Jesuits in University Pastoral Care - JUPC

The presence of Jesuits in universities has been one of our main apostolates since the very beginning of the Order. Ignatius and his first companions met on a campus and dreamt together for a better world.

Today, Jesuits are present in many universities either as academics or by creating spaces for groups, meetings, celebrations and volunteering activities where faith is present and offered openly to students and young adult professionals.

Every year, JUPC brings together the various teams involved in university pastoral care.

The aim is threefold: formation, collaboration and looking together to the future.

Thanks to the work of Jesuits, collaborators and friends, the dream of Ignatius and his first companions is still alive today in many campuses across Europe.

In the week of 5-9 February JUPC, the network of Jesuit University Chaplaincies and Centres of Pastoral Care for university students met in Malta. It was the 12th presential meeting of this network, instituted in 2010 with a gathering in Rome. Prof. Nadia Delicata, theologian, Delegate for Evangelisation in the Diocese of Malta introduced us to the main features and challenges of the Catholic Church in Malta. Cecil Azzopardi, Jesuit missionary in India for many years and renowned spiritual director and specialist in Ignatian spirituality, helped the group to reflect on the main topic for this year’s meeting: “Being people of discernment in a polarised Church”. Both talks were excellent inputs and fed many fruitful conversations during the week. There was also space for sharing experiences from the different Chaplaincies, organised in a very creative way – each one had to respond to a question chose randomly from a set previously prepared. The unavoidable spontaneity of the responses created a lighter way of getting to know what important things are happening in each place. The whole program was very relaxed, with enough time for reflection, and that was very much appreciated. The first morning was dedicated to personal prayer and spiritual conversation in small groups about the personal joys and trials of being a chaplain. Prayerful reflection on Cecil’s talk and then sharing and conversation in plenary occupied another morning, a great opportunity to deepen and appropriate the richness of the input offered. In the evaluation at the end, these program options were recognised as very positive. The great welcome, excellent humour and impeccable attention to details by the hosting team of the Chaplaincy of the University of St. Joseph (Patrick, Adam, Alison, Annabel and Therese), of course, helped greatly. Thank you, especially, for the wonderful night visit to Mdina and the guided tour of Valeta. Looking forward to meeting again next year in Loyola/Bilbao. Herminio Rico sjJCEP Socius
Twice, in 2021 and 2022, it was all arranged for Rodizio, in Portugal – just a couple of miles from the western extreme point of continental Europe. The pandemic didn’t allow us to travel there, the meetings had to be held online. This time we went East – to Lublin, in Poland, not far from the Ukrainian border, invited by the Jesuit Chaplaincy of its Catholic University, now called John Paul II, because it was there that the former Pope studied and taught in the years of his academic career. The pandemic influenced also the selected main topic: how to deal with mental health problems of students? Professor Małgorzata Łysiak, of the Department of Clinical Psychology, guided us for a whole morning through some case studies illustrating a few of the challenges students bring to Chaplains. The day before, we followed a workshop on Non-Violent Communication facilitated by Beata and Piotr Hołtyń. There was also time for sharing ‘What’s going on in our chaplaincies’, in a brief going around Europe offered by the 20 chaplains representing 16 places of Jesuit University Pastoral Care in the Conference. As always, what was most appreciated was the opportunity to be together in informal conversations, listening to creative ideas, encountering people facing the similar difficulties and the same joys in this ministry. The very well-organised visits to several historical places in the city, like the Cathedral (former Church of the Jesuit College) and the impressive Holy Trinity Chapel, a gothic building fully covered with frescos of Orthodox style. A final word of gratitude to Adam Juchnowicz, who took care of everything in an efficient and pleasant way, making possible this so much appreciated and joyful resuming of in-person meetings of this JCEP Network. Herminio Rico sj. JCEP Socius
