Jesuits in Europe

After the ordination of two new priests in Lebanon during the months of June and July, it was Egypt’s turn. On the 31st of July, in the church of the College of the Holy Family, Mario Boulos was ordained a deacon by His Beatitude the Coptic Catholic Patriarch, Mgr. Ibrahim Ishaq. Then on the 23rd August, it was the turn of Fr. Joseph Nabil to be ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Assyut by Mgr. Kyrillos William, bishop of the diocese of Assyut, assisted by Fr. Provincial, Fr. Dany Younes SJ and a good number of Jesuits and diocesan priests. The cathedral was full of faithful who came expressly to celebrate their gratitude to Fr. Joseph who as a young layman had served for a number of years in the diocese and was greatly appreciated by all. His friends and ex-collaborators helped organise the ceremony and the festive dinner that followed the ordination. Two days later, Fr. Youssef Abdel Nour was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of the city of Minia, again in the south of Egypt, with the imposition of the hands of Mgr. Boutros Fahim, bishop of Minia, again assisted by Fr. Provincial and many Jesuits and diocesan priests. Some Jesuits came from Lebanon and France to assist at the two ordinations. This ordination too was followed by a festive dinner in the cathedral hall. Hungary On 25th of August was the priestly ordination of László Elek SJ in Miskolc.
From 28 July to 18 August 2018 the annual EJIF meeting (EJIF - European Jesuits in Formation) of us European Jesuits in formation took place in Rome. As a delegate for the Austrian province I was one of 23 Scholastics from 19 provinces. We were accommodated in the community of San Pietro Canisio, which is located right next to the General Curia. On one side the view opens to nearby St. Peter's Basilica, on the other over the venerable roof landscape of the eternal city. The community impressed us all with their brotherly hospitality. Franck Janin, President of the European Provincial Conference, spent a few days with us at the beginning and end of the meeting, which made us particularly happy. Communicate our faith in today's world Thematically we dealt with how we can communicate our faith in today's world and how we can improve the media presence as Jesuits and representatives of the Church. Numerous speakers from different fields in the field of tension between faith and communication in today's world gave us inspiring impulses and shared their practical experience. For example, Michael Rossmann, a fellow companion from the USA, explained to us via Skype how he creates his one-minute video homilies, which he publishes weekly. He simply started it at some point and encouraged us to do the same: "Just do it!" The best way to gain know-how is in practice. This was confirmed to us by two Polish and one Spanish fellow companion who run similar projects (short videos on Ignatian topics on YouTube, guided Ignatian reflections and exams in live streams etc.) in their provinces with great success. Equally informative was the lecture given by the founder of Catholic Voices in Italy, Martina Pastorelli, mother of three children and wife of a British atheist. She gave us helpful tips on how to communicate our Catholic faith in a convincing way in a secularized world. She mentioned the method of reframing: Accusations and criticism in particular usually contain justified values that are identical with Christian values. If one starts exactly with these values, it becomes possible not to react defensively or aggressively, but to convey the good news in a fruitful way. Pope Francis is undoubtedly a natural talent when it comes to this method. Other particularly informative presentations were given by Nikolaas Sintobin (Internet pastor) and Bernd Hagenkord (Vatican News), among others. Sightseeing Besides the numerous impulses there was enough time for sightseeing. On the first day we got to know Ignatian Rome by visiting the Jesuit churches of Sant'Ignazio and Il Gesù as well as the Camerette, where Ignatius wrote the Constitutions and celebrated masses. There we were also able to celebrate a mass, which was presided over by Franck Janin. He said in his homily that the first companions were not many, but they changed the world. Therefore, if there are fewer of us today than in previous decades, this must not prevent us from our apostolic zeal, nor must the first companions around Ignatius. A guided tour through the Vatican Museums and another one through the archives of the General Curia, where we were shown original handwritten records of basic documents of our order, as well as a tour through the many different language sections and studios of Vatican News were further highlights. Retreat in Assisi Our retreat - an integral part of the EJIF program - took place in Santa Tecla, a diocesan house with a beautiful view of Assisi. Paul Pace (tertian instructor in Dublin) held the impulses, José de Pablo, Tomasz Kot and Clément Nguyen were further experienced companions. After the retreat, we spent a day visiting the city of the Saint, whose name our fellow companion, Pope Francis, chose and whose sight we could "co-meditate" for a week from the window of the chapel. Pope Francis & Fr. General  The meetings with Pope Francis and with Fr. General Arturo Sosa were certainly two highlights in the program. With Fr. General, who had celebrated the Mass of St. Ignatius in the full church Il Gesù a few minutes earlier, we talked first about possible reasons for the lack of brotherly vocations, then about the spiritual tension between the poles, to rise completely in the world or to close themselves off from the world. These poles also permeate our work with young people. On Wednesday, August 2, our EJIF group was received in audience by Pope Francis. The Italian training delegation was present and introduced us to the Pope. When Francis entered the audience hall, we all stood up. He shook hands one by one. It was a moving moment. Francis has a strong charisma, a cheerful smile and a warm handshake, he seeks eye contact. The uninterrupted sound of the professional camera was the only thing that broke through the quiet, intense moment of encounter. Security, media people, a man with a huge camera and an interpreter were quickly distributed throughout the room, two bishops sat next to the Pope. Pope Francis wants unity for the Society of Jesus. Not in the sense of a uniform method, but in the sense of a unity of hearts. He put freedom and obedience at our heart. Both are not mutually exclusive in our understanding of obedience, but rather strengthen and complement each other. And he wished us courage, strong knees for prayer and the grace of God. Francis spoke about Peter Faber as a Master of Communication. Faber had the gift of communicating what was happening inside to the outside and leading others to talk about inner things. He recommended reading the Memoriale Fabers and a speech by Fr Pedro Arrupe in a Thai refugee camp. Typical of his pictorial and humorous way of expression, the Pope compared our superiors to shepherds herding toads. The shepherds want to guard the toads and at the same time help them to jump. Asked about unity, he said that it would be unnatural if everyone bounced in the same direction - Jesuit diversity is something important.
