Jesuits in Europe

God and the Church are still very necessary for the youth of today, say the organisers of the Jesuit youth summer event MAGIS in Lithuania. The MAGIS experiments took place from 2 to 9 July, bringing together over 60 young people for a week of experiencing God. Each day invited them to open their hearts to God, freedom, creation, discipleship, neighbourhood, and generosity. There were five experiments available, responding to the needs of today's young people. In the social experiment, participants and coordinators went to Kaunas youth detention centre for the activities for young people detained there. In the art experiment, participants stayed in a picturesque village and, with the help of the experts of dance/movement therapy and theology of body, sought a closer relationship with God, themselves, and others. The Bibliodrama was an opportunity to touch the Scripture in a new way – with the senses, imagination, and the mind. The nature experiment – through herbalism, birdwatching, and the study of integral ecology – made everyone feel part of a protecting and nurturing creation. And the pilgrims, choosing to cycle 200 km, visited some of the most beautiful places in Lithuania and overcame many challenges along the way. Each group was accompanied by a Jesuit as spiritual director who helped them in the face of the challenges.  MAGIS participants shared their experiences "I took part in an experiment in which my team and I visited inmates in a youth detention centre. I met people who asked similar questions, were angry about similar things and expressed in a similar way their joy about what we had experienced together, and the young men we visited were burning with openness to the programme and inspired me to be simple and not pretend to be something I am not." (Gabriel) "MAGIS is a reminder to me that it is not good to be alone. It is a place for being, for discovering oneself and others. For learning to love, to serve, to receive love from God and from those around us." (Tomas) At the end of the experiments, everyone returned to celebrate the experience, share the fruits, and give thanks to God for everything at the final Mass. Participants, organisers and guests returned to their daily lives with a renewed desire to seek more and find Jesus Christ in their lives. Lukas Ambraziejus, MAGIS coordinator in Lithuania
Seven young adults from the Faber Community participated in an artist residency in Sicily from 8 to 26 June 2022. Grounded in Ignatian spirituality, the community lived and worked together in the capital city of Palermo where they created poetry, music, art, prose and stories. All felt deeply inspired by communal living and sharing in each other’s creative projects. The artist residency involved many facets to nourish each person’s creativity and to encourage collaboration. These included Ignatian prayer and reflections (e.g., Examen), creative coworking spaces, community dinners, evenings of creative sharing, visits to historic places (e.g., churches and temples), individual ‘artist dates’, visits to beaches, dramatic performances, and lots of fun. Aoife was inspired by the community’s visits to historic places of Sicily. She says:“As part of our time together in Sicily, we visited the Palatine Chapel in the Norman Palace in Palermo and we traveled to see the Cefalù Cathedral.We spent some time looking at the art and talking about the spaces together and the idea of constructing sanctity. It was incredible to see the Byzantine mosaics, in particular the early image of the Pantokrator in Cefalù – truly an emotive image of Christ.” Another historic place of note was the Temple of Juno (pictured), an ancient Greek temple in Agrigento, Sicily, built around 450 BC. It was the only time during the trip where the community experienced a thunderstorm, and they can be seen afterwards at one with their environment! Callum Douglas shares his experience of the artist residency. He says: “To live and work in a community that intentionally honoured and nurtured the deepest gifts and desires of each member – that was an immense privilege and constant source of joy to me.” Below Callum shares a poem which he composed in Sicily: Benedictine Or is he Franciscan? Cappuccino…? Brown robes, small bag, calm scoot, He flows past and we rise half in Amusement half genuine affection. Godspeed finds new form in our Strange century; Did he own his scooter or ride wild Like we did? One of the communists followed him, Red flag hung from her bike, And we remembered how little we know Or comprehend yet in Palermo, Where no man has ever ruled And the drinks are the colour of blood. Gavin Thomas Murphy is deeply thankful for the unique Sicilian experience. He says: “Creatively, I wrote a children’s book on beauty and gratitude in collaboration with a Spanish woman. It was my first time writing for children but I tried to put my faith in Christ who makes all things new. Now that we’re home, I’m focusing on editing the story while María works on the illustrations. It would be wonderful to have a final draft by Christmas! Personally, I was delighted to grow in familiarity with the Faber Community and I sensed that we were able to soften into each other’s company in a prayerful way. I look forward to continue sharing in our creative expressions.”
