Jesuits & Friends issue 111, Spring 2022

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FREE: please take a copy

A faith that does justice

& friends

Blessed Rutilio Grande SJ Disciples in the past and present give us hope for the future Issue 111 • Spring 2022 • Jesuit.org.uk


Jesuit Young Adult Ministries’ forthcoming events Young Adult Mass & social

Clapham First Saturdays

When: Every Sunday, 7pm Where: Farm Street church

When: First Saturday of every month Where: Jesuit community, Clapham Common

A different Jesuit priest presides and preaches at Mass each week, after which we gather for a social in the London Jesuit Centre or a local pub.

A day of meeting and sharing with new friends while we discuss a contemporary issue in the Church or world.

‘Plugged-In’ online retreat

‘Unplugged’ retreat by the sea

When: 5–10 June Where: Online

When: 14–18 August Where: Jesuit house, Barmouth

An individually-guided online retreat: 30 minutes of prayer and a meeting with your spiritual guide via Zoom each day, with optional workshops.

A silent retreat for young adults in their 20’s and 30’s, which includes daily meetings with a spiritual director and optional workshops.

Email yam@jesuit.org.uk or find us @JesuitYAM on Twitter or Facebook for more information

PLEASE PRAY for those who have died recently. May they rest in peace. • • • • •

Mrs E Acerini Mr Richard Allen Mrs F Brinkley Mr Burke Sister Joan Coffey

FREE: please take a copy

A faith that does justice

& friends

Blessed Rutilio Grande SJ Disciples in the past and present give us hope for the future Issue 111 • Spring 2022 • Jesuit.org.uk

• • • • •

Mr Chris Crompton Mr E Desmier Miss Beatrice Dodds Mrs Marie Grumitt Mr Martin Hall

On the cover: ‘Saints of El Salvador’ by Peter Bridgman (peterbridgmanpaintings. com)

Registered Charity No. England and Wales: 230165 Scotland: 40490

Our printer has the following green credentials:

Eco logos here, evenly spaced out

2 Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

• • • • • • • • •

Mr D Hamer Mr John Harding Miss Winifred Hargreaves Mr Robert Hay Mr James Hynes Mrs Patricia Jackson Mrs Christine Lavin Mrs Betty Luckham Fr V Malone

Editor: John McManus Assistant Editor: Frances Murphy

• • • • • • • •

Mrs R Moffat Sr Angela Murphy Mrs Jean Nicholson Mr Alan Nye Mr Raymond Pancham Mr Paddy Reilly Mrs Leona St Aubyn Miss G Yates

Editorial group: Denis Blackledge SJ, John Paul de Quay, Megan Knowles and Zoë Carruthers.

To protect our environment, papers used in this publication are produced by mills that promote sustainably managed forests and utilise an Elementary Chlorine Free process to produce fully recyclable material in accordance with an Environmental Management System conforming with BS EN ISO 14001:2004.

Designed by: www.rfportfolio.com Printed by: www.impressprint.co.uk

Address for correspondence: 11 Edge Hill, London SW19 4LR T: 020 8946 0466 E: info@jesuitmissions.org.uk


CONTENTS

From Fr Provincial The last edition of Jesuits & Friends had more than a tinge of green to it. As we went to print, Glasgow was preparing to host the crucial COP26 negotiations on climate change. The air was full of expectation. The results were frankly disappointing. Many of those involved, especially young people, their hearts longing for a sign of progress, feel betrayed. People often ask me why the Church is so enthusiastically green these days. Isn’t climate change, they say, something we should leave to the secular world of states and scientists and NGOs? What they don’t see is that the world is going green whether they like it or not. A strong ecological perspective is going to be more and more important in world affairs. The question is simply: what sort of ecology can Catholics sign up to?

Not a few committed ecologists see human life itself as the enemy. If only there were fewer of us – or even none at all! Some look to purely technological solutions to our problems, as if we were not intrinsically spiritual beings. In an age when authoritarianism and state surveillance are on the rise, some form of eco-fascism might well soon present itself. And then with so many people turning to despair, there has to be a growing risk of eco-terrorism. What do Catholics and Christians have to propose instead of these destructive visions? An ecology which celebrates human life, embedded, as it is, in the greater lifeworld of our planet and of all creation. An ecology which integrates spirituality and community, art and science, justice and peace. An ecology which values both the unity of the human species and the different cultures and religions in which human

In this issue... 04 Julian Filochowski celebrates the beatification of Rutilio Grande SJ and his companions.

06 An iconography exhibition at Farm Street attracted a high profile visitor – John McManus reports.

17 Come and see the Living Stones

beings learn to express themselves. That’s the vision Pope Francis holds out to us. It’s one the world needs badly and it’s the lodestar for the Jesuits in Britain. The beatification of Rutilio Grande SJ in San Salvador was an event full of resonance and significance for us – but also hope, especially for young people. Blessed Rutilio reminds us that the true disciple of Christ is rarely powerful let alone invulnerable or successful in worldly terms. He was a frail man who knew from his own life that God was compassion, love and solidarity with the victims of power. He would have been inspired by the promise of an integral ecology which takes sides in the struggle to defend human dignity and gives hope to the next generation. Damian Howard SJ

04

of Farm Street church.

18 Sixth-formers at St Ignatius,

Enfield had their eyes opened at their sleep-out, writes Dewnith Perera.

08 Through his chaplaincy work, Kensy 19 Daisy Srblin thanks the Jesuit Fund Joseph SJ has witnessed a decline in young people’s mental health.

10 In your twenties or thirties and

looking for ‘more’? Alex Harrod invites you to St Beuno’s!

for Social Justice for supporting Million Minutes.

20 The accommodation at Napier

barracks isn’t exactly a home away from home, says William Neal.

11 Jacques St Laurent SJ describes his 22 Jesuit Missions tell us how their journey to and through Jesuit life.

12 Was COP26 a success? Jesuit

Missions sought Ignatian answers.

14 John Paul de Quay draws Ignatius of Loyola’s return to school.

16 Nick Hanrahan is filled with the joy of family life.

11

06

partners in South Sudan are looking to the future.

24 We should talk about the crisis for refugees, says Sophie Cartwright.

25 Praying with the pope: Eddy Bermingham SJ.

26 Province news and obituaries.

22 jesuit.org.uk

3


BLESSED RUTILIO GRANDE SJ

Martyrs ACCLAIMED Julian Filochowski tells us why the Church in El Salvador, and all those striving to live out a faith that does justice, can celebrate the beatification of Rutilio Grande SJ, Nelson Lemus, Manuel Solórzano and Cosme Spessotto.

Blessed Rutilio Grande SJ (left) depicted with St Óscar Romero in ‘The Great Amen’ by Peter Bridgman

O

n the afternoon of Saturday 12 March 1977, Jesuit Father Rutilio Grande, parish priest of Aguilares in El Salvador, was driving the four miles from the parish house to celebrate Mass in the village of El Paisnal, his birthplace. Alongside him, on the front seat of the Volkswagen Safari, were his elderly sacristan, Manuel Solórzano, and fifteen-year-old Nelson Lemus. Passing the hamlet of Los Mangos, the vehicle was ambushed by men linked to the National Guard. A hail of bullets hit the car. Manuel threw himself across Rutilio to protect him, but all three were killed and the vehicle lurched onto its side. Three young children, screaming in the back, were allowed to escape but they recognised the assassins. Two weeks earlier, Óscar Romero had become Archbishop of San Salvador, and he was shocked to the core by the assassination of his close friend, Rutilio. It dramatically affected the direction of Romero’s episcopal ministry. Indeed, Romero’s radical pastoral commitment 4

Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

to the poor has been described by Pope Francis and others as ‘Rutilio’s miracle’. Rutilio was the first of many priest-martyrs in El Salvador as civil war loomed and violent hostilities broke out, lasting until 1992. In the 1960s Rutilio had been an innovative and popular teacher at the national seminary but was blocked by the Salvadoran bishops from becoming its rector. In 1972, following a pastoral immersion programme in Ecuador, which was inspired by the 1968 Latin American bishops’ meeting in Medellín, Rutilio moved enthusiastically into parish ministry in one of the most conflictive areas of El Salvador. Sugar plantations and refineries dominated the whole region around Aguilares. Desperately poor peasant farmers and rural workers were exploited and, if they protested against the injustice and suffering, were ruthlessly repressed by government militias. Rutilio’s pastoral team promoted base Christian communities with

grassroots leadership and catechists trained as ‘Delegates of the Word’ leading bible studies and noneucharistic liturgies. They offered literacy programmes geared towards community organisation and action. With the resulting empowerment, and not without controversy, the rural communities recovered their voices. The peasant folk found in Rutilio a priest who was close to them, humble and affectionate. He became a prophetic witness to their plight. In his preaching he used colloquial language, focusing on the lives and hardships of his people. Not surprisingly, his words angered the wealthy landowners and the military government. They expected their priests to keep the people passive, resigned to their fate, awaiting their reward in heaven. Hence Rutilio was labelled a communist and a rabble-rouser. When a Colombian priest working in nearby Apopa, Mario Bernal, was expelled from El Salvador, Rutilio’s homily at a special Mass to lament the deportation denounced the increasing persecution of the Salvadoran Church: ‘I’m afraid that very soon the Bible and the Gospel will not be allowed to cross our borders. All that will reach us will be the covers, since all the pages are subversive…. So, if Jesus of Nazareth returned, at this time... with his preaching and actions, they would accuse him... of being an agitator, arrest him and put him in jail, ....and they would undoubtedly crucify him again. Because many prefer a Christ of undertakers and morticians. They want a mute Christ without a mouth. They want a God who will not challenge them – one who will not say those tremendous words “Cain, what have you done to your brother Abel?”’ The oligarchy and the military regime were furious, and the sermon probably provoked his assassination. In his challenging but transformative ministry accompanying the rural poor in Aguilares, Rutilio was striving to live out ‘the preferential option for the poor’, which had emerged from Medellín. But, as a Jesuit, he was also embracing the subsequent 1975 declaration of identity that came from the 32nd General Congregation of the Society of Jesus: ’today the Jesuit is a man whose mission


BLESSED RUTILIO GRANDE SJ is to dedicate himself entirely to the service of faith in which it is an absolute requirement to promote justice and bring about reconciliation in mankind.’

the beatification process, launched in 2014, moved at high speed. It was concluded in 2016 with none of the opposition from local conservative sectors that Archbishop Romero’s cause had precipitated. It was taken forward in Rome by the Jesuits’ general postulator, Pascual Cebollada SJ, and in February 2020 Pope Francis, who had often expressed a personal interest in the cause, formally approved the beatifications.

Rutilio ticked all the boxes and was probably the first martyr to that radical Jesuit commitment – one which he lived out faithfully, on the ground, at the parish and community level, rather than in a school or academic environment.

