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  • How to do the Examen in the school? - Annual Meeting of Jesuit School Chaplaincies Sharing experiences and best practices

How to do the Examen in the school? - Annual Meeting of Jesuit School Chaplaincies Sharing experiences and best practices

Chaplaincies from 3 schools, Kollegium Aloisianum, Linz, Kollegium Kalksburg, Vienna, and Sankt-Asgar-Schule, Hamburg visited the Fényi Gyula Jesuit High School, Miskolc, to talk about the Examen, how it can be introduced to the daily life of the students. Father Johannes Herz SJ, chaplain of...

the Kollegium Aloisianum, who has been one of the organizers these meetings for the last few years, said that it is always good to discuss what is happening in the schools, and share best practices and experiences.
Same zeal, different environments
The second objective of each meeting is to expand on a selected theme; some previous themes were crisis intervention, student retreats etc. This year the theme is the Examen. The International World Wide Network of Jesuit Schools had their three-annual congress in 2017. Its Action Statement contains 12 points, and one of them is the Examen, how the Examen can be part of school life.
According to Fr Herz the schools vary in their levels of closeness to the Jesuits and the amount of resources they are able to devote to the running of the chaplaincies, since some are owned or run by Jesuits, others only used to be Jesuit-owned in the past. All schools share the same dedication to Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy and all participants agree that chaplaincy work is very important, it is crucial for the spiritual life of the students.
Opening new horizons
When six German and two Austrian schools headmasters started meeting about 15 years ago, their chaplains also started meeting annually. The network presently consists of school chaplains, Jesuits, teachers of religion, school psychologists, consultants and all who are involved in the spiritual formation of the students.
Recently the German and Austrian school chaplaincies have been joined by schools in the Lithuanian and Hungarian provinces. „It is good to open to new horizons that is why we are happy to have non-German speaking schools joining us.”
Jesuit schools in a secularized society
Father Herz shared examples of secularization, for example in his school although most students come from Catholic families, usually there are only 1 or 2 practising Christians in a class of 20 or 30 who actually pray, in a class. „Families send their children because they know it is a good school, and their attitude to religion is like, ’well, my child will have to go to Mass 4 or 5 times a year, he will survive.”
„As school chaplains we want to protect and encourage believers, who are in severe minority, and it is hard for them because of the group dynamics. One way to help them is to be attentive to them, notice them and spend time with such children.”
Live Coals
Secularization seems less prominent in Hungary, and many parents wish to enrol their children in the Jesuit school decidedly for its Ignatian spirituality, pedagogy and the Christian environment. The school has a strong chaplaincy team of three members of whom one is a deputy director of the school and two are Jesuit priests.
They closely work with a group of active students with a missionary zeal who are spiritual leaders among their peers. The name of the group is Parazs, (it means: live coals), and they do act accordingly, enlivening the faith among the students. They also purposely involve teachers to take part in everyday spiritual education of the school, e.g. they lead examen practice, which also expresses that they all share the mission of Ignatian education. The guests had the opportunity to take part in the workshop of these students. „We ’felt and tasted interiorly’ the amazing work done in this school,” one guest commented.
Ignatian pedagogy and spirituality - beyond theory
„When I went home my heart felt warm and wide! I felt nurtured and deeply impressed. Grateful as well ... I learned a lot. I took a lot of suggestions and inspiration with me... As our chaplaincy team is a work in progress we are happy for inspirations. It was good to see how the seeds of Ignation pedagogy are growing. It is not only theory, it is full alive.” (feedback from Christiane Suckow-Büchler, Canisius-Kolleg, Berlin)
Fr László Petrovics SJ, said that the meeting was an excellent opportunity to show the fellow school chaplaincies how we integrate spirituality in the everyday life of the school. „Although our school is the only Jesuit school in Hungary, we are not alone as we can work together with chaplaincies from other European countries, build relationships and share best practises. Also, it was a good opportunity for us to fine-tune the image people in other countries may have about Hungary, and to demonstrate Hungarian hospitality. ”

Last modified on Tuesday, 27 November 2018 09:16