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Mar 30th, 2020

During the last week of February and the first week of March, the International Secretary for Secondary and Pre-secondary Education of the Society of Jesus, Fr. José Alberto Mesa, S.J., attended a series of meetings, during his visits to Barcelona (Spain) and Galway (Ireland). 

The visit to Barcelona began with a meeting at Jesuïtes Educació – the Network of Jesuit Schools of Catalonia –, where the members of the network´s central team shared with him their current challenges, as well as the milestones of the transition process from the Horitzó 2020 project to Horitzó +.

The next day, Fr. Mesa met with 105 school leaders of Jesuit Schools in the zone. The meeting began with an opening lecture, in which Fr. Mesa shared with the participants the key elements of Jesuit Education nowadays, and concluded with the presentation of the document “Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century”. Later that day, Fr. Jaime Tatay, S.J., shared a presentation on sustainability, ecology and education in Jesuit Schools. With these inputs, work groups were established in order to allow the participants to share and reflect over these topics of high relevance for Jesuit Education.

The third day of the visit was dedicated to meet with the WUJA Congress Organizing Committee. The World Union of Jesuit Alumni (WUJA) will celebrate its next international Congress in Barcelona, in 2021. Hence, this visit allowed to share the expectations and the progresses made in planning the congress.

The day after, the meetings with Jesuïtes Educació resumed. In the morning, Fr. Mesa participated in a rich and open debate with the network´s leaders about the foundations of the project Horitzó +. In the afternoon, along with the network´s board, they visited the facilities of Jesuïtes Casp, one of the Jesuit Schools in the city. This visit allowed them to see the spaces were an innovative model of primary and middle school education is taking place, while discussing about its key aspects. Later that day he met with the Jesuits of the Province.

The week after, Fr. Mesa, along with the Secretariat Assistant for Global Initiatives, Catharine Steffens, visited Educate Magis in Galway, for their annual meeting. They began with the Annual General Meeting of the Company Directors and of the Members in Dublin. The following morning Fr. Mesa met with the Heads of the Irish Jesuit Schools to present the new document, “A Living Tradition” and update on the current priorities of the Secretariat while at the same time gaining some insight into Jesuit Education in Ireland.

For the next two days they met with the Educate Magis team in Galway to listen to and give feedback on the current plans in the areas of Global Citizenship, Mission and Identity and Global Community. These meetings and discussions provided the team with fruitful and inspiring insights and helped to closely align the work of Educate Magis with the work of the Secretariat. The meetings began with a presentation by Fr. Mesa on the new document “Jesuit Schools: A Living Tradition in the 21st Century”. This presentation helped the team to gain a deeper level of understanding of the relevance of this document in relation to the current context of Jesuit Education and provided an excellent backdrop to the meetings and discussions which followed. Fr. Mesa, Catharine and the Educate Magis team finished these meetings with a renewed sense of commitment, hope and enthusiasm for the continued growth and development of the Educate Magis global community.

In general terms, the visits and meetings held during these two weeks were very productive. They represented an opportunity to witness the progresses achieved in projects that are strategic for the work of the Global Network of Schools, while they were an opportunity to reflect over the key elements of Jesuit Schools, having the new document of the Secretariat as a basis.