European Jesuits in Formation (EJIF) is an initiative that started in 1986 with the aim of promoting a common European spirit among young Jesuits. Every year, young Jesuit delegates from each province are invited to participate in a meeting of about 30 participants that is held in one of the European Jesuit provinces. Usually, this meeting includes a group experiment or meeting (pilgrimage, social work, conferences around formation topics), then an individual guided retreat of eight days and finally a formation session.

Many young Jesuits live in international formation houses. Still these meetings aim to foster broader knowledge of the Society of Jesus, by giving the Jesuits the opportunity to get to know others in formation and to learn more about our Jesuit life and spirituality.

From July 19 to August 19, eighteen scholastics from the European Conference's provinces gathered in Portugal for the EJIF meeting. This year's EJIF, as in 2016, included the participation in MAGIS and World Youth Day. After 3 days together in "Casa de Exercícios de Santo Inácio", in Sintra, where the group had the chance to get to know each other, Lisbon was the next stop in the way: MAGIS was taking place! Having in mind the way of living of the first companions, the Jesuits in formation went 2 by 2 to the different experiences. In WYD the same "style" was kept: the JIFs were present, 2 by 2, in the Vocation Fair, where people could get to know better the Society of Jesus and the Ignatian Spirituality. After this time full of activities, the group gathered again in Sintra for two days of sharing the graces God has given during the apostolic time of MAGIS and WYD. After that, Spiritual Exercises took place in Coimbra, guided by Alzira Fernandes, with the presence of Pedro Cameira SJ and Marco Cunha SJ, who were sharing the task of spiritual accompaniment. Alzira is a lay woman with a vast experience in spiritual accompaniment, Ignatian spirituality and Spiritual Exercises, a long-term collaborator in Christ's mission of pointing God through discernment and the Spiritual Exercises: she is a good friend of the Society and of the Community of Taizé. She also works in the formation at Braga's Diocesan Seminary. In the evaluation at the end of the month-long EJIF, two main sources of consolation where identified: the first, this evangelical experience of being gathered, sent forth and then gathered again, which gave the group the experience of being sent as apostles and, also as apostles, being invited to come and rest in the Lord, sharing the full nets after their work. The second, the beauty of the welcoming environment felt in Portugal, that much helped this group to build roots and friendship in the Lord. In the last day, as usual, the new Coordinating Team (CoCo) for EJIF 2024 was elected: Jakub Majchrzak (PMA), Joseph Nassif (PRO) and Vasco Lucas Pires (POR) are the three Jesuits in formation proposed for leading next year’s EJIF. Eduardo Amaral (POR) EJIF 2023 Coordinator
Coinciding with the end of the Ignatian year, the EJiF – European Jesuits in Formation - has taken place in Spain this summer. 14 Jesuits in formation from all over the Conference made a journey guided by the topic “Returning to the roots”. Fr. General met twice with the group, at the beginning, in Barcelona, and at the end, in Loyola. He reminded us that the Ignatian year has been a time of inner transformation “to see all things new in Christ”. Ignatius experienced a conversion, a process that started with a cannon ball and continued to take place every day throughout all his life. This means that, each day, he put Christ in the center. Those are the roots of the experience of Ignatius. Looking for those roots, the EJiF visited some of the first places of the conversion of Ignatius in Manresa and Barcelona. At the same time, as the roots are alive, the group reflected about the Universal Apostolic Preferences of today and experienced in different ways how they are incarnated, through visits to present day Jesuit works in Barcelona. The 8-day Spiritual Exercises took place in Barcelona, directed by Pablo Veiga (ESP). After that, the group moved to Loyola to finish the meeting with the closing mass of the Ignatian year, the evaluation of the meeting and the election of the new CoCo: Francisco Delgado (ESP), Eduardo Amaral (POR) and Pavel Band’ouch (BOH) (Left to right). The EJiF 2023 will take place in Portugal, from mid-July to mid-August, including within it the participation in MAGIS 2023 and World Youth Day in Lisbon. Luis Delgado S.J.
