificia Comillas and Pontificia Universidad Javeriana Fr. Julio L. Martínez, SJ, and Fr. Jorge Humberto Peláez Piedrahita, SJ, respectively. The Symposium was a valuable synthesis of theoretical and practical viewpoints by recognized experts in the field, and of nearly 50 consolidated experiences on peacebuilding and reconciliation from around the world, carried out by institutions, and works, affiliated with the Society of Jesus.   At the Opening Session, Fr. General Arturo Sosa, SJ highlighted the importance of the main issue discussed at the Symposium: “The topic selected has such an enormous significance that it is impossible not to approach it from the perspective of University Institutions identified with the mission of reconciliation and justice fomented by the Society of Jesus ”, he stated vigorously. Superior General Fr. Sosa invited Jesuit institutions to be "universities of discernment for reconciliation", aligned with the Church and all people of good will in the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus. This orientation also has the support of Pope Francis Himself. This challenge, as the Secretary for Higher Education of the Society of Jesus recalled during the closing ceremony, "puts the Ignatian spiritual root of common discernment at the centre of the mission of reconciliation." Christie also invited the participants to continue working on a “reconciliation network”, which after the closing of this Symposium was launched to respond to the challenges that have arisen. Ultimately, the purpose is that "we co-create this Mission together," he added. This "reconciliation network" was concretized at a networking meeting, so that the learning community of reconciliation practices may continue at the Assembly of the IAJU (the International Association of Jesuit Universities), which will take place in Boston in August 2022. This Symposium, in summary, brought to the forefront the importance for all of us to become better agents of reconciliation in a violent and unjust world, now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Numerous sessions of the Symposium may be found here. Jesuitas España
IRELAND
Irish Jesuit Tom Casey is one of nineteen contributors to a book on Covid-19 seen through the lens of religious belief. The book, Maynooth College Reflects on Covid-19: New Realities in Uncertain Times is just published by Messenger Publications (2021) and features articles from the theology and philosophy staff of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Tom Casey, a philosophy professor in Maynooth, says that any crisis which shakes us to our core is an existential crisis because it forces us to ask fundamental questions about who we are as human beings, why are we here, and where are we going? This being the case, he takes a novel approach in his chapter, using the Danish existentialist philosopher Soren Kierkegaard as his voice piece. Drawing on Kierkegaard’s works and ‘direct address’ style of writing, Casey imagines what Kierkegaard would say to people today as they negotiate the perils of the coronavirus pandemic. He comes up with some challenging yet strangely comforting propositions. In Casey’s chapter, Kierkegaard challenges us to accept the suffering and anxiety this pandemic creates within us rather than try to escape from it. Noting that “It is sheer fantasy to imaging that there is a pain-free short cut to what is important in life”, the philosopher promises that if we grasp the opportunity that lies hidden in this stress and anxiety-inducing pandemic, then we may just find our way to a more authentic life. “Don’t allow anxiety to degenerate into panic,” he cautions, “instead make it rise into prayer.” Kierkegaard also asks us to welcome the fact that the global pandemic has disturbed us so deeply that we can no longer remain complacent about our lives and our world, particularly regarding the sustainability of our planet. Complacency must be replaced by passion, and our newly awakened passion may save the earth. There have been many compilation books published in recent times regarding the Covid-19 crisis but few have addressed the questions considered by the contributors to this book. John Paul Sheridan, for example, looks at the impact of Covid-19 not just on the well-being of children but on their spirituality. Two theologians consider the vexed question of ‘where is God?’ in the suffering created by this virus that has “gripped the world with fear and dread.” Theologian Noel O’Sullivan asks the direct question, “Is it possible to believe in a loving and all-powerful God as we wade our way through this trauma?” And Gaven Kerr offers some philosophical perspectives on the issue. Other writers tackle the topic of prayer and how to do it “when our world falls to pieces,” as biblical scholar Jessie Rogers puts it. Michael Shortall tackles the painful question of grief and loss when mourning through Covid has become such a restricted and disembodied experience. And the topics of Church, community, parish, and clericalism are the focus of various other academics. The book also features an interview on the pandemic with Pope Francis, conducted by journalist Austen Ivereigh and first published in The Tablet in April of last year. Jesuits in Ireland