Soon afterwards, Cosme Spessotto, an Italian Franciscan who had spent thirty years as a missionary priest in El Salvador, was also recognised as a martyr. He had been shot at point blank range in his parish church at San Juan Nonualco in June 1980 after denouncing the repressive actions of the military. He was beatified alongside Rutilio, Manuel and Nelson.

“In his challenging but transformative ministry, Rutilio Grande was striving to live out ‘the preferential option for the poor’.” The laymen who were killed alongside Rutilio were also beatified with him. Manuel Solórzano, 72, was a catechist and became Rutilio’s constant companion. His daughter and neighbours speak of Manuel as a poor man who worked long hours and earned little. Humble, honest and compassionate, he was a happy and generous family man. Active in the parish, he was a prayerful, bible-reading Catholic. In the years that followed, hundreds of catechists and Christian community leaders like him were killed by the security forces, suspected of subversion simply for carrying a bible. Young Nelson Lemus, like Rutilio, was born in El Paisnal. His baptismal godfather was Rutilio’s brother, Flavio – and in a complicated sense they were related villagers! Nelson, who suffered from an epileptic condition, was an intelligent, affectionate young man. He was a bellringer at the local church, always helpful and ready to run errands for people in need. Rutilio Grande is greatly admired by several generations of the clergy he trained. As a Catholic priest who was assassinated by the state security apparatus for his parish activity in the pursuit of justice, Rutilio became, and remains, a hero and an inspiration to Christian communities for his courageous stance. El Paisnal (where the three are buried) and the roadside site of their martyrdom have become

The beatification ceremony, delayed by the Covid pandemic, took place on 22 January 2022 in the huge Plaza Salvador del Mundo in the capital city. The Salvadoran cardinal, Gregorio Rosa Chávez, who knew Rutilio personally, presided.

A collection of photographs of Rutilio Grande SJ from throughout his life; and (bottom) the Volkswagen Safari in which he, Nelson Lemus and Manuel Solórzano were travelling when they were killed.

places of pilgrimage with a massive celebration every year on 12 March, which will become Rutilio’s feast in the liturgical calendar. As a martyr whom the whole Salvadoran Church is proud of, there was huge support for his beatification. Since no miracle is required in the case of martyrdom, the diocesan phase of

As Rutilio and his Salvadoran companions join St Óscar Romero in the heavenly gallery of martyrs, the Christian communities in Central America, the Jesuits and their networks of collaborators, together with justice and peace activists across the Church, will all surely give them a warm embrace as contemporary witnesses to a vibrant faith that is inseparable from the promotion of justice. The comment of the late Dean Brackley SJ seems particularly apt: El Salvador exports faith as well as coffee! Rutilio Grande is an attractive and energising figure for all Christians struggling to follow Jesus in a world of unresponsive structural injustice that is breeding inequality and destitution. I believe he can be a special inspiration to all who are striving to promote pastoral renewal and parish transformation in these extraordinarily challenging times. Blessed Rutilio Grande, Manuel Solórzano, Nelson Lemus and Cosme Spessotto – Pray for us. jesuit.org.uk

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FARM STREET CHURCH

THE ROYAL SEAL OF APPROVAL FOR

Farm Street exhibition John McManus was present when HRH The Prince of Wales visited the Jesuits’ home church in the heart of London.

F

arm Street church welcomed the Prince of Wales through its doors in early February. The prince was there at the invitation of parish priest, Father Dominic Robinson SJ, to see for himself the works of art in the ‘Metamorphosis’ exhibition, a collection of over seventy icons which have been created by Dr Irina Bradley and her 6

Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

students. Dr Bradley is one of the country’s foremost icon artists, and her Orthodox faith lies at the heart of her creations. Irina is a visiting tutor at the Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, and so it was fitting that Prince Charles himself came to Farm Street to give his seal of approval to the works.

The Church of the Immaculate Conception, popularly known as Farm Street church, has long provided a warm welcome for both Catholics and those of other faiths, offering thought-provoking preaching alongside beautiful music and works of art. As the Jesuit church in central London, Farm Street’s mission today is to glorify God, serve its congregation and help those who find themselves in distress or on the margins of society – especially the homeless, who are supported through the parish’s prolific outreach work.


FARM STREET CHURCH

(Below) Four-year-old Jamie welcomes Prince Charles to her grandmother’s exhibition of icons (bottom, left); Fr Dominic Robinson SJ with HRH The Prince of Wales in Farm Street church (far left); Dr Irina Bradley gives Prince Charles a tour of the ‘Metamorphosis’ exhibition (top, left); the prince greets members of the London Jesuit community (top, middle) and members of CLCC next to the ‘Homeless Jesus’ sculpture in Farm Street church (top, right). (Photos: Ela Walenda)

“During his visit to Farm Street, Prince Charles was able to see how Jesuits and lay people walk with the excluded every day.” As part of his visit, Prince Charles was able to see for himself the beauty of Farm Street, as he was given a guided tour by Father Dominic. He was also introduced to members of the homeless community and the volunteers from Central London Catholic Churches (CLCC), a charity founded at Farm Street during the pandemic, which organised outreach services when many places were forced to close their doors. A wide variety of people were present at the event, including members of the Society of Jesus and Serbian Orthodox priest, Fr Stefan Ponjarac.

Prince Charles also stopped to chat with many of Irina’s students, reflecting on the inspiration behind their works of art which were hung from the walls of the next-door London Jesuit Centre. The youngest student he spoke to was Irina’s four-year-old granddaughter, Jamie, who is already learning basic iconography techniques, such as how to gild. The highlight of the exhibition was a newly-created icon of St Magnus the Martyr, the patron saint of Orkney. In order to understand fully the history and importance of the saint, Irina travelled to Kirkwall to uncover the background of the 12th century Norse earl. The image she eventually created is based on a recent facial reconstruction of the saint, which in turn drew on photographs from the 1920s of what is said to be Magnus’s skull. Yet perhaps the prince’s favourite piece was that gifted to him by Irina herself; an icon

of St Corona, to mark his recovery from his first bout of Covid-19 in 2020. Since then, like so many others, His Royal Highness unfortunately contracted the virus a second time, as did his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. Prince Charles has repeatedly shown a keen interest in spirituality. During his visit to Farm Street, he was able to see not only the stunning art represented in the exhibition and the very fabric of the church, but also how one of the Society of Jesus’s aims – to walk with the excluded – is being lived out every day by Jesuits and lay people.

SEE THE BEAUTY OF FARM STREET FOR YOURSELF! Turn to page 17 to find out how you can discover Mayfair’s ‘Living Stones’. jesuit.org.uk

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MENTAL HEALTH

LIFE THROUGH

a smartphone lens Fr Kensy Joseph SJ, chaplain to the University of Birmingham, charts the decline in mental health among young adults and echoes Pope Francis’ call for the Church to respond.

I

n November 2021, American social psychologist Jonathan Haidt penned an essay for The Atlantic titled ‘The Dangerous Experiment on Teen Girls’. He wrote: ‘Something terrible has happened to Gen Z, the generation born after 1996.’ That ‘something’ is social media.

According to the 2020 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about one in six young adults (18-25) had a Major Depressive Episode (MDE) in the previous year. The situation in Britain is no better: at about the same time, the Office for National Statistics found that nearly a quarter of young adults (16-24)

in the UK were showing evidence of depression or anxiety. On both sides of the Atlantic, young women were twice as affected as young men. This was before the Covid-19 pandemic. Over the past decade, the world’s economies have been recovering from the ‘Great Recession’ brought on by the credit crunch. At the same time the mental health of young adults has been declining at an alarming rate. The figures above reflect about a 40% rise in cases of mental health problems in the UK from 2009–2019. In the US, over the same period, the number of cases had doubled. This isn’t simply a matter of young adults today being more open about their mental health issues: objective measures such as suicides and incidence of self-harm have also shot up over the same period. Before Covid, there was already a mental health epidemic among our young people. Haidt and fellow American psychologist Jean M. Twenge identify the rise of social media as the best causal explanation for this mental health crisis. In her 2017 book, iGen, Twenge points out that the sharp decline in youth and

“The pastoral challenge for the Church is to help young people find their way out of their worlds of loneliness.” young adult mental health started about the same time that the majority of this generation started owning smartphones. Young people no longer needed to disconnect from the Internet when they went into their bedrooms. Social media platforms such as Facebook, at first, and then Snapchat, 8

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MENTAL HEALTH Instagram and, now, TikTok, mean that the social dynamics of school and university (especially exclusion and bullying) follow them 24/7. At the same time, the widespread ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ (FOMO) means that they cannot simply switch off their mobile phones once they are at home. Even when they are aware of the damage being done to their mental health, young people find themselves trapped and helpless. In his post-synodal apostolic exhortation, Christus vivit, Pope Francis wrote: ‘For many people, immersion in the virtual world has brought about a kind of “digital migration”, involving withdrawal from their families and their cultural and religious values, and entrance into a world of loneliness and of self-invention, with the result that they feel rootless even while remaining physically in one place.’ (§90) The pastoral challenge for the Church is to find ways of entering these lonely worlds and helping young people find their way out. Having worked in school and university chaplaincy for many years, it has been clear to me that the prevalence of major mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorder has been increasing among young adults for a while. However, it was the Covid-19 pandemic that brought home the scale of the crisis. The first Covid lockdown was announced just as the university in which I work was preparing to go on its Easter break. The chaplaincy immediately made the transition to online live-streamed Masses; but we would need to wait for the new Catholic Society (CathSoc) committee to be in place before online social events could be organised. In the

Nearly a quarter OF YOUNG ADULTS IN THE UK WERE SHOWING EVIDENCE OF DEPRESSION OR ANXIETY

before THE COVID PANDEMIC Office for National Statistics

meantime, online prayer groups and reading groups offered an experience of community. However, as the lockdown dragged on, ‘Zoom fatigue’ started to set in and student interest waned. Isolation was not just physical now. Over the summer of 2020, even as things started to open up, I was hearing of students who had still not left their halls of residence – not even to shop for groceries. When the new academic year started in September 2020, thousands of students who had returned to campus with the promise of in-person teaching were disappointed to find that most of their classes, seminars and even labs were online. Online socials were sparsely attended, and many students did not participate even in outdoor events with social distancing and the ‘rule of six’. While some students were socialising behind closed doors, many others had simply stopped making any social contact whatsoever. Then the Delta variant struck and the country went into lockdown again. Over the course of the academic year, many seemingly well-adjusted students buckled under the pressure and needed

to take time off for reasons of mental health. Many lecturers reported how hardly any students attending online lectures had their cameras on. While it is true that many of them simply didn’t want to be seen attending lectures in their pyjamas, for some others it was another way of keeping themselves socially invisible. With the return of in-person social events this year, many students have slowly been coming out of their shells. But not everyone. Not all of the effects of lockdown were negative, however. For many students, the lockdowns acted as a kind of spiritual retreat as they considered deeper questions of meaning and purpose. This year’s RCIA class is the biggest one for many years – a common element in the candidates’ stories is the time and space that lockdown gave them to think seriously about their spiritual-religious commitments. In typical Gen Z / iGen fashion, however, the place they turned to for guidance was YouTube, not the parish priest. They were looking to Mike Schmitz rather than Richard Rohr; Matt Fradd rather than Pope Francis (even if they admire him!). The pandemic has taught the Church the importance of digital presence. If the Church is to accompany young people today in fulfilling their dreams, as Christus vivit calls it to (§§242–247), then it will need to produce more videos than Vatican documents. Pray As You Go can reach places the parish cannot. However, digital presence does not replace physical presence. Young people need safe communities where they can belong and spaces where they can be with each other. What these spaces need to look like I do not know. It is providential that Pope Francis is inviting the whole Church to embrace synodality – because young people are the greatest evangelisers to their own generation.

