Jesuits & Friends issue 105

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A faith that does justice

& friends

In the footsteps of Ignatius Living, learning and serving in Paris

Issue 105 • Spring 2020 •

How is God calling you? To find yourself, to find your people and to find your place in the world? Have you considered a vocation as a Jesuit priest or brother? Contact the Vocations Promoter to find out more: Astrophysicist Paolo Beltrame nSJ (pictured right) joined the Jesuits in 2017.

Read Paolo’s story at

The Jesuits are part of the Your Catholic Legacy group promoting gifts in wills to Catholic causes. To find out more visit

FREE: please take a copy

A faith that does justice

& friends

In the footsteps of Ignatius Living, learning and serving in Paris

Issue 105 • Spring 2020 •

On the cover: Paolo Beltrame SJ, Christopher Brolly SJ, Jacques St Laurent SJ, Peter O’Sullivan SJ & Luke Taylor SJ on the roof of Centre Sèvres. Photo: Attila Kulcsár Registered Charity No. England and Wales: 230165 Scotland: 40490

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Editor: Attila Kulcsár

Editorial group:  Denis Blackledge SJ, John Paul de Quay, Megan Knowles, Lynn McWilliams, Frances Murphy, Paul Nicholson SJ and Joelene Wilkie. Designed by: Printed by:

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. Address for correspondence: 11 Edge Hill, London SW19 4LR T: 020 8946 0466  E:


From Fr Provincial POPE FRANCIS has just published his reflections on the Amazonian Synod which took place in Rome last year. It has a beautiful title: Querida Amazonia, Spanish for ‘beloved Amazonia’. In it, he spells out four ‘dreams’ he has for the region for a better ecological, social, cultural and ecclesial future. How audacious, at a time when it’s so much easier to fall into gloom and pessimism about the future of humanity, to invite us to get in touch with God’s dream for the people of the Amazon basin! We don’t have to live there ourselves to feel the power of his invitation in our own lives and in our own realities. Those dreams are all rooted in the Gospel of the God who comes close to His people. If God is close to us then we can have the confidence to get close to others, to refuse to see our neighbour

as a competitor, or the stranger as a threat, and instead to encounter them as a companion. When God comes close to us, we meet Him in nature, in the city, and in loving relationships and communities. When God comes close to us, He enters into the rhythm of our daily lives, shaping our communities and habits. Finally, when God comes close to us, we will want to respond in a song of gratitude and praise. The face of all those dreams is Jesus Christ because He is the God who comes close. In this edition of Jesuits & Friends you may not see His face in a literal way but you will sense His presence between the lines and the pages. I am struck by how vivid it is for the new generation of Jesuits you will meet, talking about their lives of discipleship and studies in preparation

to serve His mission. He is there too in the efforts you will read about to heal the planet we have treated so badly. You will even find Him dancing with a group of young people in memory of St Oscar Romero! The Jesuits are a group of men who think of Jesus first thing in the morning and last thing at night. As Pedro Arrupe once said: ‘Nothing is more practical than finding God, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way.’ Fr Arrupe had a deep spiritual perception of the God who not only came close to him but, in doing so, brought out a tenderness and a love which constantly surprised and delighted him. I hope you will be touched by His presence in this edition and maybe even fall in love. Damian Howard SJ

In this issue... 04 Our new editor, Attila Kulcsár,

17 The Jesuits in Britain are

08 Joanna Biernat describes the

18 Debbie Reynolds and her

meets five men whose Jesuit journeys have taken them to Paris. ‘Saintly Feasts’ being cooked up in JRS UK’s Community Kitchen.

10 We hear about the Synod for the

Amazon from someone who was actually there: Leah Casimero.

11 Dushan Croos SJ introduces

the young adults who will shape the ‘economy of tomorrow’.

12 John Paul de Quay invites you to start the Journey to 2030.

14 Jesuit Missions’ supporters

and partners are changing lives.

16 Yingying Jiang looks ahead

to the opening of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute in June.

divesting from fossil fuels – Attila Kulcsár reports.

colleagues in Liverpool are discerning the future of the local Church.


19 If you are looking for ways to


hear The God Who Speaks, Frances Murphy has some ideas.

20 Julian Filochowski celebrates

a new dance project supported by the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice.


21 Praying with the pope: David Stewart SJ.

22 Paul Nicholson SJ takes us

on holiday with the Jesuits.

23 Obituary and prayers.

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VOCATIONS  Jesuit scholastics in Paris

A Paris Education: Jesuits of the New Wave Hidden away in the city where Ignatius Loyola met his earliest companions is a hive of Jesuit activity. Attila Kulcsár introduces five Jesuits of the British Province, all of whom took different routes to get to Paris.

IGNATIUS OF Loyola arrived in Paris on foot in 1528 to study at the city’s world-famous university – a move that helped him shape his plan for what would become the Society of Jesus. For the 37-year-old Iñigo, it was very much a case of ‘back to school’: working hard at brushing up his Latin grammar, and getting deep into philosophy and theology. It was in Paris that Ignatius gathered around him six key companions, all fellow students: Francis Xavier, Alfonso Salmeron, Diego Laynez and Nicholas Bobadilla, all Spanish; Pierre Favre, a Savoyard; and Simão Rodrigues of Portugal. After directing them all in the Spiritual Exercises, Ignatius joined them in 1534 in taking vows

of chastity and poverty. Those who were not yet priests were ordained in 1537 and, in 1540, their order was granted official approval by the pope. Paris at that time was a vast construction site emerging from medievalism, and life for students was tough. Ignatius sometimes had to beg for subsistence to finance his studies, and even travelled to Flanders and England to beg for alms from Spanish merchants. Today the focal point of Jesuit student life is on the city’s Left Bank – just a stone’s throw from the world’s first department store, Le Bon Marché, a gorgeous Belle-Epoque/Art Deco world of glamour and cosmopolitanism.

Christopher (left) with his young adults’ group

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The Centre Sèvres is a Jesuit faculty of philosophy and theology in the heart of Paris, modestly hidden behind shops and a residential façade, and sitting alongside the equally hidden neo-gothic church of Saint Ignace – an oasis of peace and spirituality amidst the elegant living of the 6th arrondissement. Established in 1974, Centre Sèvres offers Master’s degrees and PhDs to more than 200 students from 40 nations with lecturers from several European countries. Among those 200 or so students are five Jesuit scholastics from the British Province: Christopher, Jacques, Luke, Paolo and Peter. I joined three of the five, Christopher, Jacques and Luke, for tea by the River Seine, overlooking the charred shell of Notre Dame Cathedral. All came to Paris following their time in the novitiate and after professing their First Vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Jesuits in training for the priesthood usually move into academic work as scholastics studying theology and philosophy to help ground them in critical thinking and make sense of the world around them, to help them articulate what it means to be both human and Catholic. Jacques says the centre has a particularly European approach. ‘It was set up in a bold move in the 1970s: Centre Sèvres was built on the city’s really strong philosophical tradition by creating a formation programme focused on the person and not just on academic goals.’