The Slovenian Jesuits celebrated the canonization of St Ignatius on June 4, 1622 in the capital Ljubljana. So did the Slovenian Jesuits 400 years later: on the same day, in the oldest Jesuit church in Ljubljana. The festive Academy of the Ignatian Year was realized in a traditional Jesuit way: a combination of music, dance, dramatization and a scientific intermezzo presenting the spiritual & cultural contribution of the Jesuits in Slovenia. Historically, the Jesuits had a great influence on Slovenia: they marked an important part of the religious, cultural, scientific, educational, technical and artistic history. The first Jesuit came to Ljubljana during the lifetime of St Ignatius, i.e. in the middle of the 16th century. The Jesuits settled at St. James's at the turn of the 16th to 17th century. Here they built the College, which educated the greater part of the elite in Ljubljana at that time. The Academy followed the structure of a Mass offering: the liturgy of the Word, a sermon and the Eucharist - suggesting that the whole human life should become a sacrifice, a liturgy, as was the life of St Ignatius and those who followed him. The broader Ignatian family rejoiced in this celebration and gave thanks to God for all the good He has done through it during this time. The event was organized by the Province of the Society of Jesus in Slovenia, lead by Fr Marjan Kokalj SJ, with the cooperation, among others, of the Music Academy of the University of Ljubljana and the students of the Jesuit College in Ljubljana. Jesuits Slovenia
On Saturday, July 9, in the Jesuit parish of St. Ladislaus in Vitebsk (Belarus), the newly constructed church of St. Ignatius Loyola was consecrated during a solemn liturgy. The act of consecration was performed by mons. Aleg Butkevich, the bishop of Vitebsk diocese. The Mass was concelebrated by the Provincial of Northern Polish province Zbigniew Leczkowski SJ and about twenty other priests who attended the ceremony, while the whole church was filled with believers – parishioners and guests. Fr Leczkowski brought a precious gift for the parish community – the relics of St. Ignatius, which will accompany the faithful in prayers offered to God through the intercession of the holy founder of the Jesuit Order. Father Victor Zhuk SJ is the pastor of the parish, and the next day he made the solemn religious profession of four vows in the Society of Jesus in the newly consecrated church. Father Klemens Werth SJ, who is also the treasurer of the diocese, was responsible for the construction of the building, which includes not only the house of prayer, but also the parish premises and the Jesuit community quarters. Father Zhuk recalled that the solemn event takes place during the Ignatian Jubilee year. There are churches in Belarus that are named after other Jesuit saints – St. Francis Xavier, St. Andrew Bobola and St. Stanislaus Kostka, but so far there has been no temple dedicated to the founder of the Jesuits. As the pastor of the parish reminded, “in the past in Vitebsk there was St. Joseph church, built by the Jesuits, where they there until 1820, and now, two centuries later, although in a completely different form, the presence of the Society of Jesus in Vitebsk is renewed. We want to feel like heirs of a very rich tradition and work for God's glory nowadays.” The first Jesuits came to Vitebsk in 1637 and operated there until the order was expelled by the tsarist authorities in 1820. After World War II, few Jesuits conducted apostolic work in Belarus. The current activity of the Jesuits in Vitebsk gives hope for the dynamic development of the presence of the Society of Jesus in this region. Wojciech Żmudziński SJ

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Finding God

On September 25, 2022, the Jesuit Spiritual Centre La Pairelle, located near Namur in Belgium, will celebrate its 50th anniversary. The entire Ignatian family of Belgium and Luxembourg is invited to celebrate. Celebrating this jubilee (postponed due to Covid) will be an opportunity to strengthen the bonds and the spirit of the Ignatian Family, and to give thanks to the Lord for all He has given to so many people during these 50 years. At La Pairelle, hundreds of people have met Christ, experienced God's mercy, discovered their vocation to religious life or marriage, or simply tasted peace for a weekend of healing. A spiritual and festive program In addition to the gathering, times of prayer, celebration, and even dancing are planned. A Eucharist will be presided by Mgr Pierre Warin, Bishop of Namur, with Fr. François Boëdec SJ, Provincial of French-speaking Western Europe. Participants will (re)discover the different organisations of the Ignatian Family through animations and stands. Fr. Nicolas Sintobin SJ will give a lecture on “The relevance of Ignatian spirituality for today”. The history of La Pairelle Originally, in 1935, La Pairelle was created to take in young Jesuits in formation. In 1971, the Society of Jesus transformed it into a spiritual centre. For more than 50 years, retreats based on the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius have been given, sessions open to all seekers of God, and biblical training and spiritual accompaniment sessions. These initiatives are managed by the Jesuits and the sisters of Saint-André, who arrived in 1999, but also by other nuns and many lay people, from the Ignatian Family and beyond. Jésuites EOF
“How can we find support in the spirituality of Saint Ignatius of Loyola for our pedagogies in this moment of crisis that Lebanon is going through? This is the question that Prof. Fadi El Hage, director of the Professional Training Centre, asked me when he invited me to give a session at Saint Joseph University in Beirut (USJ). On June 21 and 22, I met some thirty professors, directors of institutes and deans to get to work and reflect together on the itinerary of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. Nothing better than returning to his Story to discover Ignatius of Loyola in crisis, but also on the way. Awakened to his inner life, discovering spirits and motions, Ignatius was able to set out, bearing the desire to help souls. He had thereby made an essential discovery – to move forward, Ignatius took a break: he paid attention to interior movements so as to return to himself and consider external circumstances. I am more and more convinced that, the tirelessly repeated method, “ask what I want” / “speak to God in a colloquy”, is the richest training in making use of our freedom, by discovering how it is rooted in our desire, always called to free us from the obstacles that hinder us. In this session I did not want to deliver pedagogical recipes, but to share a treasure, which is contained in the Spiritual Exercises and which is also deployed in our Constitutions. Becoming indifferent to rediscover a sense of freedom, learning to express what one is looking for, consulting before deciding, learning to debate – these avenues have fuelled warm and deep exchanges. Patrick Goujon SJ
