EJIF 2018: youth, communication and vocation

Photo Credit: Vatican Media
Photo Credit: Vatican Media

The 2018 conference of European Jesuits in Formation has began! From the 28th July to the 20th August, Jesuits in training came from all across Europe from over 17 different countries to Rome for a three-week conference on the theme of ‘Youth, communication and vocation’.

The expectation is that they will all come away with a greater understanding of how to not only communicate their vocation to young people in Europe today, but also help others discern their own vocation.

The days start with morning readings of the Instrumentum Laboris for the upcoming Synod on 'Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment' – which will take place from the 3rd to the 28th October. The Instrumentum Laboris is the document that all the bishops of the synod will read before the synod itself starts. The Jesuits in training, therefore, are reading the same preparatory materials that the bishops get.

In the afternoons, various speakers are giving talks and presentations helping the participants understand a lot of the theory behind modern communications and giving practical help, such as by training them to make video blogs.

On Tuesday evening, the 31st July, the Jesuits went to the Church of the Gesù in Rome to attend Mass on St Ignatius day, celebrated by the Father General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa. They then met him afterwards. “He talked with us about the difficulties of discernment and how we as Jesuits live our vocations in a secular world” says Peter O'Sullivan SJ, who is attending the conference in Rome.

On Wednesday, there was a meeting with Pope Francis in the Vatican. He spoke about the life of a Jesuit, asking the Jesuits present to be courageous and go to the peripheries. When he had finished speaking, he then said to have few more minutes, so questions were welcomed. Richard Webster SJ asked about ministering to young unemployed people.

Pope Francis then spoke about the loss of dignity that unemployed feel and how it can lead to suicide, addiction, and even terrorism. He asked the Jesuits to be creative in solving these problems and to understand young people, to let them know they are being understood.

Peter O’Sullivan SJ finally comments “we came away from the Pope inspired, humbled and energised to go and spread the news of Jesus Christ.”


Watch the news story by Rome Reports: