This network gathers the social delegates from provinces all over Europe. It is coordinated by the JCEP Delegate for Social Apostolate. They celebrate an annual conference and during the year they keep in touch to share information and good practices about some of the main themes:

(1) The significance of social ministry – it may be the best witness we can give at a time when both Church and State are losing credibility. In this context we noted the prompt in GC32 (General Congregation 32) to see social justice as a dimension of all apostolic works and take on the challenge that it implies - to make explicit the link between social action and faith.

(2) The need to stay close to the poor – what form(s) is this to take? There is a broad spectrum – at one end, communities of insertion; at the other, advocacy; and in between, the possibility of many different models of solidarity (including “communities of solidarity”).

(3) Ecological concerns – Researching and advocating in issues related to exploitation of natural resources, consumerism and social problems where Jesuits in particular provinces reflect on the values of secular society.

One year after the Social and Ecology Congress in Loyola, the group of JCEP Social Delegates met in Lisbon (in Seminário de Almada, just across the beautiful Tagus river), from 14th to 18th May, for their annual gathering. During the intensive four days, the Delegates exchanged good practices from the different Jesuit Provinces, reflected together on pressing issues such as the Ignatian identity of the sector or the new structures to serve the mission, and also prayed together so to discern where the many needs and the Spirit are calling the social sector to move towards. Engaging visits to four social works that the Jesuits have in the Lisbon area (Centro P. Amadeu Pinto, JRS-Portugal, Centro Social da Musgueira and Centro Cultural Brotéria) were also organised, with animated dialogues between the teams. As one delegate shared at the end, “the amount of needs may sometimes look daunting, but also friendship and collaboration helps to keep hope alive.” The next meeting will happen in Budapest in the Spring 2024, and more about the meeting can be read here.     Filipe Martins JESC 
Called to walk closer with the Excluded, the social apostolate delegates met in Toulouse for the annual networking meeting. While some delegates were able to join online only, most of us arrived on September 22nd enjoying the wonderful hospitality of the Jesuit community as well as the hosting families. Families from the “Welcome” project of JRS France hosted us generously in their homes – as they do migrants within Welcome – while during the day we held our meetings and journeyed to the various works of social apostolate (SA) in the region. Jérôme Gué SJ, the EOF Province SA Delegate and our host, first organised a visit to the ICAM campus (Institut Catholique d'Arts et Métiers) and its Production School. This school offers an exemplary commitment to the integration, formation and employment of young people aged 15 to 18 with little to no qualifications, while ICAM too continues strongly rooted in the Ignatian tradition, offering quality higher education and the professional formation to its students in collaboration with local companies and businesses. In Toulouse, the SA Jesuits are involved in other projects such as ARPEJ (Accompagner vers la Réussite les Parents Et les Jeunes). The volunteers in this project accompany young people in difficulty through Ignatian pedagogy, support for schooling and professional development in the heart of working-class neighbourhoods. After staying at the ARPEJ workshop, we met representatives of the Muslim community in the Bagatelle neighbourhood and visited their mosque. We learned about their shared projects with the local Catholic parish and Jesuit Community, such as the food bank, common meetings and beyond. We concluded our annual meeting with the final Mass and festive couscous dinner, inviting over our collaborators and friends. Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, the SA Secretary in Rome, introduced the festivity with his testimony and sharing on the life and work of Fr. Stan Swamy. We felt special gratitude towards Jérôme for such a wonderful welcome, organisation and exposure to the works of social apostolate in Toulouse, the families and the community. As a network of Delegates, we were able to learn from one another and share about the projects, work and plans of SA in each of our Provinces. In addition, we were pleased to see that, if we want, we can offset the (plane travel) carbon footprint by taking the train instead. Finally, we have taken a number of steps towards the organisation of the Justice and Ecology Congress that we prepare together with other JCEP Justice networks. The Congress will take place in Loyola from March 28th to April 1st of 2022. Peter Rožič SJ