From April 28 to May 1, a Taizé meeting took place for the first time in Homs, Syria.   It brought together 750 young Christian Syrians aged 18 to 25 from all over Syria, from 8 different churches. During four days, 6 prayers together took place, 37 workshops, more than 100 host families for young people who come from afar – everything went well! We wanted to face the real questions of young people: how to live in these bitter times and remain hopeful and kind to each other? 95% of young people can think only of leaving Syria – the wounds of the war have not healed, the economy continues to sink, university training is not up to the task... The decoration symbolized all of this: we had kept the two abandoned buses in our schoolyard as a backdrop, because this is how Homs is now –  in ruins. Between the two buses, we installed a wrought iron cross made from the remains of windows from collapsed houses. In front of the buses, three large white stones reminded us that life goes beyond ruins. We had placed icons, copies of the main icons of the Greek Orthodox, Greek Catholic, Syriac Orthodox and Syriac Catholic churches in the old city of Homs. Church leaders blessed the water together during the Saturday evening prayer and sprinkled the young people together. During daily sharing, group discussions focused on how to live now: how can we live with the heavy weight of the past? When we don't know what tomorrow will be? When we don't even know if there will be Christians left in Syria in 50 years? We cannot ignore the anguish of the future, nor the weight of the past, but how can we put them in their right place so that life remains possible, here, today? No one has the answer to this question but, during those four days, we have made this crazy bet that praying, sharing and allowing ourselves to be joyful, even to party, can help young adults find their ways to answer it. Vincent de Beaucoudrey SJ (EOF)
Family ministry in the Society of Jesus and Ignatian spirituality has a history that has been shaped through various projects. It is a journey that the Society of Jesus has taken up and acknowledged with the launch of Jesuitas Familia and with the inspiration of Pope Francis' apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.  In tune with this, we find ourselves in Valencia with the SEPAS program and throughout Spain with the Four Seasons programme. The latter is a method created by the family team of the Christian Life Communities (CVX-Spain) to accompany life after a couple's break-up and is offered in many cities: Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Salamanca, Valladolid, Gijón, Burgos, Pamplona, Bilbao, Seville, Granada, Málaga, Almería, Canary Islands, Madrid, Zaragoza, Alicante and Valencia. It has also been exported to Uruguay and Colombia and on the horizon plans to reach English-speaking countries, with the book already translated.  Believing in one-self "The project is a proposal of integral accompaniment for a person who has suffered a break-up, it is an attempt to give them a response within and as part of the Church, to give them the possibility that - from this situation of low self-esteem, where their life project no longer makes sense - someone more valuable can emerge", explains Iciar Bayarte, coordinator of this project, a member of CVX and a person who lived through her own process of separation fifteen years ago.   It is not only addressed to believers, but to anyone who feels the deep desire to reconfigure their life. The process, which usually lasts a long year, includes a group forgiveness workshop and the proposal to carry out the experience of the Exercises.   An interdisciplinary team has been involved in the development of the materials. And the method has been compiled in the book "Cuatro Estaciones. Guía para recrear tu vida tras la ruptura de pareja" published by Mensajero.   A listening work Four Seasons is based, above all, in the listening and the work of the person himself, guided by the companion. The metaphor of the four seasons evokes the different moments of the process, following the climatology of the year, but also the places from which we leave and to which we sometimes return, like the stations of a train journey. The person accompanied is offered a guide, a manual of exercises to practice from the concrete and everyday. A horizon where to reopen the way, to get up, where there is a hope of change, of feeling better with oneself and with one's environment, including the ecclesial one. A companion who will help to objectify hope, to find comfort and reduce harm. A person who will be there at the side, accompanying and supporting. The companions are mostly separated or divorced people who have made their personal process and are healed. In general, they are lay people, but recently some diocesan priests have joined in who want to be trained to implement the tool in their parish.  In short, it is a project that aims to offer, from experience, a horizon of hope that shouts that it is possible to emerge strengthened and recreated from this difficult situation.  Full report (in spanish) at:  More information and contact:  Jesuitas España 

Promoting Justice

An Tobar (the well) was the aptly titled retreat centre where the ISP (Ignatian Spirituality Project) women’s team held their summer retreat for women in recovery from addiction and living in transition hostels. Christine Halloran is co-ordinator of the ISP women’s team Ireland and below is her report of how the team and eight women reflected, shared deeply, and prayed together on Saturday 8 June and Sunday 9 June, 2022. Grace and Gratitude The ISP women’s team was delighted to finally host their first retreat for women in over two years. After several thwarted attempts due to Covid outbreaks and restrictions, team members finally got to facilitate an overnight stay on the 8/9th June at An Tobar retreat center near Navan in Co. Meath. Women from 3 hostels in Dublin, Sancta Maria, Regina Coeli, and Suaimhneas, were picked up by retreat team members early on Saturday morning and ferried to An Tobar in time for a 9.30 am start. There were 11 women in all, 8 from the hostels, and 3 team members. Sadly, Susan Jones, a key team member had tested positive for Covid on Friday afternoon and so could not join us – she was greatly missed. Give hope and healing The aim of ISP is to give hope and healing to men and women recovering from homelessness and addiction. The overnight retreats combine both Ignatian and 12 Step spirituality. During the course of the weekend participants along with the retreat team are invited to share their personal and sacred stories in the light of their relationship with God or their Higher Power and to ask for a special grace that they would want to receive during their retreat time together. The group ranged in age from early 20’s to mid 70’s and we were all astonished and grateful at how quickly the group came together. We bonded as a community from early on when retreatants and team members shared instances from their own lives in small one-to-one sessions and in the larger group setting. Honesty and trust A real sense of honesty and trust emerged as the entire group, team members included, engaged, and shared deeply from the wellspring of their own woundedness over