Denmark moves to Poland: province reorganisation

Service at St Augustine's Church Copenhagen
Service at St Augustine's Church Copenhagen

On Monday 5th September, the administration of the Jesuit mission in Denmark was formally handed over from the German Province to the North Polish Province. A Mass was said in St Augustine’s Church next to the school, Neil Stensens Gymnasium, commemorating the handover. To show the dedication of those Jesuits who previously worked in Copenhagen, the gratitude of those there now and the commitment of the Jesuits now working in Copenhagen, most of the Jesuits who worked with the school were present to participate in the Mass. The Jesuit Institute of the British Province was also represented by Fr Adrian Porter SJ and Peter O’Sullivan SJ because it has been asked to support the school’s educational mission.

As well as the Mass featuring most the Jesuits who had worked with the school, the Mass was presided over by the German Provincial with the North Polish and South Polish Provincials as principal concelebrants. As there were so many people from different countries, the readings and Mass parts were in English and the hymns were in Danish. Plenty of the school’s teachers were in the congregation and in attendance were the Augustinian sisters who previously occupied the site of the school and the Bishop of Copenhagen and the Polish ambassador to Denmark. Afterwards, everyone was invited to see a newly-renovated part of Neil Stensens Gymnasium where the history of the school was exhibited. At the dinner, speeches were made in English and Danish by the provincials, headteacher of the school and Jesuits who had worked at the school for a long time.

The whole event showed a willingness to get as many people involved as possible to showed appreciation and a sensitivity to the mission. The handover, done with so many representatives of Jesuit provinces shows cooperation and an acceptance of change and transition. All the while, the school, the focus of the effort, is lay led and promotes a shared vision of Jesuit education. The school’s educational mission is supported by the Jesuits in Britain. The Jesuit community next to the school had or has Danish Jesuits, Polish Jesuits and German Jesuits who have helped empower the school staff to take the initiative in the shared vision of Jesuit education.