Jesuits in Europe

JRS launch campaign for EU elections. The Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) has launched a campaign on 10 April to remind voters of the power they have in the upcoming European Parliamentary elections to ensure protection for the rights of asylum seekers and refugees. Using the hashtag format of social media, they are calling the campaign #ThePowerofVote. What makes the campaign all the more urgent is the serious threat to EU common values and principles in recent times. A shift in the culture has meant that there is now in some parts of Europe an absence of safe and legal pathways to protection. Also apparent is the extensive use of detention of asylum seekers and the worsening shortage of dignified living conditions. Speaking at the launch, David Moriarty, JRS Ireland Assistant Director, said: “European citizens have the power to vote for a Europe that remains true to its founding values and principles – a Europe that leaves no one behind. This #ThePowerofVote campaign is calling on all citizens to stand up for the fate of asylum seekers and refugees in Europe.” The campaign will ask citizens to vote for: A Europe of Protection through the establishment of enhanced safe and legal pathways to access European territory A Europe of Dignity by creating humane and dignified reception facilities for people in need of protection A Europe of Liberty by stopping the detention of vulnerable people, including children, and utilising alternatives to detention A Europe of Equality by making the integration of all citizens, including asylum seekers, refugees and forced migrants, a reality In conclusion, Mr. Moriarty added: “The next European Parliament will play a crucial role in shaping EU policy. It must strive towards the creation of an inclusive society for all. In advance of the elections, JRS will be campaigning in over 20 countries with one simple message: This May, go to vote because you have #ThePowerofVote!” The Power of Vote website is available at:
Schwäbisch Gmünd - During Easter week 200 Jesuits from the German, Lithuanian, Austrian and Swiss provinces met for the common province symposium in Schwäbisch-Gmünd. Beside praying and celebrating together, the focus was on reflection and exchange on the mission in the areas of spirituality, social responsibility and education: the Jesuits of these countries are growing ever closer together. In two years' time, in April 2021, they will form the Central European Province ("Europa Centralis" - ECE). Fr. Franck Janin SJ, President of the Conference of European Provincials, explained the process and the impact of the new Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) of the Society of Jesus. The entire meeting was held under the motto "Beyond ourself" and informed the nearly 200 Jesuits from Austria, Switzerland, Lithuania, Sweden and Germany who had taken part about the previous process of founding the province and the planned further steps. The seat of the new ECE-Provincial shall be in Munich, informed the Austrian Provincial Bernhard Bürgler SJ. Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ had confirmed in a letter that the Canisius-House in Munich should become the seat of the new ECE-Provincialate. An important topic was the ecological challenge (“caring for our common home”) and how the Jesuit Order responded to it. Fr. Gaël Giraud SJ (EOF), chief economist of the Agence Française du Développement and research director at the CNRS, presented the state of research and reported that climate change affects the already disadvantaged parts of the earth's population the most. We Jesuits see ourselves challenged to rethink our own lifestyle and to increasingly include ecological implications. On different levels and through professional competence the Order with its works and apostolates can help to shape social processes. It is also necessary to deepen the spirituality of creation. Fr. Claus Pfuff SJ, JRS-country director, professed last vows at a solemn Mass on Wednesday. The fraternal meeting allowed Easter to be celebrated as a feast of resurrection and new creation. The strength and motivation that grew out of the common mission of the Order were palpable.
Social Delegates and Formation Delegates meet in Falenica. “Faith and Justice in the formation of the Jesuits”. This was the title that accompanied the European delegates from the Social and Formation sectors during their annual meeting in Falenica, Warsaw between March 31 and April 3. This was the first time that both groups met at the European level to collaborate and to reflect on how to keep alive and how to deepen the social dimension in the formation of young Jesuits. We had time to pray, to share our thoughts and inspirations, to work in groups, to discern and propose actions in order to walk together and share this purpose.   Three calls. From these days I personally take these three calls: Accompaniment is a key element to promote a more integrated religious life in which the formation of a Jesuit requires someone who will help us to discern our vocation of work for justice. Just as you have a tutor in the academic field and a spiritual companion, you also need someone who helps you to discern the vocation to work for justice. Community calls for a caring lifestyle in addition to hospitality and proximity to the poor, with an emphasis on hospitality and the ecological dimension. Integral and integrated formation emphasises the importance of training with intellectual depth and a sapiential reading of reality. Special attention was given to the decrease of colleagues who reflect seriously on the social reality, and can therefore call others to take this approach seriously.   Nourish and accompany the vocation for justice among young Jesuits. The first day we shared about the different realities and initiatives in several corners of Europe. Chaired by Zibi Leczkowski and Luis Arancibia, we first contextualised the reality of the Social Apostolate in Europe with a video that showed our common work in favour of justice. Next, the delegates of both sectors from each Province presented the work done before the meeting in Falenica. The shared work has produced a document with a lot of information. Peter Rožič SJ made a brief summary, but some comments reflected the problem of a fragile and small social sector in various Provinces. In general, summer social activities have an important weight in the Jesuits information, but the social sector and training are largely absent from in the intellectual field; When there is no clear strategy in the Province, the Jesuits assigned to the social sector are chosen almost at random. Our lifestyle does not always help much to cultivate the social dimension. The vocation to the social sector is not cultivated or nurtured, but it is integral to our vocation as Jesuits. A Jesuit’s formation has a tutor in the academic field, a spiritual director, but who helps him to discern his vocation for the work for justice? From this perspective, Alessandro Manaresi, the European formation delegate, presented some points for prayer and personal reflection. Where does the Lord lead us? (Is. 65, 17). What does it produce in my consolation, desolation and where do I feel the call of God in this common mission?   Refugees and asylum seekers center in Poland. A visit to the W AKCJI Social Center was a great gift. It is a  work JRS Europe in Poland, dedicated to the care of refugees and asylum seekers. Sister Anna Rscj and our partner Andrzej Sj welcomed us at the center. The refugees in Poland are relatively small in number, compared to the reality of its neighbour Germany. The nationalities of the refugees are primarily Russian, Ukrainian and Tajikistani. The Polish immigration policy is very restrictive. Another diverse reality is the migratory reality where more than one million Ukrainians live in Poland. The center is attended by a group of African migrants, mainly from Ethiopia, who organize and meet regularly at the center.   