Jesuits in Europe

Testimony of Fr. Franck Janin about the Extended Council of Fr. General. We invited Fr. Franck Janin to share his experience during the week of 7 January at the Extended Council convened by Father General. Here is his testimony: Once again, at the beginning of the year 2020, and as President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, I have been invited to participate in Father General’s Extended Council. In my journey as a Jesuit, I consider it an opportunity and a privilege to collaborate in the work done by Father General and all those who assist him in his mission of government. These meetings provide an opportunity to address the most crucial issues affecting the life of the Society in its universal dimension. Without a doubt, the most outstanding session that I have lived these last three years was the one dedicated to the discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. I was struck by the quality of the process that was followed, rooted in prayer and in an authentic “spiritual conversation” among the members of the Council, seeking to feel and recognize, with finesse and great interior freedom, the action of the Spirit. The practice of discernment in common is now promoted throughout the Society of Jesus. What a consolation to see it rigorously implemented by those who bear such responsibility! This “way of proceeding”, so typically Ignatian and Jesuit, has its place in each of our meetings. We experienced it again this time when Father General asked us to help him define the mission of the new secretary for the Service of Faith. This is a crucial theme in a world that is becoming more and more multicultural and “multiconvictional”. Likewise when it was a question of opening perspectives in order to improve networking. The Society of Jesus is more and more aware that the great questions that are stirring our societies must be approached from a global perspective. This requires setting up international structures that are challenging in terms of organisation and governance. Of course, there has been an update on the integration and the implementation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. They question our mission, invite us to conversion and are reference points to help us discern where the Society will best serve. The evocation of regions where Jesuits are present in situations of poverty, war, and religious minority was a moment that touched me greatly. Isn’t it in these places of vulnerability that we reach more fully the essence of our vocation? We also talked about what is being prepared in the different regions of the Society for the Ignatian Year 2021-2022. An important moment with the evocative theme “to see all things new in Christ”. These Consiglio Allargato are blessed times and they give a taste of the great fraternity that can exist between companions of Jesus harnessed to the same mission.
"We went back to Albania, to repeat the experience, the mission, to strengthen our brotherhood " Fr. Andrea Picciau wrote on returning from Shkoder with 17 young people, leaders of the Eucharistic Youth Movement. We were present to support the birth of 3 new youth realities; one in Balldren near Lesha, another in Sukht near Durres, both communities present in diocesan parishes and another at the Pieter Meshkalla Institute. This was a journey to the peripheries prioritizing what is of value. "This wooden road has changed the perspective of my journey" "What struck me was their strength and their determination" Matteo from Torino confided, "their ability to fight for a better future. I was somewhat sadwhen I came in contact with their reality. They are not different from me, yet life seems to be constantly challenging them. The recent earthquake is an example. All this makes me aware of how privileged I am, of the many opportunities that I have ... In these suburbs we walked through a disastrous road, supported only by wooden beams reinforced with concrete. I thought how one tremor is enough to demolish everything, about their difficulties and how the State has abandoned them. This wooden road has changed the perspective of my journey. It brings me closer to prayer, to the Lord and reminds me that what I desire to do is to help others at present and in the future ". "I found the Lord in the eyes of the people" "I found the Lord in the eyes of the people who opened their front door to us, who allowed us to enter their simple life, people with a big heart and sincere eyes, alwayswith a smile on their face, the smile of someone who has never lost hope " Anna from Cagliari disclosed." I saw the Lord also in their generosity: people who have little but give you everything, people who have told us about their difficult past, as well as the joy of overcoming, which is visible in every smile, in every hug they give and in their sharing with us. ". "A place I had never seen before has now become my home." Anita looked back on the experience a few weeks later: "My life has been filled with so much beauty. I found the Lord, from whom I have been so far for so long, in the stories and smiles of these people. A place I had never seen before has now become my home. " "You experience the marvel of those who have very little, but give you everything" "The first thing you learn is that the things that you usually attach so much importance to are worth nothing," Clarice from Roma writes. "They don't make you a betterperson, they aren't really beneficial to you. I understood this when visiting the prisons and the places struck by the earthquake, places where people sleep in tents, next to their demolished house. You experience the marvel of those who have very little, but give you everything and when you greet them, they give you a mandarin. Empathy, getting emotional, pain is what you experience, but also hope, when you turn to prayer.”
European Primary School Heads reflect at JECSE Conference. In Loyola 80 colleagues, mainly Principals of Primary Schools, met this January for the JECSE Conference around the theme of ‘(How) can we talk about Jesus in the secularized and multi-convictional context of today?’ In its conferences for different audiences JECSE has been focusing on this question during some years now. The diversity of our European context is enriching but also challenging, and for some – both within and outside of our catholic tradition - the very mention of Jesus becomes an obstacle to dialogue, a reason to disengage. Yet the spiritual journey of Ignatius of Loyola shows us how the encounter with Jesus dramatically changed the course of his life. The still, life-giving dialogue with Jesus, engaging all the aspects of his person, opened Ignatius’ eyes (conscience) and heart (compassion) and mobilized his intelligence (competence) to act in a diversity of ways, always adapting to meet the needs of time and place (commitment). The aim of JECSE’s conferences over the last years has been to show how Jesus, far from being an obstacle to dialogue, can become the source and the means of an open, deep and fruitful dialogue in a multi-convictional context. The Society of Jesus: what's in a name?  