DID YOU KNOW? One of Pray As You Go’s special resources is an Examen prayer for young adults. Download the free app from iTunes or Google Play. jesuit.org.uk

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ST BEUNO’S

COME AS you are St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre extends a particular welcome to people in their twenties and thirties who want to spend some time with God, says Alex Harrod.

S

t Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in rural north Wales can feel a million miles away from the world that most people in their twenties and thirties usually inhabit. Maybe this is why increasing numbers of younger people are making the decision to step aside from their hectic lives and to come on a silent, individually guided retreat. This might be as a participant on one of our ‘regular’ retreats or on the dedicated retreats offered at a reduced rate to make them as accessible as possible for young adults. These dedicated retreats are often weekends (Friday night to Sunday afternoon), or Monday to Friday for those able to take leave from work.

the retreat begins. On the first evening we meet as a group to find out a little about where everybody has come from and why they are here. This is also where you are introduced to your spiritual director who will accompany you through the retreat in daily, individual meetings. These meetings are a chance to explore and reflect on your prayer as well as to receive suggestions about structuring the day ahead.

Some people may come having taken part in Ignatian prayer through their parish, at university or increasingly through opportunities offered online. They may have made a ‘retreat in daily life’ or use Pray As You Go. Some have been to St Beuno’s before, others simply have heard about making a retreat and decided to take the plunge. There is no one model, type or profile of person but the commonality is always a desire for ‘more’, for deeper connection with themselves and, crucially, deeper connection with God.

Then the silence begins! This can be daunting at first, particularly the silence of digital detox. The space it creates can be challenging, but it is an inviting and a necessary one and people in their twenties and thirties can be more aware of their need for this space than many of the older generation. Even those who approach the silence with trepidation are surprised by how possible and fruitful it is, and how close you feel to the others journeying with you.

Retreats begin gently, with time to arrive and settle in before the silence of 10

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“It is always a desire for ‘more’ that brings people to St Beuno’s.”

As well as daily meetings with your director, the retreat allows plenty of opportunity to rest, recharge and get out into the stunning grounds and

surrounding countryside. There is daily Mass and adoration for those who wish, as well as optional workshops offering a chance to be led through different ways of praying, which are another time to connect in prayer with those on the same retreat. What happens individually on retreat is different for everybody: the invitation is to come as you are, from wherever you are and to be open to the God of surprises! A weekend, or even a week can seem like a very short time, but it is always time enough for God to act. Gathering together as a group just before the end of the retreat to reflect on the experience, the shared sense is frequently that making time and space for God in silence might have been peaceful and restful, or it might have been more challenging, but somehow each one is given what they need before being sent back out in the company of God who has been journeying with us. St Beuno’s is a place apart from the everyday but it is not detached from it, so if you want to make more time and space to listen to and connect with God, why not come and see?

BOOK NOW There is a retreat for young adults at St Beuno’s from 4-8 April, and a special retreat from 28 July – 1 August (in person at St Beuno’s or online): ‘See All Things New’, celebrating the 500th anniversary of the conversion of St Ignatius of Loyola. Visit pathwaystogod.org/whats-on


VOCATIONS

A SCHOOL Like every vocation story, Jacques St Laurent SJ’s has been full of surprises, but each step along the path has been taken in faith, hope and love.

A

vocation is always a call to love. But it is not always obvious how to respond to this call. It requires some clarity about the situation we are in and some wisdom about what to do. We are only ever partially aware, however, of our circumstances. Moreover, we are only ever dimly aware of how they condition and shape us. Each step along the vocation path must, therefore, be made with faith. It is also made in the hope that a more fully loving response will emerge with time. The unfolding of my vocation has required an often-repeated process of trying to recognise and accept where I am, and then discerning where to go. The origin of my Jesuit story goes back to my time at St John’s Beaumont Jesuit prep school. Although the school building had the look of a Lego stately home for miniature people, I felt as if it was a rather austere place to live. I benefitted greatly from the school’s strong ethos of discipline and duty, which were qualities I severely lacked. It gifted me with a love of learning, the opportunity to play sport and music, and a helpful rhythm of prayer and reflection. As a result, I left with a strong desire to make a meaningful contribution to the common good and a solid foundation of skills to do so. I was unaware, however, of how this experience was impacting upon me emotionally. Largely detached from my feelings, I had come to view God as more of a policeman than a father. Nature has always been a great source of joy for me. This joy was accompanied by a concern for its future existence

of love

at around the time I was applying to university. It led me to choose a path of research into the relationship between humans and the environment. I began by examining the effects of mining on the health of estuaries and then considered the effects of climate change on drinking water contamination. I enjoyed this academic life. It gave me a space in which to investigate and share my concerns in a constructive way. Like many environmental scientists, however, I felt frustrated by the lack of response to our growing understanding of the damage being done to natural systems. I wondered about the role God played in all of this. Why did God not activate the hearts of those indifferent to the harm they caused? I was caught up looking for external solutions, I viewed God more as a fixer than a friend. The desire to enter the Jesuits came as a surprise to me. I suspect that God was keen to help me encounter, and share, more of God’s self. As I am a slow learner, God has had to work patiently with my childhood notion of ‘God the policeman’, whom I found frightening, and my naïve wish for ‘God the fixer’, whom I found frustrating. My attachment to these partial and

limited images of God has sometimes led to my time in the Jesuits being trying, especially for those around me. However, the daily practice of Ignatian prayer and the care of my Jesuit community has helped reveal to me a more accepting and joyful God. Furthermore, I am now beginning to see how God has been working with me at each step along my vocational path. Even a very partial understanding of who I am, and who God is, has been sufficient for God to draw me into a greater freedom to love. I continue to see my vocational journey as a school of love. It is not a journey that can be worked out in advance. I take each step with faith and a limited understanding of where it will lead me. And, when the journey seems a little too unpredictable and a bit out of control, I can turn to the gospels to see that God is no stranger to the vicissitudes of life.

WHERE IS YOUR PATH LEADING? If, like Jacques, you feel called to Jesuit life, visit jesuit.org.uk/who-we-are/ vocations

Jacques finding joy in nature on Dartmoor

jesuit.org.uk

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JESUIT MISSIONS

CARING FOR

a world on fire

What was the Ignatian verdict on COP26? Look back to Glasgow 2021 and ahead to Egypt 2022 with Jesuit Missions.

‘G

o forth and set the world on fire’ is a phrase that is commonly attributed to St Ignatius Loyola. Metaphorically speaking, this is what climate change activists are aiming to do. They want to stir up passion in the hearts of the global population, urging everyone to protect the planet. Ironically, that Ignatian saying also highlights exactly what climate activists want to prevent: global warming.

things. Instead, the team attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP26. COP is one of the annual conferences hosted by the United Nations, bringing world leaders together to discuss new targets to reduce climate change. Jesuit Missions attended to show world leaders that the Society of Jesus cares about the future of our common home.

The Society of Jesus is committed to caring for our common home. In its efforts to do so, the Society must make it known to the rest of the world that taking climate action is needed now more than ever. Cast your mind back to November last year. Were you getting ready for Christmas? Maybe you were braving the stormy weather, or were you wrapped up warm, reading your winter edition of Jesuits & Friends?! We at Jesuit Missions were doing none of those 12 Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

Ann Marie (left) with Lindlyn Moma at the Climate Action March (this photo, and opposite: Ann Marie Brennan)

Jesuit Missions was not the only Jesuit organisation raising a voice of concern. Representatives from EcoJesuit, the Southern African Jesuit Province and the Christian Life Community were also present at COP26. Expectations for COP26 were high. Climate activists wanted to see big commitments made by world leaders to stop average global temperatures from rising above 1.5oC by 2030. Despite the thousands of people showing up for the inspirational Climate Action March, despite the many representatives who attended COP26 from countries plagued by famine and drought, and despite Pope Francis warning world leaders to make ‘radical decisions’ at the global environmental summit, in our opinion, the commitments agreed at COP26 are still not strong enough. We spoke to Fr Leonard Chiti SJ, Provincial of Southern Africa, and Ann Marie Brennan from the Christian Life Community after they both attended COP26. Together, we explored the process and outcome of COP26 and our hopes for the future of climate action.


JESUIT MISSIONS

CREDIT Charles Lwanga College of Education

Were your expectations met after attending COP26? Fr Leonard Chiti SJ: (pictured left) On reflection, I have to say that COP26 was another failure, especially when considering the perspective of those who live on the front lines of the adverse effects of climate change. If another cyclone were to hit the eastern seaboard of Mozambique, if floods were to inundate southern Malawi or eastern Zimbabwe today, the effects would be no better than they would have been before COP26. More lives would be lost, more livelihoods washed away, and more pain and suffering for those who bear no responsibility for the change in the climate. Meanwhile, there is more hype and more promises made by those who carry the responsibility. Ann Marie Brennan: COP26 did not achieve the goals many of us had hoped for. The pledges made by countries are not adequate to limit our global temperature rise to less than 1.5oC by 2030. Still, there was some positive movement among many countries in terms of deforestation, methane emissions reduction, fossil fuel cutbacks and more. Sadly, these pledges did not go far enough, the will is still not there from wealthier countries to make the changes. Were there any positives to come out of COP26, or any lessons from which we can learn?

Ignatian contemplation! To witness leaders and representatives from almost 200 countries coming together in this way does give me hope. How did the Society of Jesus contribute to COP26? Fr Leonard: The Society of Jesus has been calling for urgent action against climate change for a long time. Perhaps we could have done better in organising a more formal delegation, but I joined a small number of other Jesuits and co-workers – from EcoJesuit, for example, as well as the British Provincial, Fr Damian Howard SJ, and the staff of Jesuit Missions – in Glasgow. Our presence signified our support for a global commitment to arresting and reversing climate change. We also highlighted the need to compensate vulnerable communities for the loss and damage created by climate change. This support and commitment are in line with our Universal Apostolic Preference to care for our common home. Ann Marie: I was blessed to participate in the 52-mile Jesuit Missions pilgrimage from Edinburgh to Glasgow. Three months later, I am still experiencing the many graces of that unique journey on foot. It was a time to explore the wonder, the beauty and abundant love of our Creator God. We deeply felt the desire for all the earth to rejoice in God’s creation. This naturally led to desires to act to make the wonder of God’s creation more visible in our world today and to consider how we might do our part to help alleviate and even eliminate environmental destruction and devastation.