Scholastics. In the theologate, three young Jesuits presented us the different types of work that young Jesuits in Poland have been doing during the different stages of formation, mainly with migrants and refugees, people with disabilities, homeless people, elderly people and Roma families. They prepared a very good presentation with the contributions and experiences of several of their classmates. Then we shared together the Eucharist, the dinner and a meeting place with the whole community.   The integral formation, community lifestyles and accompaniment. The objective of the second day together was to advance in proposals for greater coordination between the social apostolate and formation. The idea was to identify some areas that had come out repeatedly to develop proposals within each of the thematic groups. Xavier Nucci and Michael Schöpf analyzed the work and proposed the following: 1) Styles of community life and closeness to the poor. 2) The need for comprehensive training. 3) Helping young Jesuits to develop a social identity. 4) Elements which need to be incorporated into the formation process from the novitiate to the third probation, with an emphasis on the accompaniment key. 5) the kind of training activities to be proposed. 6) The ecological issue as an overriding dimension.   Concluding echos. After working in groups, Mark Ravizza and Xavier Jeyaraj gave us some echoes and observations from a global perspective. Xavier Jeyaraj raised three questions: Participation decreases from the Novitiate to the Juniorate: How do we keep alive the social dimension among the youngest? We need to deepen the conversion with ourselves and pay attention to what moves us, to the commitment to which we are invited. How are we responding to the calls that young people ask of us? Mark Ravizza raised the question of how we need to see the image of the first companions at the beginning of the Society of Jesus because this is what we must take into account: they lived with the poor, they prayed together, they talked, they discerned together. The new universal apostolic preferences give us the formula to carry out the mission, they are a guide for the conversion of life and mission. For his part, Franck Janin expressed his joy at the meeting and the spirit of collaboration. He also shared two concerns: a) The need to establish a link between the networks and the Provincials and, since the Provincials are not always aware of the work that the networks do, the document that comes out of this meeting in Falenica will be of great help for that. He encourages all the participants to share with the Provincials what happened here. b) Some Provinces do not have a Delegate for the social apostolate and it is important to assign one. Peter Rožič and Alessandro Manaressi concluded this meeting by thanking everyone for such a fruitful time together and congratulated us on the work done jointly by the delegates prior to our meeting.
For a young person who wants to follow Jesus, living the PASCUA in an authentic way is a unique and central occasion in his journey of faith. For this reason, the Spanish Province has organized this year twelve MAG+s Easter, in which 350 young people between 18 and 30 years old participated. In its diversity of places and formats (itinerant, rural, urban, communitarian...) these meetings have shared a motto in the background, "For Me", and a common Spirit: contemplate and share, to accompany and serve Jesus and others. Participants have had moments of prayer and personal accompaniment, time to share in small groups and to celebrate the faith through a careful liturgy of the Easter Triduum; and so, to discover that Jesus Christ crucified, gives us with the resurrection a way of authentic LIFE, the way of Jesus and, that this is a message for everyone, because he does it for us, for you and "For Me".

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Finding God

Irish Jesuit Edmond Grace has written a comic saga of poetry in four parts entitled 'Mad Messiah'. He writes from a different perspective in each part. Irish Jesuit Communications have recorded him reading his work. Mad Messiah is a poem cycle written and recorded by Edmond Grace SJ, self-confessed Dublin south-sider, aging Jesuit, bewildered male, and Irish Catholic. It’s poetry like you’ve never heard before – a funny, provocative, moving, commentary on modern life and the ancient quest to encounter the living God, particularly as revealed in Jesus Christ, Mad Messiah. Download PDF of contents and introductory material » Download PDF of full poem »   Mad Messiah I: Reptiles and the rising sun The first cycle – Reptiles and the Rising Sun - is a satirical take on middle class Dublin. Read More »   Mad Messiah II – Floating Eyes in Venice The second cycle – Floating Eyes in Venice – a satirical take on the Jesuits, including himself. Read More »   Mad Messiah III: Two Dead Israelites The third cycle – Two Dead Israelites – is about manhood – satirical or simply accurate? Read More »   Mad Messiah IV – Saving Jonah The fourth cycle – Saving Jonah – is a study of hatred. Of course, it’s also about Irish Catholicism
This year, the Marian pilgrimage site Beauraing in Belgium was the meeting place of the European Jesuits involved in the charismatic renewal. With 18 Jesuits from France, Wallonia, Ireland, Flanders, Poland, the Côte d'Ivoire. The last two are students of the Centre Sèvre in Paris. The Swiss, German and English fellow-brothers were prevented from attending. We stayed in l'Accueil de l'Aubébine with the sisters of la Doctrine Chrétienne. Prophetic intercession After sharing everyone's pastoral work, the first speaker was Marie Christine Pirson, responsible for the Renewal in the diocese of Namur, on the Prophetic Intercession. She gave a report on the session recently held in Vaalbeek by the international team responsible for the World Renewal (ICCRES) from Rome.  In a nutshell, prophetic intercession consists, rather than presenting to the Lord our own desires, in asking Him to reveal to us, through group prayer, the intentions for which He invites us to intercede.  Recently, Pope Francis replaced ICCRES with an ecumenical team called CHARIS. The Pope wishes to respect the Protestant origin of the Renewal. He calls the Renewal a stream of grace for the whole Church. Formation on inner healing Pierre Depelchin, a member of the Jesuit community at La Pairelle, spoke to us about the formation he gives on inner healing.    This training has the merit of bringing together those responsible and members of the various diocesan francophones in Belgium). On Thursday morning, we heard Christophe Rouart, vice rector of the sanctuary of Beauraing and professor at the seminary of Namur. He explained the message of Our Lady in 15 steps. In 1932-1933, Mary gave catechism to five children and called herself 'la Vierge au Coeur d'Or'.  She appeared at the railway, a symbol of ordinary life. She called them to prayer and self-sacrifice. Community of the Covenant of Mercy Two Brazilians, Diego Xavier, a seminarian in Namur, and Anna Santos came to talk to us about their new community, the Community of the Covenant of Mercy, founded 19 years ago in Brazil by two Italian missionaries: their houses are spread over 50 countries. They work among all kinds of marginalized people. They evangelize with the power of the charismas. They presented us with the mission they carried out for high school students in Rwanda, as well as in Taiwan - where they experienced a real Pentecost: singing and speaking in tongues, prophetic images, unexpected reconciliations. Nadien sprak Annick Beuten, verantwoordelijke van de Fransprekende Vernieuwing in België over het gebruik van de charismas bij de Evangelisatie.  Elle nous a  invités à une foi plus audacieuse dans l’usage des charismes. Het was een heel rijke jaarlijkse bijeenkomst. Volgend jaar zal ze doorgaan in Paray le Monial bij de viering van een jubileum van de H. Margareta Maria Alacoque.