Jesuit scholastics in Paris  VOCATIONS

From left: Christopher, Jacques and Luke on the bank of the River Seine

He explains what makes studying here special: ‘We’re here to be formed into people who can think well and that’s why Paris is interesting. Here, we don’t just learn a lot of different styles of philosophy from different eras, but we actually get to learn how to enter into a different way of thinking. Continental philosophy is about abandoning our presuppositions, putting aside how we normally experience the world and then asking what actually is going on in it. What are the processes happening in our consciousness that allow us to construct the world that we see?’ Luke offers a meditation on living in a new city: ‘There is something uncomfortable, a sort of dislocation of the world in the multicultural experience of being in Paris. It’s an amazing, attractive place. But every morning I am waking up in another language, another culture, another educational system that’s not mine. There is a strong sense of being taken out of a comfortable place and growing

because I am taking on something more – and it’s not always easy.’

“Academic work helps Jesuits in formation to articulate what it means to be both human and Catholic.” Christopher sees this process as paring away outer layers: ‘One constant thing through my Jesuit formation has been an invitation to a greater humility. We’re all guys who have done degrees before and yet we’re here again having to go to the library.’ All three are very aware that they are following in the real footsteps of Ignatius, as Jacques explains: ‘When Ignatius arrived in Paris, he attracted a multinational group of companions around him, and from this group came the founding members of the Society. That foundation was a collective effort, not just one person. And what

we’re doing here is very similar – guys coming together from different countries to submit to a process of formation that is often trying.’ Before joining the Jesuits, all five of them were following different vocational paths. Luke was pursuing an academic career: ‘When I applied to the British Jesuits, I was teaching in the States. Having done my doctorate in Comparative Literature at Harvard, I taught Renaissance Literature in Texas – I was very much on the academic track, I loved it. So the intellectual tradition of the Jesuits is something which very much attracted me.’ Christopher taught in a number of different marginalised communities: ‘I taught for five years in total. The first three years were in Liverpool where I qualified and then a year in Senegal, in Dakar where I had already been working with street children, cleaning out orphanages, treating their wounds  5

VOCATIONS  Jesuit scholastics in Paris

vocation came to me when I started to look at the readings of the Mass and they started speaking to me about my life – and I started living them out.’

Luke in a Paris bookshop

and confronting realities that begged questions about the meaning of life. I thought the year in Senegal would set me up for my return to Newcastle where I imagined I would settle in a domestic life near my family. But when I came back to Newcastle, I felt the call to join the Society.’ Jacques came from years of environmental activism: ‘My great love as a kid was nature – and that love of ecology led me to studying it. While I was doing eco-toxicology research in England, looking at the impacts of mining on estuarine biodiversity, I got involved in some Greenpeace campaigns on carbon sinks in forests and plastic in the ocean, but realised I needed more practical skills. So I joined a research programme run by the public health agency of Canada on water quality and got to know the Jesuits there. With them, I started travelling in the Middle East and Central America, seeing social justice work as well as projects against mining corporations and water privatisation. I started to run campaigns on these issues and I realised that working with the Jesuits was a more rewarding task than being a research scientist. That’s when I switched to the Jesuits.’ Peter was teaching English in Greece, having studied Greek history at university, while Paolo worked as an astrophysicist for fifteen years. ‘I published my latest paper in October on some work I did at the Vatican Observatory on a new particle we 6  Jesuits & Friends Spring 2020

are researching that might explain the nature of dark matter.’ This discussion on vocations brings up deep thoughts from Luke, Christopher and Jacques on the different paths we all take in life – for all three, there is a strong sense of life’s vocation deepening until it becomes religious.

“The foundation of the Society of Jesus was a collective effort, not just one person.” Christopher: ‘I think we sometimes make a religious vocation something more abstract than it should be. I think that everybody has a vocation, I think everybody’s been called by God in some way. My sense of religious

Jacques: ‘I do know that creation is held by a mysterious loving force and that brings me a lot of joy, and if I can cultivate that connection, so much the better. So I think a Jesuit vocation is just to recognise: “Wow! There’s a group of people that want to do that in a way that’s meaningful for me and that can support me in that process.” And Jesuits specifically have that intellectual depth so you can explore ideas, and they also have a very committed practical way of life. If there’s anything quintessential about the Jesuit charism, it’s that it’s a spirituality that works to help people.’ Luke: ‘It wasn’t like a choosing a job or somewhere to live, it was more a sense of call. It was something that was inside me, attractive to me. But at the same time, I had the sense of it coming not just from me. There’s that element to me of adventure: to be called into something that you then experience, but you don’t have it all planned out.’ Although they study amid the elegance of central Paris, most of the scholastics live in Jesuit communities in the suburbs, outside the Boulevard Périphérique – the inner ring road that runs around the French capital connecting the city proper and its banlieues. Here they have a chance to engage with the city in apostolic work.

Jacques with chickens in the garden in Vanves

Jesuit scholastics in Paris  VOCATIONS

Q&A What was it that drew you to the Jesuits specifically? Jacques: ‘What makes life valuable are the relationships you cultivate. Even when I was doing exciting work, it wasn’t fulfilling me if I didn’t feel that I was in the right constellation of relationships. When I was working together with people that I trusted, respected and loved, there came a point where I asked myself: “Well, if I want to

commit to those kinds of relationships, where can I do that?” And my relationships with the Jesuits at that point convinced me that the Society of Jesus was the right next step for me.’ Luke: ‘For me, the decision came in a series of stages. One step was my decision to do a doctorate and pursue

a vocation as a research academic. In the middle of that was another huge step where I went from being a Christian to becoming a Catholic Christian. And then another huge step again: what is my way of living as a Jesuit, and with it a Catholic religious life? It’s series of massive steps, or layers like Russian dolls, that are all connected.’

What does it mean to be a Jesuit in today’s world? Christopher: ‘Jesuits are very relevant as a force of reconciliation and as peacemakers. Jesuits put themselves close to the realities of the world, informed by a good intellectual background, to try and help people to see what God’s will

is amongst all of this confusion: where there is injustice; where there’s a need. Ultimately, I think it’s about putting ourselves in the tensions of this world and remaining there without taking sides: building bridges, being agents for reconciliation.’

Jacques: ‘I think we are not about one or other political agenda but we are about the gospel. If we look at Christ, we see someone who was inclusive and compassionate, generous, nonjudgmental. Any values that align with that are things that Jesuits work for.’

What would you say to a young man or woman thinking of a religious life? Luke: ‘I’d say, “I’m here to chat to you if you have questions and if my experience is useful.” The key thing is that we are not trying to sell anything here – it is much more about helping someone to work out whether the call is authentic.’ Jacques: ‘I think our job would be to accompany that person in their

Christopher lives in St Denis, about 45 minutes north of Paris in a community of ten Jesuits in three apartments in a high-rise block on an estate. ‘It’s a chaotic area that’s full of life and home to a bustling immigrant community. One of the Jesuits here is a parish priest at the local church, and outside my study time I help with his mission, welcoming people on the door, and helping with the food bank where Christian and Muslim families come to get help with groceries. I also participate in a group of 18-35-year-old young adults that is about giving people practical ways to help them grow in faith. We meet once a month to discuss topics and develop friendships – so important when many of them are working late at weekends without much chance to socialise. I’m also taking them on a pilgrimage to

relationship with God. I would be interested in their background, in their faith journey, but I don’t think I have anything that’s a key to unlock that question.’ Christopher: ‘I think the best the tool for any decision is time – although I became a Jesuit within a year of

Chartres for Easter week. Many young people say they feel empty and without purpose. At the food bank, I befriended one single mother who fled her home in North Africa because of domestic violence. She came with her three children for Christmas at the church, where we welcomed about 90 people with a buffet banquet, music and carols.’ Jacques lives in a very different set-up in Vanves, to the south. It is a community of more than 50 people in several buildings, half of whom are older Jesuits living in an infirmary with 24-hour care. As well as introducing a vegetable garden, chickens and composters to the community, Jacques spends a weekend a month at the Campus de la Transition, a community in a rural setting not far from

discovering they even existed. I would say to our theoretical young man or woman that I don’t think you’ll ever regret giving yourself fully to the discernment and the novitiate process. Even if it doesn’t lead you into religious life itself, it will teach you how to discern God’s will for your life and that’s what we’re here for.’