the course of the weekend. Input sessions covered topics such as trust versus fear, and a healing of memories para-liturgy was led by ISP team member Ber Danaher. One of the highlights of the weekend came on Saturday afternoon when one courageous retreatant bore powerful witness to her painful personal journey into addiction and her ongoing recovery. Creation of personal mandalas Another highlight was the Fellowship Art Activity facilitated by team member Pat Coyle on Saturday evening. The exercise involved the creation of personal mandalas, using all sorts of arts and crafts materials, beads, stars, furry bobbles, glitter glue, paint – you name it. Each of us created a mandala that told our unique life story and relationships. As we worked on them we laughed, we sang, we chatted, and we danced. Then when we had finished, each of us in turn, presented our mandala to the group. What emerged were not only powerful but also painfully and unforgettably beautiful stories…the Spirit we could see had turned our mandalas, like She turns our lives, into prayer-infused, wondrous masterpieces! (See photo). The group left on Sunday with a real determination to meet share and support one another again and we are already looking forward to early August when we regroup again. Christine Halloran
The Jesuits of the Milan community - San Fedele, Leone XIII and Villapizzone- responded to the crisis created by the outbreak of war in Ukraine by identifying the Leone XIII Institute as the most suitable place to welcome refugees. "The building has a large area set aside as quarters for guests, part of which could be dedicated to this type of hospitality, after making some adaptations," Fr Francesco Cambiaso states. "It was a matter of preparing the premises: kitchen, laundry and common room. The rooms only needed minimal alterations". The collaboration with the Cooperativa Farsi Prossimo of the Ambrosiana Caritas was invaluable. In the meantime, another small reception experience had begun at San Fedele." As is the case in almost all cases, a Ukrainian woman with her daughter was introduced to us with her urgent need in an indirect way, and we felt we could not refuse her." Both spoke English. "This is rare among Ukrainian refugees: of the eleven others who were given assistance and then housed at Leone XIII, only a mother and daughter knew a little Italian". The difference in language proved to be a significant obstacle. "Of course, the smartphone and Google translator help, but for the refugees, to fend on their own is obviously very limited because of the language barrier and not speaking any other language but Slavic". Now thirteen people in all have been welcomed, mothers with their young children, and an elderly couple. A further eight people are arriving at the Schuster Centre, where the 'palazzina', a building behind the church that is currently not being used, has been converted into a reception centre thanks to the prompt response of the Steering Committee, several volunteers, the Jesuits and the generosity of a Milanese bank.
The commitment of Circolo Popilia in Cosenza - Italy  “Being with, choosing to build meaningful relationships, meeting people, families” This is how Franca De Bonis, volunteer and co-founder of Circolo Popilia in Cosenza, describes her commitment since 1990 with the Rom. “They presented to me an unexpected reality through which I let myself and still let myself be challenged. I was attracted by their diversity which at first, I experienced with resistance and fatigue. I wanted to get to know these people; the Lord came to meet me through them. Encounters subsequently followed which are changing my life. We had gone out to change them. Our intentions were turned around”.  This experience springs to life through Fr Garau as he chooses to be with these people who are considered as outcasts. ‘We started by preparing them for the sacraments,’ Franca recalls. “When we realised how hard they were struggling culturally, we organised an after-school programme during the afternoon and animated workshops. During summer we also offer a summer camp which is open to families”. In a few days, the club will be celebrating Enzo’s achievement, a young Rom who grew up in the club and is now a volunteer. He will discuss his master’s thesis in the science of education. “My dream?” he confides, “That no child should be ashamed of being a Rom”.  “It began as an ethnic and cultural frontier and now has become a spiritual frontier,” Fr Renato Colizzi highlights. “We must accept to work for those realities that the Lord moves us to encounter”.  Watch the TV2000 program:   Jesuits EUM 
A few changes in JESC: Peter Rožič and Edmond Grace leaving and Filipe Martins will be the new director. Franck Janin SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, announced that Peter Rožič SJ will leave his position as Director of JESC and European Coordinator of the Social Apostolate on 6 September 2022. He will be succeeded by Filipe Martins SJ. Filipe Martins started working at JESC in September 2021, becoming, at the same time, a member of the St. Benedict Community in Brussels. He was JESC Justice Renewal Assistant and Congress Officer for the Justice and Ecology Congress that took place in Loyola in March 2022. Filipe was born in Lisbon in 1970, got a degree in Electronics Engineering, and before entering the Society of Jesus in 1995, did one year of volunteer work in Mozambique. He studied Theology in Madrid and Rome. After returning to Portugal, Filipe served the province successively as Vocations Promoter and Director of the University Pastoral Centre of Coimbra, then as Coordinator of the Social Sector and Director of a Centre for homeless people in Oporto, and then as Socius to the Provincial. For the last three years before arriving in Brussels he was engaged in the renewal process of a Jesuit School in the North of Portugal. Edmond Grace will also leave this role as Secretary for Ecology in JESC and pursue a different mission in his beloved Ireland. Creative, sensitive, empathic, visionary, artistic, committed, kind-and-big-hearted, an inspirational speaker and writer… These are some words that could describe Edmond Grace SJ. During his time as JESC’s Secretary for Ecology, Edmond had a number of relevant accomplishments:  Together with Willem Vriesendorp, founder of #SustainablePublicAffairs, he prepared a European Parliament event through Article 17.  He published the book Business and the Earth and worked hard to promote its messages. He launched the book in 2021 at COMECE headquarters with Janez Potočnik, members and authorities of COMECE and UCSIA. He also participated in the recent JESC webinar ‘Business and the Earth’, with Josianne Gauthier from CIDSE, Enrique Meroño from Iberdrola, and Cédric Pacheco from Laudes Foundation.  He gave lectures and talks at several venues and events including at the European Parliament, the Passion for Europe retreat, ELP, Faith & Politics, and Casa Velha in Portugal.    We are grateful to Filipe Martins for accepting this position and would also like to thank Peter Rožič and Edmond Grace warmly for the years they have dedicated to JESC.