The simple style, looking after a shared home, the possibility of leaving the children with experienced and capable animators, the daily celebration of the Eucharist, have allowed those present to experience a time of renewal. This is an appointment which adults, children and teenagers look forward to: another 23 families this year were able to live together for a week from 16 to 23 March at Villa Capriolo, Selva di Val Gardena, in the building donated to the Jesuits by the Pedrali family.  The couple Umberto and Maria Grazia Bovani led the reflection with the theme "the shadow of light". From the beginning of creation, the origin of which is yet unknown, the theme of “light” from the Book of Genesis to the Scriptures, is always synonymous with life and the Word. The emphasis was on "the light of the Self", referring in depth to the figure of Nicodemus and "the light of the Other and from the other", through the figures of Saul and Ananias. The final part was the relationship between the couple, comparing it to the relationship between the shadow and the light, in order "to bring out that God can be reached by everyone", and ending the experience with a night walk in the forest illuminated by the moon. "I experienced deeply again the value of community” explains Filippo, who was in Selva with his wife and three children, "After years of relating only with young people I was missing the family bond which is so strong." "It was for me an experience that showed that living as community is possible and it foretold something greater," underlines Chiara. "A real rest for many stressed families who through this experience can feel renewed and return with more courage to their everyday life".  
Ulf Ekman, a well-known preacher and the founder of the charismatic protestant Church “Word of Life”, who in 2014 joined the Catholic Church, was a guest at a special meeting in the Jesuit-run St Thomas Institute in Moscow. Mr Ekman told the audience, which was composed largely by those who had known him as a charismatic protestant leader, about his journey to serving God and then, following the guidance of the Spirit, to be united to the Catholic Church, where he finally found the fullness of Christian revelation. In the beginning of 1990’s Ulf Ekman had personally founded a few Christian communities on the territory of Russia and other former Soviet republics. For many members of those communities his decision to become a Catholic was a great surprise and by some was even regarded even an act of betrayal. Mr Ekman, together with his wife Birgitta, now makes the effort to bring closer the Catholics and the charismatic Protestants. For the ministry of the Jesuits in Moscow the meeting became part of the initiatives which aim to promote the ecumenical dialogue.

Promoting Justice

JRS Europe's Annual General Meeting. Brussels, 30 April 2019 – More than 50 JRS staff members from over 12 countries came together this April in Barcelona for JRS Europe’s Annual General Meeting (AGM), specially dedicated this year to the topic of integration in the city. “At JRS, we accompany people on arrival or that has been for some years in Europe; we accompany them learning languages, searching for a job, when they go to the doctor or when they enrol their children in the school. Cities are full of opportunities, but also of challenges for everybody: locals, migrants, asylum seekers and refugees,” reflected Jose Ignacio Garcia SJ, director of JRS Europe. The AGM has been a space to reflect on the challenges the city presents for our work and to share best practices on integration across Europe. Most importantly, we discussed about all those who live in our cities and whose irregular administrative situation obliges them to a life of destitution and vulnerability. The first day of exchanges included a discussion with migration academic experts who presented the theoretical framework on integration and valuable insights into the Spanish and Catalonian local context. Luis Rodriguez, from the University Institute of Studies on Migration (IUEM), presented the research project on Social Integration of Population of Immigrant Origin in Spain. Silvia Carrasco, from the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology of Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) discussed about the challenges and opportunities for the integration of immigrants in Catalonia and highlighted the importance of including both locals and migrants in any integration project to shape cities that foster co-existence and respect for the other. Finally, the panel session was closed by Xavier Alonso from the Generalitat de Catalunya, who addressed public integration policies in Catalonia.  On the second day, we learnt from our colleagues of Servicio Jesuita a Migrantes (SJM Spain) and Migra Studium more about concrete experiences in Barcelona. The Hospitality campaign, run by Migra Studium in Catalonia (Campaña Hospitalidad), is a key project that facilitates integration of migrants and refugees in the city by bringing locals and newcomers together. Sanja Rahim and Olga Correa, collaborating also with Migra Studium, referred to the difficulties that destitute and vulnerable people can face in the urban context of Barcelona. On the other hand, Kiran Khan from Migra Studium informed us about the newly launched Pakistan/Bengal trade dynamization programme running currently in the neighbourhoods Ravaland Gòtic that seeks to provide small and medium-sized entrepreneurs from various countries with advice on how to expand their business.  JRS staff members also had the opportunity visit some organizations working to promote the integration of migrants in Catalonian society:   - Migra Studium opened its doors and welcomed the participants in the very heart of the Gòtic quarter of Barcelona so that they could discover the three areas of its work: welcome services, reflection, cultural and religious diversity.  - Fundació Salut Alta works in the outskirts of Barcelona. Here the passion and the commitment of the team is incredible. Salud Alta develops and runs education projects with children, teenagers and their families to give them hope and help them build a safer neighbourhood that promotes coexistence and tolerance.  - Fundació La Vinya was created by three parishes in 1998 to support community actions. Nowadays, it works on non-formal education projects with children and their families, it gives accompaniment for adults in need, especially migrant women, and, additionally, it runs a food bank for families who need it.    The visits were extremely enriching. We are often part of cities which still do not include everyone in their life dynamics and evolution. Hence, today, our work as JRS on serving and accompanying is needed more than ever; so that we can shape all together cities that leave no one behind.  Based on our mission, we shall continue developing ways to improve the lives of people by providing them with all the necessary support in their day-to-day reality that helps them increase self-resilience and trust in themselves.     From the side of JRS Europe, we launched and presented to our JRS colleagues our new campaign ‘’The Power of Vote” aiming at raising awareness for refugees’ and migrants’ rights in view of the upcoming European Parliament Elections. We have one important power; our vote. In May, we, at JRS, invite all the citizens in Europe to use this power and vote. But doing it, while keeping in mind the rights of people in need. Our vote is a choice. It can build not only inclusive cities but even more an inclusive Europe, where people find protection, dignity, liberty and equality.