Fontainebleau that sees itself as a laboratory for experimenting with approaches to integral ecology. Here, Jacques helps in the kitchen to cater for the groups who come for residential teaching about ecological conversion. ‘Integral ecology is very much about: “what do I concretely care for in my daily life?” The ecological transition has to be lived, but we are trapped in a space where our lives are so dynamic and dispersed that it’s very difficult to embed ourselves in a way of living that’s transformative.’ l

FIND OUT MORE If you are interested in Jesuit life, please visit, or contact the Vocations Promoter:  7


Nourishment for body and soul Food and hospitality create a deep connection between Manresa House and the JRS Community Kitchen project, writes Joanna Biernat from the Jesuit Refugee Service.

FOOD PLAYS a pivotal role at the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) – from the simple, daily lunch shared by refugee friends, volunteers and staff, to the hot, nourishing meal that volunteers prepare each Thursday at our day centre for destitute refugees. By offering hospitality to one another and eating a meal together, we break down barriers, labels and borders, and we find our common humanity.

over the years, and each one is linked to a saint who inspires some element of the recipe.

This warm hospitality is something that Martina Maher and Colette Scully have offered in abundance over the nearly 25 years that they have welcomed and fed the novices, Jesuit community and friends of Manresa House, the Jesuit novitiate in Birmingham. It was out of recognition of their dedication and cheerfulness that Saintly Feasts: Food for Saints and Scholars was born. In this cookbook with a difference, Martina and Colette share many of the recipes that they have cooked for the Jesuits

A huge debt of gratitude is owed to Martina and Colette, who are generously donating the proceeds from their cookbook to JRS UK. So far, this has raised an incredible £6,500 for our work, and it is thanks to this money, as well as many other important donations, that we were able to begin Community Kitchen.

Freshly baked soda bread (Photo: JRS UK)

8  Jesuits & Friends Spring 2020

“Don’t forget hospitality to strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing.”

Each Monday afternoon, an enthusiastic group of refugee friends gather to have fun and share their cultures through Community Kitchen, cooking dishes

ranging from Nigerian cassava and curry from Kerala, to rhubarb crumble and Victoria sponge. It is a project that is not only nourishing for our bellies, but also helps our friends foster a sense of community as together they learn to cook delicious recipes from around the world. What better way to show our appreciation to Martina and Colette than by trying out their recipe for soda bread from Saintly Feasts? It was an experience that brought volunteers and friends together: ‘None of us had made soda bread before, so it was an educational experience for everyone,’ said Andrew, one of the Community Kitchen volunteers. ‘While we waited for the bread to bake, we had the chance to chat and play games. I had a fascinating discussion about faith with one of our friends, while others played a raucous card game of “Spoons”.’


Hard at work in the Community Kitchen (Photo: JRS UK)

The bakers savoured and relished every moment of making the soda bread. ‘The group showed intense concentration in preparing their loaves, and displayed great pride in their creations. While one of our friends kneaded the dough like a pro, another showed a particular flair for baking, making deep, neat cuts into the bread and improvising with an oat topping, before the loaves went into the oven.’ The JRS Community Kitchen is not simply a space to make friends and improve cooking skills; it has many social and spiritual advantages beyond this. By taking it in turns to lead the group each week, our refugee friends are able to gain a sense of agency and empowerment. Andrew explains: ‘Community Kitchen doesn’t just bring people together; it can also help our refugee friends through extremely difficult times. I often hear about how relaxing and therapeutic the baking is, how keeping your brain engaged like this keeps anxiety away, and helps you stay calm. It is not often that our friends can feel this way in an asylum system that has left them destitute and excluded.’ One of our friends describes that asylum system as, ‘a dark, dark tunnel without an end, with no light

in the distance to give you hope and purpose – it is a darkness that breaks your spirit.’ The Community Kitchen aims to be a source of light by making space for creativity and the joy it brings, which are elsewhere denied to our friends. Our refugee friends are people with agency, capable of creativity and relationships; they have hopes and dreams, and at JRS UK we value these deeply and want to enable their fulfilment. I am certainly grateful each week to the Community Kitchen for the delicious creations that they share with us. In this act of hospitality we are reminded of Saint Conrad of Parzham, the saint linked to Martina and Colette’s soda bread recipe in Saintly Feasts. ‘Bruder Kuno’, as he is better known in Germany, became famous for his boundless love of those in need, welcoming all guests and offering them healthy food such as bread, which he is often pictured holding. The loving hospitality expressed in the JRS Community Kitchen mirrors the warm, welcoming environment that Martina and Colette have created for the Jesuits and novices at Manresa

House. As we read in Saintly Feasts: ‘Don’t forget hospitality to strangers, for by doing this, some people have entertained angels without knowing’. (Hebrews 13:2) l

Saintly Feasts: Food for Saints and Scholars, by Martina Maher and Colette Scully with Dries van den Akker SJ, is published by Messenger Publications:

FIND OUT MORE Learn more about the Community Kitchen and find out how to support the work of JRS at  9

SYNOD FOR THE AMAZON  Report from Rome

Let’s journey together: the Synod for the Amazon Leah Casimero, the Academic Coordinator of the Quality Bilingual Education Programme for Wapichan children in Guyana, is hopeful for the future after the Synod for the Amazon.

IT WAS a truly incredible experience for me – a young, indigenous, Catholic woman – to have ‘journeyed together’ with the leaders of the Catholic Church, fraternal delegates of the Anglican and Protestant churches, and indigenous leaders from the Amazon for three weeks in Rome in October 2019. I was privileged to be invited to the Special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region as an auditor. Coming from a remote and peaceful Amerindian village in the interior of Guyana, where laypeople practically ‘run’ the Church and females are at the forefront, I have come to realise how universal – and how masculine – our Mother Church really is! The context of the Synod for the Amazon brings to mind the time when the apostles were having a dispute about ‘who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven’ and Jesus put a child in the

middle and said to them: ‘Unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’ (Matthew 18:1-5) Similarly, at a time when so many people define the ‘good life’ as pursuing material wealth without counting the cost, here is Pope Francis bringing the people of the Amazon to the centre of the Church as a sign of life and hope for the future of the Church and of Mother Earth, our ‘common home’. Many of the stories of violence and pain shared at the Synod are not new. However, it was great to be able to share and listen to first-hand reports of the crises facing the Amazon, as well as the excellent work being done to respond to some of the problems. At this critical time, the Amazon Synod calls the universal Church to address

the ecological crisis urgently, concretely and collaboratively. It calls on the Church to lead by example by living the message of Laudato Si’. Creating ‘green dioceses’ was one suggestion of how to do this. After all, actions do speak louder than words! The Church is also called to stand in solidarity with indigenous people in their fight against social and environmental injustices. An example of how this is being put into practice in Guyana is the support given to the Quality Bilingual Education Programme for Wapichan children, a ‘grassroots’ initiative. The project combines the Wapichan language, traditional knowledge and skills with the national nursery curriculum. It is the fruit of in-depth dialogue held between local communities and the Ministry of Education, and is being financially and spiritually supported by the Jesuits in Guyana. This model of accompanying indigenous people can be applied to other ‘new paths’ being developed in indigenous communities. The Synod also calls for new paths in the Church through new ministries for lay people. I can only conclude that these are wonderful signs of hope for a journey that is meant to be walked together. Wamako baokopa: let’s journey together! l

FIND OUT MORE Leah in the Synod Hall

10  Jesuits & Friends Spring 2020

Visit to read more.