Youth & Media

On July 24, the biggest summer adventure began! Around 370 young people from around Europe participate in 29 Magis experiments in Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia. Some 70 volunteers will accompany the participants. More than 30 Jesuits will also take part in the Magis experiments as volunteers and participants. The grand finale of Magis Europe 2022 will be from the 29th until the 31st of July in Split (Croatia). The goal of Magis Europe 2022 is to help young people choose what will bring them closer to the purpose for which they were created. Moreover, they will intimately taste God’s endless and everlasting love. Throughout the Magis week, some participants are driving bikes and riding kayaks, while others go hiking and sailing along the Adriatic coast. Some live their summer simply at the sea, while others are discovering their great talents through various social, environmental, and art experiments. Some are working and praying with the Benedictines, while others are engaging in interreligious dialogue and discovering the beauty of art, food, and customs of Islam. All of this and much more! In short, young people from around Europe are enjoying fellowship with their peers and intimately feel and relish (sentir y gustar) God’s goodness, beauty, and love. Luka Ilić, SJ
“Rome is like throwing an apple and having an orchard bounce back at you". I was lucky enough to be part of a group of eleven young adults who took part in the Jesuit Young Adult Ministries pilgrimage to Rome. We were following in the footsteps of St Ignatius of Loyola and his early Jesuit companions. It was a week of many high points. An explosion of the high Renaissance and the Baroque. Rome is not like other cities. What I appreciated most was having some of the layers of our church history peeled back and exposed, creating several powerful juxtapositions. The Jesuit Church of the Gesù We had an illuminating tour of the Jesuit Church of the Gesù - the stones proudly promoting the Counter-Reformation, with one particularly zealous stone angel "doing the foxtrot" on John Calvin and Martin Luther. We also found time for prayer in the Chapel of the Madonna Della Strada, with its medieval icon - a survivor of an earlier church which once stood on a part of the site - in front of which Ignatius had prayed. And then there were all the places we visited which were, in spiritual terms at least, the equivalent of the "upper rooms" found in the Gospels. Places where worship was more private. We all found particularly moving our Masses in the private rooms of St Ignatius; in the grottoes beneath St Peter's Basilica (metres from the resting places of so many Popes); in the church attached to the rooms of St Stanislaus Kostka; and especially in the subterranean chamber at the Catacombs of St Callixtus where 500,000 of the early Christians were laid to rest outside the city walls of Rome, including many of the early saints, such as St Cecilia. The Venerable English College Other highlights included a visit to the Vatican museums, a tour of the Venerable English College and its Jesuit History from its Rector Fr. Stephen Wang, and a visit to the archives of the Jesuit Curia where Fr Andre had picked out some fascinating artefacts - handwritten letters by Pope Francis professing his final vows, as well as Fr Cristovao Ferreira (Liam Neeson's character in Silence) and, soberingly, applications to join the Society which had been written in blood by those young men eager to prove that they were prepared for martyrdom. On our last evening we had an audience with the global leader of the Jesuits, Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, who generously gave his time to answer our questions on the direction of the Society of Jesus and the main challenges facing the church, before joining us on the terrace of the Curia for a photo-opportunity backdropped by St Peter's. And it was at St Peter's that our trip culminated for Papal Mass on the Feast of St Peter and Paul, and well; it doesn't get much better than that! Blog written by Carl Welch, a member of Jesuit Young Adult Ministries.
In Palermo 12 Italian and international young students are awarded the International Baccalaureate Diploma, unique in Southern Italy. It is the dream of a Euro-Mediterranean education of Gonzaga Campus to broadly address the needs of the local and international community. PALERMO – Starting from the strong commitment of 12 young people, for the first time a dream comes true of an international, Euro-Mediterranean education in Sicily and in Southern Italy: they are the first graduates of Gonzaga International School Palermo (ISP). Some of them have studied at ISP ever since 2008, the year in which the International School was founded by the Society of Jesus as a project of Istituto Gonzaga. In the Jesuits’ educational mission, long geared towards internationalism, the decision to open an IB international school in Palermo stems from the conscious determination to offer an important service to young people in the South and to whomever desires to accept the big challenge of an education based on multiculturalism, dialogue among religions and global citizenship. These young people are female and male students from Italy, Bangladesh, Philippines, Sri Lanka, United States, Germany, Brazil. The IB Diploma Programme of the international school, geared to students aged 16-18, was created in 1968 with the aim of fostering a world of peace and solidarity. Nowadays, it is widely recognized as a programme that guarantees admission to all major Italian and international universities. The only school in Southern Italy to be authorized by the International Baccalaureate, using English as the main language of instruction and an active, involving pedagogy, ISP means to form open-minded, caring world citizens who are ready for the challenges of an increasingly global, interconnected society.  Gonzaga ISP is therefore an IB international school that offers a complete educational path, from 2 to 18 years of age and issues a prestigious high school diploma (according to Law n. 738 of 1986) which is recognized in Italy as a scientific or human science diploma, with validity for both enrolment in Italian and international universities and participation in public exams. A crossroads of people and cultures in the heart of the Mediterranean  "With these 12 fresh graduates of ours we are truly realizing a dream that pushes us to carry on with our mission. The beauty of the Sicilian land lies exactly in the encounter of different cultures in the heart of the Mediterranean - says Father Vitangelo Denora, General Director of Gonzaga Campus – which today can be further pursued with renewed courage and determination. Our strong desire is to attract students from all over the world -particularly from the South and the Mediterranean- to Sicily. As Jesuits, in our educational projects we strongly believe in the education of people who, with competence, conscience, compassion and commitment will endeavour to respond to the needs of the local and international society in a broad perspective. The IB Diploma Programme endows us with all the necessary tools to realize this ideal of ours”.  An opportunity open to all In the last few years, the international school has strived to become accessible to a wider range of students who wish to undertake this type of education. This is thanks to scholarships being made available by private individuals and to an interesting initiative -strongly supported by Gonzaga Campus- within the activities of the latest Missionary Fair: the setting up of an “educational fund”. “Today like at the beginning of our history, we have thought that the best service and charity we can provide to our world is to offer a good education to the new generations, a type of education that can be proposed to all – continues Father Denora. We believe that donating to this cause is an important cultural step that can bring new energy and resources for our youth and for a better world”.
