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The first joint Formation Gathering of Jesuits from central and eastern Europe.

The merging of Eastern and Central European Jesuit provinces is picking up pace. Over 40 Jesuits assembled from Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Austria, and Switzerland to the first joint Formation Gathering in Nuremberg.

Mission to reconciliation and justice

The Jesuits who came to Nuremberg undergo their formation at various places in Europe and the USA. At the center of the meeting stands the mutual getting-to-know each other as companions in the common mission of reconciliation and justice, as the last General Congregation describes it.

The Jesuits were sent to many different places in Nuremberg and its surroundings, where they have met people, which live at the peripheries of our society. Even before the Order was officially founded, the first Jesuits had grown into one apostolic body through the common apostolic service.

Encounters that transform

These were common encounters in the everyday life of people – like drinking tea with the needy in the "Wärmestube", cooking together with migrants or visiting sick elderly religious sisters. "These encounters is no playing around, they change the way we live our lives as Jesuits", said Fr. Johannes Siebner SJ, the provincial of the German province as he lead the celebration of the Eucharist with the homeless in Domus misericordiae, an institution for the homeless in Nuremberg.

Discernment in common

Parallel to the common mission stood on the agenda the common Ignatian discernment of spirits– another element, which belongs to the daily life of a Jesuit. In small groups, the Jesuit scholastics and brothers addressed different issues concerning the future of the Society of Jesus in Europe. It was meant to help them share about relevant questions and their own experiences on the topic as well as to try out and practice various methods of discernment in common.   

Building block of coalescence

At the end of the meeting, a celebration of the Eucharist took place at the Jesuit church of St. Claire with five newly ordained priests from Hungary and Sweden. "Even trough the smallest works the kingdom of heaven on earth can be built up", said Fr. Thomas Idergard SJ, referring to the life of Alfons Rodrigues SJ, who is a patron saint of Jesuit brothers. This mass was small yet an encouraging building block for the coalescence of the new Jesuit province in Central and Eastern Europe.

Beside the official program there were many opportunities to familiarize with the respective home countries and provinces and to create or deepen friendships.

The next such meeting of Jesuits in formation will take place in January 2019 in Hungary. By 2021 the five provinces, which encompass seven different European countries, will coalesce into one new central European province.

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