Looking forward, what do you want to see at the next UN Climate Change Conference? Fr Leonard: My dream for COP27, which Africa is hosting in 2022, is that those who are most affected by climate change will lead the meetings. Climate change is a matter of life and death, and radical action is needed now more than ever. Ann Marie: The Glasgow Climate Pact was signed and will be revisited in just one year, rather than the usual five years, at COP27 in Egypt. This gives me hope for greater, significant and more robust pledges to be made! In the meantime, we urgently need to raise our voices on behalf of God’s creation and especially for the most vulnerable. If we promote sustainable lifestyles and advocate for climate action, all the earth may rejoice. Jesuit Missions is helping vulnerable communities all over the world who are suffering from the effects of climate change. As an organisation committed to caring for our common home, we want not only to help people in the short term but to make changes that will last a lifetime. We run various campaigns that target MPs and world leaders, urging them to do more for people and the planet. We need your support.

RAISE YOUR VOICE FOR CREATION! Be sure to sign up for our e-newsletter so you don’t miss a thing: jesuitmissions.org.uk/campaigns

Fr Leonard: Perhaps COP26 was not a complete failure. There were commitments towards reducing methane emissions, cutting deforestation, and a faster ‘phasing down’ of the use of coal and other measures against fossil fuels. But what do these commitments mean for the poor, who suffer the most from climate change and have contributed the least? I think it means very little. Ann Marie: COP26 in Glasgow was truly an amazing effort at envisioning our world through the lens of love and compassion, not unlike the view of the Trinity looking at our world in the

Ann Marie (left) stopping for lunch with other Jesuit Missions supporters on the pilgrimage

jesuit.org.uk

13


No Teachy? No Teachy? No Preachy! No Preachy! by John Paul de Quay

I I

Most of the convoy is destroyed in a storm. Most of the convoy is destroyed in a storm.

There was a terrible cold winter and our pilgrim was not clothed for thewas occasion. There a terrible cold winter and our pilgrim was not clothed for the occasion.

John plagues, Paul de Quay t is a time of great unrest -by wars, crusades and reformation! Schisms within the Church cause suspicions t is adifferent time of great wars, plagues, crusades and about ideasunrest and -suspected heretics are being reformation! within the Church causehis suspicions ‘inquired upon’.Schisms Owing to circumstances beyond control, Iñigo’s of staying in thesuspected Holy Landheretics and guiding about dream different ideas and are people being to God are ruined. Lacking direction and beyond searching what ‘inquired upon’. Owing to circumstances hisfor control, God expects with in a reluctance to train the religious Iñigo’s dreamofofhim, staying the Holy Land andfor guiding people life through education, Iñigodirection heads home from Jerusalem to to God are ruined. Lacking and searching for what Iñigo is captured walking through Finally in Barcelona, Iñigo Spain to seekofout a wise monk who to help God expects him, with aold reluctance to has trainpromised for the religious a war zone, is strip-searched and finds the old monk to be him. The journey home is as terrible, if not worse than the life through education, Iñigo heads home from Jerusalem to accused being a spy. Iñigo is ofcaptured walking through dead. Finally in Barcelona, Iñigo last one... Spain to seek out a wise old monk who has promised to help a war zone, is strip-searched and finds the old monk to be him. The journey home is as terrible, if not worse than the accused of being a spy. dead. begins to feel that study With another door closed to him, And so Iñigo goes back to school. Iñigo, enjoying education, last one... Iñigo considers his options. With another door closed to him, Iñigo, you should take up the Iñigo options. from offer considers of a free his education

Master Ardèvol Iñigo, you should who take teaches up the grammar. offer of a free education from Master Ardèvol who teaches grammar. Learning basic grammar is beneath you! Learning basic grammar is beneath you! It is a good Itstart. is a good start. After two years of progress Iñigo moves to Alcalá with friends he years has made during his After two of progress schooling to to study some more Iñigo moves Alcalá with heavy in a university friendssubjects he has made during his for the education the clergy. schooling to studyofsome more heavy subjects in a university for the education of the clergy.

There is a logical And so Iñigo goes back to school. conclusion as to where Latin Therestudying is a logical isconclusion leading... Iasmust to whereintervene. studying Latin is leading... I must intervene.

is a temptation, an intellectual distraction from what he is called to do. Iñigo, enjoying education, begins to feel that study isI shall a temptation, anas intellectual distraction from study only long as people provide mewhat he is called to do. with food and shelter, that way I know I am doing the right thing. I shall begin penances again I shall study only as long as my people provide me and with nothat soles. with wear food shoes and shelter, way I know I am doing the right thing. I shall begin my penances again and wear shoes with no soles.

Think of all the things you could achieve Thinkfor ofyourself all the if you things study hard. Lawyer, you could doctor, for EMPEROR? achieve yourself if you study hard. Lawyer, EMPEROR? Iñigo draws the attention of two brothers who own a During this time, Iñigo makes a name doctor, for printing shop, publishing books from big and controversial himself. He spends much time giving the thinkers of the Iñigo draws theday. attention of two brothers who own a Spiritual Exercises that makes he hadabeen During this time, Iñigo namewriting. for printing shop, publishing books from controversial himself. He spends much time giving the I am big Donand Diego and this is Discern thinkers of the day. Spiritual my brother Miguel. You and where theExercises that he had been writing. your friends can stay good spirit is I am Don Diego and in thisour is Discern leading my brotherhouse. Miguel. You and where you. the I am not sure these your friends can stay in our good spirit is lessons work in my We wouldhouse. also like to help leading you. master’s favour. I am not sure these with your work with the lessons work in my We would poor. also like to help Time forfavour. some master’s with your work with the gossip, fellow poor. Timedevils? for some gossip, fellow devils?

Some people were getting suspicious of this man drawing crowds. Some people were getting suspicious of this drawing crowds. The connections to the printing press and man Iñigo’s Hmmm. I shall make popularity raise more suspicions. There is much hearsay some inquiries in and which reach the Inquisitors Toledo! Alcalá. me check The rumours, connections to the printing press andatIñigo’s Hmmm.Let I shall make my availability. popularity raise more suspicions. There is much hearsay Are they some inquiries in Revolutionary! Theyrumours, are teaching and which reach the Inquisitors at Toledo! heretics? Alcalá. Let me check with no education my availability. Are theyOops. Part of an They are teaching Highly Revolutionary! heretics? underground with no education unorthodox! movement? Oops. Part of an Highly underground unorthodox! movement?

14 Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

That would be lovely. Could we read your books? That would be lovely. Could we read your Juanbooks? Rodríguez de Figueroa, Vicar General of Alcalá. I am here to inquire of rumours surrounding Iñigo and his Juan Rodríguez de one Figueroa, Vicar associates. You have been General of Alcalá. I am hereexpecting to inquireme. of rumours surrounding one Iñigo and his associates. You have been expecting me. No No

Did you not get the memo? Did you not get the memo?


No Teachy? No Preachy!

LIFE OF ST IGNATIUS LOYOLA

They were to carry as you were without They saidsaid youyou were freefree to carry on on as you were without interference... BUT!! causing much stress. I can’t interference... BUT!! YouYou areare causing tootoo much stress. I can’t take it. No more dressing up a as religious order. take it.said No more dressing as aason religious They you were free toupcarry youorder. were without Iñigo Arteaga, dye your clothes black. Calixto, Iñigo andand Arteaga, your clothes black. Calixto, Cáceres, interference... BUT!!dye You are causing too much stress. ICáceres, can’t clothes brown. lad... order. dye your brown. French takedye it. your Noclothes more dressing upFrench as alad... religious Did they find anyNo. heresy No. if they ForFor if they hadhad theythey Iñigo and Arteaga, dye your clothes black. Calixto, Cáceres, among us? would have burned you. dye your clothes brown. French lad...Oui? would have burned you. Oui? as you YouYou areare finefine as you are.are. No. For if they had they They would burn They would burn youyou alsoalso if if by John Paul de Quay Most of the convoy is would Oui? found heresy inhave you! burned you. theythey found heresy in you! destroyed in a storm. You are fine as you are. They twould burn you also if unrest - wars, plagues, crusades and is a time of great they found heresy in Schisms you! reformation! within the Church cause suspicions Inquisitors leave town without ButBut thethe Inquisitors leave town without speaking to Iñigo everever speaking to Iñigo andand co.co. ButDid the Inquisitors leave town without heresy Did theythey findfind anyany heresy everamong speaking among us? us? to Iñigo and co.

I

Inquisition have found TheThe Inquisition maymay have found nothing wrong with Iñigo’s teaching nothing wrong with Iñigo’s teaching there is something afoot with but there is something afoot with himhim Thebut Inquisition may have found and gang. I must him and his his gang. I with must getget himteaching off off thethe nothing wrong Iñigo’s until I can make my own inquiries street until can make my own inquiries butstreet there isIsomething afoot with him is the best for into him.him. JailJail isI the best place forthe him.him. andinto his gang. must get himplace off street until I can make my own inquiries terrible into him. JailThere is the was best aplace for cold him. winter and our pilgrim was not clothed for the occasion.

about different ideas and suspected heretics are being ‘inquired upon’. Owing to circumstances beyond his control, Iñigo’s dream of staying in the Holy Land and guiding people to God are ruined. Lacking direction and searching for what God expects of him, with a reluctance to train for the religious life through education, Iñigo heads home from Jerusalem to Iñigo is captured walking through Finally in Barcelona, Iñigo Spain to seek out a wise old monk who has promised to help a war zone, is strip-searched and finds the old monk to be him. The journey home is or as asking terrible,After ifAfter not than the comes accused of being awith spy. After aworse long while, Figueroa comes to see Iñigo After days return safe. Iñigo is go to go asking he was in jail, a long while, Figueroa to see Iñigo with 42 42 days theythey return safe. Iñigo is to NotNot asking whywhy he was in jail, or asking dead. last one... accusations. before a good dressing down. to leave, Iñigo manages to carry his his accusations. freefree butbut notnot before a good dressing down. to leave, Iñigo manages to carry on on his his work from his new “office”. work from his new “office”. Not asking why he was jail, ortoasking With another doorinclosed him, to leave, Iñigo manages carry on his Iñigo considers his to options. work from his new “office”. Iñigo, you should take up the offer of a free education from Master Ardèvol who teaches grammar.