ASTALLI 2019 REPORT: "The choice of inclusion”. "Every dead person at sea, either through torture or violence, is an offense to the entire human race": this is how the president of the Italian bishops, Cardinal Gualtiero Bassetti, submitted the Annual Report of the Astalli Center, on 4 April, in Rome, at the Argentina Theatre. The Astalli report primarily manifests an increase in precariousness. The abolition of humanitarian protection (which was granted in many cases precisely as a result of the occurrence of health or social vulnerability), the complication of procedures for obtaining a residence which is a basic right and more generally, the multiplication of bureaucratic obstacles at all levels result in excluding a growing number of migrants from receiving local services, the president of the Centre, Fr. Camillo Ripamonti stated. The demand for basic services (canteens, showers, food parcels, clothing) is strong in all areas: about 4,000 are making use of the canteen in Rome, more than 900 new migrants are going to the day center in Palermo. An important turning point in 2018, according to the report, was the security decree which was then legalized. This is a measure that, "slows down the process of integration and risks creating more irregularity and insecurity", says Fr. Ripamonti. This is the reason the service which supports clients to build their autonomy has been strengthened. «The projects carried out by Centro Astalli during 2018 were largely focused on strengthening services and activities aimed at social inclusion, with particular attention being given to forced migrants who are in a particularly vulnerable condition: minors who are not accompanied, single-parent families, people with serious injuries ». The report also presents a series of good local practices in Palermo, Catania, Trento, Vicenza, Padua and Rome, where the study on Constitution and Citizenship of the Italian school culminated with the visit of the students to the Constitutional Court.
International symposium organized by CERAS at UNESCO from 20 to 22 May 2019 . Following the symposium "Inequalities in the face of the ecological challenge" in 2017, the CERAS team is organizing a major international symposium at UNESCO from 20 to 22 May, in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO), on the occasion of its centenary. The environmental emergency, as well as the acceleration of technologies and virtualization, call into question the reality of the work. How can we promote decent work for all as required by the Church's social thinking, without destroying our common home, the earth? The themes addressed are multiple: the double punishment of workers exploited in polluted environments, new solidarity-based economies, the social and environmental responsibility of companies, the emergence of robotic work, care work, the role of religions, social and ecological protection, the principle of capillarity versus that of runoff, etc. Will speak during the plenary sessions (which can be registered separately): David GRAEBER on "useful" activities (London School of Economics), Vandana SHIVA on the link between social suffering and environmental destruction (Indian activist), Gaël GIRAUD (CNRS) and Yves CLOT (CNAM) on future work issues, Pierre-Michel MENGER (Collège de France) and Eloi LAURENT (OFCE) on the transformation of work, Bishop Jorge LUGONES (Social Pastoral Care in Argentina and close friend of Pope François) and Bishop Bruno-Marie DUFFE (Dicastery for the promotion of integral human development) on the meaning of work worthy of humanity and the earth... The CERAS team and its partners will be very happy to meet you at this conference. The detailed programme and registration are available on the website:
Two evenings about Syria. Syria in its ninth year of war: a country that longs for peace, normality, everyday life, a country whose women bear the main burden for their families. Many men are lost, dead, in prison, in war as soldiers, looking for work abroad. The hopes in the war-weary country are high, the reports by Sr. Fabienne Bucher and Nawras Sammour SJ revealing: At the end of May, the two invite to a discussion evening in Zurich and Wil/ St. Gallen. Nawras Sammour SJ is director of the Jesuit Refugee Service Syria and was already there with his team before the Syrian war. The Jesuit priest, born in 1968 in Aleppo and closely rooted in the country, initiated social projects across all religious and cultural boundaries. So when the war broke out in 2011, he was able to help the weakest from a standing start. His team provided survival assistance, built soup kitchens, and provided medical and psychosocial support. In 2018 the Jesuit Refugee Service set up three neighbourhood centres in Damascus, Aleppo and Al Kafroun - three centres that point to the future and maintain hope for peace in a war-weary country. At present, 900 children and 600 women are being cared for with school and social programmes. Nawras Sammour SJ is now also director of the Mena region and as such responsible for educational, social and spiritual projects of the Jesuits in countries of the Middle East and North Africa. Sister Fabienne Bucher is a diocesan hermit in the tenant house of the Appenzell monastery of Wonnenstein. She is Swiss and has followed the call of her heart throughout her entire life, always feeling God's guidance: Schoenstatter Sister of Mary, pastoral assistant, pastor at the Cantonal Hospital of St. Gallen and now hermit. With energetic help, she is in contact with the people in and around the Jesuit-influenced Syrian monastery of Mar Musa, whose director Paolo dall'Oglio SJ became a victim of the war (see below). His life project fascinates them, and his fate occupies them very much. In the course of her research she came into contact in 2014 with Sister Friederike from the monastery Mar Musa in the Jesuit Lassalle House in Central Switzerland. Back in Syria, she soon had to flee and, together with a brother in a monastery in the Syrian Nineveh plain, set up a centre for 200 people displaced by the IS. The two women are united in prayer, occasionally they were able to visit each other and exchange advice and relief supplies.  Mar Musa, a monastic centre in the mountainous desert inside Syria, is known as the "Taizé of the East" and has roots as far back as the 6th century. The formative figure of our days is the Italian Jesuit Paolo dall'Oglio SJ. He revived the monastery and presided over the centre, which was largely self-sufficient and attracted spiritually interested people - men, women, Christians, people of other faiths, agnostics. Father dall'Oglio was kidnapped by the IS in 2013 and has been missing ever since. Conversation evening with Sister Fabienne Bucher and Father Nawras Sammour SJ Tuesday, 21.5.2019: Centrum 66, Hirschengraben 66 Zürich, 18.30 Wednesday, 22.5.2019: catholic parish centre Wil, 19:00   Registration required: Tel. 044 266 21 30