Economy of Francesco  YOUNG ADULT MINISTRIES

Towards the Economy of Francesco Dushan Croos SJ introduces the thinking behind and participants in a new initiative of Pope Francis.

The Jesuit Young Adult Ministries, based in Clapham and Mount Street, promoted Pope Francis’ invitation to those attending the Sunday 7pm Young Adult Mass at Farm Street, the ‘First Saturdays – Catholic Social Teaching through Film’ events at Clapham, and the Mount Street ‘Doughnut Economics’ book club. Ten members of our congregation have been accepted to join the meeting in Assisi, among them artists, entrepreneurs, climate consultants, environmental campaigners, doctoral students and charity workers. James Buchanan is one of those ten. ‘I am really looking forward to participating in the Economy of Francesco, which is an event bringing together many of the areas I am most passionate about: my Catholic faith, care for our common home, intercultural exchange and developing a sustainable economy that works for all. I have a strong personal interest in the themes of Pope Francis’ encyclical,

© Daniel Ibáñez / Catholic News Agency

LAST MAY, Pope Francis wrote to young economists, entrepreneurs and change-makers who are ‘interested in a different kind of economy, that brings life not death, one that is inclusive not exclusive, humane and not dehumanising, that cares for the environment and does not despoil it.’ He invited them ‘to meet and enter into a “covenant” to change today’s economy and give a soul to the economy of tomorrow’ (‘Letter of Pope Francis’, 1 May 2019). That meeting, due to take place in Assisi in November 2020, is called the ‘Economy of Francesco’.

“Economic relationships, the market, and all sorts of business can help us ‘to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord.’” Laudato Si’, and have regularly participated in gatherings for young adults on this topic organised by the Jesuits in London over the last year. ‘Since graduating from university, where I studied International Management and German, I have worked in various different campaigning roles focused on taking action in response to the climate crisis. I currently work for Operation Noah, a Christian climate change charity, on the ‘Bright Now’ campaign, which encourages UK churches to divest from fossil fuel companies and invest in the clean technologies of the future. This is a powerful and prophetic action that faith institutions can take to accelerate the transition to a zero-carbon future.’

Maria, who advises governments and companies on climate policy strategy, will also be taking part in the meeting in Assisi. ‘What excites me about the Economy of Francesco is the opportunity to learn more about the life of St Francis of Assisi and the principles he truly lived by. I do not believe the outcomes of unfettered capitalism can be addressed by a mere integration of Franciscan principles into prevailing economic thought, but I am fascinated to learn how we might use Franciscan principles as the moral and spiritual orientation of ourselves and of society. With St Francis – and really, Christ – as the foundation of our thinking, we could then conceive how to address prevailing economic thinking and its systems’ failures, and work towards a just, equitable and sustainable economy.’ The Economy of Francesco is building on a rich tradition. Pope Benedict XVI, who was himself drawing on the work of the Focolare community, wrote about an ‘economy of communion’, which ‘considers profit a means for achieving human and social ends.’ (Caritas in Veritate, §46) Pope Francis, in developing that idea, is also embracing St Ignatius’s assertion that we ought to ‘use all things on the face of the earth, insofar as they help us towards the end for which God created us’. The Economy of Francesco will help us to imagine how economic relationships, the market and all sorts of business can help us ‘to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by means of doing this to save our souls.’ l  11


The Journey to 2030 The Jesuits in Britain are supporting a new campaign that seeks to respond innovatively and urgently to the ecological crisis. John Paul de Quay of the Ecological Conversion Group invites you to join us on The Journey to 2030.

IT WAS nearly five years ago that Pope Francis wrote Laudato Si’, his letter to the whole world in which he called for unity in addressing our ‘ecological crisis’. Perhaps a year later, myself, my brother Edward and friend Eleanor found ourselves wondering what had gone wrong. Laudato Si’ is such a compelling and accessible read. To some it was a complete shock, to others complete common sense; but to all who read it, it was a masterful analysis of our society and planet. The pope looks deeply at the root causes of our problems, and in doing so highlights the interconnectedness of our social, economic, spiritual and environmental crises. And so our small group, in our naivety, thought this document was ‘job done’; we assumed that the Church would acknowledge a crisis and make a concerted effort to sort the problem out there and then. Our mistake in assuming ‘the Church’ would sort ‘the problem’ out was a

misunderstanding of the Church … and the problem.

“We hope to inspire people by showing them that their efforts are far from futile.” Our reaction was one of anger: at how the Church as a body was failing to respond to the urgency of our ecological crisis. If many sufferings of our planet’s people were linked to wasteful lifestyles and consequent environmental degradation, then we really needed to do something more than almsgiving to alleviate the worst effects. The Church needed a change of heart and mind, and to put that into action. It was our own attitude that was at the heart of the real problem we wished to address: we assumed it was someone else’s job, the Church’s job.

But if we are all part of the Church, then why should we wait for someone else to fix the problem? After all, we are integral parts of this community ourselves, and could use our skills, faith and interests to help mobilise others and inspire them to do likewise. In order to tackle this problem we would need to show some initiative and motivate others to do the very thing we ‘busy’ individuals were reluctant to do: get involved. We set to work, initially doing talks in schools and parishes, then creating resources. We needed a guiding influence to keep us on track, which is where a fateful cup of tea comes into the story. Three years ago, all I knew about the Jesuits was that Pope Francis is one and that my brother once, while fundraising for them, ran the London Marathon dressed as a Womble. However, after a cup of tea near a London bus stop, I quickly considered myself to be, like all readers of this magazine, a friend. Over that tea, myself and Womble-brother Edward presented Fr Dushan, a Jesuit priest friend of Edward’s, with a hair-brained scheme to save our planet.

