The Way Forward

European Jesuit Provincials gather to celebrate Mass during this year's meeting in Poland
Photo: Philip Debruyne SJ 

At their annual meeting held earlier this week in Czestochowa, the European Jesuit Provincials discussed their strategic plan for the next three years. Europe is still the continent with the greatest number of Jesuits worldwide, but these numbers are declining while other areas, especially Asia and Africa, experience sustained growth. The strategic plan’s two main thrusts, or ‘frontiers’ in the current Jesuit jargon, are carrying the gospel message to an increasingly secular culture, and inter-religious dialogue.

The Provincials also discussed at length the way in which they could increase cooperation and collaboration between the Jesuits in Africa and those in Europe. Last year, Jesuit provinces, mostly through their ‘mission offices’, sponsored projects in African countries to the tune of more than 20 million euro. At present Malta has a particular Africa-Europe collaboration project, with a Polish Jesuit student and a young aFrican priest working with JRS (Malta).

One of the most emotional points during their meeting was a briefing by the Provincial superior of the Near East, responsible for the Jesuits working in major countries of the Arab Spring, including Syria, Lebanon and Egypt. He spelled out what the recent upheavals in the region implied for the Jesuits and the Christian community they are accompanying.

facebook youtube twitter flickr