After a long while, Figueroa comes to see Iñigo with After 42 days they return safe. Iñigo is to go And soencourage Iñigo goes back to school. Iñigo, enjoying begins to feel that study You are to go but forbidden you beautiful You are freefree to education, go but areare forbidden to to DidDid you encourage twotwo beautiful his accusations. free but not before a good dressing down. istalk atalk temptation, an from what of the faith on account of no formal noblewomen followers of yours to go of the faith on intellectual account of distraction no formal noblewomen followers of yours to go There is a logical pilgrimage alone, with money he iseducation. called education. on pilgrimage alone, with no no money andand You are freetotodo. go but are forbidden to Didon you encourage two beautiful conclusion as to I could teach I could teach youyou a a on foot? This reeks of hairbrained on foot? This reeks of your hairbrained talk of study the faith onasaccount no formal noblewomen followers of your yours to go I shall only long asofpeople provide me where studying Latin thing or two. thing or two. They are missing. tomfoolery! They arewith missing. education. on tomfoolery! pilgrimage alone, no money andNo!No! I advised I advised with food and shelter, I know I am doing wear some that way is leading... I must AndAnd wear some I could teach you a on foot? This reeks of your hairbrained against against it on the right it on thing. I shall begin my penances again proper shoes! intervene. proper shoes! tomfoolery! They are missing. account of the and wear shoes with no soles. thing or two. account of the No! I advised And wear some danger to them. danger to them. against it on Learning basic proper shoes! account of the grammar is danger to them. beneath you!

prove ifofyou are To To prove if you arethe Think all guilty you will remain guilty you will remain in in things you could until they return. if jail until they return. To jail prove if for you are achieve yourself It is a guilty remain in you you studywill hard. Lawyer, good jail well, until they return. Friends, I fear having doors closed I hear I hear your story Iñigo. I am sorry your doctor, Friends, I fear thatthat we we areare having doors closed your story well, Iñigo. IEMPEROR? am sorry for for your start. artist, sake TheThe artist, for for thethe sake of of thethe wherever I have studied most of any of us troubles troubles in doing God’s work. wherever we we go.go. I have studied thethe most of any of us in doing God’s work. reader’s sanity decided to skip reader’s sanity hashas decided to skip and even that is meagre. All we want to help soulstime,I Iñigo and even is years meagre. All wehaving want isdoors tois help souls Friends, Ithat fear that weprogress are closed hear your story well,for Iñigo. I am sorry Iñigo forIdraws your the of two brothers who own a Fonseca, I know I am notattention After two of During this makes a name Fonseca, I know am not next chapter is incredibly the next chapter isitincredibly Thethe artist, for as theitassake of the but so we far I have brought you tomost some scrapes. but soIñigo far Imoves have you to near scrapes. wherever go. Ibrought have studied thesome ofnear any of us troubles doing God’s printing shop, books from big last. and controversial under your jurisdiction I to Alcalá with himself. He spends much intime giving the work. under your jurisdiction butbut Ipublishing similar to the Poor Iñigo. similar the has last. Poor toIñigo. reader’s to sanity decided skip I even nearly had us all burnt as You should not Iand nearly had us burnt asduring heretics. should notExercises that meagre. All weheretics. want is to help souls thinkers ofnot the day. humbly do whatever friends heis all has made his You Spiritual that he had been writing. humbly willwill whatever youyou Fonseca, I do know I am They continue annoying people They continue annoying people the next chapter as it is incredibly harm on my account. I will to Toledo risk harm my account. I will go go to Toledo to to butrisk so far Ion have you to some near scrapes. recommend, friend. schooling tobrought study some more recommend, my my friend. am Don Diego and this is under your jurisdiction but I bygiving giving away theirclothes, clothes, by away similar to I the last.their Poor Iñigo. Discern Archbishop do whatever heshould recommends. Archbishop and do whatever he recommends. to Salamanca. I have I nearly hadFonseca usFonseca all burnt as heretics. You not GoGo to Salamanca. I have heavy subjects in aand university my brother Miguel. Youand and humbly will do whatever you becoming incredibly popular, becoming incredibly popular, and where the They continue annoying people friends a college there. risk harm oneducation my account. will go to good Toledo tois friends andand a college there. for the of theI clergy. your can stay in our recommend, my friend. getting in very hot water spirit then getting infriends very hotclothes, water by then giving away their I bless you provide Archbishop Fonseca and do whatever he recommends. bless andand willwill provide toyou Salamanca. I have leading you. I Go house. with friars San Esteban with thethe friars of of San Esteban becoming incredibly popular, and I you am not sure these everything need. everything you need. friends and a college there. when Iñigo Dominican Iñigo thenDominican getting Priory inPriory verywhen hot water Thank you, Thank you, lessons work in my I bless you and will provide We would also like to help presents an early written draft presents early draft with the an friars of written San Esteban Fonseca!! Fonseca!! everything youmaster’s need. favour. with your work with the of his Spiritual Exercises. Iñigo of his Spiritual Exercises. Iñigo Dominican Priory when Thank you, poor. irritated much over lunch irritated them so so much over lunch presents anthem early written draft Time for some Fonseca!! that all the group get thrown that all the group get thrown in in of his Spiritual Exercises. Iñigo gossip, fellow jail. except French jail. All All except thethe French lad,lad, irritated them so much over lunch devils? whobecame became friar. Juanico, who a afriar. thatJuanico, all the group get thrown in jail. All except the French lad, Juanico, who became a friar.

Calixto? Calixto?

Some people were getting suspicious of this man drawing crowds.

I need toilet. I need thethe toilet. The connections to the printing press and Iñigo’s Hmmm. I shall make Calixto? popularity raise more suspicions. There is much hearsay some inquiries in and rumours, which reach the Inquisitors at Toledo! I need the toilet. Alcalá. Let me check my availability. Are they Revolutionary! They are teaching I am thinking. Things are a mess. heretics? I am thinking. Things are a mess. with no education I think I should study I think I should go go andand study in in Oops. Part of an Highly join religious. Paris andand joinThings thethe religious. A A I am Paris thinking. are a mess. underground unorthodox! corrupted order perhaps? That order perhaps? That Icorrupted think I should go and study in movement? would a challenge! would be be ajoin challenge! WeWe must Paris and the religious. Amust gather group! God will gather thethe group! God willThat helphelp corrupted order perhaps? us! first... ButBut first... would beus! a challenge! We must gather the group! God will help us! But first...

That would be lovely. Could we read your books? Juan Rodríguez de Figueroa, Vicar General of Alcalá. I am here to inquire of rumours surrounding one Iñigo and his associates. You have been expecting me. No

Will friends Will ourour friends everever getget outout of jail? of jail? Will and study Will Iñigo go go and study in ourIñigo friends ever get outin Paris priesthood? Paris andand joinjoin thethe priesthood? of jail? Will Iñigo go and study in Did you not get Paris and join the priesthood? the memo?

jesuit.org.uk

15


FAMILY LIFE

THE FULLNESS

of family life The average age at which many people choose to start a family might be increasing, but Nick Hanrahan and his wife are embracing the joy of parenthood in their mid-twenties.

Nick with wife Éadaoin and daughter Áine Rós

B

eing a practising Catholic and working for a Catholic charity, it is not unusual for my non-Catholic friends to ask my view on those stories about the Church that cut through to the wider media. The most recent example of this was Pope Francis’ comments about pet ownership replacing parenthood, which was headline news at the start of January. When asked by a friend of mine who seemed to find the furore somewhat amusing, I told them I had seen the headline but hadn’t read the full story, which seems to have caused plenty of controversy and even hurt in some quarters. However, some of what the pope said prompted me to reflect on my own experiences of the past couple of years. My wife, Éadaoin, and I were married in the summer of 2019 and were still settling into married life and our first home together when the pandemic hit. During the first lockdown we found out we were expecting our first child and our daughter, Áine Rós, was born on New Year’s Day 2021.

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Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

In the build up to Áine Rós’s birth, we received lots of advice on many of the practical things that you need to know about caring for a newborn. We attended our midwife classes online, had friends and family share their special tips on topics ranging from getting the little one to sleep to how to make bathtime easier. It was wonderful to have some expertise at hand, knowing that Éadaoin and I had never looked after a newborn and that lockdown meant our families were far away. However, one thing I remember not really being prepared for, or many people chatting to us about, was the spiritual side of becoming a parent. I knew it would be a life-changing event, something that naturally would change my spiritual life. The busyness of looking after a baby means finding time for silent prayer or having an uninterrupted Mass is incredibly difficult. When you have finally got the baby to sleep it can be easy to make the excuse that you’re tired and turn on the TV instead of trying to spend some time in prayer. Despite this, I believe that becoming a father is making me a better Christian. Just as getting married turned my focus away from myself and encouraged me to think of my wife first, so parenthood takes in another person. We, as a family, are learning how to love one another best each day. For my wife and I, that has meant taking the feeds in the early hours when all we want is a good night’s sleep or changing the dirty nappy that seems to smell worse than the last. Even these small sacrifices move us more and more away from selfishness and

towards one another. I am learning that there is so much I cannot control, with which I have to trust God. I have also gained a greater appreciation of God the Father’s love for me. It can be hard for us to believe that we have a heavenly Father who loves us exactly as we are, even at the times when we don’t love ourselves. That moment we first met Áine Rós helped me understand that in a way I never have before. The love in me that poured out for that little girl was indescribable, not for anything she had done but just for the sheer joy of her being. Anytime I doubt I am worthy of the Father’s love, I recall that deeply spiritual experience.

“We, as a family, are learning how to love one another best each day.”

The pope spoke in his comments of the changing demographics of people having fewer children and having them older. There are many reasons why people may want to get married and have children later in life. All I can say in my experience is that there is a great joy in doing so in my midtwenties. Sure, I don’t have everything figured out, I’m still relatively early in my career and we don’t own a house, but I have the joy of knowing I have the greatest gift, a loving family who I will journey through life with, to help me discover all of what God has in store and to share in it with me. In his comments the pope also said: ‘Fatherhood and motherhood are the fullness of the life of a person.’ Life is certainly very full, and it has never been more blessed!


LIVING STONES

‘WHERE YOU ARE STANDING

IS HOLY GROUND’ (Exodus 3:5)

An appreciation of the art and architecture of churches can be one way of deepening faith – Jo Warren and Danny Asaad explain how a project supported by the Jesuit Young Adult Ministries offers opportunities to see the beauty in buildings.