Illustrations by John Paul de Quay

That hair-brained scheme has snowballed into ‘The Journey to 2030’, an ambitious ten-year project. The Jesuits in Britain have committed to it, as have the Dioceses of Salford and Arundel and Brighton. Our aim is to mobilise the Catholic Church in the UK against our ecological crisis, with an emphasis on ecological conversion. By curating a programme of resources, we aim to educate and encourage others to take action at all levels 12  Jesuits & Friends Spring 2020


of influence, be it in schools, dioceses, parishes or families. The Journey to 2030 enables people to see that our efforts are linked, that individual parish groups are not alone but part of a bigger body using its many skills, passions, vocations and unique global position to embark on a ‘journey’, making the Church a mothership of change. We recognise that people can easily become dispirited when they cannot see the effects of their individual actions, so by reporting our Church’s progress as a body we hope to inspire people by showing them that their efforts are far from futile. Our resources have already made a difference. ‘I think our parishioners never knew how deep the situation actually was,’ says Fr Ben, a diocesan priest in Southwark. ‘The resources in the Getting Started section of the Journey to 2030 website helped to generate an interest among our parishioners, and a desire to get involved. As a result, they have embraced the idea of living simply and have made changes so as not to be wasteful with resources. These changes include: growing plants at home and decorating the Church with them; a reduction in the number of cars at Sunday Masses; recycling of candles and of seat cushions; redesigning the parish garden; and looking at options for a new, eco-friendly church boiler.’ If your parish has embarked on any projects that you would like to share with others, please do let us know. Another stream of the project has been the development of an ‘ecological conversion’ syllabus for sixth form RE students. Teacher John Watts says: ‘The focus on Laudato Si’ brings to life current Catholic thought on caring for

the planet and ultimately presents “caring for our common home” as a way to build a relationship with God. The graphic design gives the syllabus its own unique stamp and identity. I would recommend this syllabus to any school.’ Our magazine, which is included with this issue of Jesuits & Friends, aims to provide practical advice on forming new habits and explain why change is so urgently needed. But of course a truly effective response to our ecological crisis requires more than action. It requires an appreciation of God’s creation, an understanding of our interconnectedness and interdependence on a globalised planet, and recognition of the dignity of every living thing upon it.

‘We must not think that these efforts are not going to change the world. They benefit society, often unbeknown to us, for they call forth a goodness which, albeit unseen, inevitably tends to spread. Furthermore, such actions can restore our sense of self-esteem; they can enable us to live more fully and to feel that life on earth is worthwhile.’ (Pope Francis, Laudato Si’ §212) l

GET INVOLVED Please read and enjoy the Year of the Cockerel magazine and then visit to join the campaign.  13

JESUIT MISSIONS  Southern Africa

Stoves, schools and shelter: news from Malawi Thanks to the generosity and friendship of Jesuit Missions’ supporters in the UK, important changes are being made and lasting relationships formed in Malawi.

Life-changing move to clean energy in rural Malawi Jesuit Missions is working with the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development (JCED) to remove the obstacles described above by introducing new and eco-friendly technology to homes. The JCED are providing the people es that will soon Residents of Kasungu with their stov of rural Malawi with (Photo: JCED) be replaced by microgasifier stoves new stoves that do not use firewood. Instead, they use briquettes made Preparing a meal is not easy in rural Malawi. Every day, the women out of recycled organic waste. JCED staff are training households and girls who are typically tasked to prepare these briquettes to with the job face the same taxing power their new stoves. routine. They head out to collect and carry heavy firewood back This is life-changing for the women to their homes. They then and girls who will no longer have to burn that wood in their stone face the demanding task of gathering fireplace, releasing toxic fumes that large amounts of firewood, or damage their lungs and harm the environment. The electricity access breathe in toxic smoke as they cook food for their family. is poor and there are frequent power cuts, which means not only But there’s more to the stoves that electricity cannot be relied upon for household chores, but also than just cooking. The new stoves that in most homes there is no light convert excess heat energy into electricity. One stove can provide for children to do their homework. enough electricity to light a threebedroom house for over six Thankfully, this is set to change in hours and charge mobile phones. the region of Kasungu in Malawi.

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This means that rural households can now access clean energy for cooking and heating, and get the basic electricity they need in their homes. This allows children to do their homework in the evening, removing one of the barriers to getting a good education. This project is a good example of Jesuit Missions’ commitment to care for creation, building on the principles set out by Pope Francis in Laudato Si’. Reducing the use of firewood that releases toxic smoke makes a valuable contribution to protecting our eco-system. And, by addressing some of the challenges that are part of life in rural Malawi, this initiative accompanies women as they move forward. The eco-friendly and sustainable energy that will be generated through this project makes a positive difference in the households using it in so many ways. Our International Programmes Officer, Shannon Philip, visited Kasungu last year. He said: ‘Having seen some of the changes that these initiatives are having, I am filled with hope and gratitude for both the work being carried out on the ground, as well as the generous support and prayers provided in the UK.’ Shannon Philip

Southern Africa  JESUIT MISSIONS

Companions in Action Also in Malawi, new friendships are being forged. Jesuit schools across the British Province are beginning the process of establishing new partnerships with Jesuit schools in the global south, including a school in Kasungu. The recently relaunched ‘Companions’ programme seeks to embrace a shared Ignatian identity and promote leadership for social justice. The launch Mass at Loyola Jesuit School in Kasungu, Malawi was celebrated by the headteacher Fr Kenneth Simalalo SJ in October. Students came forward to recite a prayer of commitment as they embarked on a new friendship with Wimbledon College in London. Just a few days earlier, students and staff at Wimbledon College had gathered for the launch of their Companions in Action partnership with Loyola Jesuit School. The event


of Loyola

Jesuit Sch

ool, Kasu

ng u

was marked by a Mass celebrated by Fr Nigel Johnson SJ. Fr Nigel is a past pupil of Wimbledon College who has spent most of the last 40 years working in Zimbabwe. In honour of the event, the college flew the Malawian flag. James Potter, lay chaplain at Wimbledon College, noted: ‘Prayers were said for all involved in the partnership and for its success as a source of mutual enrichment for both schools’. Lynn McWilliams

Fr Nigel Johnson SJ preaches at Wim bledon College’s Compan ions in Action lau nch Mass (Photos: Jes uit Missions)

Cyclone Idai update Thanks to the incredible generosity of Jesuit Missions’ supporters, over £100,000 was raised in the wake of Cyclone Idai, which affected Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in March 2019. The longstanding presence of the Jesuits in all three countries meant that they supported the Church’s rescue and rehabilitation work,

which continues in the communities where the Jesuits live and work. In Mozambique and Zimbabwe our relief work responded to sanitation needs such as clean water and draining, helped farmers to start growing food again, and provided shelter for people who lost their homes. This work continues to

assist families in their transition to more stable living conditions. In Malawi, the Jesuits are responding to the destruction of homes with their local partners by constructing over 60 houses to provide refuge to families affected by the floods. The work of the Jesuits and our partners on the ground continues to address some of the long-term damage to infrastructure that the floods have caused. At Jesuit Missions we continue accompanying our Jesuit partners to monitor and support their ongoing work. We always welcome support for our emergency fund to enable us to respond immediately when disasters hit poor and marginalised communities around the world. We are grateful for your support. Lucy Gillingham

Relief efforts after Cyclone

Idai (Photo: Jesuit Missions)  15

CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME  Laudato Si’ Research Institute

A new research institute for societal transformation The Laudato Si’ Research Institute aims to amplify the cry of the earth and the poor in order to transform scholarship, policy and practice, says Yingying Jiang.

THE MESSAGE of Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’: On Care for our Common Home is that the crumbling of the earth’s fabric, largely through human activity, is ultimately devastating for humanity, particularly the poorest communities on earth, and other creatures. In contemporary Western thought, academic disciplines are often treated by specialists in isolation, so that the interrelationship between different social, ecological, technological, political, economic, philosophical and religious issues is obscured. This is something the Laudato Si’ Research Institute (LSRI) is set to change when it officially launches on 28 June 2020, celebrating the fifth anniversary of Laudato Si’. Inspired by the pope’s vision, the LSRI was conceptualised by the Jesuits in Britain in 2018 as a transforming force that would offer a theological voice in secular society, and help the worldwide Church deepen its commitment to caring for our common home. At the

very heart of the institute’s mission is the desire to encourage research that will drive change and address the most pressing environmental issues of our day. Based at Campion Hall, which houses the Jesuit academic community in the University of Oxford, the institute is well placed to build relationships with university departments and faculties to further its research mission. The institute’s inaugural director, Celia Deane-Drummond, trained as a scientist and a theologian, and brings a wealth of experience in working at the boundaries of science, theology and ecology. For Celia, the institute’s work couldn’t be more timely and urgent: ‘The challenges facing human society related to our common home have never been greater. Our research institute is one step towards enabling the joint cry of the earth and the poor to be heard in the public sphere and in the Church in new ways.’

