Jesuits in Europe

GERMANY
The evening before World Refugee Day Father Frido Pflüger SJ died of corona in Kampala/Uganda. He was an educator, headmaster, friend and companion of refugees in Africa and Germany. Frido Pflüger SJ was born on 18 February 1947 in Albbruck in the district of Waldshut and entered the Jesuit Order on 13 June 1966 after graduating from high school. He studied philosophy and theology in Pullach, Innsbruck and Tübingen. From 1971 to 1973 he was an educator and mathematics teacher at the College of St. Blasien in the Black Forest. He was ordained a priest in Munich on 2 October 1976. From 1975 to 1981 he completed a second degree in mathematics and physics in Tübingen and was then a teacher of mathematics, physics and astronomy at the Jesuit College in St. Blasien. During tertianship in the Philippines in 1986/87 he worked for the first time for three months with the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). In the Bataan camp, where Vietnamese boat people were housed at the time, he learned what it meant to accompany people. From 1988 onwards, he was deputy headmaster at the College of St. Blasien. From August 1992, he helped rebuild the Catholic St. Benno Grammar School in Dresden, of which he became headmaster in 1994 and remained until 2003. From 2003 to 2006 he went for JRS to Adjumani, Northern Uganda, where 100,000 refugees from Southern Sudan were stranded at the time. From 2006 to 2008 he was delegate of the German Provincial for Ignatian Pedagogy. He then went to Nairobi/Kenya and led JRS East Africa as Regional Director from 2008 to 2012, after returning to Germany he was Head of JRS Germany in Berlin from 2012 to 2018. In 2018, he went back to Africa and worked as Country Director for JRS in Uganda. The last year and a half during the Corona pandemic was particularly challenging for him. His return to Germany was planned, he had booked a flight to Berlin for 18 July. Due to a COVID-19 infection, he had to be treated in hospital in Kampala since 15 June. Now the Lord has called him to his eternal home on the eve of the World Refugee Day. Frido Pflüger SJ was buried on 22 June 2021 in a moving ceremony at St Peter's Parish in Nsambya near Xavier House in Kampala/Uganda. The ceremony was livestreamed. Memorial services were held in various places (Berlin, Dresden, Munich, St. Blasien). A digital book of condolence on the homepage of the Dresden St. Benno Grammar School offers the opportunity to share memories, prayers and wishes for Fr Pflüger.
UNITED KINGDOM
Laudato Si' Research Institute wraps up first major conference. Gender, feminist eco-theology, doughnut economics, the risks of techno-optimism, and the importance of diversity within solidarity were just some of the areas discussed at the Women, Solidarity, and Ecology virtual conference last week, the first major international conference hosted by the Laudato Si’ Research Institute at Campion Hall, University of Oxford. As the name suggests, the conference aimed to explore the disproportionate impact of environmental degradation on women, focusing on environmental and gender injustice such as that arising from mining and other forms of extractivism. Made possible by the virtuality of the conference, attendees from all corners of the globe tuned in to the three-day conference. During the insightful discussions, a distinguished line-up of speakers, panellists, and respondents from diverse backgrounds and disciplines shared their expertise on topics ranging from ecological economics to environmental psychology. In resonance with the LSRI’s ethos of learning from the most marginalized groups, the conference opened with three case studies of environmental and gender injustice from Amazonia, Zambia, and Malaysia. Panel discussions based around different but interrelated themes of ecological degradation followed: Molly Scott Cato (Professor of Green Economics, Roehampton University) highlighted in the “Governance” panel the pivotal role played by women in climate policymaking; Katharina Beyerl (Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies, Germany) explained the psychology behind what was hindering the collective transformation to more sustainable lifestyles in the “Science” panel; and Christine Allen offered third-sector perspectives, speaking from her work as Director of Catholic International Development Charity (CAFOD) in the “Practice” panel. One common thread that emerged from these discussions is the recognition that existing structures of economics, mining, energy production, and even green energy production, are failing the majority of vulnerable populations across the globe. The case study of charcoal burning from Zambia was a clear reminder that moving away from traditional energy sources for the sake of the environment must go hand in hand with support for those in poverty. It is meaningless to preach environmentalism without tackling the underlying issues of poverty and deprivation. Celia Deane-Drummond said in her concluding remarks: “How might a genuine ecological conversion take place in way that is positively inclusive of gender questions and in solidarity with the overall health of the earth? It is clear from our discussions so far that such transformation needs to be at all levels- individual, community, structural including particularly that related to issues of governance and political.” While the Laudato Si’ Research Institute may not be able to drive such a transformation on its own, this conference is a first step and one of many initiatives the Institute is engaged in as part of its wider mission to facilitate transdisciplinary research, inclusive of religious traditions, that offers new creative insights to support those invested in socio-ecological change for the flourishing of our common home.
