The core mission at JESC (Jesuit European Social Centre) is to reflect on the life, policies and practice of the European Union. We seek an engagement which authentically expresses Christian faith, remains close to the poor and marginalised, analyses social reality with competence, and advocates for justice in European political structures. In a context in which the EU is undergoing the most acute political crisis of its existence, JESC seeks a critical but constructive engagement with the EU. As a work of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, JESC expresses the commitment of the Society of Jesus to a Europe where human rights, freedom and solidarity are the foundation of integration.

Operationally, JESC is organized in four Secretariats:

    • - European Affairs: an institutional presence in Brussels to the EU Institutions, and with ecclesial and civil society organizations that relate to them, facilitating discussion and reflection of European issues.
    • - Justice: coordination and assistance to the four Justice Networks of the JCEP and support for the Delegate for the Social Apostolate of the Conference.
    • - Ecology: support for the advocacy work on integral ecology of Jesuits and partners under the umbrella of EcoJesuit; publication of “Eco-bites”, our ecology newsletter.
    • - Leadership: running of the European Leadership Programme (ELP), a five-month Ignatian based formation that combines European politics, the experience of living in community, and practical insights into the European institutions, and also spiritual reflection, coaching sessions and volunteering activities.

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A few changes in JESC: Peter Rožič and Edmond Grace leaving and Filipe Martins will be the new director. Franck Janin SJ, President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, announced that Peter Rožič SJ will leave his position as Director of JESC and European Coordinator of the Social Apostolate on 6 September 2022. He will be succeeded by Filipe Martins SJ. Filipe Martins started working at JESC in September 2021, becoming, at the same time, a member of the St. Benedict Community in Brussels. He was JESC Justice Renewal Assistant and Congress Officer for the Justice and Ecology Congress that took place in Loyola in March 2022. Filipe was born in Lisbon in 1970, got a degree in Electronics Engineering, and before entering the Society of Jesus in 1995, did one year of volunteer work in Mozambique. He studied Theology in Madrid and Rome. After returning to Portugal, Filipe served the province successively as Vocations Promoter and Director of the University Pastoral Centre of Coimbra, then as Coordinator of the Social Sector and Director of a Centre for homeless people in Oporto, and then as Socius to the Provincial. For the last three years before arriving in Brussels he was engaged in the renewal process of a Jesuit School in the North of Portugal. Edmond Grace will also leave this role as Secretary for Ecology in JESC and pursue a different mission in his beloved Ireland. Creative, sensitive, empathic, visionary, artistic, committed, kind-and-big-hearted, an inspirational speaker and writer… These are some words that could describe Edmond Grace SJ. During his time as JESC’s Secretary for Ecology, Edmond had a number of relevant accomplishments:  Together with Willem Vriesendorp, founder of #SustainablePublicAffairs, he prepared a European Parliament event through Article 17.  He published the book Business and the Earth and worked hard to promote its messages. He launched the book in 2021 at COMECE headquarters with Janez Potočnik, members and authorities of COMECE and UCSIA. He also participated in the recent JESC webinar ‘Business and the Earth’, with Josianne Gauthier from CIDSE, Enrique Meroño from Iberdrola, and Cédric Pacheco from Laudes Foundation.  He gave lectures and talks at several venues and events including at the European Parliament, the Passion for Europe retreat, ELP, Faith & Politics, and Casa Velha in Portugal.    We are grateful to Filipe Martins for accepting this position and would also like to thank Peter Rožič and Edmond Grace warmly for the years they have dedicated to JESC.
👏 The Business and the Earth webinar was a big success! A fascinating opportunity to reflect on the role of business in society, and specifically in the ecological transition. Moderated by JESC's Senior Officer for Ecology Adriana Opromolla, each of the four outstanding speakers provided rich insights, and together offered a diverse and complementary vision of this topic.  🌍 Edmond Grace gave a broad overview of the role of business in our society, challenging the notion that the sole purpose of business is to create profit. He remarked that businesses are more influential than the Church ever was, which is why the self-perception businesses have of themselves is crucial. He also called for a change in the way businesses generally view resources: these should no longer be seen as beasts of burden to be exploited without limits.  💡 Josianne Gauthier (CIDSE) highlighted the importance of dialogue, for which listening and being open are essential preconditions. She warned that sometimes power imbalances or certain privileges create unbalanced situations in which dialogue becomes difficult. When referring to the current unhealthy relationship our society has with the Earth, she reminded us that we are all accomplices because we all consume and function within this system. The ecological transition is a challenge not only for businesses but for each one of us.   ✅ Enrique Meroño Sierra explained how Iberdrola decided to become part of the solution around the year 2000, and how it works not only in renewable energy production but also in energy efficiency as a way to reduce electricity consumption. In line with Josianne’s referral to dialogue, Enrique mentioned the need for a new language to enable different actors and sectors to understand each other and address system failures. He also stressed the importance of including externalities in the real economy.  🌐 Lastly, Cedric Pacheco explained how, based on its experience, the Laudes Foundation reached the conclusion that engaging with business is necessary but not enough when addressing problems like climate change and social inequality. Why? Because the way businesses operate can be a consequence of the system they’re a part of. Therefore, a systemic approach is essential. Cédric then looked more closely at the work Laudes does regarding finance. He explained Laudes’ main areas of intervention, which include changing the way financial institutions function, supporting policy changes, and rethinking the economic system.  We are very grateful to our speakers for their time, commitment and enthusiasm, and to all the participants who were part of this fruitful dialogue.  Most of JESC's team members joined the gathering: Luciano Larivera Filipe Martins Peter Rožič Telmo Olascoaga Michel Victoria Reynal 