SPAIN
New Cristianismo y Justicia booklet in English The COVID-19 pandemic has generated a global social, political and economic shock, with consequences that are not yet foreseeable, making even sharper the focus on the problems of an unequal and plutocratic world which is politically polarized, socially atomized and environmentally unviable. It is for this reason that the author of this booklet, Oscar Mateos, invites us to take advantage of the “moment of clarity” that the pandemic offers us to take a deep dive into some essential lessons learned, as, for example, our having realized that working for the common good for those who need care is what sustains life. He analyses the different post-pandemic scenarios that are open to us, but with the uncertainty of not knowing which of them is the most plausible. It is definitely a booklet that offers to teach us a wide view of what is happening to us without being dogmatic. You can read the booklet here Jesuitas España
ITALY
Dante and theology in 35 short films, steps for discernment - An initiative launched by San Luigi Theological Faculty. "Getting to the very core of a subject and experiencing that I have fully understood it." This is how Giorgia, one of the students of the Liceo Classico-Scientifico Euclide in Cagliari, author of a short film on the character of Jerion, describes the project "Dante's path, between the journey to afterlife and the journey through life". One of the 10 online meetings promoted by the Theological Faculty, Section San Luigi, in Naples, for the centenary of Dante. Carlo Manunza, explains: "an attempt to do research involving a cross-section audience, from High Schools to Universities". https://youtu.be/qu_vUyE1zGo An important opening, suggested by Pope Francis himself, in 2019, in Posillipo, at the Conference on the reform of ecclesiastical studies "so that science may be an activity serving a “Truth-as-person”, to be encountered, and not only discovered, through and within people and events of life. In such a way it will truly serve the journey together of all humanity towards a civilization of love". An attempt to read Dante's masterpiece from an initiatic perspective. The work is really the evidence of a journey towards the discovery of beauty and of the liberating power of the relationship with God. The scientific research of the specialists was thus complemented by the work of the students, in team with the teachers, who participated. Thirty-five short films were produced by the students, who freely chose, read and interpreted some passages from the work, capturing their dialogue with their own lives. In the two meetings offered, the focus was on the progress of human freedom - from slavery in Hell, to fullness in Paradise - and on the role of a guide in personal development. The "online bridge" between Sardinia, Rome and Naples was attended by an average of 210 participants from five institutions: The S. Luigi Section, of the Theological Faculty in Naples; the Theological Faculty, in Cagliari; the University "La Sapienza", in Rome; the Euclide High School, in Cagliari and the High School, in Tortolì. It was a first experiment for theology to become a real conversation about God, which does not elude being a sharing of the speaker’s experience of God, and of his dialogue with Him. "A service to discernment, beginning at school."

Preparing for Mission

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Formation in Leadership, Discernment in Common and Apostolic Planning have gained particular attention in the Society of Jesus in the last years. The European Conference organized the Ignatian Leadership Programme (ILP) between December 2015 and June 2017 and a workshop, in Rome in September 2019, on Promoting Discernment in Common and Apostolic Planning (DICAP). Other similar programmes, at sectorial or regional levels, have followed. With the goal of sustaining its continuity and expand its reach, about a dozen of practicing formators in these areas, Jesuits and lay collaborators, have been meeting online. The idea is to create a structure that can promote, develop and support varied offers of Ignatian formation in Leadership and DICAP in the Conference. After a first meeting in December 2020, the group met again in May 2021. In between, surveys were sent to all Provincials and Formation Delegates to identify priorities in terms of topics and target groups for Ignatian formation. All the alumni of past formations were also questioned about how they are implementing what they learned. The results were presented in the meeting. A second topic was the discussion of a draft document about the context, purpose and objectives of this group. It states its purpose this way: “This Learning Community and community of practice gathers participants in those formations [in Ignatian Leadership, Discernment in Common and Apostolic Planning] who are experienced as formators and available to help the Conference to continue this mission of promoting discerning leadership in its works and in the Church”. An online meeting with the alumni of past formations and of the Learning Community will take place in October.