Celia Deane-Drummond (front row, second from left) is the inaugural Director of the Laudato Si’ Research Institute

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Celia is keen to highlight the gendered impact of the exhaustion of the world’s natural resources: ‘Women, particularly those in rural communities, are disproportionately affected by the impacts of environmental degradation. The institute aims to provide a platform to enable conversation and explore practical solutions that consider the interconnected nature of environmental and social issues.’ A launch event on A Realistic Hope will feature Lisa Cahill, an American ethicist from Boston University; and National Geographic Explorerin-Residence, Enric Sala, who is actively engaged in exploration and research, and who created the Pristine Seas Project to identify, study and protect the last wild places in the ocean. Other upcoming events include an advanced symposium on Women, Mining and Toxic Contamination; and a conference on Women, Solidarity and Ecology. The LSRI will focus its research at the intersections of theology, ecology, and the social and natural sciences to develop an alternative framework, informed by Christian traditions, that will enrich scholarship on environmental issues, inform policy and influence practices. As Celia points out, interest in the institute’s work is already growing: ‘The grants and attention the institute has attracted so far suggest a significant public interest in our research mission. We will continue to strengthen our operations and build partnerships so that our research can contribute to a future where the earth and its creatures share in the common good.’ l

Ethical investment  PROVINCE NEWS

Investing in a better future Ethical investment has been a priority for the Jesuits in Britain for a decade. Attila Kulcsár reports on a major step that the Province has recently taken.

THE JESUITS in Britain have announced they are divesting from companies whose major turnovers are in the extraction of fossil fuels, making them the largest Catholic religious order in the UK so far to join the global divestment movement that has moved more than $12 trillion in assets. The decision is both in response to the increasing scientific evidence of the accelerating effects of the climate emergency and the growing financial risks of fossil fuel investments. Br Stephen Power SJ has been leading on the Province’s ethical investment work for the last ten years, working closely with investment managers to ensure the Jesuits know exactly in what they have invested. We have been looking at divestment from fossil fuel-producing companies for a decade now. For years, we have been restricting our investments in companies with major holdings in thermal coal or those using Canadian tar sands. We have also been advocating for BP and Shell to follow a greener and more future-focused policy. However, the severity of the climate emergency has made it crystal clear that further steps are needed if climate action is to be effective. Our trustees took the decision to divest completely from oil, gas and coal-producing companies because they felt those companies were not making enough progress towards better solutions. By symbolically cutting ourselves out of those companies, we hope there will be a growing chain process whereby energy-producing companies further down the line will have to change and make the shift to use green energy.

An important principle here for any charitable organisation is financial transparency. If we buy a share in a pooled fund that has been put together by the investment manager, we don’t have the choice of taking our money out of one or two companies in the pool. That’s why some smaller charities need help to get into pooled funds that are friendly towards green issues and that are free from the major energy sector companies.

“We hope energy-producing companies will make the shift to use green energy.” We are now almost totally invested in equities (shareholdings) and in property funds. With equity holdings in segregated portfolios you know exactly what you’re holding; and in property, too – although we have to ensure those properties are run in as environmentally friendly a way as possible.

Our divestment work isn’t just about fossil fuels, it’s an ongoing process to ensure that all the other companies we invest in are as environmentally friendly as possible – whether those be mining companies, utilities or banks. We are working directly with a number of investment managers because collectively they have massive investing power. For instance, in collaboration with ShareAction’s Charities Responsible Investment Network, we are supporting a resolution to ask Barclays Bank not to fund companies that don’t comply with the Paris Agreement’s central aim to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Our next step is to look at the carbon footprint of all our investments and to ensure the minerals vital for future technologies – such as better car batteries – are mined with full respect for human rights. Healthcare companies are an important area for us to examine as they might be involved in life issues such as gene editing and new techniques to modify the human make-up for purely commercial purposes, without full consideration of the ethical implications. Catholic Social Teaching promotes the concept of working for the common good; there are alternative ways of living which promote human values rather than a straight profit motive. Ethical investment is an increasingly important part of that movement. Br Stephen Power SJ  17


Listening with an open ear Debbie Reynolds, Pastoral Assistant at Saint Francis Xavier’s, describes how discernment is playing a crucial part in an exciting year for the Archdiocese of Liverpool.

or indifferent, he said this: ‘The Lord, with great respect and love, is also calling you to be a part of His people!’ In October 2020, the 500 Synod members will meet to reflect on what they have heard, and to vote on specific proposals that have arisen from the discussion and sharing that has taken place in the parishes and pastoral areas.

The Synod Working Party (Photo: Debbie Reynolds, second from left)

IN EARLY 2017 the Archbishop of Liverpool, Malcolm McMahon OP, wrote to me to ask if I would become one of the Synod Working Party (SWP), a small core group of laity, religious and priests who would enable him to respond to Pope Francis’ call for us to be a ‘listening Church’. So I have been in a privileged position to witness how the journey to Synod 2020, the Liverpool Archdiocesan Synod on ‘Becoming the Church we are called to be’, has unfolded. The Synod journey began with a year of prayer, which was also part of the preparation for the Eucharistic Congress and Pilgrimage that took place in Liverpool in September 2018. Synod Sunday in October 2018 called for 500 Synod members to be appointed, with clergy, lay and religious representation from all the parish churches and pastoral areas in the archdiocese. Members are given continued information, support and guidance on how to engage in discernment – which is an essential 18  Jesuits & Friends Spring 2020

part of the listening process – and what it means to become a synodal Church. Drawing on those resources, the Synod members have invited groups to meet with them to share their hopes and dreams, sorrows and frustrations around specific questions. Some 20,000 responses were received from this listening process: they can be read on the website ( From what was said and heard, the SWP, after a gruelling three days of discernment with external facilitators, announced four themes in October 2019. The themes are: All Called and Gifted by God; Sharing the Mission of Jesus; How We Pray Together; and Building Community, Nurturing Belonging. Parishes throughout the archdiocese are currently gathering suggestions on how to take those four themes forward. Archbishop Malcolm has invited everyone to be part of this adventure. He is especially keen for those who feel far from God and the Church to respond. To all those who are fearful

Psalm 39 has words relevant for Synod 2020, and for our lives in general as friends and followers of Jesus Christ. The psalm says: ‘You do not ask for sacrifice or offerings, but an open ear. You do not ask for holocaust and victim. Instead, here am I.’ The Synod journey requires an open ear and an open heart, to listen to what we are being called to be and do. We all need fresh vision and fresh insight as we look hopefully into our future as local Church. We are all called to be witnesses, and our witness centres around how we come together as a true family, aware of our loving God’s goodness to one and all; and on how we can respond ever more fully through the quality of our daily lives. Let’s pray that the Lord will pour the Holy Spirit generously upon us. l

Resources from the Jesuits in Britain  YEAR OF THE WORD

A living and timely word Frances Murphy introduces several Ignatian resources that can help you to hear The God Who Speaks this year.