POLAND
The Apostleship of Sobriety in Zakopane, located at the place called Górka (the hill), celebrated the golden jubilee (50 years of service) on June 20. A thanksgiving Mass with a procession was presided over by Bishop Tadeusz Bronakowski, representative of the Polish Bishops for the ministries of sobriety.  Concelebrated, among others, the Provincial Fr. Jaroslaw Paszynski SJ with his closest collaborators, as well as Father Miroslaw Zak from the Sobriety Chaplaincy of the Archdiocese of Krakow, Father Wladyslaw Zazel, the chaplain of the Polish Highlanders Association, and Jesuits who worked at Górka in previous years. Together with representatives of local authorities, they thanked God for the appreciated fruit of this ministry in Podhale. Addiction prevention and help Górka is one of the bright spots on the map of addiction prevention and help. More than 5,000 people a year choose a life without alcohol, cigarettes, gambling or drugs there. Although initial data is incomplete, it is known that in the last quarter of a century there were over 97 thousand vows at Górka. The Jesuit center is well-known in Podhale for that. Increasingly, it is also visited by tourists from all over Poland, and even by compatriots from abroad. The form of the Apostleship of Sobriety at Górka is simple: a conversation, if necessary a confession, an entry in the Book and a vow made to God before the picture of Our Lady, Mother of Perpetual Help. This vow is respected even by the toughest highlanders and not so religious people: someone about whom it is known that have taken the vow is never encouraged to drink alcohol or to use other drugs here. A word of honour The Apostleship of Sobriety at Górka began with a word of honour given by a highlander to his wife in 1971 in the presence of Father Wojciech Krupa SJ. He promised not to drink vodka for a month. When he did so, he came back to make the same vow to God: if he had kept his word to his wife, he would keep his word to God all the more. Others followed in his footsteps. At first, a few or a dozen people a year. In 1978 there were already 189, a year later - 311. In the 1990s there were already thousands of such vows. In the last year of the pandemic, which was not at all record-breaking, there were 5235.  Priests from Gorka observe that abstinence is vowed mainly by men between 17 and 50 years old. Sometimes they vow together with their wives. It happened sometimes that husbands came only after their wives had moved out and threatened divorce. Others came when a bailiff confiscated a property for gambling debts, or when an employer outright demanded it of an employee, threatening dismissal. Sometimes police officers were able to forgive minor offenses when the offender vowed to stay sober, and the courts reduced sentences by including a picture in the case file.  An apostolate of nine hours a day Priests at Górka are on duty nine hours a day (except on Christmas and Easter). They note that the spectrum of pledged abstinence is increasingly broad: alcohol and tobacco are joined by drugs, gambling, violence, Internet abuse, and even abstinence from lying and overeating. In addition to taking the vows, the Jesuits pray at every mass at the Church at Górka for those who take them  Furthermore, on the first Sunday of the month, at 10 a.m. masses are celebrated there for the intention of those taking the vows and their families. These are followed by open meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. They are open to anyone who is interested, including those who just want to learn more about the topic.  - If it weren't for the vows," confesses Iwona, "my husband and I would be divorced. She knows a man who was not helped by thirteen addiction therapies but after taking the vows in Górka he has not drunk for four years. Krzysztof vowed several times. He kept it, but when the time limit passed he returned to his addiction. 17 years ago he made a lifelong vow. Today he says: "the obsession with drinking has been taken away from me". He collects pictures from his vows like life insurance policies. He always has his current one with him. Testimonies of Iwona and Krzysztof are included in an occasional publication 'Górka Nieustająca Pomocy' (The Hill of Perpetual Help) prepared by the Chaplaincy.  The Jesuits began working at Gorka in Zakopane in 1899. They run the pastoral ministry in the church of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Retreat House and the Apostleship of Sobriety. They also serve as hospital chaplains.