Rome - The Jesuit order sees itself called to greater efforts after the letter of Pope Francis to the abuse crisis. "Let us do everything in our power to work together to heal this situation in the Church," wrote the Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa SJ, in a letter calling the Order and all collaborators and partners "to respond to the cry of Pope Francis. In mourning and shame, the Order confess that among the perpetrators were members of the Society of Jesus. In the letter, the Superior General calls on all provincials, superiors and plant managers to take initiatives and creative paths to promote a culture of youth protection and protection of vulnerable persons. The Order could learn the process of such cultural change through the exchange with other ecclesial groups as well as from other people of good will who are committed to the eradication of this evil. Pope Francis had written a letter to Catholics worldwide on Monday after a report of abuse in the US state of Pennsylvania in which he acknowledged church failure and denounced clericalism as a major cause of sexual abuse. According to the Superior General, the Pope thus not only reaffirms the mandate of the recent General Congregation for an effective culture of protection of minors and those in need of protection, but goes beyond what has been learned so far with a "zero tolerance" policy, guidelines for action, efforts to pay damages and prevention programmes. "He invites us to personal, communal and institutional conversion in order to achieve coherence and integrity in our lives and to direct our apostolic action towards the realization of a culture inside and outside the Church that is capable of ensuring that situations of abuse are not repeated and that all people are guaranteed a healthy life. The Order asks the Lord for "growing sorrow and shame" in the face of the suffering caused by so many abuses and for his help for a "genuine process of personal and institutional conversion".
Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ returned to his home province of Japan on August 6, 2018. He left Manila early in the morning accompanied by Japanese Provincial Fr Renzo De Luca, and arrived safely in Tokyo. Testimonial dinner Before Fr Adolfo left the Philippines, the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and his communities in the East Asian Pastoral Institute (EAPI) and Arrupe International Residence gathered to thank him and bid him farewell on a special testimonial dinner held at the Ateneo de Manila University, hosted by the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific and the Philippine Province. The event had been organised to officially launch the Adolfo Nicolás EAPI Endowment Fund, which will support the work of EAPI, where Fr Nicolás was director from 1978 to 1984. When he resigned as Superior General of the Society of Jesus (2008-2016), Fr Nicolás asked to return not immediately to Japan, but to be sent to the Philippines, where he wanted to serve at the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, whose missions was close to his heart, as Spiritual Director and as a Consultant. Among the several friends who sent video testimonials for the 4th August, there were current Superior General Fr Arturo Sosa, Regional Assistant for Asia Pacific Fr Danny Huang, Myanmar Mission Superior and former JCAP President Fr Mark Raper and former Japanese Provincial Fr Shogo Sumita. Endowment Fund Fr Nicolás had not wanted a testimonial dinner or to be immortalised in an endowment fund, but he agreed to both because of his affection for EAPI. “We know you are one who does not wish to be in the limelight … but you have allowed it only because you believe it is for EAPI and not for yourself,” said Philippine Provincial Fr Primitivo Viray Jr SJ. This attitude was, as Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific President Fr Tony Moreno SJ said, “typical of Fr Nico, always self-effacing, never self-referential”. His humility was clear in his message to the guests, read for him because of his slowed speech.  In it, Fr Nicolás said, “In this distinguished audience, there certainly are those who ask themselves for the meaning of today’s supper. Why a person, Adolfo Nicolás, who otherwise appears to be rather normal, in a time of so many, would give his name to a pastoral Institute and to fundraising? The answer is simple: because he believes in pastoral institutes.” Fr Nicolás believes that “in Asia it is not enough to say that we must be humble and imbued by the sense of mystery and the like. Rather, we have to show the way, and this is pastoral”. East Asian Pastoral Institute EAPI serves the local churches in Asia Pacific with its focus on pastoral formation in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council. It envisions a new way of being Church by offering priests, religious men and women and laity a unique experience of learning and formation in community. The endowment fund will be used primarily to provide scholarships for participants from poorer countries and for maintaining the facilities. Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Archbishop of Yangon and an EAPI alumnus, flew to Manila for the occasion. “Surely Fr Nicolás will be embarrassed by my words of appreciation. It comes from my heart because I have personally tasted his love for our Myanmar Church,” said Cardinal Bo who is the fund’s honorary chairman. Cardinal Bo spoke of how EAPI has helped pilgrims like him find healing and a sense of belonging to a universal society. “For many priests and church personnel who came from Myanmar, emotionally, spiritually bruised and broken, the stay in EAPI was comprehensively healing… We went back with a great resolve to be better disciples of Jesus.” Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, Apostolic Nuncio to the Philippines, gave the apostolic blessing Pope Francis imparted with affection to Fr Nicolás and to all those present. Target The testimonial dinner raised about US$200,000 towards the endowment fund.  “The total target is of course huge, but for this initial phase of fundraising, we have set for ourselves the modest target of about US$1 million,” said EAPI Director Fr Peter Pojol SJ. He thanked the many people who gave their support. “We continue to count on you and many others like you to further the work of EAPI and the dream of Fr Nico,” he said. Jesuits in Britain / JCAP

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Finding God

Every summer the picturesque, mountainous area on the shores of Lake Issyk-kul in Kyrgyzstan, where the Jesuits run a pastoral centre, becomes the place of several meetings and camps for various groups. This year, the third edition of the astronomical camp has taken place. Talented young people from schools from the Jalal-Abad area in the south of Kyrgyzstan are invited to participate. 90 young people came to Issyk-kul, accompanied by their physics teachers. Under the supervision of the professional astronomers Fr Adam Malinowski SJ from Poland, who has been involved in the field of astronomy for years, as well as volunteers from the British Jesuit Mission and the German Jesuit Mission, the teenagers observed the night sky full of stars. All of the participants (students and teachers) are Muslims, mostly from the religiously radical areas of Kyrgyzstan. It is difficult to overestimate the importance of such meetings: while we do not expect participants to become Christians, we hope that in future they will have a more friendly attitude towards the Christianity. The main task was to show the truth of the words of the decree of the I Vatican Council: “God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason”. The touching space and the silence of the cosmos during the night observations were a confirmation of this statement. In addition to camps related to education, we organize holidays for children with additional support needs, children from orphanages and poor families. Some events are organized in conjunction with the Kyrgyz social welfare structures. We are very grateful to those who help us with the successful organization of the camps!
With the visit of Pope Francis as its focus, the World Meeting of Families (WMOF) in Dublin has been a unique occasion for the Catholic world to celebrate families and their wonderfully rich and diverse contribution to society. In his homily given at Phoenix Park before a congregation of half a million people, the Pope said that one of the fruits of the WMOF would be for participants to return home “and become a source of encouragement for others”. He called on the congregation to bear witness to the sacrificial love of Jesus, “the love that alone can save our world from its bondage to sin, selfishness, greed, and indifference to the less fortunate.” That, he said, “is the love we have come to know in Christ Jesus.” He concluded with a challenge for the whole Church, “parents and grandparents, children and young people, men and women, religious brothers and sisters, contemplatives and missionaries, deacons and priests” to “Share the Gospel of the family as joy for the world!” Jesuit novice Dunstan Rodrigues, who was at the Mass at Phoenix Park, commented "it was an amazing, moving and intense experience." Pope Francis has always maintained strong links with his Jesuit family and generally includes a visit to Jesuit communities wherever he travels in the world. Dublin last weekend was no exception. During his packed 36 hours at WMOF, Pope Francis found time for an encounter with his fellow Jesuits. The Irish Jesuits were invited to meet the pope in the Papal Nunciature, Dublin. The private meeting lasted around 35 minutes. The Provincial, Leonard Moloney SJ, welcomed him in Spanish and Br George Fallon SJ greeted him in Italian and presented a small gift. Pope Francis shook hands with the men in wheelchairs individually, and then addressed the group and took some questions. The WMOF programme leading up to the visitation was packed with talks, discussions, and spiritual reflections. A wide range of ministries took the opportunity to showcase their work. Jesuits and those inspired by Ignatian Spirituality from all over the world were strongly present. “I have never seen such a mix of nationalities in my life. But they are smiling and positive and upbeat,” said Vera Casey who, with Bernard McGuckian SJ and Mary Brady, had a stall to showcase the work of the Pioneer Association and Messenger Publications. Commenting on the engagement witnessed in Dublin, Bernard McGuckian SJ said “what we ask is to help your alcoholic brothers and sisters in prayer and solidarity. And this is a wonderful opportunity to let more people know about our work: if you think that, out of the 117 countries present here, the Pioneers are only in 17 of them…there is work to do! And people are very interested.” The Beehive prayer space offered an opportunity for immersion in different ways to experience prayer and meditation. “It is something totally Irish and of use for meditation. It is a good thing that people are aware of this” said German-Irish sculptor Imogen Stuart. Together with Jesuit author Brian Grogan SJ, they hosted an area for their purpose-built prayer garden, in the form of a carved wooden beehive, for pilgrims to enter and pray. Fr Grogan explained “Families of up to six can fit in there. You have to see their faces once they come out: they are so grateful! That’s because it’s responding to some deep need in people to let go their anxieties and worries and just to be.” Another special discovery for some members of the public was time spent with spiritual guides Siobhán Murphy and Iva Beranek. “A lot of people are confused and this helps them to offload that” said Siobhán. Iva, who is now completing her training as spiritual guide, shared feedback received from many: “this kind of experience can help everyone to see there is wisdom within them. And between my wisdom and your wisdom, we can find spiritual solace.” Bishop Alan McGuckian SJ of the Raphoe Diocese spoke with Pat Coyle of Irish Jesuit Communications about the impact the World Meeting of Families Pastoral Congress had on himself and his family. “I see the richness and the depth of the Church here,” he commented. Bishop McGuckian also talked about the Pope’s visit and the shadow of the clerical sex abuse scandals cast over the event in Dublin in this podcast interview:
From July 11 to 15, the EOF Province (Western Francophone Europe) organized a journey for Jesuits and lay partners in Loyola and Javier. This 5-days experience was planned especially for works directors and collaborators of the Provincial House. The aim was to discover – or rediscover – the Society’s roots. 12 Jesuits and 36 lay people participated at this adventure. They visited the « Sancta Casa » in Loyola ; they rediscovered the history of the life of the founder of the Society as well as his letters and his insistence on the exchange of correspondence. There were also times for personal prayer or guided prayer: it was not only a matter of seeing and hearing, but also of experiencing Jesuit spirituality. In Javier the life of Francis Javier was presented. The Castle was visited, and the crucifix of the smiling Christ brought us together in prayer. The sharing groups focused on the present missions of the Society, not only from the reading of Decree 1 of GC36 but also from the presentation of the Province by Father François Boëdec. These were days of grace : a beautiful mixture of tourism, spiritual experience, liturgies, mutual discovery, which has strengthened the bonds in the apostolic body made up of Jesuits and lay partners… and on the top of all, Belgium became third and France first of the World Championship !
The Jesuits launch a fundraising. In a beautiful natural setting, in the heart of the Gulf of Morbihan, the Penboc'h Spiritual Centre and its five buildings are undergoing a vast renovation project to offer guests modern, functional and up to standard spaces. The cost of the works is estimated at 8 million euros. "This new page in the history of Penboc'h, the Jesuits do not want and cannot write it alone (...).  We believe that together we will be able to associate many donors and friends to this project," says Fr. François Boëdec, Provincial of French-speaking Western Europe (EOF). A fundraising campaign was launched at the end of June in partnership with the Fondation du Patrimoine, which hopes to mobilize two million euros. Work began at the end of August and should last almost a year. At the end of August, this high place of retreat, animated by a team of Jesuits, lay people, priests and religious people of Ignatian spirituality, closed its doors for one year. But the community continues to offer the faithful sessions of spiritual resourcing and formation throughout the next twelve months in the Maison Sainte Marie in Sainte-Anne d'Auray (Morbihan), some 20 km from its historic site. More information Make an online donation and learn about the renovation work (Fondation du Patrimoine) Photo : © Michel Jamoneau

Promoting Justice

Jesuit Refugee Service UK is beginning a new project to provide legal advice for people pursuing asylum claims, whose claims have already been refused before. Jonathan Parr, Assistant Director of JRS UK, said: “We are very excited to be advertising our Legal Officer role as, if successful, it will provide a much needed service “The refugees we serve find themselves let down by an unjust system and have reached the stage in the procedures whereby only intensive and high quality legal work will offer a hope of success. As we accompany refugees, we understand deeply how important it is that they receive the protection that is their right.” Those served by the centre have come to the UK seeking refuge and wanting to rebuild their lives, but found the system for determining their claims is stacked against them. Most of them are pursuing what the Home Office considers new, or “fresh” asylum claims. There are many ways in which the asylum system has let them down the first time round. One of them is that there is inadequate legal support to navigate this very complicated system. Like most legal systems, it isn’t easy to understand without legal training, and there are hoops you have to jump through, so a good lawyer is really important. And once you’ve had an initial refusal, even if that was very unfair, it can be quite difficult to unpick, and it can be even more difficult to get the kind of legal support that is vital to a just asylum process. JRS UK wants to help provide that support. Legal aid is already available for asylum claims, but cuts in this sector mean that most solicitors don’t have the time to work as closely as they’d like with clients on cases, or to work with experts to compile the necessary evidence – such as gathering testimonies from people in other countries. Many, many people who are initially refused are eventually recognised as refugees. In researching this project, the JRS team spoke to a number of immigration solicitors about why this may be the case; often it stems from misunderstandings in the original application that could have been picked up and resolved by good legal advice. This new project would not be an alternative to legal aid. The aim is to hire an experienced immigration solicitor to work really intensively with the people JRS serves, helping to prepare fresh claims for them. They’d have the time to get to know them and really understand their case. This would mean they could lay a case out in the detail it needs and deserves. The case would then be passed on to a legal aid solicitor to take it forward. The project will involve close working relationships and collaboration with others in the legal profession as well. It will play an important part in JRS’ current service to destitute refugees who are struggling to gain recognition, and it will also give the organisation an insight into the asylum process from a fresh angle, which will feed into its advocacy. The legal officer will collaborate really closely as part of the JRS team, and also have the chance to really take the lead on how the project develops.
The Irish Jesuit Province have announced that three properties in the Gardiner Street Parish of Dublin’s north inner city will be converted to 16 apartments for the homeless, pending the approval of the Charities Regulator. The large Victorian buildings at 26-28 Sherrard Street Upper – which have housed various Jesuit organisations over the years including the Jesuit Centre for Faith and Justice and the Pioneer Association – will go toward helping the Peter McVerry Trust as they continue with their important work trying to combat the scourge that is the homelessness crisis. Speaking to The Irish Times, CEO Pat Doyle of the Peter McVerry Trust said: “The pressing need for housing, particularly social housing, is on the front page of the papers most days of the week. While this will go just a small way to addressing the crisis, we will be able to provide accommodation for a mix of people who are most in need.” The 16 planned apartments will be designated for young people leaving care, those on the streets, and a mix singles, couples and perhaps small families living in emergency accommodation. “This will take them out of homelessness for good,” said Mr Doyle. “They will be tenants and the label of homelessness will be removed from them. I’m delighted that the Jesuit Community of Ireland see this as a very apt and fitting legacy for these properties.” Although the properties – estimated to be worth about €3 million – will be donated to the trust, it is estimated that approximately €1.6 million will be spent on substantial conversion and renovation work. The trust which has a lot of experience with reusing buildings intends to seek planning permission this year with the aim of completing the apartments before Christmas 2019.
The INAPP Agency of the Pedro Arrupe Institute of Political Formation, together with the Centro Astalli Palermo, some Higher Education Institutes of the territory of Palermo, third level education associations and numerous foreign entities, gave their joint approval for a project of 100 scholarships abroad.  These scholarships will be mainly offered to young people at risk of social exclusion, and vulnerable persons (migrants, young people with economic and social difficulties).  The aim is to create alternating school and work-phases, internships and jobshadowing abroad for students (between 16 and 20 years of age) or graduates (between 18 and 23 years of age) of these partnership institutes, within one year from their graduation.
JRS Europe together with other faith-based organisations published the position paper “Recommendations for humane return policies in Europe”. Increasing removal rates of migrants and asylum seekers has recently become a political priority, to the detriment of integration measures and safe and legal pathways of migration. “Any return policy has to guarantee the dignity and fundamental rights of the person. The fundamental principle must be to return in safety and dignity,” states the paper. The principle of non-refoulement –people in need of protection cannot be returned to unsafe countries– has to be respected in all procedures and actions. The organisations urge to invest in voluntary return, which should always be prioritised over forced return to put the well-being of people first. It is fundamental to keep the voluntary nature of “voluntary” return. European member states make it often extremely difficult for people to receive asylum or reunite with their families, leaving them no more option than to choose between voluntary return and forced return.  The political prioritisation of return policy has a negative impact on the asylum procedure and the individual right to asylum. Criteria used to assess protection available in “safe third countries” are often vaguely defined, not guaranteeing the effective safety of those countries. Due to this reason, the principle of non-refoulement is endangered. The paper stresses the importance on maintaining a clear separation between international protection and return policies.  The paper expresses deep concern on the practice of increasing returns to conflict and fragile countries as Afghanistan, Iraq or Sudan. Forcibly displaced people must never be returned to unsafe places where their life is at risk. The organisations ask for monitoring mechanisms, which trace back returnees and ensure that their safety is guaranteed.  Detention has increased during the recent years. Nevertheless, these practices have not proven to lead to more returns. Priority must be given to alternatives to detention. Detention must only be used as a last resort practice, as it generates psychological damage and increases the perception of migrants as criminals.  The paper highlights that there are hardly any legal entry channels to access Europe. It is as well highlighted that thousands of forcibly displaced people live in poverty and destitution as a result of deficient return policies. The organisations demand the insurance of a return policy that does not criminalise migrants and asylum seekers and does not force them into destitution. Development aid is steadily more used to pressure governments of countries of origin in the negotiations on the return of migrants and to contain people in their countries. The paper insists on ending the use of development aid as a migration control tool. Development aid has to be used for what it is established for: creating opportunities and well-being in the poorer countries. Picture: Waiting in a transit camp in Croatia (Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi / JRS Europe).  

Youth & Media

Between the 9th and the 11th July 2018, in Caorle (VE), wide-ranging discussions have taken place: the Assembly of the Jesuit Education Foundation, the Administrative Council and some programmed meetings with the General Directors and the Commission to discuss the proposal for Ignatian Education - CPEI. It has been three days of intense work focused on the past school year’s budget and, above all, on the setting of the workpoints and the guidelines that will have to be followed next year. In particular, two major aspects emerged: sharing the work done so far and the continuation of the work on the apostolic project, on the strategic approaches of our schools, the definition of the “vision” and of the “mission” and the steps following the analysis of the context. The second aspect concerns the implementation of two priorities chosen among the points of the Action Statement of the JESEDU World Conference held in Rio de Janeiro: the soul-searching and the concern for the environment and for the climate change. How can we introduce soul-searching in schools, in the daily activities with the students, with the teachers as well as with the families? What policies can we develop, with Pope Francis’s Laudato Sì as a guideline, for the protection of the creation?  How can we educate our children to be particularly sensitive to these matters and these global issues? Our joint commitment on these two priority areas is to study ways, strategies and educational activities to be proposed and implemented in schools, in common network projects and in international projects for the coming years.
Summertime, with due regard for the necessary resting period, is also a good time for carrying out high-value activities for one’s own human, spiritual and cultural growth. For this reason, the schools of the Jesuit Education Network offer, in one way or another, various initiatives, which are broken down by category, age and modality: summer camps, courses, workshops and pilgrimages. Among the network initiatives, we can find the “journeys” and the missionary camps. “The network journeys (#cammineRete2018)” says father Jimmy Bartolo SJ, “proposed to our students are two: the journey from Xavier to Loyola, from the 19th to the 28th July on the subject instability and transgression: Jesuits and choices; and the journey towards Santiago de Compostela, from the 29th July to the 10th August, on the subject: we need roots and wings: I choose God. The missionary camps, instead, are organized in collaboration with the Student Missionary League, and offer various service shifts in Sighet, Romania, in Perù, in Africa (Kenya) and in other locations. “In this way” he adds, “the summer experience becomes a service to the neighbour, in a different country and in contact with other people, families and cultures, in order to grow, humanly speaking, as men for and with others”.
From 22 to 25 July the annual Magis youth camp entitled "Your grace is enough for me" took place in Cluj Napoca. 50 young people aged between 16 and 27 from different parts of Romania took part. "The camp" Iosif Sandoru SJ  explains "is organised according to the style of the international Magis, which is an Ignatian experience of self-discovery in openness to God and to others". Each day includes moments of prayer, various manual activities and sports, the Eucharistic celebration, the daily examination of conscience  and moments of sharing in the so-called Magis circles. "The meeting" underlines Fr Iosif "which is carried out in a simple and joyful atmosphere has produced in young people a real awareness of the great desires that dwell within them as well as trust in the grace of God who accompanies and completes his work within every human being". After the meeting, the youth participated for another five days at the national meeting of young Catholics held at Satu Mare, a precious experience of ecclesial communion.
Ignatian Youth Days in Poland. IDMy is a time of fun and joy for young people, but also an opportunity for development. Every day, young people have time to pray, including the Eucharist, and take part in workshops where they can develop their talents, acquire new competences or try their hand at something completely new for themselves. They can choose from more than twenty options, such as sports, art, language, practical, personality and work with others. In addition they spend time with friends and make new friends. The XIV Ignatian Youth Days are held under the motto "Are you afraid to desire? IDM will also have the opportunity to present individual communities during the competition for prizes at the film competition.

In-depth Reflection

From the 19th to the 26th of August, The Venice Faith and Politics Workshop once again opened its doors to young leaders, with this year’s leitmotif being: “Public service as a Christian calling”. The event's emphasis has been on spiritual growth and the accompanying reflective periods, which are merged with a stunning scenery of Venice. The main mission of the sessions: “This session enables young adults from every part of Europe to explore how faith and politics are related. This will empower them to engage, as Europeans, in public service for the common good in a world of contradictions.” (, 2018) One of this year’s guest contributor is Luc Cortebeeck, (President of the Workers’ Group and Vice-Chairperson of the ILO Governing Body, as well as the head of International Labour Organization’s executive body for the period 2017-2018).  
In the light of the experience offered thirty years ago by Father Pietro Millefiorini SJ, "Poliedri", a school of political formation and active citizenship (, has been reborn. Registration is now open, and will close on September 10th. The courses are scheduled to start in October. This project is designed for all young people interested in the "res publica", which aims to develop the theme of political education in an innovative way by offering specific knowledge. The project started two years ago during the meeting of people of different generations, guided by Fr. Francesco Cavallini SJ. The group were not only  the lack of formation of the political class but also recognised the need to address the present decisively pragmatic approach in political circles and to re-propose instead the consideration of ethical issues of a far higher level to the public conscience. The school, which employs a technical committee and a body of highly accredited professional teachers, is being promoted in collaboration with the Society of Jesus and has a secular and non-partisan approach.
Heythrop Collection of over 250,000 titles to be listed online and available at Senate House Library following Heythrop College Closure Heythrop College will close at the end of the academic year 2017-2018, Thursday 31 August 2018. The collection of over 250,000 volumes of books and bound volumes of periodicals, widely regarded as one of the finest collections of theology and philosophy in the UK, will continue to be made accessible onsite – many discoverable online for the first time - to readers through Senate House Library from October 2018. The Jesuits in Britain have entered an agreement with Senate House Library, University of London, where members of the Library can access the titles and order via the online catalogue for arrival at the Library on the same or next day. The books presently located in Kensington Square are being transferred to an external depository in Ruislip used by Senate House Library, part of the University of London, to ensure the collection is properly housed and conserved as a whole.   Heythrop College collection to go online for the first time At present, about half of the Heythrop collection is electronically catalogued while the remainder is catalogued on index cards. These cards will be processed in such a way that they will be available online from October making the catalogue of the whole collection visible and accessible in this way for the first time. Fr Damian Howard SJ, Jesuit provincial, said, “I am delighted that the University of London, an institution with which Heythrop College has had a long and happy partnership, is able to accommodate this significant collection. The Library will be maintained as a valuable and up-to-date resource accessible to members of the Church and of the academy.”   Developing the collection The Jesuits in Britain have employed Mr Michael Morgan as Head Librarian. He is currently Librarian at Heythrop College. He will be based at 114 Mount Street from 1 October 2018.  The Heythrop collection will be maintained and kept up-to-date with books and periodicals ordered and catalogued by the Librarian. A proportion of the Library’s rare books will, after September 2018, be located at Campion Hall, the Jesuit permanent private hall of the University of Oxford. Details of how to access the Heythrop collection through Senate House Library will be published by 1 September this website. The Heythrop Library dates to the foundation of the English Jesuits’ college of theology and philosophy in Leuven in 1614 and is a specialist library in those two subject areas.  It comprises some 250,000 volumes of books and bound volumes of periodicals. About 185,000 volumes are housed in the Kensington Square site of the College; another 70,000 are stored in the University of London’s depository in Egham. The Library is widely regarded as one of the finest collections of theology and philosophy in the UK. The Library is owned by the Jesuits in Britain who will continue own and develop it. It will continue to be accessible to the academic community and to members of the public interested in the library’s specialist areas. Senate House Library (SHL) is one of the UK's largest academic libraries for arts, humanities & social sciences with over 2 million books, 50 special collections and1,800 archival collections. The Library and its collections have been continuously developed since the 1870s. The Library is open to the public as well as students and academics of the University of London – membership required. For more information, visit their website:
The Jesuits in Britain are pleased to announce that a new research institute called the Laudato Si’ Institute (LSI) is being established at Campion Hall, the Jesuit permanent private hall of the University of Oxford. The LSI will be established during the academic year 2018-2019 and will formally open in September 2019. The aim of the Laudato Si’ Institute is to foster interdisciplinary research arising out of the intellectual challenges presented most vividly in Pope Francis’ encyclical letter Laudato Si’, while being faithful to Ignatian traditions and reflective practice. The premise of Laudato Si’ is that the crumbling of the earth’s fabric, largely through human activity, is ultimately devastating for humanity and other creatures, particularly the poorest communities on earth. In contemporary Western thought, academic disciplines are often treated by specialists in isolation, so that the interrelationships between different social, ecological, technological, political, economic, philosophical and religious issues are obscured. The Laudato Si’ Institute will comprise: (1) An ambitious research programme using a dialogical method that enlists philosophical, ethical and theological insights as well as scholarly research in the natural and social sciences. (2) A global network of allied activities inspired by Laudato Si’ in order to foster international collaboration and link scholarship across different global cultures and contexts. The Laudato Si’ Institute will be informed by and act as a resource for allied educational initiatives of the Jesuits in Britain and elsewhere. It will also engage with scholars in other faith traditions as relevant to its research themes. Its overall mission is to contribute to the intellectual basis for individual and structural transformation towards an ecological conversion at the levels of individuals, communities, public policy and governance. Professor Celia Deane-Drummond, currently Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing at the University of Notre Dame, USA, will be the inaugural Director of the Institute. Fr Damian Howard Sj, Jesuit provincial, welcomed the announcement, saying “As Jesuits, we are dutybound to seek out new intellectual frontiers and to bring to them the light of the Gospel. I am delighted that Professor Deane-Drummond has agreed to take on the role of Director of the new Laudato Si’ Institute. The intellectual and spiritual exploration of Pope Francis’ teaching in Laudato Si’ is vitally important work for the future of humanity. I look forward with great excitement to seeing how the work of the Institute unfolds.” "When Pope Francis released his encyclical Laudato Si' in June of 2015, I knew a fresh, invigorating wind of change was blowing through the Church" said Professor Celia Deane-Drummond. "For the first time in the Church's history, environmental scientists, conservationists and anthropologists, whether they were believers or not, woke up and listened’. She further commented: "The challenge for those of us who have been working at the boundary of ecology, philosophy and theology for the last quarter century is to discern how to implement and work out with intellectual rigor the message of Laudato Si', and use that as a basis for deeper individual and societal ecological conversion….I consider it a great privilege and honour to have been given the opportunity to direct this new initiative." Professor Deane-Drummond, currently Director of the Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing at the University of Notre Dame, USA, is a theologian who has professional experience in academic science and has two doctorates in plant physiology and systematic theology. She has a well-established track record in publishing in science, theology, environmental ethics and at the intersection between theology and the natural sciences. Professor Deane-Drummond has also served as Chair of the European Forum for the Study of Religion and Environment from 2011-2018. Her most recent books include A Primer in Ecotheology: Theology for a Fragile Earth (2017) and Theology and Ecology Across the Disciplines: On Care for Our Common Home (2018). 

Preparing for Mission

Enlarged Council meets in Rome – Orientation address from Fr General. The Expanded council of Fr. General met from September 3rd to 7th . Fr General’s usual Council is joined in this meeting by the Conference Presidents, the Sector Secretariats and the General Treasurer.  The five day meeting of the Expanded General Council (Consiglio Allargato) began with a Eucharist with the Jesuit community. The meeting lays the ground for the January 2019 discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. Below are extracts from Fr General’s opening remarks. Universal Apostolic Preferences Father Arturo Sosa spoke first of the Apostolic Preferences. He emphasised that this process, in which the whole Society of Jesus is involved, can lead to a reanimation of the Society; it can also show a special way to live our relationship with the Holy Father. Discernment has already taken place in most provinces and meetings of conferences of provincials will now move the process forward. Reanimation of the Society “The first (issue) is the importance that the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) can have in the reanimation of the apostolic body of the Society and in the orientation of its apostolic planning in the years to come… [T]here is a great responsibility to find a formulation of UAP that helps as much as possible toward that end”. Relationship to the Holy Father “[We] see in the formulation of the apostolic preferences an occasion to live “sacramentally” the connection of the Society of Jesus to the Church through its availability to the Holy Father circa missiones. The process of discernment in common … seeks to deepen our availability for collaboration in the mission of the Church in the way that the Holy Father thinks best. Therefore, I will go to the Holy Father not only seeking confirmation and blessing…but rather to receive from him the accents of the mission of the Society in the next years through apostolic preferences received from his hand.” Fr. Sosa said that Pope Francis is glad that the process is conceived as one of tension between the future and the present. The Pope also insists on the need to take into account the vulnerability of so many persons. While the word ‘reconciliation’ has in some circles been devalued, we need to explain it and use it well.  “It is at the center of the message of the Gospel from the beginning of the life of the Church” said Fr Sosa. "What I will communicate to the whole Society will be the mission we will have received from the Holy Father with a plan for assimilating it” he added. “This follow up can become an effective instrument to achieve the desire expressed by the members of GC 36 to have a central government focused on mission.” To contemplate the world through the eyes of the poor. Father Sosa then spoke of “the challenge of recovering the proclamation of the faith and the pastoral accompaniment of human and Christian maturation as the axis of all that we do. We need to propose again in a fresh way the first proclamation of the faith.” He emphasized the importance of Christian communities and their ability to discern: “If they are communities able to discern, then they will be communities able to welcome those who are different; to initiate and accompany new ways of giving a word of hope to people who, in the traditional way of focusing the moral teaching of the Church, do not have space, or do not find a place in society but who, as human beings, are also called to live an experience of God. Communities open to the young, to listen to the young. Communities open to promote equality between man and woman, which in contemporary societies still does not exist.” Still on the issue of the Church, he said, “The Church today still faces the challenge of incarnating definitively the ecclesiology of Vatican II. To become a Church “People of God”, a Church community of communities, a Church open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a Church able to discern …  a Church that leaves behind internal power struggles and does not worry about gaining or maintaining social prestige by the standards of those who dominate the world.” Forming universal citizens An inescapable dimension of our apostolic action, in Fr. Sosa’s vision, is to contribute to forming universal citizens in this plural and multicultural world. Safeguarding Fr Sosa emphasized the promotion of a culture of safeguarding of children and vulnerable people. Our apostolic poverty General Congregation 36 insisted on real closeness to the poor. This also implies an austere life on our part said Fr General: “Although poverty is not an ideal but rather the fruit of structural injustice (sin), one of the greatest signs of in-humanity, it is also the way of redemption if we make ourselves poor as Jesus did.” said Fr Sosa. “I propose to invite the apostolic body of the Society to an examen and discernment of our apostolic and religious life in poverty from which will flow not only orientations for the proposed revision but also effective ways to come closer to the life of the poor and to acquire that vision so characteristic of the disciples of Jesus.”