Youth & Media

This is not a simple voluntary service or community experience but for young people of this group, Living Stones is an authentic formation journey which leads to "maturity of faith". This is a dynamic reality, in constant movement. "During the last 3 months new groups have been formed in Chicago, Kiev, Fribourg (Switzerland), Ciudad de Mexico," Fr. Jean Paul Hernandez SJ explains. The main object and study being carried out in ecclesiastical conferences in France, Spain and Italy and in the different dioceses is discovering a new method of evangelization From 2 to 5 May, a "three-day study" program on "Contemporary art and spirituality" will be held in Zurich. About 150 young people are expected to attend from different European communities. Mgr. De Raemy, auxiliary bishop of Lausanne-Geneva-Fribourg who is in charge of youth ministry within the conference of Swiss bishops will be taking part. Among the upcoming summer initiatives, the Matera group have proposed to include service abroad at the end of July on the occasion of "Matera European Capital of Culture". The other initiatives programmed - Santiago, Puente La Reina, Paris, Greece, EESS sul Sempione - can be found by visiting the site. The collaboration between Living Stones and the Pontifical Commission on Sacred Archeology and the Benedictine Sisters of Priscilla is still in progress during its one-year experimentation. In addition to the guided tours, among the various pastoral initiatives, the Living Stones residential community at Priscilla - three girls, one boy and till August a Maltese seminarist - have organized during Lent 4 "Saturdays" of prayer on the book of Jonah, a figure frequently represented in Priscilla's frescoes, with a commentary on the images and the biblical text. The Community has also established a regular contribution together with prof. Dall'Asta and prof. Tibaldi. on the Radio Maria program "The masterpieces of Italian art" . Over 32 groups are present in Europe. Numerous visits are made by Muslims, tourists or immigrants. "The deep communion that is created during those moments where they are talking explicitly about faith becomes the most accepted form of a sincere welcome and of profound dialogue is amazing", concludes Father Hernandez SJ.
From March 23 to 29, 2019, the school of La Providence in Amiens hosted the 4th edition of the "Jesuit Weeks". Fr. Pascal Gauderon sj, coordinator of these Weeks, reflects on this event which brought together more than 20 Jesuits from France and Belgium, 2000 students and 175 teachers. What is a "Jesuit Week"? During Jesuit Week, a school in the Jesuit network organizes a range of activities to raise awareness of Jesuits and the Society of Jesus in a lively and entertaining way. The proposals are varied: exhibitions, conferences, educational workshops, friendly meetings, spiritual times, testimonies, meals, recreational and cultural activities... follow one another in just a few days.  These Jesuit Weeks are intended for students and their families, the educational community, administrative staff, volunteers and elders. The Jesuit Weeks are thus a wonderful opportunity - especially where the Society is less visible on a daily basis - to reaffirm who it is, to recall the spiritual roots that underlie its pedagogy, its missions and its ways of proceeding, and especially to make them live through shared experiences and encounters. La Providence in Amiens During the Week organized within the La Providence establishment in Amiens, from March 23 to 29, twenty Jesuits testified to their vocation, animated celebrations and conferences. We highlight some of the highlights. The giant IHS filmed by a drone (the video is available on Facebook - LINK), with the 1600 students gathered, was an opportunity to discover and bless the school's new logo. The 1st and 12th disputatios (grade contests) allowed us to reconnect with old traditions. The scenic dimension was well honoured, with several sketches and shows. Jesuit Week also took place at the boarding school with various initiatives: cineclub, prayer, indoor football tournament, skits vigil. At the Lycée des Métiers, the classics "Olympiads of Saint Joseph" had a very special flavour this year! Among the originalities, let us note: the conference "Jesuits for Dummies" in connection with the Day of the Elders, and broadcast live on social networks, the solemn opening Mass for the Annunciation in the cathedral of Amiens and a prayer-reconciliation vigil. At the primary level, a particularly generous programme, framed by an inaugural show and a reading and celebration snack: the pupils had a different intervention each day, based on testimonies, "Laudato Si" challenges, interiority exercises, commitments... In the school, in addition to the classical testimonies, "Laudato si" workshops allowed each class to live with Jesuits with concrete reflections and exercises - such as making a salad with organic fruit, listening to birds, participating in a drawing competition on the IHS logo, or on the portraits of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. All this will permanently decorate the walls, in addition to the many exhibitions brought by the Jesuits! In short, this Jesuit Week in Amiens confirmed the relevance of a model that at the same time is being tested and renewed from one time to the next.   
