Europe's 'new vision' and the Jesuits
The newly appointed President of the Conference of European Jesuit Provincials (CEP) has said that he believes that Europe is at “a key moment in its history” and that the Society of Jesus has a valuable role in helping the continent to rediscover its roots.
Fr Franck Janin SJ, who is currently the Provincial of the Jesuits in South Belgium and Luxembourg, was speaking shortly after the Curia in Rome announced his appointment. He will replace Irish Jesuit, Fr John Dardis SJ, who was appointed as one of Fr General’s special assistants - General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning - at last year’s 36th General Congregation (GC36).
Fr Janin said that he was honoured and humbled to have appointed as the President of the CEP. “Europe is at a key moment in its history,” he said. “Many people are wondering about its future. However Pope Francis recently said that Europe now ‘is called to rediscover its proper identity’ and that ‘this requires recovering its roots in order to shape its future’. I believe that the Society of Jesus, based as we are in so many parts of Europe has a valuable role to play in helping Europe recover these roots.”
A sign of unity and communion
Born in France in 1958, Fr Franck joined the Society of Jesus in 1984 in the Province of South Belgium and Luxembourg (BML). Part of his formation was in Toronto, Canada. He was assistant to the novice master and then the novice master in the joint novitiate of North and South Belgium from 1995-2000. He then joined the team in the spiritual centre of the South Belgian Jesuits near Namur, becoming its Director in 2002. He has been Provincial of BML since 2011.
Ignatian spirituality can help Europe rediscover a vision of reconciliation and unity, according to Fr Janin. “Our spirituality, which helps people find God in their lives in a very personal way and be rooted in Him, which stresses the importance of dialogue between cultures, faiths and religions, which wants to promote reconciliation and justice (GC 36) has something precious to give. The question is how to offer what we have with humility but also with confidence. Europe is looking for a new vision. My hope is that we, European Jesuits and all of those with whom we share and carry the mission entrusted to us by Christ, together could be more and more a sign that unity and communion are possible.”
Fr Janin will take office as President of the CEP in late summer 2017.