“ The Bible cannot be just the heritage of some, much less a collection of books for the benefit of a privileged few. It belongs above all to those called to hear its message and to recognize themselves in its words.” THESE WORDS of Pope Francis in his recent motu proprio, Aperuit illis, are a true celebration of the universal reach of the Word of God through Scripture, to which we are invited by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales to be particularly attentive throughout 2020. A year-long campaign will offer a range of events, activities and resources to Catholics in England and Wales and beyond, so that we might enrich the ways in which we already engage with the Bible, and develop and explore new ways of responding to ‘The God Who Speaks’. The Jesuits in Britain, across many of our works, offer resources and opportunities that are designed to help readers, listeners and participants spend time with the Bible and find a way ‘to recognise themselves in its words’, just as Pope Francis says. Our award-winning podcast Pray as you go combines scripture, music and questions for reflection in a ten-to-thirteen-minute prayer session. The daily sessions follow the readings of the day, but additional resources, which are also available at, can help you to go deeper with certain biblical texts – you can, for example, follow a retreat on the Acts of the Apostles, or engage in imaginative contemplation exercises with selected gospel passages. At, you will find a wealth of resources that draw on Ignatian spirituality in order to lead you to encounters with the Word of God:

• In his popular series on ‘Praying with Art’, Geoff Wheaton SJ chooses one painting each month that depicts a particular scriptural scene, and invites us to contemplate it and discover new depths. For those who are attracted to praying in this way, Dries van den Akker SJ will also be reflecting on the Gospel of Matthew throughout this year using the paintings of Peter Clare. • The weekly ‘Prego’ reflections draw on Ignatian methods of prayer to help individuals or groups to deepen their prayer life, consider the Liturgy of the Word, and prepare for the following Sunday Mass. • There are plenty of scripture-based courses, retreats and events taking place at the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Glasgow, St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in North Wales and Mount Street Jesuit Centre in London. The courses given at the latter by Brian Purfield are available to follow online. The scripture articles published by Thinking Faith, the online journal of the Jesuits in Britain, are consistently popular and attract thousands of readers on a monthly basis who want to learn more about the Bible. You can visit to read articles by scripture scholars such as Nicholas King SJ and Peter Edmonds SJ, and reflections by Jack Mahoney SJ, whose book Glimpses of the Gospels was published by Messenger Publications last year. During this Year of the Word, why not try one of these resources that you are yet to discover, so that in the words of Pope Francis’ predecessor, Benedict XVI, ‘the Bible may not be simply a word from the past, but a living and timely word.’ (Verbum Domini, §5) l

GET TO KNOW THE BIBLE Visit to explore our resources  19


Lord of the Dance: St Oscar Romero, 40 years on As we approach the 40th anniversary of St Oscar Romero’s assassination, Julian Filochowski shares how the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice is supporting projects that share Romero’s commitment to justice and peace with a whole new audience.

TO HONOUR the memory and the courage of Archbishop Romero, assassinated at the altar in 1980, a plethora of songs, hymns, musical compositions and stage plays have been written and performed. But a contemporary dance work to celebrate the man and his martyrdom has broken new ground. Eliot Smith Dance, based in Newcastle, is a small, award-winning, contemporary dance company led by its young Artistic Director, Eliot Smith. The dance pieces they create are built on strength, physical speed and rich emotional narratives. The company enjoys working in theatres and also in nontraditional venues such as cathedrals and village halls, aiming to excite and inspire their audiences, regardless of their dance experience or knowledge. In the wake of Oscar Romero’s canonisation in 2018, Eliot Smith

Dance approached the Jesuit Fund for Social Justice (JFSJ) seeking a grant to enable them to create a dance work: ‘The Christian Martyr Oscar Romero’. This was to be included as the climax to a special repertoire of ‘Portraits of Courage’, inspired by the genius and courage of three great northerners: railway pioneer, George Stephenson; scientist and engineer, William Armstrong; and the great suffragette, Emily Wilding Davison. It had its premiere in St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle, last September. That evening, Eliot Smith Dance transformed the sacred space through dance, honouring St Oscar Romero and delighting the local audience. The dancer begins by prostrating himself and then kneeling – a reflection of Oscar’s devotion to, love and worship of Christ. The dancer then stretches his limbs to the audience both offering and receiving succour.

The dance builds momentum to capture Oscar’s daily involvement in the pursuit of social justice. The climax of the dance finds the dancer celebrating the Eucharist (a blue cloth representing the altar) and witnessing the assassination of Oscar. The blue cloth then transforms itself into a pool of holy water – a sign of renewal – and the dancer exults in the canonisation of Romero. The music was ‘Harmonium: Negative Love’ by John Adams. Eliot Smith himself is the pivotal figure as choreographer and lead dancer. He dances the Romero part in the short work, as he continues to explore how dance can illuminate faith and ethics. As a Lay Dominican, Eliot’s project was a perfect fit for the JFSJ, which is interested in supporting projects that seek to live out and share a faith that does justice in Britain. The next performance will be at the Village Hall in Lindisfarne (Holy Island) on 4 April during a pilgrimage from Middlesbrough, Edinburgh and Newcastle to mark the 40th anniversary of Romero’s martyrdom. Thanks to the support of the JFSJ, there are tentative plans for performances later in 2020 at Sacred Heart church in Edinburgh, at Farm Street church in London, and hopefully in the North West. l

APPLY TO THE JFSJ Rehearsals for ‘The Christian Martyr Oscar Romero’ in St Mary’s Cathedral, Newcastle (Photo: Eliot Smith Dance)

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Do you have a project that the JFSJ could support? Find guidelines, criteria and deadlines at: fund-social-justice


The heart of the Church’s mission David Stewart SJ explains how, since its foundation, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network has been missionary and contemplative.

‘THE HEART of the Church’s mission is prayer’. So declared the Holy Father, Pope Francis, last summer in St Peter’s Square, Rome. He was addressing the thousands of his own prayer group, the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network, who had gathered to celebrate the founding of the original Apostleship of Prayer 175 years previously. Setting his prepared script aside, as he often does, the pope continued: ‘Be mindful of this … we can do so many things, but without prayer it does not work.’ The pope noted that the mission of the Prayer Network, in communion with him, is to remind us of this reality.

INTENTIONS FOR THIS PERIOD MARCH  Catholics in China: We pray that the Church in China may persevere in its faithfulness to the Gospel and grow in unity. APRIL  Freedom from Addiction: We pray that those suffering from addiction may be helped and accompanied. MAY  For Deacons: We pray that deacons, faithful in their service to the Word and the poor, may be an invigorating symbol for the entire Church. JUNE  The Way of the Heart: We pray that all those who suffer may find their way in life, allowing themselves to be touched by the Heart of Jesus.