One of the keynote speakers assisting the Primary Heads in their reflections was our well-known speaker Fr Adrian Porter sj, British Education Delegate. He talked about why the Jesuits didn't name their Society after its founder but after Jesus Himself: what is the spirit behind this, how is this connected to Ignatius’ own spiritual development and to the dynamics of his Spiritual Exercises? And how can we, in creative fidelity, build on this tradition in our own context? Answering questions risen, Adrian emphasized how at the moment there is a real danger of religion being driven out of the public sphere, but how all philosophies deserve attention and how we should not be afraid to stand up for this. And how religious education often ends up teaching only abóut religion, while we should instead dig deep down into our shared human experience, because it is at this deep level that we meet each other in the universal human themes. Nurture a sense of interiority in young children Danièle Granry, our second keynote speaker, told us how, during the her years as Principal of the pre-school and primary Jesuit school ‘Le Caousou’ in Toulouse, she devised - together with  her pedagogical team - a program to nurture a sense of interiority in young children. A program stimulating their breathing, senses and emotions, and thus enabling that 'intimate understanding and relish of things' that Ignatius speaks of. And which – even in a time where religious role models have vanished and we have to translate the gospel from scratch - allows children to meet Jesus as ‘the man with the mission’, and to grow in knowledge of self, of others and of God. Her story is also one of personal commitment as a Principal, to create a loving community together with all colleagues in the school, and on behalf of this to really dedicate time and attention to all children. Interiority, she explained, is the cement that holds everything together, building an atmosphere in the school that can help open up to many things in life. A symbolic object During the conference inspiring morning prayers helped us to deepen the awareness of our mission in our European schools. As celebrating Mass in the Conversion Chapel, and spending some meditative time in this and other special places in Loyola, helped participants discover the spiritual meaning of the venue. Bernard Peeters sj invited us to express our experiences through a symbolic object we then offered on the altar during Mass. During one of the evenings Enric Puiggrós sj and Oscar Santos, presented MUNDOSI Producciones, a group linked to the Society of Jesus that wants, through the use of everyday language, to communicate the values and experiences of Ignatian spirituality in dialogue with society and especially young people. They prepared an engaging musical performance for us, as a testimony of songs that can be live giving for young people. Workshops Besides there was a rich and much appreciated presentation of workshops, so participants could learn about valuable programs and share best practices. Our keynote speakers generously made double contributions as Danièle Granry offered a lively, creative approach on the same conference theme of talking about Jesus. And Adrian Porter presented the Examen, a key tool in the spirituality of St Ignatius for becoming aware of one’s experience and the way in which God is present in our lives. He explained how the practice of attentiveness that it encourages leads to the art of discernment, another core aspect of Ignatian spirituality. Participants looked at how the Examen can be used individually and in schools, and how it can become more than a review of the day. During a wonderful workshop on Godly play, by Spanish teachers and official Godly-play-narrators Itziar Barrenetxea and Miguel Martínez Bruneti, we could experience for ourselves the deepening effect of this means of spiritual direction and discovery based on the principles of the Montessori method and Christian worship, aiming to present the stories of the Bible in an imaginative way. The Godly Play approach helps children explore their faith through these narratives and through giving a free and personal response to them. Spanish teachers and pastoral coordinators Antonio José Gordillo Romero and María López Castellanos introduced participants with great enthusiasm to the Spanish ‘Lineas de Fuerza’ program, giving ‘guidelines’ (with a pastoral team of teachers and Jesuits working in EDUCSI, the commission for the Education apostolate of the Spanish Province) for presenting an annual Ignatian motto to all the schools in the network in Spain and Portugal. Around this pastoral motto they create all kinds of activities for both primary and secondary education, and a lot of materials to make this motto alive: posters, videos, songs, celebrations, tutorials, prayers and materials for different campaigns like Ignatian weeks, Peace day and Solidarity weeks. Since the schools in the Southern Belgium Province adopted and further developed a similar program, Bernard Peeters sj presented this variation during the conference as well. Transformation Model to become a real 21st century school One of the workshops was repeated during a very interesting visit participants could make on the last day of the conference, to the Jesuit school in San Sebastián. Amaia Arzamendi, former Principal of this school and now Education Delegate for the Spanish North Zone, and Regina Ariceta, Project Manager, presented their Transformation Model to become a real 21st century school. They explained the strategy developed ‘to dream the Jesuit school of the future’ and to turn those dreams into reality. They showed the transformation of the pedagogical project in terms of curriculum and organization of the schedule and the new organization of the teams of teachers. Participants making the school visit were warmly welcomed by current Headmaster Jon Arruti, and they could see the wonderful transformation of the learning spaces in the primary school - and even the visionary rearranging of the canteen - with their own eyes. Most admirable is the way in which the management team is step by step building this project together with all their colleagues, honoring the process and learning on the way; a truly innovative work of ‘co-creative leadership’! Likewise, another group of European Primary School leaders was welcomed at the school in Durango by Principal Eva Rodriguez. It was a great opportunity to get to know their educative program. After a brief explanation of the main projects that support our common mission in this school, participants visited the Nursery school, Kindergarten and Primary school classrooms and they had the chance to share the morning with teachers and students. My sincere gratitude goes to all colleagues who contributed to this conference and to our precious learning community.
In 2019, more than 347,000 pilgrims arrived in the city of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia, Spain). Among them, 25,000 have attended the various prayers and activities of the Ignatian program Peregrinus scheduled throughout the year and especially in summer, which have hosted 1900 of them. These figures consolidate this program that was born five years ago. During this last year 2019 we have been able to welcome throughout the year groups from different origins: Australia, Boston College, Jesuit schools, Teresianas Foundation, some pastoral activities around the path of the Jesuit schools in Galicia, Jesuit schools in Italy… All this added to the frenetic activity of the months of July and August with all the schools, youth groups, universities (Spain, Italy, Malta, Romania,...)...), some diocesan youth ministry delegations, parish groups, and a long etc. And we have also received a group of university students who have been leaking during the year and the summer wanting to make several days of retreat upon their arrival in Compostela, to whom we have accompanied them personally. We also noticed an increase in the number of people attending the Taizé prayers and the prayers of the Ignatian examination of the day, which continue to be a haven of peace and a help to rest the experience of the journey. Peregrinus offers two services, one more practical regarding accommodation and the other spiritual. We offer material with guidelines for personal prayer and group sharing as well as for reviewing or making the couple's project. They also guide two prayers open to the whole city, one in the Taizé style in the afternoon in the chapel of the Pilgrim's Office, and the other in the evening in the Church of St. Augustine, in line with the Ignatian Exam. In addition, personal and group accompaniment is provided, as well as a quiet place to rest and re-read the experience lived along the way. For the youngest (primary schools) and also for teenagers there is a gymkhana of tests for Santiago that emphasizes the values present in the Way and gives a little more knowledge of the city of Compostela. In summer, in order to carry out "Peregrinus", there are volunteers (mostly university students) who, through three work camps of 15 days each ("Apertas"), cover the attention to the pilgrims. These camps are launched along with the other MAG+S Experiences of Summer 2020. During the rest of the year the welcome is given by the Jesuits who live in Santiago and some university students from the MAG+S Galicia groups. This project now faces two challenges: the great Compostela Holy Year 2021 and the human and economic sustainability of a project that does not receive any aid or subsidy, but is sustained by the donations made by the groups that stay in our humble facilities, where we offer them a mattress on the floor and a shower with hot water, maintaining the authentic spirit of the pilgrimages. The organization informs that the period for reservation and application for accommodation is now open for this year and especially for this summer. More information at:

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Finding God

Ecumenical Discussion on Synodality at the Chapel for Europe. How is the Church best to be governed, both in organization and in doctrine? From the beginning of Christianity, this has been a question. The entire congregation of Jerusalem deliberated whether Christian gentiles should be obliged to observe the Mosaic Law. “Then the apostles and the elders, with the consent of the whole church, decided”, states Acts 15:22. The momentum of the Second Vatican Council made many lay people aware of their responsibilities and the possibility of participation in the life of the Church. In March 2018, the International Theological Commission of the Holy See published a text on synodality (community involvement in decision-making) in the life and mission of the Church. Pope Francis often uses the image of the path and invites us to move forward together, both within the Church and in society. That’s why, within the framework of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Chapel for Europe organized in January the ecumenical conference “WALKING TOGETHER: COMMON DECISION MAKING IN OUR CHURCHES," contributing through this conversation to the current and exciting discussion on the synodality in the Church. Rev Dr Sorin Selaru, Director of the Representation of the Romanian Orthodox Church to the EU - Fr. Krystian Sowa SJ, Director Chapel for Europe - Rev Laurence Flachon, Pastor Eglise du Musee Bruxelles (Protestant Church) - Prof. Dr Annemarie C. Mayer, Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven - Mgr Guy Harpigny, Bishop of Tournai (Catholic Church) - Ven Dr Paul Vrolijk, Senior Chaplain Pro-Cathedral Holy Trinity Brussels (Anglican Church) The Chapel is uniquely situated in this discussion, being able to bring together representatives of the Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox and Anglican Churches in Brussels, who shared their thoughts about the foundations of synodality in their Church, as well as the accompanying joys and challenges. For example, while in the Catholic Church there is often a primacy and priority of universality over the local, how to make the Catholic Church better listen to the local voices? From the other side, how to enhance the capacity of the non-Catholic churches to go beyond the local and national? Furthermore, how to prevent synods turning into just “talk shops,” slow on action and full of political fights. There was of course no solution valid for all. However all the representatives of different Churches agreed that the well-organized Synod can be a wonderful time of fellowship, encouraging people to get involved in the Church, constructive in reflection and decision making, and it is the best way for the Churches to move forward. And on the way, the Churches can learn a lot from each other.
The Interreligious Space is a project that was born in the Migra Studium Foundation (Barcelona) more than a decade ago. The idea arises in a context of social change that makes it necessary to work in the field of cultural and religious diversity. Educating and raising awareness on this subject and doing so from an experiential approach are the two fundamental objectives pursued by the programme. Approximately three years ago, the Fundación Migra Studium began to work together with other entities from the social sector of the Society and similar, with the aim of disseminating the proposal and working in a network. There was already excellent previous work on the subject in the different entities: to this fact we add the interest and the shared sensitivity to carry out educational actions in plural societies, with the aim of favouring spaces of cohesion. All this made possible the materialization of the line of joint work that is already an incipient reality. Today we can say that the experience of interreligious spaces is very positive: the Arrupe Centre's Interreligious Valencia project has been working hard for more than a year, building links with the city's religious communities and educating and raising awareness among many people through its activities. The space of the Red Íncola, in Valladolid, officially opened its doors this year, within the framework of the VIII Conference on Religious Diversity "Discovering, Knowing, Living Together". It did so with a presentation of the project and a magnificent guided visit. In the case of Madrid, the space of Pueblos Unidos is in the process of reflection and construction: it will be done in a great city, it is worth emphasizing, because of the demand that the complexity and plurality of a context like this can imply. Other entities are participating in one way or another: the Ellacuría Foundation in Bilbao, the Claver Association in Seville, the Atalaya Intercultural in Burgos, the Centro Lasa in Tudela and the Andalusian Chair for the Dialogue of Religions (Candir) in the Faculty of Theology in Granada. The project is developed in a wide space in which various workshops and activities are carried out as an itinerary. They work on aspects related to the spiritual dimension of people, the religious fact in plural societies, the mapping of diversity, stereotypes, prejudices and discriminatory acts, interculturality and interreligious dialogue. This vast field is presented in a pedagogical way, seeking maximum interaction with the people who participate, their involvement and their abilities to build shared meanings. It seems interesting to remember that, for two years and in a successive way, the different entities have been organizing a summer course open to professionals of the educational and social sector, which aims to visualize and experience the religious plurality of the host city. Barcelona and Valencia have already welcomed this possibility. It should also be noted that no two projects are the same. Each one starts from the same proposal, but is developed in a different context.
Spirituality workers from across Britain and Ireland gathered at St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre to attend a key training session on mental health. Speakers came at the invitation of Fr Roger Dawson SJ, Director of St Beuno's, to share new approaches to accompanying those suffering or stigmatised because of poor mental health.  Kate Dawson originally qualified as a social worker and has since gained 30 years’ worth of experience in the public sector and within mental health fields. Kate started a powerful conversation among those gathered about how self-compassion can in fact help others.  Steve Noone, a clinical psychologist, led a fascinating session looking at the effects of stress, introducing the group to mindfulness techniques. This included holding a raisin and noting sensations such as the way it felt, sounded, smelt and tasted, and then eating a raisin in a (slow!) mindful way.  Ellie Harrison, Spirituality Resources Coordinator for the Jesuits in Britain, said: "The course was very helpful and has changed the way I approach my work. While mindfulness and Ignatian Spirituality are different things and have different uses / values, there can be much to learn from both approaches to the way we live our lives. A deeper understanding of the experiential, whether an individual or shared experience, can help us to approach our lives in a more positive way and help us accompany others better."
