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Europe as a missionary hub

missions_01John Guiney and Murt Curry from the Irish Mission Office are just back from two meetings in the Jesuit Retreat House, Rainhill, Liverpool, aimed at enhancing the sharing and cooperation between European Jesuit Mission Offices (MOs) and NGOs. They spent 1 October with other Western European MOs reflecting on their work over the last year – listed below are the six issues that emerged from the discernment. Then for two more days the MO people worked with Mark Rotsaert, President of the European Provincials, Chuck Duffy of the Roman Development Office, Michael Czerny of the African Jesuit Aids network and Peter Balleis, Director of JRS, focussing mainly on the development of Advocacy as a tool of the MOs. The main outcomes of the three days work are reported below:Six points that emerged from the first day’s work: a) during the recession, the numbers of donors has fallen but the income has remained remarkably steady;   b) new links  have been established with China and other Asian countries;  c) Irish Aid has funded a JRS project in its own right for the first time;   d) new superiors and directors in African countries are taking over projects from expatriots;  e) the care of elderly Jesuits in developing countries needs to be upgraded;    f) advocacy as a task for Mission Offices is being expanded.

The exchange of information helps each MO to reach levels of good practice in all their areas of work. It is 400 years since the death of Matteo Ricci, and 20 years since the murder of the El Salvador Martyrs. During the coming year,  the celebration of these two anniversaries will be a focus of cooperation.
The next two days saw the presentation of papers by Frank Turner and Jose Ignacio Garcia of OCIPE, and an analysis of the income and expenditure of the MOs. Of the approximately 73 milion euro expenditure, 35% went to Africa, 37% to South America, and 20% to Asia. Most of the projects supported were organised by JRS, Fe y Alegria, AJAN, and by individual Jesuit provinces. The context of the Society since GC35, and the growth of Development Offices were presented by Mark Rotseart and Chuck Duffy. Afternoon tours and a very pleasant evening meal in Liverpool ended the meeting. Next October…..Vienna.