RUSSIA
On June 3rd, 2021, just two weeks after the official opening of the 500th Jubilee Ignatian Year in Pamplona and all over the world, the Russian State Museum of the History of Religion in the heart of St. Petersburg, Russia officially opened an exhibit titled, Ad maiorem Dei gloriam: For a solemn jubilee of the Jesuit Order, dedicated to the apostolic life and activities of the Society of Jesus past and present, from its glorious times in the Russian empire to the present humbler presence. The exposition and accompanying catalog present a rich assortment of church artifacts, lithograph prints, photographs and video installations which have been in the stores of the Museum since Soviet times, when the Museum was named the State Museum of Atheism and Religion.  Of particular interest are numerous books and prints which belonged to the Jesuit Colleges in Polotsk, Vilnius and other cities of the Russian Empire during the time of the Suppression of the Society until their expulsion in 1815.  In juxtaposition visitors see and experience over 200 color images presented as prints and through digital displays illustrating the present activities of the Society in Russia as the “Independent Region of the Society of Jesus”.  Contemporary Jesuits are given a special highlight: Pope Francis, Cardinal Sigitas Tamkevičius, S.J. of Lithuania who spent many years in Siberia as a political prisoner; Bishop Joseph Werth, S.J. one of the first three bishops ordained in 1991 with the return of Church structures in the then Soviet Union; and the late Miguel Arranz, S.J. who is well know in Russia for his writings and collaboration with the Leningrad Orthodox Academy during Soviet times as a world-renown scholar of Eastern-rite liturgy. The exhibit will run until September 12th, 2021

Search articles

Finding God

IRELAND
Over 80 academics and professionals attended the launch of a new research group, Spirituality in Society and the Professions (SpirSoP), at a webinar at Waterford Institute of Technology on 21 May 2021. It marked the 20th anniversary of the MA in Applied Spirituality programme, and was co-organised by the Spirituality Institute for Research and Education (SpIRE). The guest speaker was Dr Jonathan Reams, Associate Professor at the Department of Pedagogy and Lifelong Learning, Norwegian University of Science & Technology, who gave a talk entitled ‘Soul Space for Adaptive Leadership’. Click here for more information on SpirSoP ». Dr Reams is a graduate of Gonzaga University, a Jesuit university in Washington, United States. In his talk, he presented insights from integral psychology and neuroscience that can help people recognize, name, and utilize their inner spiritual capacities to become more transformative leaders. Read more
ALBANIAITALYMALTAROMANIA
Albania, Italy, Malta and Romania pray together. A time of common prayer for the four territories of the Euro-Mediterranean Province. The event was streamed on June 29, at 8 pm, with live connections from Albania, Malta, Romania and Italy on YouTube and Facebook. "A significant date," explains Fr. Marco Colò, Province coordinator for the Ignatian Year: " "On the eve of Saints Peter and Paul, the young Inigo, wounded in Pamplona by a cannonball, had no choice but to rely on the 2 apostles, to hope for his rescue. This came at dawn, on 29th June. Inigo would recover. We found ourselves in a similar condition, at the end of a long period that put us to the test. We had to say goodbye to dear brothers and sisters. Our plans were strongly challenged. However, the Lord has not abandoned us. He made lights of hope shine. We wanted to acknowledge them and share them together, each in his or her own language, accompanying these discoveries with images that also expressed their colors and shapes. This was to ask for a broader vision, capable of seeing the grace of the Lord at work in every situation so that we may become His collaborators. ". The live broadcast was also an opportunity to bring together, from the four countries, Jesuits and lay people who work in the same charism, to promote mutual acquaintance and communion of purpose. Short video clips illustrated the history of the Jesuit presence in the different territories. The live moments of prayer were accompanied by pictures that expressed the signs of light captured. Fr. Roberto Del Riccio concluded the prayer time. "The next steps as EUM will be oriented to grow in communion and in a greater sense of belonging to the Province. In order to feel part of a same body, it is not necessary to deny one's own language and cultural identity. As we have experienced this evening, we grow in unity among ourselves by sharing more and more our Ignatian identity, through which we participate in Christ's mission, each according to his or her own vocation: Jesuits, laymen and women, priests, consecrated men and women". The Euro-Mediterranean Province was established on July 1, 2017. It counts 433 Jesuits, in 38 communities, and 41 works, active in the social, cultural, youth, and discernment formation fields.
