Jesuits launch pan-European online ecology network

POST BY AWentworth

The “Thinking Big in Europe” network had its official launch on Ash Wednesday, 26th February via a Zoom meeting.

What is this project? It is a way of linking Jesuits and laypeople across the European continent and our work on ecology, inspired by the papal encyclical Laudato Si’.

Specifically, the network will allow Jesuits to explore avenues of collaboration and support. It will form one branch of the bigger tree that is the Ecojesuit network.

On Ash Wednesday, seventeen of us met (online) to introduce ourselves to one another. We came from Hungary, Germany, Austria, the Lebanon, Portugal, Spain, France, Ireland and the UK. Five of us were Jesuits and twelve were laypeople.

We had two things in common: our Ignatian Spirituality and a growing concern about the worsening ecological state of our world. In one way or another, each of us was actively engaged in working to Care for Our Common Home.

We covered a lot on the ecological agenda - the protection of fresh water; how local community-based stories can (and must) influence policy makers; the question of how to promote diversity and inclusivity in mobilising people to take political action; and finally, contemplating the need to develop a spirituality that challenges us all to live in a way that is caring of our global environment, and at the same time will  strengthen us as we attempt to transition towards a sustainable way of living.

One venture of the Jesuits in Britain that will support this network is the Roehampton University MA in Theology, Ecology and Ethics which the Jesuits in Britain have co-created with the University. Launched in September 2019, the first cohort of nine students are well into their second semester. Two of the MA students have already done placements in Portugal and France with ecology projects that were represented in this network’s launch. Hopefully, this synergy will increase as the MA progresses.

Anyone interested in the programme can find out more here.

Fr Eddy Bermingham SJ