July 31, 2018, the feast of St. Ignatius Loyola, was marked by an important change in the organizational structure of the Jesuits in Eastern Europe. On February 2, 2018, Father Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society, issued a decree, under which the Jesuit District of Ukraine is separated from the Independent Russian Region and becomes as the Ukrainian Mission an integral part of the Province of South Poland, with its seat in Krakow. How did this decision come about? The Soviet Union broke up in December 1991 and six months later the General of the Society of Jesus established the Independent Russian Region in the former Soviet republics as a separate religious structure, with the exception of the three Baltic republics, which were already Lithuanian-Latvian provinces. The Russian region began to be formed by Jesuits who had left the underground, as well as by other of their confreres from all over the world who had begun to apply to work in the vast areas of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Currently, there are forty of us here from the twelve nationalities. There are, among others, Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Poles, Chileans, Slovenians. An interesting mosaic of cultures and mentality. Everything has one vocation in common. At the beginning of the 1990s there was no Jesuit in Ukraine, but from its territory candidates for the Order began to apply, both of the Greek-Catholic and Latin rites. Initially, the renewal of the Order in Ukraine was entrusted to the Provincial of Cracow, but later, after 2000, the then General Fr Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ established the so-called Ukrainian District and joined it in the Independent Russian Region. This structure and situation has survived to this day. There are currently 12 Jesuits working in Ukraine, including a number of Jesuits in formation in Rome and the United States. We are present in Lviv, Kiev, Khmelnytsky and Chernivtsi. In recent years, it has turned out that the integration of religious structures in Ukraine and South of Poland will be more fruitful. This will correspond to the situation that already exists. Almost all young Jesuits in Ukraine have completed part of their priesthood formation in Poland and speak Polish. They are supported in their apostolic work in their homeland by Polish Jesuits who speak Ukrainian. The entire Jesuit team in Ukraine is an example of living and working together in harmony, and the separation of two nationalities, two languages and two rituals does not divide but enriches their activities and community life. We can look at it as a small laboratory for developing mutual ties and cooperation between Ukraine and Poland, rising across borders, across prejudices, across divisions. Nobody needs to be convinced how important and up to date this challenge and task is. Picture: ordination of  Mykhailo Stanchyshyn SJ in Lviv.
On the 5th of August the official dedication of the Jesuit residence in Riga took place. The residence is dedicated to the first Jesuit companion St. Peter Faber whose charisma was the Spiritual Exercises. The patron was intentionally choses since the essential part of the Jesuit mission in Latvia is ministry in spirituality as spiritual directors and retreat ministry. During the ceremony the bishop of Riga Zbignevs Stankevics emphasised the importance of this Jesuit calling to provide spiritual accompaniment to people of Riga. Additionally, the bishop stressed the need to maintain ecumenical relationships that are so well established in Riga because the Lutheran Church is interested in Ignatian spirituality. There were many guests from Lithuania and Latvia especially many Christian Life Community members who continue supporting the Riga Jesuit community in our mission.  The provincial of the Lithuanian-Latvian province Vidmantas Simkunas SJ expressed his gratitude for this beautiful day we could celebrate the blessing of the residence 5 years later since the Jesuits started a permanent presence in Latvia in 2013. Thanks to many benefactors including some European provinces such as the British, Dutch, German, Irish, and also the American Bishops conference and individual donators the house was purchased in 2015. On this day we could truly join the choir “Exaudi” from Kaunas, Lithuania in singing Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. Currently in this new community live three members from three different cultural and linguistic backgrounds: Fr. Janis Melnikovs (Latvia); Fr. Gintaras Vitkus (Lithuania) and Fr. Tadeusz Cieslak (Poland).
To celebrate 100 years of the modern Republic of Lithuania, the Lithuanian postal service has memorialized 100 people who have contributed the most to uniting Lithuanians in the world in a special souvenir sheet of six 1,00 euro stamps. Pictured are living persons, not faces of famous Lithuanians from the past, and are being pictured on stamps for the first time. Antanas Saulaitis SJ is in clerics, one of the 20 chosen from among Lithuanians abroad.