This network gathers the Coordinators/Delegates for Young Adult Ministry from each Province of the JCEP. It responds to the felt need of a common general view of all the many apostolic activities directed to young adults. It is a forum to share information about and evaluate all that is going on, to support each other in this common mission, to think and discern together in a space of mutual inspiration, to develop greater coordination and, occasionally, to plan some joint actions.

The Universal Apostolic Preferences have reinforced the importance of the apostolic service to young people for the whole Society. They are to be accompanied, helped to find meaning by being shown the way to God, supported in their dignity and their future protected by caring for our common home. This network is intended to help overseeing that mission.

Insights from the joint meeting of Vocation Promoters and Young Adult Ministry delegates European Jesuit vocation promoters and young adult ministry co-ordinators met in Rome last week for our annual meeting. Like all good Jesuit meetings, it started with prayer and what followed was a fruitful blend of business and pleasure.  Small groups and plenary sessions allowed for good sharing of best practices, i.e. “we tried this and it worked!” Charlie and Fonfo presented the fruits of several years of investment by the Spanish Province in vocation promotion. Their vocations website is an exemplar of how to communicate with young men who have vocational questions. The three sections, Know, Discern and Choose provide the information and resources that enquirers need at every step of the journey, and the website also makes communication with the vocation promoters easy. The website is already serving as a template that other Provinces are following. The dynamic Iberian duo are also certain that having two Jesuits working together as a team multiplies their creativity and fruitfulness.  We had an excellent sharing on the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises with young people. Jesuits are being very creative in this ministry, packaging the Spiritual Exercises in various ways that also meet other pastoral needs such as catechesis, personal development, and contact with nature. Some Provinces want to make the Exercises available to more young people while others, like St. Ignatius, are trying to be more discerning and selective about who they give the Exercises to and for what reason.  We all agreed that it makes sense for vocation promoters and young adult ministers to meet together. Many of us are actively involved in both fields and there is a lot of overlap in our work. During the meeting it became apparent that we also benefit from talking about the shared context of our work. Young people are simultaneously living in two realities: the physical world and the digital world. For them, growing up in the eras of liquid modernity or liquid post-modernity, has meant growing up in societies which are increasingly unmoored from the natural world, from dependable family and social ties, and from faith communities. Understandably, many young people now experience significant personal insecurities and doubts. We Jesuits want to help them find the human, spiritual and religious foundations and points of reference which, for the longest time, most people have taken for granted.  UAP 2 has set the Society of Jesus on a course of creating a hope-filled future for young people. I sensed a lot of hope in this group – a generative and energetic hope which keeps us moving outward and forward. Let us continue to have great hopes for our young people and great Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.    Niall Leahy 
From 16 to 21 May, a new type of Combined Meeting took place in Piestany Slovakia. Together, the Network of Vocation Promoters and the new Commission that will take care of the coordinated work of the Youth Apostolate, short YAM, met.   We had representatives from all over Europe. Some of us were so-called hybrid members, representing both groups at the same time. Both, the president of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials Fr. Franck Janin and his Assistant, Fr. Herminio Rico who oversaw and helped steering the process and the discernment in the group were both there. The purpose of this meeting was to form a common vision and approach in our work with young people.   The meeting was both educational and practical. For two days we heard from two non-Jesuit speakers who offered their expertise in the areas of youth psychology and strategic planning of pastoral care with young people. The first area was presented by a Slovak speaker, Dr Jana Vindiseva.  The second area and model of work was presented by Dr. Danny Curtin from Great Britain. Both presentations either refreshed our knowledge or contributed for new possible perspectives and spaces to our work. The third day was devoted to prayer, reflection and sharing in the light of what we had heard. In small groups we had the opportunity to talk, not only about the content of the lectures, but also about personal experiences and challenges. This added a new dimension to our gathering, namely the search for possibilities of cooperation and networking in the future.  In the afternoon of the third day, we went to visit the Red Stone Castle of Trnava, for a short city tour and dinner. In the final day we made an evaluation of the meeting and saw which good things we were taking with us. We also looked at initiatives that were presented to us, MAG+S Croatia 2022 and MAG+S Portugal 2023. We also looked at a development of the new Global Youth Network that will connect our worldwide experiences and establish new connections and collaboration. From the meeting an initiative arose for a more coordinated work with Erasmus students as much as searching for the way of mutual support, both on a personal and institutional level. The group has looked into a possibility of an eventual new common meeting, and the majority of the participants saw this a good and useful idea. The next meeting will make it possible for both groups to meet separately at the same location which will allow also for a common meeting. There was a strong shred feeling of gratefulness for the possibility of a real meeting rather then Zoom. Stronger bonds can be connected in a time spent together, learning, working, sharing, planning and socializing.  A great thank goes to our hosts, the Slovak province, for the hard work of preparation, service and dedication which made this meeting possible.    
In the JCEP there are already networks that gather people who work pastorally with youth, but each dealing with one area or aspect of that work. There was a need for looking at, reflecting, and promoting, at a higher level, all apostolate directed to young adults. It is a demand that comes directly from the Universal Apostolic Preferences. Not just from the third one – accompanying young people – but from each of the other, too: the care for our common home is something of particular interest to young people, they are the ones who are going live in it; poverty and exclusion affects in the direst ways the young; as they search for meaning in their lives they need to be shown the way to God. After a decision by the Major Superior of the Conference, on February 10th, in a meeting online, a new network formally started. It gathers the Coordinators/Delegates for Young Adult Ministry from each Province. It is not so much a group to do things, but a forum to share information about and evaluate all that is going on, to support each other in this common mission, to think and discern together in a space of mutual inspiration, to develop greater coordination and maybe to plan some joint actions. The mission and identity of the group will be deepened and clarified progressively, as it will look for a clearer definition of what a Jesuit Young Adult Ministry should look like today. A Steering Committee is in the process of being formed to assume the responsibility of moving forward this new JCEP Network. Herminio Rico sj. – JCEP Socius