München/Wien/Zagreb - The three Provincials of the Jesuit Provinces Austria (Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ), Germany (Fr. Johannes Siebner SJ) and Croatia (Fr. Dalibor Renic SJ) declared on Friday afternoon with immediate effect the withdrawal of the Jesuits from the Asociation "Loyola-Gymnasium" (ALG). The general meeting of the ALG Board had previously withdrawn the trust of the director of the ALG, Father Axel Bödefeld SJ, with the majority of the members and had decided his immediate release. Fr. Bernhard Bürgler SJ, who was Chairman of the ALG Board until yesterday, explained: "We very much regret this decision, as ALG has developed very well in recent years. Unfortunately, this step was unavoidable, as the majority of the members of the association has no confidence in the Director and do not appreciate his current work; furthermore, this group does not support the basic orientation that the Order desires for the ALG. We have committed ourselves with considerable personal and financial effort to this project and this country. Especially the work with the Roma and the Ashkali is an important accent for us, but it is not supported by the majority of the supporting association. The new project of a vocational school, which trains Kosovar youths for Kosovo, is very far advanced in its preparation and finds broad support in politics and economy. But here too, the support of the sponsoring association is lacking. Without the trust in the people involved, our commitment here in Prizren unfortunately has no future. We know that we are disappointing many people here with this decision. We are also aware of our responsibility towards many institutional and private supporters and benefactors (e.g. Renovabis), which is why we have to take this step now". In the supporting association ALG, from which the three Jesuit provinces have left, there are further members: Albanian Youth Action, Apostolic Administration of Prizren, Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Landesverband Sachsen e.V., Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Ortsverband Neustadt/Sachsen e.V., Congregazione delle Suore Angeliche di San Paolo, Freunde und Förderer der Asociation "Loyola-Gymnasium" e.V., Grünhelme e.V., Kosova Alternative Education, Loyola-Stiftung, Marianne-und-Rudolf-Haver-Stiftung, Stellaner-Vereinigung Deutschland e.V. The “Asociation ALG” was founded in 2003, and school and boarding school operations began in 2005. The state-approved private grammar school with a boarding school for girls and a boarding school for boys is unique in Kosovo in its kind and orientation; it is very successful and in great demand. One of its special features is the German lessons at a high level. Six years ago a primary school was also founded; this project in the historic centre of Prizren is also extremely successful. With the "Loyola Tranzit" project, the ALG has built a bridge to disadvantaged children and young people over the past two years. In the social education centre, pupils of the ALG are particularly involved in teaching Roma and Ashkali children in a protected atmosphere, supervising their homework and preparing them for attending a regular school. Pictures: The ALG Prizren stands for a perspective of local youth in the spirit of understanding. The boarding school is open to girls and boys of all ethnicities and faiths. Since the beginning of the 2013/14 school year, there has been also a Loyola primary school in the historic centre of Prizren.
On 23 March, the University of Coimbra welcomed more than 350 people for the 28th Faith and Culture, an event organised since 1981 by CUMN (Centro Universitário Manuel da Nóbrega), the Jesuit centre for university students in Coimbra, motivated by the belief that that the dialogue between faith and culture is possible and necessary  “Toxic” was elected as Word of the Year 2018 by the Oxford Dictionaries. Toxicity is present in various dimensions of our lives today: it affects our planet, the structures of our societies, our relationships… Therefore, we need to learn - through discernment - how to choose what is essential for our own way of identity and happiness. We need to know what to leave and what to keep. Hence, the challenge for this year’s meeting: “Detox - what do you keep in your heart?” Throughout the day, divided in three parts - centring, fixing, focusing - we discussed how to detox. The full programme is available on the event’s website. In the morning, the Faith and Culture “band” Je Suis Tas animated the participants before the beginning of the talks and Fr. Nuno Branco SJ, CUMN’s director, was in charge of the welcoming speech. Fr. José Frazão Correia SJ, the Portuguese Provincial, was the first guest speaker and reflected on how to cultivate an attitude that helps us focusing on the essential. He drew our attention to the paradox that nowadays even the desire of detoxing may become toxic… After that, the morning panel had the mission of “centring” us, with the participation of Paula Moura Pinheiro, journalist of the Portuguese public TV broadcaster, Adriana Calcanhotto, a Brazilian singer, and Jacinto Lucas Pires, writer and columnist. In the end of the morning and the beginning of the afternoon, participants were divided in various workshops in order to find ways of “fixing” different aspects of our lives. Environment, communication/media, politics, relationships, education and religion were the topics discussed with guest speakers working on each of these areas. To close the talks, in the last panel, we “focused” on detoxing our Common Home, our body and our spirit, with the contributions of Paulo Magalhães, environmental jurist of the Law School of the University of Porto, Chef Kiko Martins, a well-known Portuguese chef, and Sr. Irene Guia ACI, currently living in Dublin and collaborating with the JRS. Before going back home, to clean our souls, Fr. Duarte Rosado SJ sang us the poetry of the prophet Isaiah, painted live by Fr. Nuno Branco SJ. You can listen and watch this artistic moment here. The consolation felt by the end of the day is the best evidence that it is worthy to “relish interiorly” what has been said.

In-depth Reflection

The 1st UNIJES Bioethics Conference entitled "The Bioethics of Pope Francis", took place on April 6 at the Faculty of Theology of Granada, organized by this Faculty and by the university sector (UNIJES) of the Spanish Province. The audience was numerous and diverse, with people from the university, health professionals, medical students, and students and friends of the Faculty of Theology of Granada. They addressed topics such as trafficking in persons and the illegal market of organs, justice as the ultimate criterion of global bioethics or the current problems in pediatrics and bioethics. It also reflected on the position of Pope Francis in bioethics from his magisterial documents, and mercy as the central attitude of bioethics in the teaching of Pope Francis. The seminar was a great opportunity to present the current state of the study of bioethics in UNIJES and to bring together the different networks of people interested in this topic close to our institutions. Likewise, the Conference allowed us to identify new synergies among the UNIJES institutions that are currently working on bioethics to continue deepening them.
