From 28 June to 2 July more than 420 members of the leadership teams of our Jesuit and Companion Schools met virtually in the II Colloquium JESEDU-Global. The first such colloquium was hosted by Boston College High School in 2012 in the United States. This second Colloquium was originally planned for Jogjakarta, Indonesia, in 2021 but because of the pandemic it was necessary, first to postpone it and then to offer it fully online.

To move from an in person to an entirely virtual gathering was a challenge in itself. Fortunately, Fr. Tony Moreno, president of the Asia Pacific Conference and a generous and professional team of Jesuits and Lay people from the Philippines and Australia, led by Fr. Johnny Go, took the challenge and designed a high quality, totally virtual Ignatian experience that offered the participants from the six Conferences and some members of Fe y Alegría and JRS-Education the possibility to discern together how our schools can contribute to the construction of a hope-filled future as the UAPs ask us to do. The discernment was oriented by keynote speakers offering their contributions in four strands: Educating for FaithEducating for DepthEducating for Reconciliation and Educating for Global Citizenship in the context of our holistic understanding of education.

Our schools are aware that our world is changing fast, not only because of the pandemic but because, as Fr. General Arturo Sosa told us in Rio de Janeiro, this is “…a change in era. More than ever, we are aware of being part of a single human community, that we share a single planet and have a common destiny.” (#31 JESEDU-Rio2017) Thus, the colloquium was an opportunity to discuss and to imagine how our schools can continue our educational living tradition that St. Ignatius and the first Jesuits began in the 16th Century. Moreover, the Ignatian Year presented the appropriate framework for this discernment since the invitation of seeing all things new in Christ animated our discussions.

We know that “Renewal is an ongoing task in educational work. We need to go a step ahead of what we know and imagine today. Our educational models need to prepare young people for the future.” (Fr. General Sosa #44 JESEDU-Rio2017).

This II Colloquium is the beginning of a second cycle of global gatherings aimed at making possible the challenge of General Congregation 35: A universal body with a universal mission. This second cycle, called Walking as a Global Network at the Service of the Mission, continues the process inspired by the Action Statement produced during the International Congress JESEDU-Rio in 2017 and continues the discernment proposed by the recent document Jesuit Schools: A LivingTradition in the 21st Century (2019).

The Colloquium provided participants the opportunity to watch the keynote videos at their own pace, write comments and discuss them. Also, participants were invited to join small discernment circles inspired by the spiritual conversation methodology to share their spiritual motions and thoughts about the four strands. With the feedback coming from these circles, the keynote speakers input and regional meetings of the school networks, ICAJE (International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education) will prepare a vision statement to capture the direction in which the Spirit is moving our schools at this point.

Fortunately, we count on the technical and apostolic support offered by Educate Magis, the online platform and community of the Jesuit and Ignatian Schools, based in Galway, Ireland. Educate Magis has played a vital role in developing the global potential of our educational ministry and has demonstrated that it is an indispensable instrument in our becoming a global network with a global mission.

We know that the best evaluation of the Colloquium will be who our schools become, and how our schools can create an environment where the hope-filled future that we all dreamed can be sustained. In this way we want to join Pope Francis’ call for a New Compact on Education where the right for quality education for all can be a reality.

This article was originally published in Jesuits.global