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iving Stones started in its current form in 2008 – first at the Gesù in Rome, then in Bologna and other cities in Italy, before spreading across Europe. There are now almost forty groups across the world, including in Chicago and Mexico City – and, since 2020, in London. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, groups meet for prayer and study, preparing them to offer visitors to a church an opportunity to experience its beauty while sharing the history of our faith and the good news of the gospels. The London community is based at Farm Street church in Mayfair. Some of our members dip in once in a while, but there is a core community of six to nine people who meet once a week for prayer, intellectual formation and to learn about church art and architecture, so that we might share what we learn with visitors to Farm Street. Service is a key element of Living Stones, and members are drawn to the groups by a call to share the beauty of the Church with people who visit historic churches, and a desire to do this in a way that bears witness to their faith. This does not necessarily mean that the members of our group have

prior knowledge or qualifications in art history: they are from a variety of different backgrounds, attracted to the group through the style of prayer, desire to form community, and an eagerness to learn more about the beauty and heritage of the Church in order to share it with others. Eugenia, a PhD student at Bristol University, has been a member of the group since early 2021. ‘Through our service in the church, I am sharing my experience of faith with everyone who is willing to listen to it. The tour is a moment of exchange, openness, tolerance, which is possible only when

“We want to learn more about the beauty and heritage of the Church in order to share it with others.” we all agree to keep a moment of silence and make space in our heart for something new and unexpected. Each of the works of art we are surrounded by when we are in the church speaks of humans’ desires, ambitions, historical events and contingencies. And yet, these

works are just a medium to testify to God’s presence and the many beautiful ways humans express their experience of God. I believe we are all works of art in some way and this is what makes me live out my sense of vocation among Living Stones.’ Prayer and time spent reflecting on scripture are key to sustaining the group and adding to our understanding of the stories of the artworks and saints we find on our exploration of the church, enabling us to share them. Take, for example, the Sacred Heart chapel at Farm Street, with its bronze altar frontal, which members of the congregation probably walk past almost every time they are in the church. On the base of the altar is an unusual depiction from the story of Joseph in the Old Testament: Judah pleads with the as-yet-unrecognised Joseph in the finery of Pharaoh’s vizier for the life of his brother, Benjamin, who has been found with a stolen silver cup (planted by Joseph). The upper part of the altar piece (below left) shows two images: the first, the mocking of Jesus before his crucifixion; and the second, the moment that Thomas the apostle, amidst his grief and doubt, recognises the risen Christ. Sharing this with visitors enables us to help them reflect on their faith. Engagement with other Living Stones communities internationally has also borne fruit in unexpected ways, with members of our team contributing to and benefitting from translations of formation resources in other languages and international meetings. We hope, as a result of this and all of our work, that the message of Living Stones continues to be more accessible and allows more people to experience the beauty in the art and architecture of the Church. We intend to hold guided visits of Farm Street once a month – whether you are a regular visitor to the church, or just passing through London, we’d love to meet you!

GET IN TOUCH!

The upper part of the altar in the Sacred Heart Chapel at Farm Street Church (Photo: Living Stones)

Contact Jo and Danny via livingstones. UK@hotmail.com to ask about their tours of Farm Street; and visit www.pietre-vive.org for information about Living Stones internationally. jesuit.org.uk

17


ST IGNATIUS, ENFIELD

St Ignatius sixth-formers ready to embark on their sleep-out and (below) in their accommodation for the night (Photos: St Ignatius College)

SLEEPING OUT AND

waking up

Dewnith Perera, a student at St Ignatius College, Enfield, tells us that taking part in the sixth-form sleep-out helped him to realise that the experience of homelessness is about more than where you lay your head.

O

n Friday 22 October 2021, 38 students and several staff of St Ignatius College, Enfield volunteered to ‘sleep out’ in support of homeless charities: The Passage and Beyond the Streets. As well as a chance to fundraise, this was an opportunity to experience homelessness first-hand and to allow ourselves to be moved by that. On the evening of our arrival, with the events of the school day fresh in our minds, we began to set up our barebones accommodation: a sleeping bag on cardboard, with the luxurious option of a roll mat. After laying our beds for the night and catching up with our friends, we were guided into the school gym, where our guest speakers from The Passage awaited us. The testimonies we heard from the two former homeless women who had been supported by The Passage were perhaps the most meaningful aspect of our night. The speakers explained their experiences of being homeless in precise detail. The first spoke from her unique perspective of being both elderly and homeless, highlighting how circumstances can affect each individual differently. She used her access to a free travelcard to sleep overnight on buses: 18

Jesuits & Friends Spring 2022

as a woman, she added, it was a very dangerous idea to sleep alone on the streets. The melancholy and loneliness experienced by homeless men and women was further reinforced by the second testimony, in which the speaker described her mental health constantly declining owing to her isolation from other people. She very bravely commented on her depression and urge to commit suicide, until she was helped by The Passage. Hearing their stories forced us to change our perspective of this sleep-out: while we would partake in the physical discomforts of those who live on the streets, we had friends right next to us – the fire of companionship warming our hearts. For men and women who are genuinely homeless, their only heat comes from the blankets wrapped around them in the solitary night. To help us reflect on what we had heard, the next stage of our evening was to spend some time in individual prayer, before coming together to pray as a group by sharing a reading from the Gospel of Matthew in which Jesus reminds his followers that, ‘whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ This helped us realise the connection

between the Catholic faith that inspires our Ignatian school community and our support of charitable causes. The food served during our sleep-out was, deliberately, not the best. Soup and bread were a reminder of how lucky we were to be fed regularly; the cold seemed to bring more flavour to the warm soup as we gathered around the tables in the school quad. Lying down for the night was a confrontation with the brutal reality of sleeping on the streets, kept awake by our sensitivity to noises and lighting around us. Upon awaking I was met with a pain in my bones after spending the night on the concrete floor. My shivering had even woken those around me. This discomfort was only taken away by the warm cheese toasties served to us by our teachers. The whole experience was deeply illuminating and managed to make even the most cynical of us empathise with those who live on the streets. An unnerving outcome of participating was the realisation that homeless people do not exist in a separate sphere to us. Those on the streets are just like us, though in different circumstances. They are more than people who need charity, they are people with fears and hopes, and the need for human connection and kindness.


JESUIT FUND FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE

BUILDING A

‘living Church’ The Jesuit Fund for Social Justice has been delighted to support the work of the charity, Million Minutes. CEO Daisy Srblin celebrates the fact that not even a pandemic has held back their work!

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he Catholic youth social action charity, Million Minutes, has worked for over ten years to help create a Church and a world where all young people enjoy a life of dignity and are accompanied to discover and fulfil God’s calling. Over that time, the support we have received from the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice has helped make such work possible. In the past two years, our work with young people, who have been so affected by the pandemic, and those who walk with them in Catholic spaces, has developed in various important ways, all of which have sought to help create a ‘Church with open doors’, for which the Holy Father has called. In 2020/21 we began in earnest our Beacon Parish scheme, delivering a model of what we believe will be the gold standard of Catholic youth ministry in parish settings in England and Wales. We have created communities for these Beacon Parishes (currently in Liverpool, Clifton, East Anglia, Shrewsbury and Leeds, but set to expand in 2022) to grow in understanding of the contexts of young people, and encouraged them to reorient their youth ministry to put young people, both within and outside of parish walls, at the heart of their work. For us, this scheme is a challenge and a hopeful alternative for those who might see the Church as being in the midst of managed decline. Over the course of the pandemic, we hosted training for youth ministers, chaplains, priests, members of religious orders, parents and catechists to help them use the lockdowns as opportunities to refresh their youth ministry, to make it truly ‘broad and

flexible’ with a ‘heart for all young people’, in line with the instructions of Pope Francis in Christus vivit. We have continued to explore the so-called ‘peripheries’ both of the Church and of society, especially in light of the inequalities the pandemic has served to expose. In 2020, we hosted a ground-breaking webinar exploring the experiences of young LGBTQ+ Catholics, and in 2021 we explored the experiences of young women in the Church. We hosted these webinars as a result of anecdotal evidence of both groups being seen as peripheries in the Church, though many young people are either members of such groups, or feel an affinity to them.

locally. It will most likely focus on social action to support the refugees and asylum seekers in Portsmouth, and empower young adults, as well as helping Anjulie develop strong leadership skills. We continue to give platforms to incredible Catholic young people who deserve recognition. We have supported and encouraged 21-year-old Tom Allen to develop a podcast exploring faith and social action, and 17-year-old Destiny Odogiyan has written for us exploring her experiences as a young, black Catholic, who is working to make being Catholic ‘cool’. And although lockdowns have made it impossible to hold our Celebrating Young People Awards in person, we have continued to give parishes and schools the opportunity to recognise the efforts and work of young adults via the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati Award, which has been given out over a dozen times in the last year. For the support we have received from the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice, we are extremely grateful, and we know first-hand the life-affirming difference that a ‘Church with open doors’ that serves as a ‘field hospital’ can make, both for the Church itself and for society. In the words of the Holy Father: ‘... a living Church [is] ... a Church that stays young

Back row, from left: Jesuit Provincial Fr Damian Howard SJ joins Million Minutes’ trustee Fr Ryan Service, CEO Daisy Srblin, school chaplain Fr Gregory Echegwo and (front row) students from St John Bosco College Battersea at a thanksgiving Mass in November 2021 in Sacred Heart Church, Battersea (Photo: Sacred Heart Church, Battersea)

Our grant-making directly to young people has continued apace, allowing young adults to grow as the next generation of Catholic leaders. For instance, in 2021 we approved a grant of £500 to 22-year-old Anjulie Chou from St John’s Cathedral, Portsmouth, to set up a youth-led Frassati Group for 18–25-year-olds. The Frassati group is the first of its kind in the parish, and will work to identify and respond to need

and lets herself be challenged and spurred on by the sensitivities of young people.’ May we continue to be a living Church, in this important way.

APPLY Have an idea for a project. but need some seed funding? Apply to the JFSJ by 1 June: jesuit.org.uk/our-work/ jesuit-fund-for-social-justice jesuit.org.uk

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JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE

Hope AMIDST HOSTILITY JRS UK’s detention outreach team has been supporting people seeking asylum at the disused Napier barracks since shortly after Napier opened as asylum accommodation in autumn 2020. William Neal gives us a glimpse of life at Napier.

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he decommissioned Napier army barracks sit on the outskirts of Folkestone on the Kent coast. Since autumn 2020, they have been used to accommodate adult men without families in the UK, near the start of their asylum claims. The men placed there have come to the UK seeking sanctuary, and have normally arrived relatively recently. They have fled different countries, many war-torn or otherwise precarious, including Eritrea, Sudan, Iraq and Iran. Some are from Syria or Afghanistan. Many are extremely vulnerable. JRS UK has supported several survivors of torture or trafficking at Napier, despite the government’s own policy saying

An external view of the barracks from inside Napier (Photos: JRS UK)

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that people with these kinds of vulnerabilities shouldn’t be placed there at all. Several times, we have supported boys who appear to be under the age of eighteen, but whom the government has deemed to be adults.