In the days before Palm Sunday, the Faith in Politics interns of the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) visited Rome, as each year, to help them understand how the Church and the World are served by the offices which assist the Pope there, known as the Roman Curia. The interns are graduates from all over Britain, who work with Catholic Members of Parliament or Catholic Agencies, are studying Catholic Social Teaching, the first part of a Masters Degree currently with St Mary’s University, Twickenham, while living together at More House, the West London University Chaplaincy. The programme helps them to reflect and act on how Catholics can engage in public life to serve the Common Good and given the current work of o former interns, has been extraordinarily effective. Over the sixteen years of the programme, their Spiritual Accompaniment has been offered by Jesuits, and this year by the Clapham Community of Ruth Holgate, Fr Jim Conway SJ and Fr Dushan Croos SJ (who accompanied them to Rome). During their visit, the interns met and interviewed Vatican officials at the Dicasteries for Integral Human Development, for Laity, Family and Youth, at Vatican Radio and from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as visiting the inside of the Pope’s official residence, the Vatican Palace, seeing particularly the rooms around the Sistine Chapel in which Cardinals gather and pray before electing the Pope.   On the first evening they were welcomed at the Residence of the British Ambassador to the Holy See, Sally Axworthy, near the Quirinal Palace, for a reception with many of those involved in the relationship between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. The British Ambassador tweeted “Enjoyed meeting the Catholic Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales interns, who are working with MPs, CAFOD, and studying Catholic Social Teaching. We hope they enjoy the rest of their programme in Rome.” The Italian trip also included elements of pilgrimage, as the group visited the tombs of St Peter, Pope St John XXIII, Philip Neri, St Ignatius, Fr Arrupe, and on a visit to Assisi, of St Francis of Assisi and St Clare. The unplanned highlight of the visit was seeing the Pope fairly close up as he toured St Peter’s Square after the prayer of the Angelus and the Palm Sunday Mass. “The interns and I were all quite surprised at just how moved they were to see the Holy Father blessing, smiling, and engaging with people, even after the rigours of the Palm Sunday Mass,” remembers Fr Dushan. "These few days have deeply inspired the group in their faith and as well as their desire and opportunity to work with those who are serving the needs of the Universal Church from Rome."
The Interreligious Space of the Migra Studium Foundation and the Christianity and Justice studies center in Barcelona jointly organized the "Diversity and transcendent, paths of coexistence", in March, to reflect on how the spiritual and religious experience can be revealed as a space of coexistence in a society threatened by all kinds of fundamentalism and polarization. The two central papers were given by Josep Otón, doctor in history and professor at ISCREB, and Marta Burguet, doctor in Pedagogy and professor at the University of Barcelona. Otón reflected on how the religious universe is being reconfigured from the three basic elements of interiority, spirituality and religion; and claimed the need to recover the balance between the three to liberate them precisely the dangers that entails a narcissistic interiority, an evasive spiritualism or a totalitarian religion. Paradoxically, and contrary to what is often believed, religious pluralism, which is sometimes a source of conflict, can play, at the present time, the role of an antidote against fundamentalist approaches. The pedagogue Marta Burguet, meanwhile, also opted for the need for a pedagogy of coexistence and interiority, which allows individuals an interrelation based on trust and universal shared values. The day closed with a dialog about experiences that build coexistence.
Congratulations to Professor Michael Barnes SJ, who has received the Hubert Walter Award for Reconciliation and Interfaith Cooperation for his long and distinguished contribution in this field. The award was presented the 4th of April, by the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Hubert Walter was a noted jurist and financial administrator who was himself Archbishop of Canterbury from 1193 to 1205. He accompanied King Richard on the third crusade, was involved in negotiations with Saladin over access for Christian clergy to the Holy Places, and helped raise the ransom to get the king released from incarceration in Germany when he was captured on his return from the Holy Land. The award in his name was first launched by Archbishop Justin Welby in 2016. Jesuit Provincial, Fr Damian Howard SJ, said: “Michael is a worthy recipient of this prize which recognises not only his eminence as an expert in the Christian theology of religions but also his skill and hard work as a practitioner of interreligious relations in London and elsewhere. He has made a huge contribution to a complex and contested area of study by refusing easy answers and instead speaking out of the Church’s experience of encounter and dialogue. I am confident that his work will still be on reading lists for decades to come. We are immensely proud of his achievements.” The award citation for Professor Michael Barnes SJ reads: “Alongside outstanding intellectual contributions such as his Theology and the Dialogue of Religions (CUP, 2002) and Interreligious Learning (2012), he has made a concerted effort to lead in grassroots interreligious community engagement such as the De Nobili Centre in Southall. In 2007 Michael Barnes set up the Southall ‘Faiths Together’ project, with the aim of training people for interreligious relations. Michael has used the phrase ‘theology of dialogue’ to encapsulate his central conviction, that there is more to dialogue than a way of Christian witness appropriate to a pluralist world; dialogue has something to do with God. […] Michael has been instrumental in teaching generations of students on subjects such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christian theologies of relations since the early 1980s. Whilst a leading Roman Catholic scholar, his teaching has always served a strongly ecumenical and interreligious constituency, with many Anglicans benefiting from his wisdom and insight.”