SPAIN
From the Commission of the Ignatian Year of the Province of Spain we would like to offer the material for the retreats, "Accompanying Saint Ignatius", designed for Jesuits and collaborators of the Ignatian family in each Apostolic Platform or city. Father General invites us to "allow the Lord to work our conversion inspired by the personal experience of Ignatius", and, as a help, we propose that each community, locality or platform can offer these retreats throughout the year to interiorize what we celebrate: "Seeing all things new in Christ". The materials are divided into three scenarios, according to the steps of Ignatius in his conversion. These scenarios will be our composition of place to then bring to our reality the experience in which we want to accompany Ignatius: o Pamplona: The cannon shot in battle: The route of truncated desires, the cannon shots of life, and the return to the family home. The stretcher bearers and those who help us to heal... (This could be in June 2021 or at the beginning of the 21-22 course). o Loyola: The paths of conversion, physical weakness and the places of encounter with God, the rediscovery of God, the path of trusting in God... (Between October 2021 and March 2022). o Manresa: The experience of discernment: the spiritual crisis, discernment in the Spiritual Exercises and openness to enlightenment: the world and companions, the rediscovery of the mission... (From March to July 2022). This proposal, which includes prayer sheets, guides for spiritual conversation in groups and scripts for the Eucharist, will be adapted to the reality and possibilities of each platform, especially in these times of health uncertainty. For this reason, the materials form an open and flexible proposal so that each platform can be adapted to each community, work or institution and reach as many people as possible. It can be face-to-face or virtual, depending on the circumstances of each place. The most important thing will be to accompany Ignatius in order to focus more on Jesus. Christ is the centre of our conversion. For the same flexibility we offer the materials of the first retreat (Pamplona) in word format (in case you want to modify or adjust them to the PA) or the same in PDF, or already formatted, if you are going to use them as they are. You can download them in the folder below.  RETREATS AVAILABLE IN THE MATERIALS SECTION OF https://ignatius500.org/es/materialess
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.

Promoting Justice

ITALY
Magis Fundation (EUM) in Chad. A biomedical analysis laboratory meant to be both a mean to fight Covid-19 and, at the same time, a research and monitoring center for tropical diseases - such as malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS-HIV, hepatitis, Chikungunya - which continue to make victims. This is the new project launched at Le Bon Samaritain University Hospital, in N'Djamena - capital of Chad, in Africa's center - by Magis Foundation, the Jesuit NGO based in Rome, that promotes international cooperation activities, through Jesuits and lay people commitment in various parts of the world, with the aim of supporting local communities in becoming protagonists of sustainable development. The lab’s purpose is "to guarantee assistance to the most vulnerable, focusing on the current emergency situation caused by the pandemic, but without forgetting the impact of those diseases that still cause thousands of deaths, each year, in Africa". Provided with modern equipment, enabling to carry out serological tests and swabs in a short time, the laboratory also enables studies and researches on Covid-19, which are essential to monitor infections and assure reliable analyses, as well as allowing a mass screening of the population. In addition, the lab can contribute to control of other serious diseases that affect Chad; one example is malaria, which accounts for 50% of disease cases in the country and, as in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, is the main cause of death. In addition to providing the specialized laboratory, Magis Foundation has expanded the hospital-dedicated project by setting up a sub-intensive care unit (with 4 beds), providing electro-medical equipment, renovating the spaces used for teaching (university halls and accommodation for students) and supporting the Child Nutrition Centers. Finally, the local health personnel training is fundamental: 90 professionals including doctors, biologists, laboratory technicians and nurses, plus 450 university students in Medicine. The project is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and is managed in close collaboration with the Chadian Ministry of Public Health Task Force in response to Covid-19, as well as with the State University and various health institutions. "The world' rich countries must reflect on the health emergency they are experiencing in this particular historical moment, realizing that it is a chronic situation in other countries of the world, where the right to basic health assistance is denied due to poverty, war, exploitation and international indifference". This is what Magis Foundation president, Ambrogio Bongiovanni, says when presenting the laboratory project in Chad to fight Covid and tropical diseases, "a concrete sign of how it is possible to reduce distances.”