Social Apostalate delegates meet. It is often from our Social apostolate Delegates that we hear most clearly about the Jesuit acts of love that are shown to the poor, excluded, the sick and the needy. Eighteen of us gathered online in early February. Then, on the feast of St Joseph, 15 Delegates from all over Europe gathered again. We share what God has done through us in this difficult time of the pandemic. We share about how we are. We talk about what sustains us and our works of social apostolate. And we discuss about what defines us as Social Delegates and how best to serve in our various Provinces. Also, we discern on how best to prepare the JCEP 2022 Justice Congress. From March 28th to April 1st next year about 200 participants from all over Europe and the Near East are to gather in Loyola from our five European Justice networks: Social Delegates and their teams, JRS-E teams, Social Centres, Xavier Network members and the emerging network of Eco-Jesuit Europe. The Congress will represent an activating milestone in the renewal and alignment processes of the JCEP justice networks, equipping us to implement together the UAPs by 2029. As a group of Social Delegates, we used to meet once a year in person. As we no longer can, we now gather online, three times by zoom. Mutual updates and support give us encouragement as well as creativity for action. Still, we hope to meet in Toulouse from 22nd to 26th of September 2021. There, the EOF Delegate Jérôme Gué SJ will introduce us to a variety of social, educational and other projects to explore, among other apostolic preferences, how our works integrate the one on collaborating in the care of our Common Home.
“I hope that these two days will be a moment of consolation and encouragement for all of you”, said Franck Janin SJ, JCEP President, as he opened the gathering, desiring a “meeting which combines reflection and experience in the field.” Organised by JESC, the meeting of social apostolate delegates took place in Brussels between February 15 to 17. The delegates worked on best practices and challenges in order to strengthen the Social Apostolate and plan a deeper renewal. On the first day, we reflected on the implementation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences, based on SJES Jubilee Congress recommendations and the feedback from the Provinces. We shared ideas and discerned about the Social Apostolate´s mission, aiming at defining our goals. “The UAPs are a gift” said Luis Arancibia, ESP delegate “and it is our mission to implement them”. Second day, we entered the discernment from an on-the-ground perspective. At the KU Leuven, Rinald D’ Souza SJ and Nicholas Standaert SJ showcased the practical implications of bringing together Social and Intellectual Apostolates for the service of the most vulnerable. Pieter de Witte and Geertjan Zuijdwegt, academics and prison chaplains, then took us to a prison to witness the conditions of prisoners in Belgium and talk to one of the inmates. The sharp silence after the visit represented a sign of deep personal reflection and a call to hear the cry of the excluded. Concluding the meeting, Peter Rožič SJ, (JCEP Social Coordinator) invited us “to work together to achieve a common goal of a deeper renewal by implementing the UAPs.” How? Knowing each other better, sharing best practices and developing common projects. Gianmarco Palermo JESC Justice Assistant
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.
Social Apostolate Delegates and Social Centres Directors Annual Meeting Milano, 8-11 April 2018 The delegates and coordinators of the social apostolate sector in Europe and Near East met this year in Milan at a back-to back meetings with the directors of the Jesuit European Social Centres. The meeting of these two networks provided a fertile venue to discern Universal Apostolic Preferences within the social dimension of our mission as well to determine the primary orientation for works and social projects that include a European focus. The meeting took place at the Istituto Leone XIII, an important Jesuit school that is known for its various educational, social and pastoral activities. Franck Janin, the President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, and Xavier Jeyaraj, the Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology at the General Curia in Rome, joined the meetings of the delegates and of the directors.   The first group, that is social delegates, had the chance to pray, think, discern and deliberate over the apostolic preferences through the lenses of both universal and European approaches. The profiles of the “delegate” and “coordinator” for social apostolate were also discussed. The method used was discernment in common through spiritual conversation. The second group, the directors, represented, among others, Social Centres such as Cristianismo y Justicia (Spain), Centre Avec (Belgium), Aggiornamenti Sociali (Italy) used a similar meeting formula in order to draw up the plan for the next year that is based on a common vision for the centres network. The journey ended with a joint preliminary statement: “We desire a life together in Europe that, inspired by Ignatian vision, bears witness to the values of reconciliation and promotion of the common good, and proclaims a message of liberation with those we serve.” Members of both networks had the chance to visit the magnificent city of Milan for one afternoon, starting with the facilities and projects of Aggiornamenti Sociali and San Fedele, followed by a visit to the surroundings of Duomo di Milano and ending with a pleasant meal at a local restaurant. The results of the Milan deliberations have been delivered to the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat in Rome and will be presented to the Conference Provincials for further discernment and approval at their next annual meeting in Barcelona. While the results of the discernment process need to be examined further and confirmed by the networks and the Provincials, the orientation towards working with and for vulnerable people on the move and integral ecology emerged clearly as a possible common path in the future. Next year’s meeting for the delegates is expected to take place between 31st of March and 4th of April, and for the directors between 5th and 8th of May 2019. Memories of the Annual Meeting: check this video made by Alberto Ares.