A testimony of Fr. Zef Bisha. “My vocation? I owe it to my parents. Every day we secretly said a prayer to ask Jesus for forgiveness before going to sleep. Secretly” he stresses. "We were prohibited to pray under the communist regime." This is what Fr. Zef Bisha SJ, coordinator for Albania, said about his journey to freedom. "After the collapse of the regime, I too, like many others, went to help rebuild our little church dedicated to St. Nicholas, one stone upon another. It was so significant for me giving shape to a place that had become a landfill. Building this church has meant for me stones that have marked my life”. Then I came in touch with the nuns and the priest who came to celebrate the liturgical functions in the newly built chapel. “I started helping them as they went around the villages serving the people. In 1994 I entered the seminary; I continued to help as an interpreter and wherever needed. But I felt that something was missing. I was unable to express it, but I was not completely happy. It was Ray Pace SJ, my spiritual father, who helped me understand what was going on inside me. That summer I was invited to take part in an experience with the "Project for Hope" group led by Fr. Massimo Nevola SJ. A few days were enough to understand that something about him was different, his way of being and the way he worked. I felt welcomed, I fully savoured the spirit of service and friendship of the group. This is why I asked to enter the Society of Jesus. I went through a time of discernment to become aware of my desires, to become familiar with the Society, to get to know myself and finally to put everything in the hands of God. Building the Church today means a continuous conversion. In Albania, different religious beliefs are present. The stones are no longer what they once used to be. The fluidity that has infiltrated our country leads us to forget who we really are. Often one gets the feeling of sowing in vain. Let us never give up! Let us form tomorrow’s generation for freedom ”.

Promoting Justice

In 2016, the organizations of the Social Sector of the Society of Jesus in Spain wanted to add their knowledge and work for the promotion of a culture of solidarity and inclusion with migrants and refugees. With the program and campaign Hospitality, they are doing it through reception, cooperation, advocacy, awareness raising and education. In Valencia, the Hospitality program began to be developed with the certainty that this initiative belonged to all the people linked to the Company in the city. In three years, the hospitality project, entrusted to the SJM Valencia technical team, has grown in terms of volunteers, resources and people hosted. The project is supported by volunteers and financial support from friends of the Society of Jesus (and the Province). Thus, it would not be possible without the cession of spaces on the part of the Apostolic Platform. This year the "child God" has brought an enormous gift and since December 26 the program of Hospitality in Valencia has a new space of welcome. Two refugee families now share one of the "houses" of the Professional Schools of St. Joseph. 2020, the cession of the space by the Schools, the donation of the community and the donations of furniture from the Ignatian family make it possible for us to "widen the ropes of our tent" to welcome. Foto © Kristóf Hölvényi / JRS Europa
Eight artists have come together to raise money for refugees fleeing conflict and those making life-changing pilgrimages. Book your place at the auction at Farm Street Church on 30th Jan! John Woodhouse has organised the exhibition ‘Journeys in hope’ at Farm Street Church Hall (entrance at 114 Mount Street) where the paintings will be shown for the next month and be sold at a special auction event at the hall at 6pm on January 30th 2020. All proceeds will go to supporting three charities: Westminster Lourdes Pilgrimage, Aid to the Church in Need and Safe Passage. As well as John Woodhouse, the artists taking part are Nelson Ferreira, Alex Roch, Teresa Newham, Pauline Barley, Mike Quirke, Norah McKeogh and the Farm Street Church artist in residence, Andrew White. Many of the paintings explore the themes of Syrian migration and pilgrimage. John Woodhouse – a retired librarian, organist and choirmaster – now organises the Westminster interfaith group and has become a keen painter. He explained why he felt moved to organise this ambitious event: “I really felt I should use my art to try and change the world and convey what I actually believe in. After hearing Lord Alf Dubbs speaking about safe passage for child refugees, I was absolutely appalled when I heard about babies being taken across the sea in open boats which could possibly sink – and I felt I had to do something about that. So that’s why I started to paint totally different subjects and moved away from portraits and landscapes that I had been doing. So that’s where the painting 'Safe Passage' comes from and the others followed on. “I then had a wonderful encounter with Elizabeth Uwalaka at Lourdes. Elizabeth is the Pilgrimage Administrator for the Westminster diocese who suggested the idea of an art auction and asked me to paint a picture about Lourdes for her – which I did and that lead to us being here today.” Nelson Ferreira will be offering a commissioned portrait at the auction. Nelson explained that his own travels had led him to take part in this event: “Before the conflict I visited Syria myself and couldn’t believe the hospitality I received from people. I was so touched by my connection with them that I felt I had to take part in this auction to help those who have fled for their lives.” Alex Roch is a regular visitor to Lourdes and sees a parallel in the spirituality of art and in the experiences of those visiting the holy shrine.” Teresa Newham's work also draws inspiration from nature, travel and the quirkiness of everyday life.  Pauline Barley’s work, Worship, shows Hindu women standing in a river during a religious festival: “This painting was a challenge to myself – the strong women dressed in vibrant colours standing in the tranquillity of the water with its reflections. I am so happy that it’s part of the exhibition – I couldn’t say no because I am so touched by the desperation people must feel when they are forced to flee from peril and danger. As a mother I am always asking myself what would I do in that situation.”
The "Erwin" centre was set up in 2010 in the “Crocifisso di miracoli” (Cross of the miracles) Parish entrusted to the Jesuits in Catania. "In winter, a homeless boy froze to death. Erwin, in fact, was very well known in Catania," Fr. Narciso Sunda, of 47, parish priest of the community since May explains. "An event that has deeply challenged the parish reality". As a result, the reception centre for the winter months of December to May was set up so that no other cases similar to Erwin’s will occur. Some buildings within the parish are being allocated for the project. These 12 young boys, arrive at the Centre at 19:30, take a shower and change. "During these days we have several Sicilians, a young man from Pakistan, an Indian, one from Burkina Faso, a Romanian, and a Pole" Fr. Narciso explains. They are recommended by the diocesan Caritas who sends them to the parish, where they find a large room with personal lockers where they can spend the night, as well as the possibility of taking a shower, a hot meal and, above all, someone to connect with. There are 300 volunteers who take turns in preparing dinner. "The group or family who prepares dinner comes to the Centre to eat with the homeless," he points out. "Sharing a meal is different than just offering food and leave: it is an expression of dignity and possible friendship". At 10.30 pm the volunteer on duty sleeps over at the centre to be present in case of need. The youngest of them is 18 years old and the oldest 72. "When they find work or are allocated elsewhere, they make place for others who arrive." This is a good challenge for all the parishioners: “getting to know the different stories, one immediately realizes that we could have been in that situation, a poverty that we manifest in other sectors and areas of our life. Many end up on the streets for migration, economic and financial reasons and also because of marriage separations," Fr. Narciso concludes. "Welcoming their poverty is an opportunity to welcome ours."