Preparing for Mission

British Jesuits and co-workers meet around Universal Apostolic Preferences. During the Easter week over 90 Jesuits and 40 lay co-workers gathered at Stonyhurst College for a conference entitled “Working in Partnership with the Universal Apostolic Preferences”. It is the first time that such a large number of lay partners in mission have joined the Jesuits in a collaborative discernment. Lay people included head teachers from our Jesuit schools, parish council members, and staff working in leadership roles in spirituality, finance, safeguarding, communications and social justice projects. Inspiring talks by the Provincial Fr Damian Howard SJ and Fr Philip Endean SJ reflected on the process which the whole Society of Jesus had undergone following General Congregation 36 in 2016, to develop the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) - the four strategic directions for the Society  - and set them in the contemporary context. Fr Damian, who attended GC36 and worked with fellow European provincials on the UAP, explained, “We had to ask ourselves, ‘What is our mission?’ We had to recognise that the world is changing and ask where are the needs for today?  We had to interpret events around us and choose to change our plans.” The four Universal Apostolic Preferences are: • To show the way to God – through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment • To walk with the poor and the outcast in a mission of reconciliation and justice • To collaborate in care for our common home • To accompany the young in creation of hope-filled future. Fr Philip suggested that the UAP are “Larger than ourselves: they are of God. They are not a box ticking exercise but a sign-post to God’s gift to us, showing where we can do God’s work. They represent a personal call to conversion for each one of us.” A humble response Fr Damian encouraged the meeting to consider the UAP with humility and openness: “a contrite spirit enables us to reach out in humility to the hurting world.  We must be attuned to the world in pain.  It is a cry rather than a call, to which we must respond emotionally and cognitively… We must proceed thoughtfully and helpfully to find solutions.” Referring to the priority to walk with the outcast, Fr Damian observed, “people at the peripheries have a clarity of vision about what happens at the centre, about what is rotten in the world.” Fr Philip took up this theme noting the risks presented by the UAP: “there is risk in the vulnerable spaces [where we engage] with the marginalised and the young who have very different ways of looking at the world.” Fr Philip set the UAP in their historic context, remembering how St Ignatius and his first companions spent some time discerning the role of their new Society, which they presented to the Pope, who then returned this to them as the Society’s approved mission, a process which has been mirrored with Pope Francis this year.  But even within the lifetime of St Ignatius priorities changed.  The original vision for poverty and mobility was adapted to meet the needs for education, and large institutions were established. Moving to the challenge of the secular society which evolved in the twentieth century, Fr Philip reflected that this was also an opportunity, one which has led us to focus again on the Spiritual Exercises as our key tool for helping individuals to develop a personal, rather than a societal or corporate, relationship with God. The conference split into small “discernment groups” of 10-12 people to share how the presentations had moved them, and where they most felt God’s presence as they considered how to apply the UAPs to their own work. The importance of lay partners Scholastic Luke Taylor SJ presented findings from a research project which considered the nature and extent of lay partnership in the Jesuit mission in Britain, which now comprised 130 Jesuits, around 1,250 employees (1,000 of which are in our schools) and over 2,000 regular volunteers. Reflecting on the British Province Fr Damian said, “there had been a previous assumption among us that lay partners do not have the same commitment [as Jesuits] to the mission because they are paid… Mutual trust and esteem are required.”  To this end he is proposing to establish a lay and Jesuit partners group to share about mission, to exchange ideas, experience and perspectives, to help us to listen, to communicate more effectively and to plan. Discernment in common The conference concluded with a presentation from Fr David Smolira SJ, the Provincial’s delegate for Ignatian Formation.  In response to Pope Francis’ appeal for better discernment across the whole Church, Fr David called for as many partners in mission as possible to help shape the future of the Jesuits’ ministry in Britain by sharing the process of “discernment in common” which had been initiated in the previous days. “In discernment we do not argue a position; that is a discussion,” he explained. “Discernment is a richer hearing of God’s call.  It requires trust that such communal discernment is actually possible, it requires generosity and genuine listening, the forgiveness of past hurts, a letting go of our own agendas, so that we can notice the movement of the spirit towards consolation or desolation in ourselves and others.” This process of discernment in common will be evolving throughout our ministries with our partners in mission during the coming months.
Twelve deacons were ordained in Paris on April 6. All are scholastics (Jesuit students), and are currently studying at the Centre Sèvres.  At the end of their formation, they will return to their Jesuit Province to be ordained priests and begin their first mission. Of six different nationalities, they express through this the universal character of the Society of Jesus as it was lived from the beginning with Ignatius of Loyola and his first companions from all the countries of Europe. It is still today this vocation to universality that motivates young people to join the Society. "When I joined the Society 60 years ago, I thought I was giving a great gift to God. In the meantime I realized that it was God who gave me a great gift! "It is through this quotation from a Jesuit met during his youth that Bishop Thibault VERNY, Auxiliary Bishop of Paris, introduced the diaconal ordinations on Saturday, April 6 at Saint-Ignace Church. The bishop seemed at ease and felt "at home" to lay hands on the twelve young Jesuit companions. Of the twelve ordinands, half were from India: Jyoti Paul BAXLA and David MINJ come from the Ranchi Province, Maria ANNARAJ and Michael PANIMAYA RAJ come from Madure; and Sharat NELLINIKUMTHADATHIL and Adhul ULLOPILLIL come from Kerala. Four companions come from Europe: Nicolo MAZZA from Italy, Martin FÖHN from Switzerland, and Quentin LAMY and Gonzague LALANNE-BERDOUTICQ from France. Levelt MICHAUD from Haiti, and Grant TUNGAY from South Africa, completed the continents represented. The art of such a celebration consisted in articulating solemnity with humility, intensity with joy, beauty of gestures with the imperatives of time. The success was complete. It also resided in the harmony between the cultures that meet and enrich each other: a litany of the Holy Spirit, with the accents of Taizé, crossed the German, English and French languages; a procession of offerings with Creole accents, another procession for doxology with Indian accents; we also sang in Italian and even in Malayalam. It was the eve of the 5th Sunday of Lent; however, there was already a foretaste of Pentecost.
For the first time, the Formation Delegates and the Social Delegates from all European Provinces and the Near East held their annual meeting together. Also JCEP President Franck Janin, Jeyaraj Xavier, Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology, Mark Ravizza, Father General's Counsellor for Formation, participated in this gathering. We met in Falenica (European Center for Communication and Culture – ECCC) from March 30 to April 4. The ECCC, located in the south-east of Warsaw, provided a very welcoming and hospitable atmosphere. The topic of the meeting was “Faith and Justice in Jesuit Formation”. The first day, only the Formation Delegates met, talking about how the Formation Centers become more European. Province clusters to foster collaboration and shared responsibility are one important step on this way. The question was around governance of these clusters in order to make them more real. The following days, both the Social delegates and Formation delegates met. Please read the article of Alberto Ares about this. We also visited the Collegium Bobolanum in Warsaw, one of the seven European Formation Centers, where Theology is taught. Three Polish Scholastics gave an inspiring presentation to the Social dimension of Jesuit formation in Poland.The evening concluded with a festive dinner with the local Jesuit community. This joint-meeting was an enriching experience for all participants, and the great majority of participants voted for a follow-up within a few years. The next meeting of the Formation Delegates will take place in Braga, Portugal, and the Social Delegates will meet in Brussels, Belgium. 
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.