This global network, formerly known as the Apostleship of Prayer and the largest prayer group in the Church, fulfils this mission in several ways. It is a missionary commitment: everything we do is oriented towards mission, and the prayer that we make must be apostolic. This is why we pray with the Holy Father for the intentions that he gives the whole Church each month through his network. By praying about these matters, we are offering ourselves for apostolic availability, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves and with whatever gifts and talents we have been given. The network is also contemplative. In bringing to mind the challenges that face humanity, we join the Holy Father in contemplating everything in our world that needs our prayer. This will remind Ignatian people of the great contemplation of the Spiritual Exercises, where Ignatius invites us to place ourselves with the Trinity, no less, in contemplating the whole of humanity in all its history, a narrative of hopes and fears, of sin and grace. The Trinity contemplates all this; the spark of divine love and salvific creativity sets in motion the Incarnation and our redemption from the worst we can do to our world, each other and ourselves. In these months, the pope invites us to pray about evangelisation in China, particularly around the anniversary of the canonisation of St Francis Xavier on 12 March. Then, in April, approaching Holy Week, we will open our hearts to those burdened with addictions.

In May, we pray for the ministry of deacons in our Church. June, the month of the Sacred Heart, will see us praying that Christ’s heart will touch all who suffer and are lost. In our Prayer Pathway, particularly with these intentions (see box), we pray that we might open our hearts to this movement of grace and offer ourselves and our lives for this precious service. In this way, the heart of our mission truly will be our prayer. l

READ Our 2020 ‘Living Prayer’ booklet is now available. It has each month’s intention, a suggested morning offering, a thoughtful reflection and a liturgical calendar. Order via, or leave your address details on the voicemail at 020 8442 5232. Suggested donation is £2.70, and payment will be taken online (we cannot accept cheques)  21


Barmouth, a Jesuit villa Most Jesuits find themselves living in urban hustle and bustle, so where do they go when they need a bit of space? To north-west Wales, says Paul Nicholson SJ!

FOR CENTURIES, religious life was associated with the fuga mundi, fleeing the world, withdrawing from the business of everyday life to find time and space for prayer and contemplation. The earliest monks went out into the deserts of Egypt. Benedictines had walled cloisters, often in rural settings, and monastic reformers such as the Cistercians tended to move even further afield. Only with the coming of the friars in the thirteenth century did religious start to take a real interest in urban life. With the Jesuits, Ignatius took this one step further, immersing his men in centres of commerce and industry. As a Latin tag says: ‘Benedict loved the mountains, Francis the country towns, but Ignatius the big cities’! Nevertheless, Ignatius was perhaps ahead of his time in recognising the restorative effects of the countryside. So from his time onwards, many of the larger urban Jesuit communities would have a country retreat, called a ‘villa’, to which the men could withdraw periodically to pray, rest and recreate. The tradition continues, and for more

than 150 years Jesuits in Britain have had a house in Barmouth, on the Welsh coast, to use in this way. Generations of Jesuits have spent time there every summer, and in years past were a familiar sight in the town, walking in pairs or small groups in dark suits and clerical collars. Originally the Jesuits took a lease on a large house in the town centre. The Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, was staying there in 1876 when he was one of a party that took an excursion upriver to an inn, The George, at Penmaen Pool, and wrote a poem for their visitors’ book. Eventually, though, even that proved to be too busy, and in the late nineteenth century a large, double-fronted house was purchased, in the hamlet of Llanaber. With a broad, sandy beach and the Irish Sea in front, and the hills of the Mawddach Estuary behind, the house was ideal for the quiet seclusion that the men were seeking. By the 1970s, though, there were fewer Jesuits in the British Province, and they were no longer taking

Jesuits in formation outside The George inn at Penmaen Pool in 2018

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holidays in large groups. The Barmouth villa had been poorly maintained, and there was serious thought of selling it. It was saved by one man, Fr James Langan, who died recently (see obituary opposite). He raised money to fund the thorough refurbishment of the house over the next couple of decades. At the same time, it was made available to groups from schools, parishes, Christian Life Communities, and many other Jesuit works. As a result, the house is probably better-used now than it has ever been. Mention should be made of Br Ken Vance, who inherited the oversight of the property when Fr Langan retired; and of the local Corps family, who for three generations now have tended the building. The last word can go to Gerard Manley Hopkins, whose words inscribed at Penmaen Pool apply equally to the Barmouth villa: Who long for rest, who look for pleasure Away from counter, court, or school O where live well your lease of leisure But here at, here at Penmaen Pool? l

Young Jesuits on a sailing boat, including Fr Crehan SJ and Fr Clifford Howell SJ


Obituary Fr James (‘Jimmy’) Langan SJ

James Langan SJ (second row, second from right) with fellow scholastics in 1954

James died peacefully on the early morning of Friday 13 December 2019 in the community house at St Wilfrid’s, Preston. The Superior, Paul Fletcher, and two district nurses were with him. He was 93 years old, and was in his 71st year of religious life. James was born in Rotherham in south Yorkshire on 31 October 1926. He was educated at the De La Salle College in Sheffield, and studied at Osterley before joining the Jesuit novitiate in 1949. After taking his First Vows he did a year’s juniorate at Manresa in Roehampton, and then moved into philosophy at Heythrop

in Oxfordshire. A third year of philosophy back in Roehampton was followed by regency, teaching at St John’s Beaumont. He returned to Heythrop for theology, and was ordained there on St Ignatius Day in 1959. After his fourth year of theology he made tertianship in Rathfarnham Castle outside Dublin. The next five years were spent working in St Aloysius parish in Glasgow, and for some of that time he was minister of the community there. Between 1966 and 1968 he was minster at 114 Mount Street, and then worked successively on the parish teams at St Aloysius Oxford,

St Francis Xavier Liverpool, and Sacred Heart Wimbledon, with three years as minister in Southwell House between 1972 and 1975. Having spent seventeen years in Wimbledon, in 1992 he moved briefly to Manchester, then eighteen months later joined the team at St Wilfrid’s Preston. In 1995 he suffered a heart attack, but recovered and returned to work in St Wilfrid’s until old age and ill health led to his retirement in 2014. He remained in Preston until his death. James’s Requiem Mass took place on Monday 23 December at St Wilfrid’s in Preston. l

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

• Mr Michael Abbot • Mrs Louise Brimble • Mr Ronald Carney • Mrs Anne Cooper • Mr John Cowdall • Mr Peter Croft • Mrs Julie Darroch • Mr Gerry Dawson • Mrs Jennifer De Clermont • Ms Doris De Hoo • Mr Devanney • Mrs Jo Enright • Mrs M Evans

• Mr Thomas Fitzpatrick • Mr H Gallagher • Mr T Hemingway • Mr W Howarth • Mr Hunt • Mr R J Kershaw • Mrs J Linder • Fr D F MacMahon • Fr Joachim D Mello SJ • Mr Rob Michael • Mr Moorhouse • Mr Brian Nangle • Mr Jim O’Connor

• Mr J Park • Mrs Felicia Rathbone • Ms R Sloan • Mrs Angela Smith • Mr Z Sobecki • Mr Thomas Spence • Mr D Taggart • Miss M A Tatham • Mrs A Timbrell • Fr Colin Ward • Mr John Frederick Woods  23

CLIMATE EMERGENCY Women and girls in rural Malawi have to collect and carry heavy firewood that releases toxic fumes when burned, and causes damage to their lungs and the environment. Jesuit Missions is working with the Jesuit Centre for Ecology and Development (JCED) to provide new stoves that use briquettes made out of recycled organic waste instead of firewood. JCED staff are training households to prepare these briquettes. This is life-changing for women and girls in the region. The new stoves convert the excess heat energy into electricity. One stove can provide enough electricity to light a three-bedroom house for over six hours. Donate today to help rural households access clean energy for cooking and get the basic electricity they need in their homes.

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