“In a hostile setting, JRS seeks to offer a presence that is hospitable, that is open, and that is simply human.” The barracks are bleak and prison-like. They are surrounded by high fences and made up of a mixture of worn brick and concrete. To say they are run down would be an understatement. To me, Napier feels a lot like a detention centre: there are security guards at the entrance, and often milling about the site, and the men are housed in cramped, noisy dormitories. This accommodation was decommissioned and disused by the Ministry of Defence for a reason – it was deemed unfit for army personnel, and it is most certainly unfit to house people seeking asylum. Not only are they disproportionately likely to be vulnerable, but the military setting in particular poses a risk of re-trauma to many, who may have fled brutal military regimes and perhaps conscription within them. The crushing human impact of Napier is sadly all too evident. People routinely explain to me that they suffer chronic sleep deprivation, and are deeply stressed by a lack of privacy. And although they are free to come and go, they don’t feel free. The site is isolated, held apart from the wider community

of Folkestone, and people placed at Napier have been met with real and perceived hostility when going into the town. They feel cut off, isolated, and with nowhere to go. As my colleague described it, it’s like they are encouraged to self-detain. All of this has a tangible effect; I can see their mental health deteriorate week after week. One man told us he ‘didn’t feel like a person’ when he was at Napier. People are typically moved to Napier after brief stints in asylum hotels, which could be right across the UK. They are then here for around sixty to ninety days before being moved on to slightly more stable asylum accommodation elsewhere in the UK. At the moment, we’re facing a situation where people are moved around the country very rapidly, with little rationale and sometimes no explanation at all. In general, this is hugely disorienting and makes it really difficult to establish any community links, for example with churches or mosques, or to get a support network in place. It disrupts access to legal advice and therefore justice in the asylum process. Often, when people are


JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE moved to Napier, they are not even told where they are going until they are about to leave, or even are on their way. Some have said they wouldn’t have gone if they’d known. Napier can be an especially bleak episode among a chaotic series of short-term placements. The men often want to be moved to asylum dispersal accommodation, and get the relative freedom and normalcy that comes with it, but this desire isn’t without tension – its realisation will mean another move to an unknown place and another disruption of tenuous links newly forged. Collaborative hospitality In this hostile setting, JRS seeks to offer a presence that is hospitable, that is open, and that is simply human. Each week, we visit Napier itself, and work at a drop-in centre based at a local church hall, together with other charities serving refugees. A listening ear and a friendly face can, for some, go a long way. We also offer a range of practical support. Our work at Napier is deeply collaborative – we pool resources, knowledge and insight with local groups, other charities and refugees. A core part of our practical service is to line people up with the professional support they need, helping them to overcome systemic barriers to support. Napier is isolated, many of the men

Cramped dormitories sleep up to fourteen men, with beds separated by thin sheeting

speak little or no English and several have no phone when they arrive. Men at Napier can’t make a GP appointment the way anyone else can, either, but can only go through the on-site nurse, who might decide they don’t need an appointment even if they know they do. Taken together, these things mean multiple, interacting barriers to basic services and support. Accessing healthcare, counselling and legal advice is a real struggle. We advocate for those on site to get appropriate healthcare and regularly liaise with solicitors, including those who can help especially vulnerable men get moved from Napier, if they want to be. We are grateful to our volunteer interpreters, without whom a lot of our service and accompaniment at Napier just wouldn’t be possible.

Via the drop-in centre, we and others also provide hot food and drinks, and warm clothing. The drop-in centre is a place where the local community reaches out to welcome those at Napier. It’s a place where people can come to get help, socialise outside of the brutal confines of Napier, and just relax. It’s a space that, in its warmth and gentle chaos, sometimes reminds me of the JRS day centre in Wapping. Crucially, we provide people with smartphones, enabling them to contact family, friends and solicitors. This seems like a small thing, but it is vital in allowing people to stay connected to their loved ones and giving them agency to pursue their asylum case. I’m aware that the picture I’ve painted here is pretty bleak. But there is another side to this. One thing that strikes me repeatedly is that the men we support and accompany at Napier show great strength, resilience and joy despite the hardships that they face and have faced, both here in the UK and on their often-treacherous journeys to get here. Among the men we visit week by week, there is a sense of friendship, community and fun. Napier and the wider asylum system can be dehumanising, and specifically can remove agency from people. In the face of that, I see people holding onto and reclaiming their humanity.

HOW CAN YOU HELP? We would welcome donations of working smartphones, phone chargers and good quality suitcases. Contact uk@jrs.net if you can help. jesuit.org.uk

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JESUIT MISSIONS

Sustainable solutions

IN SOUTH SUDAN relying on a single source of income, Deborah grows multiple crops during the year. She has been farming all her life and has an in-depth knowledge of agriculture and the weather system of South Sudan. Deborah is careful to grow and harvest her crops at the right time of the year, so they thrive. She was expecting the seasonal rain to fall in late April, so she cultivated her land and planted seeds, but the rain never came. When the rain eventually fell, it flooded the fields and destroyed her crops.

Jesuit Missions’ partners are exploring and investing in long-term solutions that can benefit people and the planet.

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e are all familiar with the caution in a famous parable against building one’s house on sand; instead, Jesus advises, the wise person is one who has built their house on rock. Notwithstanding the wild imagination of television’s Kevin McCloud, most of us can easily appreciate that a house built on sand would not last half as long as one built on rock. Of course Jesus was not making a Grand Designs pitch in this parable; he was hinting at the need to build your life with God as your cornerstone, providing a solid foundation for whatever life throws at you. South Sudan is a new nation built on the shaky foundation of civil unrest. The country gained independence from Sudan in 2011 after the longest civil war in the history of Africa. Despite becoming an independent

state, conflict persists, causing 4.3 million people from South Sudan to have been displaced. Years of violence have led to the country suffering from economic problems and regular food shortages. The Society of Jesus has assisted vulnerable families throughout many turbulent years in Sudan and South Sudan, but now there is another threat on the horizon: climate change.

The floods put Deborah in an incredibly vulnerable financial situation as she had no crops to sell. She now has no income, and her family have little to eat. Deborah says her children go to bed hungry, something no mother ever wants to admit. Her family has also been plagued with cases of malaria at the same time, making a bad situation worse.

“Deborah’s story is evidence of climate change causing poverty and hunger throughout South Sudan.”

To try and help us understand how severe the rains were, Deborah explained that her four goats died during the floods and her neighbour’s house collapsed. The whole local

Deborah is a mother of seven and farms for a living; she has several small plots of land and grows kale, pumpkins and peanuts. To ensure she is not All photos: Wanyonyi Eric Simiyu SJ

Students at St Peter’s Ecological and Computer Centre installing a solar water pump

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Students at St Peter’s Ecological and Computer Centre in a plumbing class


JESUIT MISSIONS community is struggling, as people who have lost their homes are now stealing livestock as a last resort. Deborah’s husband bought a bull last year, but someone stole it after the floods. Deborah’s story is evidence of climate change causing poverty and hunger throughout the country. With long dry periods and less rain, the weather system has changed as greenhouse gases are trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere. And political famines in South Sudan are also not uncommon, with armed groups hoarding food supplies. So, what can we do? Jesuit Missions is currently supporting several projects in South Sudan to meet both immediate and long-term needs. One of the immediate needs is food security. Jesuit organisations in South Sudan are running various programmes to provide food to some of the most affected people. There are also long-standing education programmes for children, which provide nutritious meals for those in attendance. Education is a long-term solution for both poverty relief and climate change. Jesuit Missions is investing in education in South Sudan, from young adults learning employability skills right down to nursery-aged children. For many people living in poorer countries, education is more than just about

Deborah telling her story to Jesuit Missions partners in South Sudan

going to school – it quite literally provides the opportunity of a lifetime. Those who have received further education in South Sudan have better employment opportunities, higher standards of living, and can extend help to others through professions like teaching, medicine and engineering.

“Graduates from St Peter’s play a vital role in helping to protect South Sudan from further damage caused by climate change.” There is also a growing industry across Africa which seeks climate change solutions, as the climate crisis is affecting people throughout the continent more than Europe or North America. With climate change and education being two pressing issues, St Peter’s Ecological and Computer Centre in Rumbek is covering both bases. The centre offers vocational courses for young adults in, for example, ICT, plumbing and engineering. We are particularly excited by their renewable energy course, which teaches students how to install and maintain renewable energy solutions for homes and businesses. Some of these renewable energy solutions can help prevent food shortages caused by climate change. Pupils are learning how to install solar water pumps powered by solar panels. Solar water pumps can supply clean water without diesel engines or animal

power. They work by bringing up water stored underground to irrigate crops, water livestock and provide drinking water for entire communities. A solar water pump installed in an agricultural community for farmers like Deborah means crops can grow during the drawn-out dry seasons before the floods come. With a solar water pump, crop failure would be less of a threat and farmers could reliably sell food for a living again. Engineers that can repair and maintain water pumps will also benefit, such as the students that graduated from St Peter’s Ecological and Computer Centre. Last summer, 79 students graduated from St Peter’s. Each individual graduated with a skill to enrich the lives of their community while ensuring employment opportunities for themselves. A cherry on top is that a quarter of graduates have trained in installing and maintaining renewable energy solutions. These graduates play a vital role in helping to protect South Sudan from further damage caused by climate change. Jesuit Missions is committed to caring for our common home while going where the need is greatest. We want to continue investing in long-term sustainable solutions to help people just like Deborah. We can only keep doing this with your help – thank you in advance for your generosity.

INVEST IN LONG-TERM SOLUTIONS TODAY Donate online at jesuitmissions.org. uk or use the form on the back cover of Jesuits & Friends. jesuit.org.uk

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JESUIT REFUGEE SERVICE

‘The age of

WALLS AND BARBED WIRE’ Pope Francis’ powerful words last year about the tragedy of migrant deaths should continue to ring loudly in our ears and demand a response from us, says JRS’s Sophie Cartwright.

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n early December 2021, at a refugee reception centre on the Greek island of Lesbos, Pope Francis begged those gathered: ‘Brothers and sisters, let us stop this shipwreck of civilisation’ – ‘this shipwreck’ being the dangerous and sometimes lethal pushbacks of refugees, desperate for safe haven, trying to cross the Aegean Sea by boat. Approximately 2,048 people died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2021. It may become easy for us to read those figures quickly, so let us pause a moment: approximately two thousand and forty-eight people died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2021; people with families, people with hopes, people with passions. Francis exhorted his listeners – indeed, exhorted all of us, as a global community – to take in the sheer human horror of this scenario: ‘Let us not hastily turn away from the shocking pictures of their tiny bodies lying lifeless on the beaches.’ These were – and are – stark words. They were deeply uncomfortable. They push before us a reality we would rather not see. At the time, Francis’ uncompromising words were widely reported and commented on. JRS UK specifically reflected on how they resonated with a UK context: 27 people, including three children, drowned whilst trying to cross the English Channel in November 2021, and the UK government itself was making plans for dangerous pushbacks of migrant boats. The press coverage around the pope’s address has died down. But his words are as relevant as ever because the 24

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phenomenon he addressed was wide and deep. In January, tragically, another person drowned trying to cross the Channel. Yet another life taken. As our team worked together to respond to it, my colleague remarked to me that it was sickening how many images of the sea we were having to put on our website. The English Channel is

2,048 PEOPLE died or went missing in the Mediterranean in 2021.