‘A day of great joy’. A Syrian family seeking refuge in Ireland has just been housed in the Cappolis Cottage, a small bungalow on the grounds of Clongowes Wood College. Khalad and Noor Al Sheblak arrived in the parish of Clane/Rathcoffey on Tuesday 10 December 2019, with their two small girls Dania and Taleen, both of whom were born in a refugee camp in Jordan. Over the last six months, the Jesuit community in Clongowes and a group of transition year students have been helping local parishioners to make possible the welcoming of a refugee family to Ireland in response to the plea made by Pope Francis that every parish around the world take in one refugee family and care for them.  Fr Michael Sheil SJ, rector of Clongowes, spoke about the process at morning assembly in Clongowes the day after the family arrived and made their home in the cottage. He said one of the conditions of a parish being able to host a family was that they could guarantee suitable accommodation. “The Jesuit Community was delighted to provide this guarantee by offering Cappolis Cottage, the small bungalow on the back avenue” In addition, he noted that “A small army of volunteers and a group of our own TY have worked to give the cottage a facelift.” He said that a great variety of events had taken place in the parish to raise funds to enable a proper reception for a refugee family. Fr Michael told the staff and pupils that “our offering the cottage is an important gesture of solidarity by Clongowes Wood College in the life of the parish,” before adding, “You will probably see Khalad and Noor and their girls from time to time on the back avenue and I hope that you will make sure to help them feel at home.”  The rector said that the Al Sheblak were one of the lucky few who have been able to escape from the suffering of being homeless refugees “just like the Holy Family all those years ago when God joined our human race and when for us and for our salvation He came down from Heaven and became man.” Read Fr Michael’s full address to the students below. Read more

Youth & Media

The Jesuits at the National Meeting of Christians in High Schools in Strasbourg. On 1 and 2 February, the National Meeting of Christians in High Schools (CGE) takes place in Strasbourg. Several Jesuits, chaplains of high schools are present for this event which brings together 700 students. "Student & Christian: influencer or follower? "It is on this theme that the next National Meeting of CGE (Christians in the Grande Ecole) opens on 1 and 2 February in Strasbourg. On the programme for the 700 students expected: 31 workshops, 6 round tables and an inaugural conference on the place of Christians in society, bringing together Mgr de Moulins-Beaufort, the historian of Catholicism Guillaume Cuchet and Anne Lécu, a Dominican woman and doctor in prison. Four Jesuit chaplains of CGE students from all over France accompany their chaplaincies to this event: Fr. Nicolas Rousselot sj (Polytechnique and associated schools), Fr. Dominique Degoul sj (Centrale Supélec and HEC), Fr. Jacques Enjalbert SJ, who is also CGE regional chaplain for the Ile-de-France region (Sciences Po in Paris), and Fr. Kostia de Leusse SJ (ICAM and Purpan). Present in the chaplaincies of the grandes écoles for more than a century, the Jesuits maintain a close link with CGE, having given impetus to its creation by federating different circles of Catholic students in the 19th century. Helping young people to take their place in the Church and in society "Our role is to accompany students in building up living Christian communities on campus," explains Fr. Jacques Enjalbert SJ. Recognized as an association in its own right in student life, "these communities make it possible to develop dimensions of fraternal life, deepening of spiritual life, formation with the organization of conferences, service and commitment, and finally witnessing to the faith among other students. Several baptisms take place each year at Sciences Po," says the regional chaplain. Faithful to the Ignatian tradition, the dimensions of personal accompaniment of the students in the discernment of their vocation and the unification of their Christian life with their studies remain deeply rooted in the chaplaincies animated by Jesuits. The MAGIS network Some young people from the MAGIS network, a platform of activities for 18-35 year olds throughout France, will also be present at the event, accompanied by the director, Fr. Gabriel Pigache SJ. Gabriel Pigache sj. "The MAGIS network supports the educational mission of the Jesuits among students," he emphasizes, "by acting as a bridge between the different youth pastoral networks. »   The objective for this weekend is therefore to make the students aware of the activities carried out by MAGIS and more widely by the Ignatian network: sessions in Spiritual Centres, the Magis House, the MAGIS teams and the summer of 2020 in Penboc'h. 
“En bonne compagnie. Ignace de Loyola", the French edition of the story "En buena Compañia. Ignacio de Loyola” (Editorial Mensajero, 2019) about the life of our founder dedicated to the little ones has been published. It’s a text adapted for the classroom (6-8 years old), but also intended to be used as a story at younger ages and to be read, even without knowing how to read. In addition, the volume is being translated right now into Czech and will soon appear in Indonesian idiom. Because it is important for our students to know what happened before the cannon fire, how Iñigo met Jesus and who his friends were in the Lord... That is how this book came about, with drawings adapted to children and adults that aim not only to introduce the curious reader to the world of reading but also to learn as soon as possible what Ignatian spirituality or the search for God consists of. There are three authors of this story, the Jesuit Alvaro Lobo, the teacher Rocío Esteban and the cartoonist and father of students of a Jesuit school, Fernando de Pablo. Furthermore, by reading this book, one collaborates in solidarity with educational projects of the Society of Jesus in the world. At the moment there are many students who are discovering through this story that the life of St. Ignatius is more than a story of a gentlemen. We hope that the dream of our protagonist will continue to reach the hearts of many more people and always... "In Good Company".