UNITED KINGDOM
In the wake of the Covid pandemic, the British government has put forward plans to temporarily cut the UK’s international aid budget by £5billion, a move condemned by the Jesuits in Britain. One Jesuit priest felt so strongly about it, he went on a 24-hour protest fast to raise awareness of the issue with parishioners and the local community. At 23 hours into his protest fast, Parish Priest of Saint Francis Xavier’s Church in Liverpool, Denis Blackledge, said: “It’s been a humbling experience to see how a tiny pebble dropped into the water has rippled out and encouraged so many to join in this protest fast. “The support and encouragement from parishioners, friends and colleagues has been so heartening, as have the encouraging words of Ian Byrne MP and Deputy Mayor, Jane Corbett, who led us in prayer.” On the back of Father Denis’ fast, £700 was received in sponsorship, which will be divided between Jesuit Missions UK, Jesuit Refugee Service UK, and CAFOD. The story was covered by The Tablet and you can read it here. For those wanting to take action and support the campaign, you can find out more at Jesuit Missions UK here.
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.

Youth & Media

EUROPE & NEAR EAST
Ignatian Spirituality online; a collaborative JECSE  This spring JECSE and Educate Magis initiated a European pilot around Educate Magis’ new online Ignatian Spirituality Course. It was quite an experiment, since not only was the facilitator Gellert Merza (Educate Magis) hoping to further refine the course, but also, we were wondering if a ‘spiritual deep dive’ would actually work well online. We are now looking back with sincere gratitude on an 8 weeks’ experience with 40+ participants from all over Europe. The Course was essentially an invitation to undergo a spiritual journey with Ignatius of Loyola, following his spiritual insights, practices and exercises, which are still fueling our Jesuit and Ignatian schools. Participants were invited to contemplate the story of Ignatius by reading theme-based excerpts from the book ‘Alone and on Foot’ by Brian Grogan SJ, by learning from experts in the field through inspiring instructional videos, and by reflecting on their own personal and professional journey. The course introduced and deepened the four key Ignatian practices: Ignatian reflection and the Examen of Consciousness, Ignatian Spiritual Conversation, Ignatian Discernment and Decision Making, and modelling the practices of a Contemplative in Action. Thus, we hoped this course would help (new) educators in a Jesuit / Ignatian school environment to engage in activities and conversations around these key Ignatian practices. We also hoped they would experience how these practices can be helpful to them in their personal lives. We are happy and grateful to share some of the comments made by the participants: Christine Rossi (Malta) I always appreciate the opportunities offered by JECSE for formators. It is the time when we are ministered to and when our wells are replenished. Even if it was online this year, I joined the pilot course eagerly and it was equally fruitful. It helped me focus on the essentials of Ignatian spirituality that we need to pass on to educators. I appreciated the small group sharing because we accompanied each other on a personal level. However, also on a professional level, as a formator, I felt that this course opened up new horizons how to offer formation to our staff which can be of greater depth and of connection with other educators all around the world. The live sessions made the whole difference because it brought the online input to life and made me more accountable to following the course with commitment and consistency. I look forward to adapting this course to the formation offered to educators in Malta.  LLuís Ylla Janer (Spain) This Four Keys Course has been a broad experience to follow the paths of Ignatius of Loyola and relate them to the foundations of our educational model. It means to understand the raison d'être of the Jesuit educational service and discover the wisdom of some key tools that would help us a lot if they became part of our own culture, and that of the schools. Also, to realize that from different places of Europe we share a rich educational project that unites and strengthens us. Kinga Rivasz Tóth (Hungary) The pilot program titled ‘Four Key Practices in Ignatian Spirituality’ meant something special to me, not only because it was a new initiative, using new methods and combining individual and cohort learning tools, but also as the course provided me with the chance to deepen and strengthen my own spirituality. I gained real support from reading the texts on Ignatius‘ life and listening about his spirituality from the videos and above all this online sharing encouraged me and this experience gave me hope and joy, which I really needed these days. Xavier Lefèvre (Belgium) This course was for me an eye-opener: even if