Missing Migrants Project

beginning to feel like the ‘desolate sea of death’ that Francis refers to in his address. And it is a consequence of government policy making it harder for refugees to travel, of building walls where bridges are desperately needed. Higher walls won’t stop desperate people from trying to cross borders, they will only make border crossings more dangerous.

The UK’s border policy is only one instance of a global phenomenon. Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 47,360 people trying to migrate since 2014. I’ll state that again: forty-seven thousand, three hundred and sixty people have died. Estimates suggest that around 650 people died trying to cross the border into the US from Mexico in 2021 – that figure excludes, of course, the many who died on a treacherous journey to the border. We live in an unjust world, where there is so much volatility, suffering and danger. So many people lack a safe place to live, let alone a place where they and their families can flourish. At borders across the world, people die trying to reach safety, and those in societies that are relatively safe are becoming increasingly focused on, in Francis’ words, ‘proposals that common funds be used to build walls and barbed wire as a solution.’ It is horrifying that this is our response to human beings desperate for safety. Our approach to borders is killing people. We could instead respond with welcome. Our response to precarity and suffering could, and should, be love and justice. The response of building walls often involves a kind of notlooking, a turning away. We are aware of a problem, but not of a person; of a refugee crisis, but not a crisis for refugees. If we really, really look at the lifeless bodies, if we take in the lives that will no longer be lived, we must mourn. As we mourn, we must repent, and build a more just world.


PRAYING WITH THE POPE

Finding God IS NOT A GAME OF HIDE AND SEEK Knowing that we can find God in all things can be a challenge if we don’t know where to start looking, says Eddy Bermingham SJ... but there is comfort in that, too.

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don’t know about you, but I often feel I am being pulled in different directions at the same time. Rather than moving in a definite direction, my life sometimes feels as if it is all over the place. Instead of being centred, I have multiple forces acting on my life, each exerting its own attraction. I experienced this lack of focus again when I began to ponder the pope’s intentions for the next four months: bioethics, health workers, faith-filled young people and the family. Reflecting on these four places, I couldn’t detect a common thread and I must admit to feeling a sense of frustration with the pope whose intentions ‘jumped all over the place’. But it could be that my desire for a sharply focused image of God misses the point. In the final meditations of his Spiritual Exercises, St Ignatius invites us to ‘find God in all things’. We are invited to

grow in a deeper appreciation that our God really is all over the place. We can find God, or more accurately God can find us, in any and every situation. Being able to find God in all things sounds nice. We can imagine that knowing that God is ever-present is always a source of comfort. But there are times when the presence of God can be discomforting, where God’s presence doesn’t show itself in ways that are agreeable or even acceptable to us. It might be that the way we discover who God is for us is through those glimpses of where God is for us! In March, as we pray for those Christians who face new bioethical challenges, may God show us how the spirit of God is present to every human endeavour, always inviting us to a fuller expression of our common humanity. In April, as we pray for health care workers, may we deepen our sense of how God’s spirit of healing and desire for our wellbeing is made manifest in and through each and every carer. In May, as we pray for faith-filled young people, may our sense of wonder at how God’s new life and new creation is re-born again and again in the midst of each new generation be deepened.

INTENTIONS FOR THIS PERIOD MARCH For a Christian response to bioethical challenges We pray for Christians facing new bioethical challenges; may they continue to defend the dignity of all human life with prayer and action. APRIL For health care workers We pray for health care workers who serve the sick and the elderly, especially in the poorest countries; may they be adequately supported by governments and local communities. MAY For faith-filled young people We pray for all young people, called to live life to the fullest; may they see in Mary’s life the way to listen, the depth of discernment, the courage that faith generates, and the dedication to service. JUNE For families We pray for Christian families around the world; may they embody and experience unconditional love and advance in holiness in their daily lives. In June, as we pray for families, may we come to recognise that in families, in all their different shapes and sizes, we find the love of God the Father made real in our world. To pray with the pope’s intentions over these coming months is to accept an invitation, an invitation to discover that our God is all over the place!

FIND OUT MORE The Pope’s Prayer Network has a website for England, Wales and Scotland. There, you will find resources to help you develop a sense of how God’s presence is felt all over the place. www.praywiththepope.net jesuit.org.uk

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PROVINCE NEWS

Fr Gerard J. Hughes SJ Fr Gerard ‘Gerry’ J. Hughes SJ died on Tuesday 2 November 2021 in the Corpus Christi Jesuit Community house in Boscombe. Kevin Fox and one of the carers were with him. He was 87 years old, in the 71st year of religious life, and had been in failing health for some time. The exterior and interior of St Dominic’s priory church (Photos: Lawrence Lew OP)

TAKE A WALK ON THE

Tyneside The Province has a new presence in the centre of Newcastle. Dermot Preston SJ introduces the St Henry Morse community.

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n 122 AD, 1900 years ago this year, the Emperor Hadrian crossed the river Tyne on a bridge named in his honour (‘Pons Aelius’) and gave instructions for the building of a wall on the north side of the river to keep out the marauding Picts. That same resilient bridge was still there a thousand years later when one of the sons of William the Conqueror re-established the settlement on the northern riverbank and the functional Norman fortress that arose became known simply as ‘New Castle’. The Dominicans came to preach the good news in Newcastle in 1239. They established a priory in the part of the centre of the city which is still known today as ‘Blackfriars’. The priory was demolished as part of Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, but the Dominicans returned to Newcastle in 1860 and 26

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bought a site to the east of the city centre and, in the years that followed, constructed a new priory and the church of St Dominic’s. The building is intertwined with local history – two stones from the demolished Blackfriars are built into the arch over the sacristy door and the foundations of Hadrian’s Wall run directly beneath the priory. The Dominicans departed a couple of years ago, and the Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle asked the Jesuits to minister to the people of this corner of the North East of England. The Jesuit Provincial missioned three of us (Gero McLoughlin, Peter Randall and Dermot Preston) to establish a new community in that diocese, and in autumn 2021 we took up residence in the old priory and began to use St Dominic’s church as our apostolic base in the city. Our task is to explore the needs in the diocese – be they spiritual or sacramental, in justice or education – and try to respond to these needs to the best of our ability. It is early days, but the history is rich, the work is engaging, and the natives are friendly and welcoming!

Gerry was born on 6 June 1934 in Wallington, Surrey. He was educated at St Aloysius’ College in Glasgow, and joined the Jesuit novitiate in Harlaxton in 1951, taking his first vows there two years later. After a year’s juniorate at Manresa in Roehampton, he studied for a licentiate in philosophy for two years at Heythrop in Oxfordshire, followed by a third year back in Roehampton. A year of Certificate of Education studies in Roehampton followed. Between 1958 and 1962 he took a Master’s in Classical Mods and Greats at Campion Hall, then taught Greek and Latin in Beaumont College as regency. Next came an STL in theology at Heythrop, at the end of which, in 1967, he was ordained. That year he started doctoral studies in Ann Arbor, Michigan. He was one of the first professors at Heythrop in London in 1970, lecturing in moral theology, living first in Cavendish Square and later in Southwell House,


OBITUARIES and then Sherwin House in Osterley and Owen House. In 1973 he became Dean of Philosophy at Heythrop, attending GC32 the following year. Between 1982 and 1988 he combined his work at Heythrop with the post of Vice-Provincial for formation. In 1992 he had a sabbatical, teaching for a semester at Santa Clara in the USA. He was appointed Vice-Principal of Heythrop in 1995, and then in 1998 became Master of Campion Hall, a position he held until 2006, tutoring in philosophy in Oxford. A prolific writer, with more than forty publications listed on the Province database, he received a DLitt from Heythrop in 2009. He continued in Oxford as a fellow in philosophy until moving to Boscombe in 2018, where he remained until his death.

Fr John Fairhurst SJ Fr John Fairhurst SJ died on Tuesday 16 November 2021, in the Corpus Christi Jesuit Community house in Boscombe. He was 90 years old, in the 72nd year of religious life, and had been in failing health for some time. John was born on 11 November 1931 in Whiston, Lancashire. He was educated at Preston Catholic College and entered the novitiate in Harlaxton at the age of eighteen. After a year’s juniorate at Manresa, Roehampton,

he went to Heythrop in Oxfordshire for two years of philosophy, returning to Manresa for a third year of the same, and then a year’s pedagogy. Between 1957 and 1960 he made his regency at Hodder, the prep school for Stonyhurst, then went back to Heythrop for four years of theology. He was ordained at St Wilfrid’s, Preston in 1963 and made his tertianship at St Beuno’s in 1964-5 under Paul Kennedy. Between 1965 and 1978 he was missioned to what was then Salisbury, Rhodesia, initially studying local languages and missiology, and then, after a year in St Peter’s parish, working in St George’s College before, in 1968, moving to Campion House in the city where he spent the next decade. Returning to Britain, the next period of his life was spent in parish work, in Ss Michael and John, Clitheroe (1978-79), Sacred Heart, Wimbledon (1979-89), and St Mary on the Quay, Bristol (1989-91). In autumn 1989 he took part in the St Beuno’s 3M course, helped out on the same course the following year, and in 1991 became a full member of the St Beuno’s team, directing the Spiritual Exercises. Five years later he was transferred to Loyola Hall as superior, and then in 2003 went back to Wimbledon to assist in the parish. Between 2014 and 2018 he worked in St Wilfrid’s parish in Preston, and then, after a brief return to Wimbledon, in 2019 he moved to Boscombe, where he stayed until his death.

Fr Michael Bingham SJ Fr Michael Bingham SJ died on Wednesday 12 January 2022, in the Craigavon Area Hospital in Portadown. He had been admitted there the previous Thursday with Covid-19, exacerbated by underlying health conditions. He was 80 years old, in the 63rd year of religious life.

Michael was born on 6 March 1941 in Chalfont St Peters, Buckinghamshire. He was educated at St John’s preparatory school, and then at Beaumont College. On finishing school, he entered the novitiate at Manresa, Roehampton in 1959. After taking his first vows there, he was sent to Heythrop in Oxfordshire for philosophy. An intervention by the Province’s visitor, Gordon George, interrupted these studies, but in 1964 he began a year teaching at Wimbledon College. He next took an MA in English literature and language at Campion Hall, and then taught for three years as a regent at Stonyhurst. A year of theology at Heythrop in London followed, and then between 1972 and 1975 he studied for an MDiv at Regis College in Canada, returning for ordination in Northampton in 1974. The following year he made his tertianship in Colombia, remaining there afterwards, working for eight years with Fe y Alegria and in parish ministry. In 1984 he returned to Britain and worked in the SFX and Friary parish in Liverpool for the next fourteen years. Finally, in 1998, at the invitation of the Irish Province, he moved to Northern Ireland, where he would spend the rest of his life, in a variety of ministries of reconciliation in Portadown. jesuit.org.uk

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