The life of the Jesuits on twitter and instagram Photos and short videos are uploaded as a social window to share the life of the Jesuits. Alex, Andrew, Filippo, Giacomo, Lorenzo, Nello, Pasquale, Piero, Raul and Rob recount their stories. “We are currently publishing in three languages – English, Italian and Romanian – so that the posts can be shared and published again by the various realities of the Province, and we hope soon to launch texts in Albanian as well,” Rob explains. Two brothers in formation are also on the team, “to offer a richer picture of our vocation as Jesuits”. The sharing of the content will start the week after the feast of St Ignatius. Everyday Jesuits is on Instagram and Twitter Instagram  Twitter Jesuits EUM

In-depth Reflection

The new Licentiate in Theology with specialization in Comparative Theology of Christian Traditions - Ecumenical Studies, housed in the Department of Dogmatic Theology, aims to provide a solid and broad platform for the study of the theological traditions of the different Christian denominations, as much as to create, within the Faculty, a space and network for ecumenical dialogue. The 2-year programme is addressed to students of various Christian denominations and leads to the licentiate (STL). The core of the specialization programme consists of a series of two-lecturer seminars that focus on the process of joint study and reflection. These seminars combine the expertise of faculty from different denominations with the lived experience of deepening ecumenical relations and understanding through mutual exchange. “It seems to me that this programme has as its strong point and true novelty precisely studying together,” explains the Dean of the Faculty of Theology, Fr. Philipp G. Renczes, S.J. “Already in many places, one Christian denomination studies the other, but we would like students of the three great traditions - Orthodox, Reformed and Catholic - to study together and for an extended time, i.e. the duration of a Licentiate course. It is quite different to study the texts of other traditions together with those who have the understanding from within, or together with those who discover our texts and ask us new questions”. Seminars are complemented by a wide range of courses offered by the Department of Dogmatic Theology, the other departments of the Faculty and, especially with regard to the Eastern Christian tradition, by the Pontifical Oriental Institute. In addition, the programme annually offers a 7-day Immersion Course, with the aim of studying on site the history and the reality of another Christian community and forging a network of relationships with its representatives. “We dream of a generation of theologians forming together,” Fr. Renczes concludes, “and that they can continue to work together over the years. I am sure that this can contribute significantly to the renewal of theology itself and to the growth of unity in the Church”. Further information: E-mail: Gregoriana Press Office
From the 24th to the 30th of July, the first session of the Summer Theology School was inaugurated.  For the first time, these potential lay leaders of the Catholic Church in Central Asia had the possibility to participate in academic courses devoted to theological studies. Twenty participants from Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan participated each day in four lectures.  Courses were conducted in Russian.  During the current summer session, the organizers offered the following courses: History of Christianity in Central Asia; Introduction to Moral Theology; Introduction to the Bible; as well as Selected Questions in Christian Anthropology. The courses were conducted by Fr. Tomas Garcia, SJ, professor at the Papal Gregorian University in Rome; Mr. Kevin White, scholar of Church History from Almaty, as well as by Jesuit Fathers from Kyrgyzstan—Fr. Anthony Corcoran and Fr. Rafal Bulowski. The main idea of the Summer Theologica School was to provide local Catholics with the possibility of academic and intellectual experience in the sphere of Theology.  In addition to receiving specialized knowledge, participants likewise had the possibility to engage in discussion and in interesting intellectual arguments. Each day a “round table” was conducted in which participants of the school shared impressions which were inspired during the day.  In free time between course lectures the participants of the school prayed together, socialized, and shared experiences of their local Churches. Unfortunately, Catholics from Tajikistan were unable to participate in the Summer Theological School because of the tense circumstances at the Kyrgyz-Tadzhik border. The Jesuit community in Kyrgyzstan organized the Summer Theological School.  Participants were sent by local Ordinaries.  Both participants and organizers completed the current meeting in Issyk-Kul with the desire and hope to continue next year.