The 2022 meeting of the JUPC (Jesuit University Pastoral Care) network had been planned for Lisbon. However, the COVID wave across Europe called again for a change and thus we met online for the second consecutive year.   The experiences of university chaplaincy during the pandemic have invited us to reflect on how to widen the spaces where we can minister to young people to include the digital world. The session on 9th February was led by Nikolaas Sintobin SJ (ELC) on the possibilities of internet in our ministry and in evangelization. It was a privilege to have Nikolaas with us. His wide expertise has shown that this way of connecting is a grace, rather than just a threat to face to face encounters, and requires taking risks, constant adaptation, inculturation, and professional expertise. Nikolaas led the group in a contemplative exercise using visual storytelling, mainly with YouTube videos, as a path to interiority. Check his well curated collection of short videos at  World Youth Day 2023 in Lisbon will be a highlight of the Church year and MAG+S 2023 an opportunity for those ministering with young adults. This was the focus of the second day of our conference, 10th February. Samuel Beirão SJ (POR), responsible for organizing MAG+IS 2023, and part of his team were with us. They explained various aspects of their preparations, including around 100 experiments planned in Portugal and Spain, and explored with us the profile of the young people we want to invite to this opportunity and how to reach out to them.  JUPC is a network of chaplains who gathers yearly to share initiatives and good practices, and to foster collaboration among Jesuits and friends who work in Jesuit chaplaincies on campuses in Europe and the Near East. Although meeting online has helped the continuity of these connections, we very much look forward to meeting face to face in 2023, in Lublin, Poland, most probably.  Alicia Perez, FCJ Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy
The 2021 meeting of JUPC Network (Jesuit University Pastoral Care) took place Tuesday 9th of February. For the first time in its already relatively long history, the event was 100% online. The meeting took one day with a morning and afternoon session. More than 30 people participated in the meeting which main topic was the Discerning the Future of JUPC. This meeting was a great opportunity to see familiar faces, to revisit to history of JUPC and reflect on the future of this network. The morning session consisted of a prayer, a presentation of the history and evolution of the network. The morning finished with participants split into groups. They used the time to reflect about what fruits JUPC brings to its participants and how far the network is still up to date. The general framework of the network was also discussed. In the afternoon, there was a wrap-up of the main ideas coming from the group discussions. It was clear that networking is very important to the participants and the meetings always inspire them in the pastoral activities. It was concluded as well that the chaplaincy is a very specific work group within the youth pastoral and the network would be more effective if it was loyal to its university roots. The European Jesuit University Pastoral Care is more alive than ever despite the troubled times and everyone is looking forward to hopefully meet in person in 2022.
Chaplains and Youth Pastoral workers from around 20 countries gathered in Paris in an atmosphere of friendship and communion. The main topic of the meeting was “Becoming MAGIS”. The participants shared the reality of their own countries, discussed the meaning of MAGIS and tried to find common grounds for the future.  Over the days very interesting inputs were presented. The MAG+S Spain team was responsible for the first day presentations. They depicted wonderfully the roots of MAGIS and its current fruits. Starting the second day, the Apostolic Preferences were approached by an inspiring panel of young professionals. The testimony about MAGIS from the perspective of Female Ignatian Congregations and laypeople was also an important contribution on that day. The last day started with the invitation for the participation on MAGIS 2020 in Hungary, MAGIS 2021 in Croatia and MAGIS 2022 in Portugal. The meeting finished with the mapping of almost 300 SJ Youth initiatives in Europe. It was followed by an important debate about the future of MAGIS from a European perspective. This debate will continue among young-adult ministries and European Jesuit authorities. The meeting was hosted by Maison Magis whose collaborators received the participants in the most warming way. This was a great opportunity for the participants to get to know more about the very active and complex youth Ignatian initiatives in Paris. One of the high points was the celebration of the Eucharist in Montmartre, in the chapel where the first Jesuit companions made their first vows.  We have all got a step closer to become MAGIS. You are also invited to become MAGIS with us.
How can young people find spaces for God if God is everywhere? Where in university should we speak about God and where do we speak to God? Chapels, meeting rooms, parks, classrooms... are we shaping spaces for God? These are the questions in the JUPC meeting in Dresden, Germany, at the end of February. Jesuits in University Pastoral Care (JUPC) is a network of chaplains who gathered yearly to share initiatives and good practices, and to foster collaboration among Jesuit and friends chaplains who works on campuses in Europe and Near East. JUPC meeting in Dresden finished yesterday (28th February). We will soon upload a complete article on this event.