From 9 to 11 November 2019, the leaders of the Eucharistic Youth Movement (EYM) met in Reims for the Effata gathering. This event was an opportunity for the animators, leaders and other volunteers involved in the movement to reflect for three days on the orientations of the EYM for the coming years. A reaffirmation of the identity of the EYM and its links to the Ignatian family These three days reaffirmed the identity foundations of the movement, the true DNA of the EYM, which must be preserved and transmitted: the importance of the prayer of offering, the "integral" formation (human, pedagogical and spiritual), especially through fundamental tools, the preponderant place of a strong visual identity, as well as music and singing, for a better sense of belonging to the movement. Effata was also the ideal moment to reiterate the very special relationship that the EYM has with the Ignatian Family. Thus, it was decided to make the proposals of Jesuit spirituality to the 18-25 year olds more widely known, while at the same time developing the links between the EYM and the other offerings of the Ignatian Family (MAGIS teams, Chemin Neuf, CLC...). The leaders gathered for the event were able to benefit from the interventions of many Jesuits, including that of their provincial, Father François Boëdec. Finally, in the spirit of openness, it was decided that the EYM France, in parallel, would progressively turn towards the international scene, developing deeper links with EYMs in other countries. Testimony of Samuel, participant in the Effata weekend: Meetings, music, celebrations, but also reflection, sharing and prayer, it is difficult to sum up the richness of Effata in a few words! Effata was first of all an invitation to reflect on what we, the leaders of the movement, wanted to bring to the young people we supervise during the year and in camps during the summer. Having myself grown up in the EYM since I was 8 years old, I am aware of the importance that the EYM has had in my journey, and of all that it can bring to young people in building their faith. The times of reflection were oriented towards the unity of the movement, its pedagogy and its place in the Church and the Ignatian family. In addition, more festive times punctuated these reflections: we sang, prayed, discovered the city of Rheims during a big game and even attended a live interview with Saint Ignatius during a show presented by 75 young people! I retain from this weekend the feeling that everyone was able to express themselves in listening and benevolence, and the final resolutions reflect the participation of all in their elaboration. However, I do not forget that they are only guidelines, and that it will be up to each of us, at our own level, to implement them in the field. There is still a long way to go, but the energy that emerged from Effata is proof that the EYM still has a lot to say and to live within the Church!
Are you between 18 and 35 years of age? Would you spend a meaningful week between the 1st and 9th of August, 2020, among youths, Jesuits and their friends from various countries? Are you ready to go beyond your comfort zone and try yourself in practical experiments? Are you into pilgrimage, the spirituality of Saint Ignatius and charity, or arts and ecology? Do you happen to speak English? If your answers are yes, there is nothing else to do then to check out the details of Magis Europe 2020, held in Hungary, and register between the 1st of March and 15th of May. You may do it via our new website »«, where you may also find the background and all the details of the meeting. In Ignatian spirituality, magis marks one’s effort to find what is according to the will and to the greater glory of God. With this is mind, the upcoming event, dating back to more than two decades, has two parts: Ignatian experiments and the closing event. During the experiments you will be encouraged to experience yourself, others and God in a new way. You’ll find yourself in unusual situations, and probably realize that teamwork is essential while making friends with people from various countries, and discovering that we all belong to one international community of human beings. This is also manifest in the venues of the experiments: besides Hungary, it is neighbouring Slovakia, Austria and Romania that welcome participants, all of them finally gathering in Miskolc, Northern-Hungary, for the closing event. The central theme of Magis 2020 will be the Eucharist under the motto: “You are my Bread, my Life, my Love”. One month after our event, the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress will be held in Budapest, Hungary – a fact that inspired the choice of this year’s focus. Plus, the first Universal Apostolic Preference of the Jesuits is “to show the way to God”. Magis aims to do this by exploring in depth the Eucharistic aspect of Ignatian spirituality through the pillars of the daily schedule with morning prayers, noon or evening examens, holy mass, experiments and Magis circles. Though next August may seem to be in the distant future, and there is also time until the registration and check-in, the new website is already worth browsing. Our aim was to create an online platform where you may get an insight into what will await you if you make up your mind to dedicate one week of your next summer to Magis Europe 2020. Be it a retreat in the Mediterranean-like mountains in Southern-Hungary; a pilgrimage in the footsteps of Pope Francis to a famous shrine in Romania dwelled by Hungarians; a spiritual bike tour around Lake Balaton; evangelization by means of Slovakian wooden churches; learning English through fun and spirituality; spending one week as a Jesuit – the aim is the very same: to find ways to make the most and the best of ourselves, of one another, and then to render it to the greater glory of our common God.

In-depth Reflection

Christus, the review of Ignatian spiritual formation, publishes an issue on the theme "For an accompaniment without hold". The crisis of abuses, the words of Pope Francis especially in his Letter to the People of God and more recently the documentary of Arte Abused nuns, the other scandal of the Church have prompted the editorial board to take up the question of accompaniment at the risk of the hold and the means to guard against it. "The objective of this issue is to deal with the relationship of spiritual accompaniment in order to be clear about what is consciously or unconsciously at stake in the accompaniment relationship both on the side of the accompanier and the person being accompanied. This issue is thus addressed to both. It is also a useful tool for formators of accompaniers," says Marie-Caroline Bustaret, deputy editor of Christus magazine. The dossier of Christus magazine gives the floor to companions, trainers of companions, a doctor, a psychologist but also biblical scholars. It invalidates the idea that certain functions would immediately make them suitable for accompaniment. Ability to listen, training and supervision remain essential. This issue reminds us that everyone can one day find themselves confronted with the hold, exercise it or undergo it. How to spot when the relationship slips into abuse? What safeguards should be put in place to avoid being trapped? What is the right to refuse? What can we accept? How can we respect the freedom of the other person when we are accompanied and how can we preserve our own freedom when we are accompanied? So many questions addressed in this dossier.   This issue is intended both for spiritual accompaniers and for those who are being accompanied. They will be able to reread their accompaniment to see if it fits well within the framework described in these articles. > Read the contents of this issue of Christus magazine.