International Symposium of the Hest group secularization in Europe. The members of the Hest cluster on secularization gathered from the 17th to the 18th of June at Loyola University Andalucia. The cluster met in person for the first time for a fruitful program, coordinated and organized by Dr. Ignacio Sepúlveda, with Dr. Anthony Carroll and Dr. Tomas Halik as key speakers. First day session Dr. Anthony Carroll pronounced the first conference: From Catholic Modernity to Religious Modernities. The conference explored the relations between human flourishing and spirituality through the optic of Catholic Modernity. The conference started with an explanation of the concept of Catholic Modernity and how it represented an example of a “cultural” theory of modernity. Secondly, Anthony Carroll explored how this concept can help to foster a creative dialogue between religious and non-religious understandings of human flourishing. He explored how the Ignatian spirituality, embodied in Catholic Modernity, can fruitfully engage with “exclusive humanist” approaches to life, such as that of the “nones”, and what lessons might be learned for both believers and non-believers from this encounter. The first conference was followed by three panels: The identity of the new religious subject: Socio-cultural conditions of possibility for belief in the 21st century, Spirituality and Solidarity: the contributions of spirituality to the communitarian (and political) construction of our societies, and New spiritualities: transcendence or immanence? Second day session The second day’s schedule started with Dr. Tomas Halik’s conference on Spirituality as a healing power for the world, followed by a panel on Spirituality and Jesuit University: Aperture to transcendence and spirituality; and a final panel with pastoralist. Conclusions of the symposium The cluster outlined several conclusions. They pointed out the importance of insisting on the differentiating element of the Jesuit education: the integral formation of the student. Focusing on the comprehensive development, not only the quality of the education in a practical sense but in a more deep and spiritual sense; insisting on the values Jesuit Education imprints in the students. Also, they pointed out as crucial to clearly identify and communicate the pastoral work and highlight their relationship with the university. Hest group secularization work: book publication Next January the cluster will publish a book gathering all the articles generated by the participants. We will notify you when the book is available. Symposium recordings Fr. Philip Geister S.J. (Kircher Network director), Fr. Gonzalo Villagrán S.J. (dean of the Faculty of Theology at Loyola University Andalucia) and Dr. Ignacio Sepúlveda’s (Professor at Loyola University Andalucia) impressions about the symposium.
His teachings are still valid for interpreting today's world. The Diocese of Cordoba and the Cathedral Chapter, together with the Jesuit Loyola University and the Spanish Province of the Society of Jesus held the International Congress on St. Ignatius of Loyola from 22 to 25 June. This academic meeting brought together the leading scholars of Ignatian doctrine and was part of the events that the Society of Jesus is celebrating for the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St. Ignatius (Ignatius 500). Large intercontinental audience More than 1,400 people registered for the congress, both in person and online, from countries such as Italy, Portugal, Uruguay, the United States, Peru, Paraguay, Mexico, Brazil, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic, India and Panama, among others. The Congress showed that the teachings of Saint Ignatius are still valid for living and interpreting the world today. The program approached the figure of St. Ignatius along three main lines: a presentation of his life; a reflection on one of the main keys of his spirituality, discernment; and an approach to concrete testimonies of how to live discernment as a way of life in the Church. Integrating spirituality During the conference, the figure of St. Ignatius was presented through various presentations that made clear several fundamental points of his life: his integrating spirituality that allowed him to see a complex and ambiguous world as a place of God's call; the ability to face situations of ambiguity in the mission through discernment; the importance of his studies in Paris in shaping his person; and the importance of recognizing one's own fragility as a key to the updating of his spirituality. The different interventions showed that the great treasure that Ignatian spirituality offers us is discernment, which, being an original concept of St. Paul, he systematizes and makes accessible. It is also necessary to avoid an indiscriminate use of the term so as not to devalue it. But it was clear from the Congress that discernment, as a feature of Christian life in St. Ignatius, becomes an accessible and concrete method that allows us to listen to the Holy Spirit and his calls to follow him. As a method it illuminates the life of the Church and gives keys to live many ecclesial tasks and realities. Life and action in the Church based on discernment Finally, through some presentations and several round tables, concrete examples of life and action in the Church based on discernment were reviewed: in the leadership of organizations, in the educational world, in family ministry, in the social apostolate or in the world of health. Discernment is listening to the Spirit who can call us along unsuspected paths beyond all prejudices or preconceived ideas. It demands courage and detachment from securities and brings an unusual creativity to the life of the Church. Those who live in the church from Discernment, which puts Christ's call and mission at the center, can live with an enormous freshness and openness. These enable them to discover ways of responding adequately to realities on the peripheries of the church that would cause blockage or paralysis in those who rely more on preconceived ideas. In short, it has been seen how St. Ignatius of Loyola and Ignatian spirituality are not an echo of the past, but are a gift of the Lord for the Church that helps the Christian of today to serve the mission of Christ better by following the ways that the Spirit indicates to him or her.

