Romania, mission of the Euro Mediterranean Province
As from 6th January 2018, on the decree of Father General Arturo Sosa and with a ceremony held in Cluj, Romania officially became a mission of the Euro-Mediterranean Province (EUM) . “This decision has been long coming and is supported by the fact that the scholastics of Italy, Malta and Romania have already received their formation together for many years,” explains the Provincial Father Gianfranco Matarazzo, “and the then Provinces of Italy and Malta had already sent Jesuits to Romania. It will be an opportunity to deepen our universality and Catholic identity, and this will require creativity, generosity and availability, in the care of the essential”.
The delegate designated for the Mission is Fr. Michael Bugeja , who is already Delegate for the EUM Province for Malta. “This is, he explains, “a gradual process of integration of the Jesuits of Romania into the Euro-Mediterranean Province.” It will lead to stronger solidarity between the different communities and works of the same Province. In an increasingly fragmented socio-political and religious context, we are asked to be less self-reliant and to open our “hands and hearts” to receive and to give more. At the same time, to pray, live and work more as a team, not only with the Jesuits of other countries, but also with all men of good will animated by the spirit of the Ignatian Magis “.
Arriving for the first time in Cluj in 1579, the Jesuits now hold the last free and uninterrupted presence on the Romanian territory since 1990, when Father General Kolvenbach consolidated the present Province of the Society of Jesus in Romania around a group of Jesuit survivors of the communist regime, while inviting some missionaries from various countries, such as Italy, Malta, Poland, Belgium, France and Spain.
Today there is a total of fifteen Romanian Jesuits present in the three Jesuit communities of the country, and others in different communities of Italy. They are a fairly young and promising group.
“To the north,” says Fr. Henryk Urban, Socius to the Regional Superior of Romania, “there is the community of Satu-Mare , active both in the pastoral field at the Romanian-speaking parish of the Calvary Church, and in the social field with the Freres Romania Association for Roma children.
In Cluj, in the centre of the country and near the most important university centre, there is the Spiritual Centre called Manresa, open all year round for spiritual exercises, retreats and various events for groups of lay and religious of different ages, denominations and ethnic backgrounds.
Finally, in Bucharest there is an office of JRS (Jesuit Refugee Service), increasingly called upon and involved in the support offered to migrants who also arrive in Romania “.
There are also 6 Jesuits from the Hungarian Province, present in Satu-Mare at the Catholic high school, the German-speaking Calvary parish and Tirgu Mures at the university chaplaincy.
Finally, there are two other social projects which have a great local impact: in Sighet, the Italian fathers Massimo Nevola and Vitangelo Denora now for nearly twenty years have been animating the Quadrifoglio Onlus which is an offshoot of the Missionary League, while in Hosman , the Austrian father Georg Sporschill, leads a reality similar to the ancient Jesuit ‘reductions’, for a few hundred Roma families, offering education and social integration for their children.
Three pastoral priorities emerge as a result of these years’s work: the proclamation of the Gospel and the spiritual accompaniment of the laity, the social assistance of the marginalized, together with the offer of education and a human and spiritual formation.