Our commitment to walk with the Excluded and protect the Creation with as many young people as possible is deeply rooted in the Joy of the Gospel. In this Lenten season, our observances of prayer, fasting, and almsgiving can unlock for us the deep treasures of liberating joy. Pope Francis’ emphasis on the joy accompanying our social commitment made it clear to us not only during the Jubilee Congress of the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat in November last year but also in receiving the accomplished team of the Jesuit social centre in Milan, Aggiornamenti Sociali. Pope Francis noted “I urge you not to be discouraged. The commitment to Justice and to care for the Common Home is associated with the promise of Joy and Fulfilment.” As we congratulate the team of the “Aggiornamenti Sociali” journal for their 70th anniversary, please enjoy reading the Pope’s speech to them.

This same Joy of the Gospel was visible at our Annual Meeting of the Social Apostolate Delegates. About 30 delegates from all over Europe met in Brussels to discern a process-based implementation of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. We talked about the value of our networks and the fruits of our work in the different social realities. We particularly stressed the priority to work with and for vulnerable people on the move and integral ecology. Gianmarco Palermo (JESC) is reporting on the event while Laura Sear (JESC) shares with us her insights from our prison visit.

Besides these major events, JESC hosted a number of activities and speakers, with the leading example of Herman Van Rompuy at our Headquarters together with ELP Fellows. As representatives of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, Alberto Ares and Eleonora Vitale participated in a CCEE-organised meeting on migration in Greece. Moreover, the Jesuit GIAN-migration network issued a statement on promoting a genuine culture of hospitality and solidarity while doing advocacy work in Washington DC. Consolidating our advocacy efforts in Europe, the representatives of the Xavier Network met in Brussels.

This concerns particularly the international COP26 climate meeting at the end of this year.  Regarding our collaborators, enjoy an article on Matteo Ricci school which opened its doors in September 2019 in the heart of one of the most densely populated and impoverished neighborhoods of Brussels.

JESC was active elsewhere too. I made a visit to Spain for the meeting of the directors on the work of the Spanish Province Social Sector.

To conclude, may the three traditional practices of Lent bring us much joy connected to justice: prayer (justice towards God), fasting (justice towards self), and almsgiving (justice towards neighbours). Enjoy this Just Talk Edition. 

Peter Rožič SJ
JESC Director and
Social Apostolate Coordinator