At the beginning of the year, we had in Brussels the first face to face meeting for the organization of the EJiF 2022. The participants were two of the members of the CoCo (the Coordinating Committee), Karol Klimaszyk sj (PMA) and Luis Delgado sj (ESP), the President of the Conference, Franck Janin sj, and his Assistant, Herminio Rico sj. Unfortunately, Filippo Carlomagno (EUM) could not travel to Brussels due to a Covid quarantine in Rome, but he participated in the meetings through Zoom. The work done the previous months was shared and the schedule of the EJiF was discussed. The EJiF 2022 will take place at the end of the Ignatian Year in Spain, between 13th July and 3rd August. We will meet successively in Barcelona, Manresa and Loyola, three main cities of the beginning of the experience of Ignatius, a conversion that was developing every day all throughout his life. The proposed path for this summer goes hand in hand with the topic of this EJiF edition: “Returning to the roots”. Luis Delgado (ESP) Coordinator of the EJiF 2022 CoCo
After having been limited last year, by the pandemic, to a brief online meeting, this summer, EJIF-European Jesuits in Formation returned to its traditional format. Representatives of the JCEP provinces met in South Poland from the end of July to the third week of August. The general theme was the motto of the Ignatian Year – to see all things new in Christ – with a particular accent on poverty. The gathering opened with a Zoom conversation with Father General. St. Ignatius day was celebrated with the Jesuits of Krakow in a mass presided by the PME Provincial Fr. Jaroslaw Paszynski. There followed a visit to Auschwitz and 3 days of experiments Magis-style in which they contacted with elderly people and orphans, with a daily time of shared reflection on the experience. The 8-day Spiritual Exercises took place in Stara Wieś, directed by Javier Melloni (ESP). At the end, there was time for the evaluation of the meeting and the election of the new CoCo. The JCEP President, Franck Janin, accompanied the group in the opening days and at the conclusion. A big thank you to the 2021 organising CoCo: Domingos Perloiro (POR) Michał Król (PME) and Sébastien Majchrzak (EOF). And best wishes for the new CoCo as they are already planning next year’s EJIF: Luis Delgado del Valle (ESP), Filippo Carlomagno (EUM) and Karol Klimaszyk (PMA). The new Coco with Fr. Janin and the old Coco
The 2021 EJIF meeting will take place in the area of Krakow, in the South Poland Province, from the 29th of July to the 19th of August. The theme of the Ignatian year, “See all things new in Christ”, will guide the delegates of the Jesuits in formation from all over Europe during these days. The main goals of this meeting are: a) to experience the belonging to the universal body of the Society of Jesus; b) to share the Spiritual Exercises as a common spiritual root; and c) to move towards the conversion of heart as Father General asks, especially in what concerns our vow of poverty. Three scholastics, Domingos Perloiro (POR), Sébastien Majchrzak (EOF) and Michal Król (PME), will take the responsibility, together with the Conference of European Provincials, of preparing and leading the meeting. Domingos is in the Juniorate, studying Philosophy and Humanities, in Pedro Arrupe Community, in Braga, Portugal. He will move to the San Saba Community (Rome), in September, to finish his studies of Philosophy. Sébastien is in the second year of a five-year cycle of studies in Philosophy and Theology, in Centre Sèvres, in Paris. He lives in Saint Pierre Favre Community. Michal is a second-year theology student at the Jesuit Academy Collegium Bobolanum, living in the college community. He would like to work in the pastoral ministry and will be ordained deacon next year.
From 31st July until 20th August, 24 Jesuits in formation from 17 different European countries (and beyond) met in Paris for the annual EJIF meeting (European Jesuits in Formation). The meeting began with Holy Mass, celebrating the feast of Saint Ignatius of Loyola at ‘Eglise Saint Ignace’. Afterwards there were welcoming addresses from Fr Franck Janin SJ (President of the Conference of European Provincials) and Fr. Xavier Nucci SJ (Provincial’s delegate for formation for the EOF province). The participating scholastics were reminded that, for Jesuits,  « the world is our house » (Jeronimo Nadal SJ, 1507-1580), that the challenge for Jesuits is to be locally involved but, at the same time, to keep our hearts and minds on the universal. Building a spirit of universality among Jesuits is, therefore, one of the main reasons behind the annual EJIF meeting. With this in mind, the meeting began with participants enjoying two days of orientation – exploring Paris by bike tour, visiting famous sites such as the Louvre or the Versailles Palace and celebrating a ‘festival of nations’ together – in order to better know the cultural surroundings, as well as each other. After these moments of fraternity, the meeting moved into it’s second phase – a week-long session on the subject of Ignatian Leadership led by Fr. John Dardis SJ (General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning of the Society of Jesus). Far from being an arid, business-like series of conferences, this was a deep, personal experience infused with the dynamic of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola. We began by considering our personal experiences of leadership, imagining our dreams and desires for ourselves and our respective provinces, and then considering the traditions of leadership in the Society of Jesus (including the example of Pope Francis). As the week progressed we moved towards a consideration of leadership in our contemporary context, the challenges of our world today and, finally, the experience of leadership at the frontiers of society (inspired by a visit to the vibrant yet troubled city of Saint Denis). In terms of method and pedagogy, there were daily morning ‘inputs’ from a variety of different guest speakers, followed by a time for personal prayer to ‘taste and feel’ how the presentation resonated with us individually. We then met in small sharing groups to engage in a spiritual conversation on the topic, attempting to distill the movements of the Spirit we each experienced in order to understand how the Holy Spirit was communicating to us and through us through these experiences. In a final step, we returned to the larger group to share and appreciate each group’s contribution to our communal search for the message God was trying to communicate to us, this synodal process being inspired by Karl Rahner SJ’s idea that « each of us is a letter of God and together we spell out something great, a great word to the glory of God ». With participants engaging generously and the various speakers inspiring us with their insights, we left with a strong shared sense of gratitude and consolation for the session, an invitation to once more root ourselves in Christ and prepare to serve him in the mission ahead. May we, in the words of Ignatius on formation, continue to « make progress towards » Our Lord so that we can be ready to lead others in whatever situation we find ourselves. The third phase of EJIF 2019 took place at the Carmelite retreat centre in Avon, nearby the forest of Fontainebleau, where participants embarked on their annual 8-day individual guided retreat. Retreat director José de Pablo SJ (Socius to the President of the Conference of European Provincials) lead participants through the Spiritual Exercises, with a particular accent placed on the Society’s new Universal Apostolic Preferences. Upon leaving the retreat we visited the nearby Campus for Ecological Transition before returning to Paris in order to bring our time together to a close with an appreciation of « Ignatian Paris ». Jesuit students ourselves, we visited the key sites of Ignatius’ own studies in Paris (alongside early companions St Pierre Favre and St Francis Xavier). The meeting then came to a fitting culmination as participants renewed their own religious vows together in the same chapel of Montmartre where the original companions had done the same some 485 years before us. We give thanks to God for such a formative, grace-filled and fruitful time together, with particular gratitude for the ‘Coco’ (Co-ordinating Commitee) who organised the meeting and the various people who contributed to making this meeting such a memorable and transformative experience. Look at the EJIF 2019 Paris video