10 years of International Understanding Study. The Chair of Practical Philosophy with a focus on International Understanding at the Munich School of Philosophy will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2020. On the occasion of the anniversary, the chair holder Prof. Dr. Michael Reder will discuss "Islam and Religious Freedom" with Prof. Dr. Katajun Amirpur (Cologne) and Prof. Dr. Heiner Bielefeldt (Erlangen) on January 8. We spoke with Professor Reder about the work of the chair, the importance of international understanding in political philosophy and dangers for democracy. Professor Reder, 10 years ago you took over the Chair of Practical Philosophy with a focus on international understanding. How has your research changed during this time? A lot has happened in the past ten years, especially in a global perspective. One can think, for example, of the many conflicts and wars, the flight of millions of people worldwide, the rise of right-wing populism, or the intense debate about the consequences of climate change. All these developments shape the debate on global interrelationships and are therefore more than relevant for the research and teaching of my chair. From the very beginning, the aim of the chair has been to philosophically reflect global developments. On the one hand, this involves appropriate descriptions and the search for convincing terms to describe the changed forms of global coexistence. On the other hand, it also deals with normative and political issues. In this respect, the chair asks, for example, about successful forms of living together. My research has become both more concrete and more general in recent years. More concrete, because I am looking more and more closely at individual global phenomena. More general, because I am increasingly asking how philosophy in its reflections can really do justice to global dynamics. What role does the topic of international understanding currently play in practical philosophy? International understanding was and is not a genuine philosophical concept. The term originates from the post-war period and the concrete search for forms of peaceful coexistence beyond cultural or political rifts. This search in the face of global conflict situations is becoming increasingly important today within practical philosophy. The question of democracy in a globalised world, the order of the world economy, the legitimation of state action in the face of permeable borders - all these are questions that are gaining enormously in importance today. For example, I am currently jointly responsible for a major project on transnational practices of solidarity in the field of migration, European integration and the global textile industry. As different as the subject areas may be, philosophy can be used to show what they have in common, both ethically and politically, and what possible forms of design can take. Islam and its significance in politics and society remains a central theme. This topic has also become particularly explosive due to increased migration. The debate about Islam today is often a crucial issue in Western societies. It is striking that many contributions often present a very undifferentiated picture of Islam. Islamist fundamentalism, political Islam and cultural secular Islam are often not separated but lumped together. This often has disastrous consequences, even when it comes to the topic of migration. What role does political philosophy play in these discussions? Political philosophy can help to draw a differentiated picture. This makes it possible to see the most diverse groups and dynamics that shape the globalized world, even within cultural groups such as Islam. It is only on this basis that a convincing ethical reflection can begin and then be asked how we want to shape the world politically. Political philosophy is of course first and foremost an academic discipline. Especially when it begins to spell out the basic questions of solidarity or democracy globally, it does justice to the current situation. This is a great challenge, because despite its orientation towards the universal, philosophy in the 20th century often thought in terms of nation states. But political philosophy is always also a public matter. That is why I also see myself as a public actor who, on the one hand, interferes in social debates and, on the other hand, seeks cooperation partners who pursue the same goal of international understanding. What does such cooperation actually look like? At the moment, for example, I am planning a project between art and philosophy, together with the artist Lia Sáile and whiteBOX. The intervention EASTERN MUNICH deals with the topics interculturality and interreligiousness in the city of Munich. For this purpose, the floor plans of various past, present and future religious buildings from Munich are projected onto Wittelsbacheplatz in Munich in large-scale video projections. By superimposing the projections and sliding them into one another, the floor plans become not only visible but also "accessible" through their disclosure, thus enabling virtual border crossings. This is practical international understanding, in which, among other things, art and philosophy can be fertilized. What are your plans for the coming years with the chair? Global networking has only just begun. To that extent, the plans are correspondingly diverse. Specifically, I'm working on larger publications to represent future generations and on another on global solidarity as a form of international understanding.
The changing face of work in the contemporary world was the theme for a workshop held in Trinity College Dublin in October 2019, and the current issue of Studies publishes the proceedings. The purpose of the workshop was to treat of the immense cultural and practical changes in the world of work from the perspective of Christian ethics. It was the brainchild of Mark Bell, Regius Professor of Laws in TCD. For this reason, apart from having a paper in this special issue (on EU labour law), he introduces the full set of nine papers from the workshop in a summary preface. In his preface, Professor Bell notes the factors which were identified by the International Labour Organisation’s Global Commission on the Future of Work. Chief among them are technological innovation (especially the role of digital platforms), climate change (e.g., industrial restructuring for the sake of a low-carbon economy), and demographic change (increased life expectancy, ageing population, etc.). The purpose of the TCD workshop was to explore “the extent to which Christian Ethics could provide insight relevant for shaping law and policy”. US theologian Christine Firer Hinze examines questions of justice in relation to labour and livelihood. She is convinced that modern Catholic Social Teaching and thought, for all its limitations, “provides a contemporary, Gospel- and tradition-based understanding of human flourishing, a specific orientation toward people and institutions, and a set of moral principles and base-points”. In effect, this conviction is shared by all the contributors to this volume. For Firer Hinze, if the Catholic social perspective is “feminist-inflected” it will acquire a “needed corrective lens” in order to gain a truly ethical view of political economy, labour regulation, and economic disparities linked to gender, race, class, etc. Social Catholics and social feminists concur on the need for a shift in the basic vantage point and priorities through which labour markets and economy are seen and shaped. Botyh favour a democratic, participative political economy centred on inclusive, sustainable livelihood. Both recognise that achieving this will require reordering and in some cases flipping the priorities of currently-reigning neo-liberal market orthodoxy and its supporting ideologies and cultures. Kevin Hargaden takes a hard look at “the gift of work” in the light of Catholic Social Teaching. He queries the neoliberal presumption which has crept into standard discourse, that employers “give jobs”, and that workers therefore should show appreciation and gratitude by giving the job first priority in their lives. Catholic Social Teaching has a very different understanding of ‘the gift of work’. It proposes that every human person is engaged in a work of justice that transcends the transactional relationship between employers and employed. Work should free, not enslave, us. Other papers in this volume include a paper by Boston College Professor Cathleen Kaveny which calls for clear distinctions between work and ordinary life, especially so as to resist the totalising tendency of the concept of work in the freer work environments of recent times. The remaining papers visit such topics as the tie between religion and labour law; freedom of association; justice and dignity in the sphere of temporary work – the gig economy, in which the connection between the worker and the company is slight; and issues raised by the lack of job security. This issue of Studies may be purchased here »
