How can we make the governance structure of the Euro-Mediterranean Province effective in the current context and challenges? This question was taken up two years ago by Provincial Fr. Roberto del Riccio SJ and the Consult considering important challenges that were clearly developing.
“Some internal challenges include,” Del Riccio SJ explains “the fact that the province comprises four territories, the decrease of Jesuits, in the face of a greater demand for presence, and the apostolic involvement of so many non-Jesuits who in the territories are working where Jesuits are no longer present and will never be.”
Other external challenges include: “walking with young people, listening deeply to their desires, accompanying them wisely and enabling them to enter the Christian community; the many situations of injustice, which cause hardship and poverty; the environmental issue and ecological transition; caring for communities-families, parishes, groups; leadership formation at all levels, especially giving support to the clergy.”
“We are between two burning issues,” the Provincial, Fr. Roberto Del Riccio SJ highlighted, “on the one hand to be creative in fidelity, and on the other to identify what challenges us to find new ways to govern more effectively for mission.”
The new structure
The process of discernment and re-evaluation, carried out with the Emmaus Mission Study Centre, has produced a new governance structure for the EUM Province, which was introduced this morning in Ciampino during the work of the Assembly. “We opted for a vertical model with apostolic decentralization in order to keep the Provincial at the centre, as per our way of proceeding, favouring involvement at all levels, through networking of those involved in providing responses to the same needs.”
Among the networks already in operation are the Centre for Ignatian Spirituality for the promotion of the Spiritual Exercises, the Jesuit Education Foundation for schools, and the Mag+s network established in December for youth realities.
The model, which will now begin its implementation, has been resonating in working groups. Among the points that emerged was the beauty of perceived vitality, of re-centering apostolic action. At the same time, it is necessary to consider the networks as dynamic realities, determined by the challenges and their complexity, the value of the differences between territories, the care of relationships, the dialogue with the institutions, the synergy with the laity.
A work in progress, to be tested
The phase of experimentation is now beginning. “This is the time, where we have to ask ourselves, if the Spirit confirms us, in the choices we make, as our way of proceeding envisages,” Fr. Del Riccio highlights.. “We are in a work in progress, called to evaluate the process as it progresses.”