👏 The 5th Laudato Si Reflection Day hosted on May 17 by the European Laudato Si' Alliance (ELSiA) was a great success! We heard inspiring stories of ecological conversion, like the one of Ciaran Foulds, who moved from Brussels to a permaculture farm, in an effort to align his values with his lifestyle. Like Elizabeth Sawin, who has been living in an ecovillage in the state of Vermont for 20 years. Like Sara Ferigo, who travelled to Peru to see for herself what impact her European lifestyle was having elsewhere. 🌍 These personal accounts were linked with more structural, systemic reflections about the way our society works, the challenges we face and with initiatives that are striving to make a difference. From food production systems to consumption habits, from the role of trade unions to the role of religions. From small actions to systemic, so-called “multi-solving” approaches. 💡 Some of the key, most inspiring messages we’d like to share:  ⚈ The ecological transition will not happen unless justice is a part of it. ⚈ We need to solve current existential problems with a different consciousness than the one which created them. ⚈ Being climate activists is about asking ourselves questions, being aware that every action has an impact. ⚈ We can have a significant positive impact by changing our diets and reducing the amount of food we waste (GHG emissions from food waste are higher than the aviation sector emissions! ✈️) ⚈ The best we can do is to start where we are and keep going consistently - that is the path to scale. We live in uncertain times, but can ground ourselves in our ethics, values, ways of being and acting. ⚈ The ecological transition requires less consumption, because “greed can outstrip technology”, as Mark Charlesworth put it. Most JESC team members gladly joined the gathering: Adriana Opromolla, Enikő Fehéreková, Filipe Martins, Luciano Larivera, Peter Rožič, SJ and Victoria Reynal. #ecologicaltransition #laudatosi #ecologicalconversion #sustainability #simplicity #consumption #foodwaste #climateaction #eugreendeal JESC
The Loyola 2022 Congress took place between 28th March to 1st April 2022 at Loyola, Spain. The Congress acted as a milestone in the “deeper renewal” and alignment of processes of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials (JCEP) Justice Networks, equipping them to implement the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) by 2029.  Around 160 participants from all over the world gathered to discuss social and justice issues in light of the Jesuit works.  The Congress led up to the drafting of the "Congress Document": a working document with a set of concrete reflections and proposals that can bear fruit not only in the work of the different justice networks present in Loyola but also in the entire mission of the Provinces of the Society of Jesus. We invite you to read the Congress Document here. If you did not have a chance to attend the Loyola Congress in person or online, you can access the shared folder with all the materials presented in the Congress here.  We also invite you to check the final visual narrative of the Congress made by Marta Romay, coordinator of Fundació Migra Studium.
The Loyola 2022 Justice & Ecology Congress took place from 28th March to 1st April! The event hosted more than 200 participants at the birthplace of Ignatius of Loyola to discuss social justice, sustainability, migration and spirituality. The participants joined from all over the World from numerous Jesuit works: Academics, Social Delegates, directors of Social Centres, etc. The aim of the Loyola 2022 Congress was to strengthen the Jesuit mission and seek better ways to implement the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPS): Showing the way to God, Walking with the Excluded, Journeying with Youth and Caring for our Common Home. The program was very diverse and rich. The president of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, Franck Janin S.J., intervened in the opening session: "Let us take hold of this Congress. Let us be actors in it. Let us put depth into it. Dare to intervene, to speak out. As Pope Francis says, “go forward, make noise”.  The main topics discussed during the Congress were: - “Integral Ecology: Our Common Home” with the Jesuit and socio-political activist Jörg Alt SJ, a group of youth climate Jesuit volunteers, Sabin Bieri, social geographer from Centre for Development and Environment and Javier Arellano Yanguas researcher from Universidad Deusto.  - “Refugees and movement of peoples: on the way” with Fr. Fabio Baggio from Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development and Amaya Valcárcel and Michael Schöpf SJ from the Jesuit Refugee Service International (Italy).  - “Changing hearts, minds and systems” - The day started with a morning prayer and an invitation to participants to join different rounds on workshops from various speakers, focused on several topics  from ecology to sustainability, migration, justice and spirituality. Learn more
The closing ceremony of the 6th European Leadership Programme edition took place on February 19 at the Press Club Europe, in Brussels, and was joined by more than 40 participants and friends of ELP from all corners of the globe. The Graduation ceremony consisted of a Covid-safe reunion with the required hygienic measures, following the long-awaited relaxation of Covid-19 rules in Brussels.  The ceremony started with the Welcome address by Barbara Segaert, Project Coordinator at UCSIA, and by Peter Rožič SJ, Director of JESC. The moderation was done by Enikő Fehéreková, ELP assistant.  Testimonies of ELP Fall Cohort Fellows were screened later, where they shared their personal experience and offered insight to their path of growth during the five ELP months.  On behalf of the cohort, a Valedictorian speech was held by Fellow Kamilla Kiraly, explaining the role of gratitude in one’s life and highlighting the community segment of the ELP.  Representing the increasing crowd of the ELP alumni, Emanuela Pisanó offered a speech about the struggle of young professionals to find housing in Brussels and how the ELP community supported her in that journey. The keynote address by Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg and President of COMECE, reminded the Fellows of the importance of democracy and leadership in Europe to maintain peace in the world. The speech was followed by a Q&A session from the Fellows and the participants to the speakers. The session was then followed by the Graduation ceremony..