Preparing for Mission

On July 2nd Fr. Solinas and the diocesan priest Pedro Ortiz de Zárate have been beatified in Argentina. They are known as the “Martyrs of Zenta”, a little-known region in north-west Argentina. Don Pedro Ortiz de Zárate, a diocesan priest, and Giovanni Antonio Solinas, a Jesuit originally from Sardinia, dedicated themselves body and soul to the evangelisation of the indigenous peoples during the time of the “Jesuit missions” in the second half of the 17th century. Other Christians, eighteen in all, also gave their lives in the context of this mission. Born in 1643 in Sardinia, Giovanni Antonio Solinas first met the Jesuits in their college and received from them a solid cultural and religious formation. He chose to join the Society of Jesus as soon as he finished his studies. With Saint Francis Xavier as his inspiration, he dreamed of becoming a missionary in India, but immediately after being ordained to the priesthood, he was sent to Paraguay. There he worked for ten years in the famous “Reductions” that the Jesuits had set up to help the indigenous peoples to live better and in peace. Then he was sent to the Zenta Valley, today in the province of Salta in Argentina, to offer the Gospel to the indigenous Hohomás. It was there that he was martyred on 27 October 1683. From the moment of his tragic death, people spoke of his holiness both in the mission territories and in Sardinia. Read more
On July 16th, a German Jesuit, Philipp Jeningen, a man dedicated to the spiritual well-being of the many people he met in the ‘missions’ he gave throughout Bavaria. This beatification adds another festive moment as the Ignatian Year comes to an end. Philipp Jeningen was born in 1642 in Bavaria and exercised his priestly ministry as an itinerant preacher, mostly in that same region of Germany. For many years, he was attached to the Jesuit Basilica in Ellwangen. That is where he died and was buried in 1704. A life in accord with the Spirituality of St Ignatius The Provincial Superior of the Central European Province, Fr Bernhard Bürgler, wrote “Father Philipp Jeningen’s life was entirely in accord with the spirituality of the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius. He was thus able to help many people be renewed by God in their lives. Thanks to his simple language, his edifying lifestyle, and his philanthropy, he had a great influence everywhere he went. People felt that he believed what he said and - perhaps more importantly - that he demanded nothing of them that he did not demand of himself.” In a chapel dedicate to Our Lady The desire to join the Jesuits was already firmly anchored in Philipp at the age of 14 but determined opposition from his parents forced him to wait seven years. When his father, recovering from a serious illness, changed his attitude, Philipp entered the novitiate in 1663. After his studies, he first taught in colleges, and in 1680 he began his missionary activity in Ellwangen, where he was put in charge of a chapel dedicated to Our Lady. His presence attracted many pilgrims, and he obtained permission to build a church in Schönenberg. This church soon became a Marian shrine at a time when such spiritual centres were rare in Germany. Beatification Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg, and President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) presided over the beatification celebration of Father Johann Philipp Jeningen SJ (1642-1704), in Ellwangen. Mgr. Gebhard Fürst, Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart, and Mgr. Nikola Eterović, Apostolic Nuncio to Germany, have concelebrate the beatification Mass. Connection between love of God and love of man In his address, Mgr. Hollerich praised Jeningen as an example of the connection between love of God and love of man. As examples for today's life, the Cardinal mentioned the commitment to creation, the reception of refugees and the commitment to peace. According to Hollerich, Jeningen managed to "find God in all things of life". Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Rottenburg spoke of "a happy day for Ellwangen, the diocese and far beyond".
All collaborators in God's Mission. For the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, all the Presidents of the Society’s Conferences were finally able to come to Rome to consult with Father General’s as his “Extended Council”. The meeting included Father General’s Rome-based Assistants, the six Conference Presidents, and the four Secretaries (Higher Education, Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education, Service of Faith, Social Apostolate and Ecology). In all, 25 people met with Father General. The meeting lasted five days. Father Sosa sought, in an atmosphere of discernment, how to orient the government of the Society towards greater collaboration. This dimension of the international life of the Society has grown in importance over the years, and has been emphasised by recent General Congregations. The first day was set aside for prayer and spiritual conversation. Each member sat with the question: “Where do I stand as a collaborator in God’s mission?” The sharing was very transparent. The group members did not hesitate to talk about experiences of collaboration, some very good, others less so. Does collaboration, at times, challenge the Jesuit identity? The following days were devoted to ways of living collaboration in different contexts, exploring, firstly, collaboration at the level of the universal Society, then within the Conferences, and finally in diverse fields of apostolic ministry. • At the level of the international Society, there was a review of the experience of a Secretary for Collaboration, an initiative which failed to take off. Attention was also given to texts from the Jesuit tradition which encouraged collaboration at the universal level. The question was asked: what has facilitated collaboration in recent decades, but also what has made it difficult? • Gratitude was expressed for the progress made in collaboration at the level of Conferences. At the same time, the participants, allowed themselves to be challenged by the magis in this regard. There is always room for greater collaboration between the Provinces within each of the Conferences. Discussion centered on collaboration between Jesuits and their lay colleagues, in the formation of young Jesuits, and between apostolic works. Each Conference had the opportunity to present its achievements and shortcomings on this topic. • The Secretariats of the Society focused mainly on collaboration in the diverse apostolic areas. Considerations also centred on ways that may lead to greater collaboration. Time was taken to identify signs of hope that have arisen not only within the Society, but also within other entities that have lived or are living collaborative projects. The Church, in her synodal journey, has recognized the fruits that flow from a collaborative approach. This has also been the experience of other religious Congregations, and international agencies (eg, NGO’s). Friday 3 June was the day to bring together the fruits of the week’s work. But the meeting also focused on the situation in a number of countries where the suffering, especially of the poorest, calls for prayer. One country from each Conference was identified: • For Eastern Europe, Ukraine• For Latin America and the Caribbean, Peru• For South Asia, Sri Lanka• For Africa, Ethiopia• For Asia-Pacific, Myanmar• For the Near East and Western Europe, Syria. The group dispersed on the Pentecost weekend. Father General, and the members of his Enlarged Council, thanked the Lord for his presence. They prayed that the inspiration of the Holy Spirit would lead to ever greater collaboration in the service of a mission that is not ours personally, but of God himself.
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.