Publication and study day at the Catholic University of Leuven. The research network 'Jesuits in the Benelux' organised a research day on the rich heritage of the Jesuits in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg at the Catholic University of Leuven (KU-Leuven) on 18 December. The initiative comes from the research network "Jezuïeten in de Lage Landen" (Jesuits in the Low Countries), created in 2018 by the KADOC-KU Leuven (Documentation and Research Centre for Culture, Religion and Society of the Flemish Catholic University of Leuven), in collaboration with the Jesuitica project of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Sciences and researchers of this university. The aim of this network is to support research on Jesuit history in the Benelux by promoting the archives deposited at KADOC by the former Jesuit Provinces of Flanders (BSE), French-speaking Belgium and Luxembourg (BML) and the Netherlands (NER). Several interventions focused on some of the riches kept in these archives. A first one focused on documents concerning physical education and sports, as well as games in the curricula of the colleges to show the importance given to them by the Jesuits. A second one showed in pictures some of the richness and enormous diversity of the audiovisual collections: films, audio cassettes, posters, souvenirs... A last one presented the new research platform "Ignis - Leuven Centre for Jesuit Studies" whose project is to valorise the rich collections of archives and writings of the Jesuits of the Benelux, and to stimulate international and interdisciplinary research with an emphasis on history, spirituality, education, missionary activities and heritage. Leaving the framework of the KADOC archives, Sarah Barthélemy (Catholic University of Louvain) developed some aspects of her recently defended thesis around the appropriation of the Jesuit model as a founding act in "The Faithful Companions of Jesus" (1820), founded by Marie Madeleine de Bengy de Bonnault d'Houët. Historical journey in the relations between the foundress and the Jesuits of her entourage, the institutionalisation of a new female congregation before the Society of Jesus and the Congregations of the Roman Curia. Barbara Baudry (Jesuit Archives EOF, Vanves) took the listener to the Jesuit Archives preserved in Vanves to reveal its richness - pointing out the rich collections of the missions -, and to propose some avenues of research. The Survival of the Jesuits in the Low Countries, 1773-1850 The day ended with the presentation of the book The Survival of the Jesuits in the Low Countries, 1773-1850, the fruit of a colloquium organised on 23-25 October 2014 by the KADOC-KU Leuven and the University of Namur. It deals with the difficult period that the Jesuit order experienced in the Benelux, between the suppression in 1773 and the creation of the new Province of the Netherlands in 1850. After the presentation of the new book by the scientific editors, Leo Kenis and Marc Lindeijer SJ, the authors present suggested avenues for future research. Michel Hermans SJ, Archivist, Lecturer at the University of Namur and at the Centre Sèvres (Paris) Photo: From left to right: Thierry Dobbelstein sj, Barbara Baudry and Michel Hermans sj, participants and representatives of the EOF Province at the colloquium.

Preparing for Mission

On February 10 Fr. Alfred Darmanin deceased in Naxxar, Malta. From April 1998 till May 2000 he served as President of the Conference of European Provincials. In the “Jesuits in Europe News Service” of 6 April 1998 he wrote: “Part of my role as President will be to defrost rigid partitions existing among the various sectors of our European apostolates and to solidify already existing areas of collaboration. With your help and support, of course.” Fr. Alfred was born on 22 November 1940 in Senglea, Malta. He joined the Society at Loyola House, Naxxar on 10 October 1958 and pronounced his Final Vows on 22 April 1976. He studied in Spokane, USA and Leuven and obtained a PhD in psychology from Berkeley. In the then Maltese Province he served as Provincial's Delegate responsible for the formation of Lay Collaborators, Director of the Psychology section in the Education Faculty and later Head of the Psychology Department. Fr. Darmanin was very much sought after for courses or conferences on Management in Malta and abroad. He also assisted Religious Orders in evaluating their apostolates or prepare for their Chapters. He gave retreats, recollections and conferences to youths and religious. He authored books on psychology and on leadership. He contributed various articles to newspapers and magazine. He was also invited to participate in TV and radio programmes. He accompanied and supported many religious and laity in their spiritual and academic jouney. In 2015 he moved to the Province lnfirmary at Naxxar and spent his final years in a wheelchair in peaceful acceptance of God's will.
It’s been only 11 months since the “Universal Apostolic Preferences” were officially approved by Pope Francis as a 10-year mission for the Society of Jesus. The UAPs were the culmination of months of discernment by Jesuit communities and works around the world as they answered a simple question: “Where do we hear Christ’s call?” Since the release of the UAPs, there has been a flurry of activity around the Society of Jesus as Jesuits and their colleagues have tried to faithfully discern not just how the document will change the way they work, but also how they are called to be witness. During this time, we have collected pictures, videos and testimonies from the worldwide Society. We’ve seen Fr. General and his Assistants travel the world, engaging with communities and apostolates to turn the UAPs from a collection of words into a living document. We will be releasing these stories in the coming weeks, but until then you can whet your appetite with this teaser. Here are the first stories:  Spirituality for busy people: the Exercises Jesuits give voice to the defenseless Cardinal Tagle: evangelization through the media Find daily another story on    
Two complex entities, the Near-East and Maghreb Province (Lebanon, Syria, the Holy Land, Jordania, Egypt, Algeria and Morocco) and The European Region of the Lower Countries (Flanders - North Belgium - and The Netherlands) received a new Major Superior.   Near-East and Maghreb Province. On January 28, 2020, Fr General appointed Fr. Michael Zammit Mangion Provincial for the Near-East and Maghreb Province. He will take charge of the Province on June 28, 2020. Fr. Zammit Mangion, born in 1962 is actually province consultor,  assistant of the province treasurer and superior of the Syrian communities of Aleppo, Homs and Damas and of the Jesuit Residence and Retreat House Our Lady of Consolation in Taanayel (Lebanon). May the Lord grant him strength and wisdom, that he may lead the Province in the paths of God.   European Low Countries On January 29th Father General has appointed Fr Marc Desmet SJ  to be the  new Regional Superior of the European Low Countries . Marc will take office on July 31  - until that moment Fr. Jan Stuyt remains Vice-Regional. Marc has been consultor of the Region since its beginning two years ago.  Father Marc Desmet was born in Roeselare (West Flanders) in Belgium 1956. He studied medicine and practiced as a medical doctor during a few years, before joining the Jesuits in 1984. He studied philosophy in Paris and Theology in Louvain, and was ordained a priest in 1992. Since 1992 he has specialized in palliative care and is one of the leading voices in Belgium on this topic. He published several books on medical ethics and on discernment.  He has been invited professor at the theological faculty of Centre Sèvres in Paris. Father Desmet is since 2013  superior of the Jesuit international community Leuven, where there are eight Jesuits from the Region ELC plus eight Jesuits from other countries who study at the Catholic University of Leuven. The Dutch Province of the Society of Jesus and the North Belgian Province merged in 2017 and became the Region of the European Low Countries. At present the Region has 125 members and hosts another 25 other Jesuits who are returned missionaries.
First vows, last vows, diaconal ordinations and priestly ordinations.