I thought that I knew the Ignatian spirituality from yearlong experience, this course gave me so many new insights into the fundamental inspiration and also the tools for applying it into daily life, that I cannot but recommend it to everybody who seeks to live his/her (professional) life to its full extend and in its unfathomable depth. The course takes you, step by step, into a journey of discovery both in yourself, your intimate desires and ambitions, as well as in what Ignatius would describe as 'God's loving eyes'. Far more than merely transmitting information, the course assisted me gradually in my daily reflection and meditation and enriched them both by many challenging questions as well as by sharing the fruits of them with fellow-participants. The course supports me, ever since, in my daily life to develop an attitude of caring attention and contemplative action. Let me express, once again, all my sincere gratitude for this extraordinary experience! This was a pilot course and the feedback from participants can help Educate Magis to further refine how it can be most helpful for educators in the different regions today. It has initially been developed as an international cohort course, inviting colleagues from different schools from all over the world to meet, share and learn together, which gives it a beautiful international and intercultural dimension. Besides, it can also be used for staff formation in a more local context. For JECSE, this in-depth online course was a golden opportunity to offer our regular particpants at the annual formators meetings an opportunity to meet, share and be inspired - at least online - around this beautiful program. I would, finally, like to sincerely thank Gellert Merza from Educate Magis for our fine collaboration, as well as our two enthusiastic and skilled facilitators: Elisabeth Clarke (Director of Ignatian Formation and Service Programmes at Gonzaga College SJ in Dublin, Ireland) and Lourenço Eiró, SJ (Education Delegate for Portugal; Member of the Pastoral Team at Colegio das Caldinhas, Santo Tirso, Portugal; as well as member of the JECSE Steering Committee and Formation Task Force). Ilse Dekker JECSE director
ITALY
Twelve steps bearing twenty-two names can be found at the entrance to the Gonzaga School Campus in Palermo to commemorate some of the witnesses of civil commitment, who became innocent victims of the mafia. The inauguration of the staircase took place on May 23, the Remembrance Day of all the victims of the Capaci massacre. Whilst climbing this staircase to reach the classrooms one can read the names written on each stair which is intended to be a powerful sign and above all a metaphor that combines the memory of innocent victims with the social and civil commitment of citizens and hope that must be cultivated every day. The week of legality This initiative was set up at the conclusion of the various events and meetings that characterized the Week of Legality 2021. "The idea of the staircase was inspired from one of Falcone's quotes: values ​​do not die because they have to walk on our legs and will continue to walk on the legs of those who will come later on", Fr. Vitangelo Denora, director of the Gonzga Campus highlights. “These stairs will be climbed every day by our young people who will read the names of the people who sacrificed their lives to transmit those values ​​that restore greater dignity to our tormented land. The purpose of all this is to be a sign of social responsibility which we want to share with our young people for the world to come ». A route that has to be constructed every day Legality is a route that we must build every day,” Fr. Gianni Notari said «through our solid commitment which must become a consistent testimony of the values ​​of our life. On each step there are written two names of people who have been killed by those who wanted to disrupt their commitment for a better society. Together we must all fight against mafia crimes which still pose as an absurd manipulation of consciences. Those who are more fragile and who are in difficulty must be helped today through concrete signs and actions of solidarity in all its forms. We must walk together with young people to be witnesses of justice. I think that credible life stories are strongly needed in our time because the use of ideology is no longer sufficient to challenge others. Instead, it is necessary to be witnesses of a life lived to the full which demonstrates that the heart can be open to new possibilities. Often, it is not great research that inspires us, but the concrete life of those who have testified that it is possible to contribute to the growth of a new world. The names that are on our staircase are of those people who have fully invested in the protection of legality because they have written pages about their life with their blood that can be read by the new generations to become a powerful influence of renewal and social transformation ».