ITALY
The cannon wound, the sword, the shrine containing the relics and the glory of the Saints. These are the symbols on which the program of prayer proposed on May 20 at the Church of the Gesù for the initiation of the Ignatian Year was focused. The vigil was presided by Fr. Angelo Schettini, with short quotes from the autobiography, readings chosen by the Scholastics and hymns that relate to the Scripture texts. “This prayer session has been appreciated by many for its solemnity and precision” Fr. Marco Colò, EUM coordinator for the events of this year, highlights. The alternating readings, the silence and the hymns were a means of producing a quiet meditation on some phrases and images from the autobiography and Scripture.". Three Scholastics prepared the prayer: Anselmo Rabadan Linares, who is studying philosophy at San Saba, Pietro Coppa, a Regent at the Massimo Institute and Dominik Dubiel, who is at the international theologate of the Gesù. They were given some help by Fr Massimo Marelli, rector of the Gesù Church. A communal experience "Working together is a highly consoling experience," the Scholastic Pietro Coppa explains. "I neither knew Anselmo nor Dominik, yet from the beginning we worked in perfect harmony. Intimacy with the Word of God and knowledge of Ignatian spirituality are traits that all Jesuits have in common; it is as if everyone of us shared the same "spiritual genes" with each other. Each one shared his particular talent with the group, a skill which the others did not have." The Holiness of Ignatius, God's initiative The aim of the prayer was to highlight Ignatius and his holiness. “We wanted to make clear that God is taking the first step. We must "only" let ourselves be moulded. This image of God is fantastic, that through the canon wound and a long convalescence God abolishes the old Ignatius and moulds a new one”. Discernment, a gift to be shared. The Ignatian Year is an invitation to deepen and spread more profusely Ignatius's teaching on the discernment of spirits. “Not only to offer to many the possibility of doing the Spiritual Exercises, but also and above all to promote discernment as a permanent attitude for those who choose to follow Jesus. It is not the prerogative of the Jesuits, but a practice which every Christian should undertake. Many are grateful because they have been able to experience greater freedom and a profound renewal of their own life of faith,” Peter highlights. "They realize that "the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life "(2 Cor 3: 6). They are amazed when they discover that in prayer it is "the same Creator and Lord" who communicates with the soul (EESS n.15). They feel at home when we encourage them to "seek and find God in all things". Ignatius’ choices will challenge us after the Covid pandemic. During his convalescence, Ignatius found himself facing a crossroads: either to return to the life of a soldier or to dedicate himself entirely to the service of the Lord. “The world, after the Covid-19 wound, is at a crossroads. The strongest temptation is to "fall back into our former selfishness". The health crisis should stimulate us to transform our personal life and that of the society where we live.”
LITHUANIA
Lukas Ambraziejus SJ on his mission in a nursing home in Vilnius. We Jesuits in Vilnius actually lived quite comfortably in quarantine in a large, cheerful household. We always had the opportunity to go outside. Nevertheless, I also experienced these privileges as a loss: I did not share the burden of the situation with my sisters and brothers. My world was small, but. I realised: in the state of emergency of a nursing station, I would learn more about God's presence than in my tidy room. So I decided to volunteer in the coronavirus hotspot Marijampolė, then later in a social care home in Utena. That was more than five months ago now. There was a specific call for help: when the coronavirus reached Saint Mary's nursing home at the end of November, a dozen nurses and almost all 40 residents of the home immediately fell ill. Feverish nurses had to stay in bed. Sick residents were left without vital care. When I arrived, I was put up in a guest house with other volunteers. Several volunteers from other religious community had already left because they had contracted the virus. Everything felt like arriving on a battlefield. In the morning, I was directly assigned to a 24-hour shift and shown exactly how to put on various layers of protective clothing. All the remaining residents were weakened by the virus and in need of care. When doing tasks like changing bed linen, sweat immediately began to run down the body as the suits are completely impermeable to air. The visors stop the circulation of air. The goggles fog up all the time. After a few hours, the skin on the ears and cheeks starts to burn. But much worse was the sight of the seriously ill. And yet: I felt happy at work. Any feeling of sluggishness or inadequacy evaporated. I clearly felt in my heart: God is with me. All this time I could not receive Holy Communion. But even that made me happy. I was one of millions of people who did not have access to the sacraments because of closed churches. It was good to share communion with the religious sisters. We had long talks with them in the evenings. I take home unforgettable moments from that time: the persistent prayer of an almost unconscious old lady: "My God, save me, my God, save me". My birthday party with work colleagues with 25 chestnuts and candles. A deep encounter just by looking with a nun who could no longer speak. My own prayer at the body of a woman who died during my night shift. Although I got very close to very sick people at both places of assignment, even without protective equipment, I never got sick myself. I spent Christmas isolated in a small room. In a very real way, I was very close to all the old people who were left alone without visitors during Corona. This article appeared in an abridged version in the JESUITEN issue 02-2021 "Jesus". This publication appears four times a year and can be subscribed to free of charge here.
EUROPE
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.