AUSTRIAGERMANYSWITZERLANDLITHUANIA
With the founding of the new ECE province, the JESUITEN magazine has also relaunched. At the same time, the Austrian and German magazines have united to form a joint magazine. The German-language magazine is also to get a new reference area with Switzerland. The newly assembled editorial team of young Jesuits from Austria, Germany and Switzerland asked themselves the question: How can the new Province of the Society of Jesus be presented in a focal theme? They focused on the core of the Order and asked the authors the crucial question: What does Jesus mean to you? The answers to this question were very different, depending on the fields of activity and perspectives. The different personalities in the four regions of the new Province surprise us with a multi-faceted colour palette of personal approaches and relationships to Jesus. The highlight of the magazine is a contribution by Father General Arturo Sosa SJ. He and Father Provincial Bernhard Bürgler SJ talk about what it means for them to be companions of Jesus. A social worker unfolds the development of an intimate relationship she has with Jesus as a woman; a Jesuit tells us what Jesus' masculinity consists of for him. Two older confreres tell us how their relationship with Jesus has changed in the course of their lives. A Jewish New Testament scholar describes her personal approach to Jesus. A young Lithuanian Jesuit describes his long spiritual search that finally led him to Jesus, while the spiritual accompaniment of people far removed from religion allows another confrere to discover more deeply the greatness of the one to whom Jesus points. After the usual Spiritual Impulse, we now have a new section called "What does a Jesuit actually do?". Here we present what a Jesuit can experience in the course of his life. The column is a chance to show life stories that are otherwise not so present. The news section reports on the new foundation of the Central European Province of the Jesuits, the Ignatian Year, the awarding of the Federal Cross of Merit to Matthias Katsch and Fr Klaus Mertes SJ and some personnel changes. Under the heading "Introduced", Tobias Zimmermann SJ, as Editor-in-Chief of JESUITEN-Magazin, looks back on the past editorial period and gives insights behind the scenes. You are very much welcome to order the current issue of JESUITEN here or read it online.
SPAIN
Saturday, 29 May, was the date chosen by the Rezandovoy team to celebrate their tenth anniversary. Although the exact date was 9 March, they explained that they had postponed the celebration to see if they could do something in person. But, given the sanitary conditions, in the end they opted for a virtual meeting which has turned out to be a feast of names, testimonies and memories. Félix Cuadrado (Sinclair), from CVX Valladolid, and José Mari R. Olaizola, SJ have been the coordinators of the project since the beginning, and they were in charge of guiding the live broadcast, which brought together more than 5000 people - now multiplied thanks to the possibility of watching it on tape. Throughout the afternoon there were various moments: a time of shared prayer, in the style of Rezandovoy, but with the peculiarity of being able to put faces to some of those who usually lend their voice to the recordings. New features were presented. A completely renewed design of the website and the app (which will be released in the next few days), which includes new possibilities, such as taking notes of the prayer itself, or a much more intuitive access to special prayers and series. A video about these ten years allowed volunteers, team members and VR users to share some of the meaning behind what they do. Many people wanted to send messages for the day. Among others, the leaders of the international teams of this virtual prayer network that grew out of the original inspiration of pray-as-you-go. English, French, Portuguese and Dutch people wanted to join in the celebration. Many users from all over the world also sent messages of affection. Among the participants in the different videos, you could see the diversity of the people involved in this project. Among all the messages, a big surprise was the appearance of Pope Francis, who wished the whole team to continue helping to pray. I send greetings to the 'Rezando voy' team," he said, explaining that it is a project of the Society of Jesus in Spain and is coordinated by the Loyola Communication Group. "Thank you, keep on sowing, keep on with the project, which does a lot of good. Pray us you go is a programme of life," concluded Pope Francis, before giving his blessing and asking people not to forget to pray for him. During the meeting, there was also an opportunity to share some anecdotes of these ten years, and for dialogue with the participants, who, via chat, asked questions about the project. The celebration ended with a toast to the past decade and those to come, which can be seen here:

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

SPAIN
The Cathedral of Valladolid will host the next ordinations of Jesuits in Spain on June 26th at 7:30 pm. It will be Cardinal D. Ricardo Blázquez, archbishop of the diocese who will lay hands on these six Jesuits who were ordained deacons in 2020, just a few weeks before confinement. They are: Íñigo H. Alcaraz Torres SJ, Antonio F. Bohórquez Colombo SJ, Daniel Cuesta Gómez SJ, Nubar J. Hamparzoumian Herrero-Botas SJ, Álvaro Lobo Arranz SJ and Iñigo Merello Terry SJ.  They have lived , marked by the pandemic, with more isolation than desired, some residing outside Spain. Their ministry, which under normal circumstances would have started with weddings or baptisms, began with funerals in morgues and cemeteries. But these circumstances have prompted them to value it even more. Nubar Hamparzoumian and Dani Cuesta, are two of the Jesuits who went for weeks to the crematorium of La Almudena (Madrid) and also in Barcelona to offer prayers for the deceased by Covid and to accompany their families. They recognize that the diaconate they had imagined was clearly different from the one they experienced. But the new circumstances, says Nubar, "have made me put to the test what attracted me so much to the Society of Jesus: availability. It's not always perfect, but as much as I like to have my plans tied up, God is present - and in a more subtle but solid way - beyond my schedules and calculations." "A little more than a month after being ordained, everything changed and began to be governed by the rhythms set by the pandemic," Dani Cuesta explains. "On the one hand, the pressing needs at the beginning meant that our service consisted more in consoling people's sadness through faith than in sharing their joys. On the other hand, not being able to leave Rome for almost a year prevented us from presiding at several marriages and baptisms of very dear people". Like his companions, he considers that "despite the harshness of some of these experiences, all this has made me realize that our ordination is not for us or for our families, but for the People of God". Before his priestly ordination  A few days before their priestly ordination, and even in the midst of the difficulties, they live this time with joy and hope. "One perceives that people need God, need community, need someone who listens to them and can give them a word of hope and encouragement," explains Antonio F. Bohórquez, who wants to live with intensity the preparation for this moment. Iñigo Alcaraz lives the priestly ordination as "a call to be attentive to those who are going through the worst, to bring them the hope of God's love. Where our society sees only failure, to get involved to participate with those who inhabit those darknesses and look with them for reasons to believe and fight for justice, for the good. In short, to promote the joy that Jesus Christ brings to life". These are also moments of nervousness. "On the one hand, you have to pay attention to the accessory details, which in Covid's time multiply, and on the other hand, to the more existential, where illusion is intermingled with the fear of making mistakes and with many mixed feelings", says Alvaro Lobo, who considers that the passage to the priesthood, "in our way of life does not change much and, however, it allows you to access and serve people in a different way, deeper and more of God". Not all these Jesuits are clear about their next missions. Iñigo Merello, however, feels strengthened by two tools: "The first is the spirituality I have received and the second is the common mission we have of openness to dialogue with culture. For him, "the coming years will involve a constant effort to understand the vertiginous change of the world, its dynamism and complexities". He does not know in which Mission field he will develop his task, but aware of the challenges he believes that "the world today invites us not to close ourselves in that which gives security but to be ready to serve, to be grateful, to risk".
ITALY
How Christian Lefta discerned his vocation to enter the Society. I was born in 1993 in Bisaccia, in the province of Avellino. My mother was Italian and my father Albanian, and I spent my childhood and adolescence in the small town of Andretta, a few kilometres from Bisaccia, in the green Irpinia region. With the Apennines of Campania in my eyes but the Mediterranean Sea in my heart, I grew up loving Guccini's songs, chess, philosophy and detective stories. Sensitive and reserved, but also curious and determined, like everyone else, I think I am a mixture still in transformation. Today I reread my life as concentric circles, a progressive dilation of horizons. A physical but also inner journey from the 'small old world' of the provinces to the deep north, guided by a desire that begs to be seen: to be a man of God, for others. After graduating from high school in Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi in the summer of 2012, I realised this desire by living a year of discernment and service in the parish of Lioni, and then, in the autumn of 2013, by effectively entering the interregional seminary of Posillipo in Naples connected with the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy, where I lived the five years of formation for the priesthood and the study of philosophy and theology. The seminary represents for me the experience of a possible fraternity and the maturation of the experience of God, through the discovery of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises. The Ignatian element, thanks to the presence of the Jesuits, opens up a question about the vocational form that asks me for a further shift in horizon: I feel that the form of the Society represents a "plus" to become that man of God at the service of others that I wish to be. But, according to the principle of gradualness (concentric circles...), it is not yet time for the Company. So in September 2018, I left Naples and my diocese of origin, the diocese of Sant'Angelo dei Lombardi, and left for Villa S. Ignazio in Trent, where I spent a year as a resident volunteer within the social housing cooperative. It is a strong experience of sharing that makes me grow in humanity and that somehow confirms my desire for service. In August 2019, still feeling alive the desire for the Company in the midst of the many external and internal often discordant stimuli, thanks to the help of my spiritual father, I step forward. In October 2019 I am welcomed into the Jesuit community of Villa S. Giuseppe in Bologna to live a year of discernment more specific to the Society within the project On the road to Damascus. During the year, the main tool for discernment is the EVO programme (Exercises in Ordinary Life), which I live with university students at the Poggeschi Centre. In October 2020 I entered the novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus in the community of Genoa. The last circle does not close at all, but opens up a greater horizon to be discovered. And the journey continues.
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.
EUROPE
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.