The tenth congress of the World Union of Jesuit Alumni took place in Barcelona (Spain) from 13th to 17th July 2022. Around 365 attendees from 28 countries gathered for this first great international encounter of alumni after the pandemic. The theme was “United by values. Moved by the future”.
Most of the conferences and work sessions were held at the Jesuïtes Sarrià Sant Ignasi school, where 60 young school volunteers helped. Other activities took place downtown, like the opening mass in the cathedral Santa Maria del Mar, the welcome cocktail at Palau Dalmases, or the private visit of the Sagrada Familia. Prior to the congress, a visit in Montserrat and Manresa has also been proposed to the participants.
Just before the opening of the Congress, WUJA’s management bodies came together to hold their statutory assemblies and to elect their officers. Francisco Guarner, chairman of the congress organizing committee, was elected as president of WUJA for a 4 years-term. The executive committee and the council were also renewed. The host-city of the next world congress has been appointed: Yogyakarta (Indonesia) will host the next WUJA congress in 2026.
Following the nice tradition of his predecessors, Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, enhanced the opening and the first day of the Congress with his presence.
It should also be noted that 70 young people attended the congress. They had the opportunity to take part in some special activities, like a visit of the gothic area and an encounter with Father General.
- Picture galery (selection)
- Picture gallery (complete)
- Album of the Spanish Jesuit Province
- Facebook gallery (1) First day
- Facebook gallery (2) Conference
- Facebook gallery (3) The Brethren
- Facebook gallery (4) The Sagrada Familia
- Facebook gallery (5) The Activities
- Facebook gallery (6) The Closing
Addresses and documents
- Words by Francisco Guarner at the opening Eucharist
- Address by Father General
- Farewell word of the outgoing president Alain Deneef
The Congress of the World Union of Jesuit Alumni meeting in Barcelona, Spain, at Saint Ignasi College, from 13 to 17 July 2022
Recognises the richness of the contribution of the large group of young participants who wish to join this international network, which they make their own. Also recognises that there is still much work to be done to integrate so many young people who leave Jesuit educational institutions.
Urges the World Union Council to find ways of organising the time between Congresses to allow local associations and the World Union itself to reach their networking potential, so that “the giant awakens”. Recommends in this regard that some sort of follow-up model be used, which leads to a process rather than a new structure. Recommends to use the working method of the international network of Jesuit schools (Educate Magis) and the communication platform it has set up.
Recognises that the great possibilities for collaboration and work among alumni derive from the strength of the local associations of each educational institution and, at the same time, from the sense of belonging to a wider identity. Also encourages all local associations and national federations to welcome in groups of various kinds alumni from other Jesuit institutions around the world who, for personal or professional reasons, are in their geographical area.
Believes that the dynamic of work in the creation of an effective international network comes more from the initiatives of associations or groups of alumni at the local level that federate at the grassroots level around common projects than from instructions that come from the top (“Grass root movement”).
Confirms, in line with the first Universal Apostolic Preference, that the best tool for personal and community transformation remains the Spiritual Exercises and encourages all former students to experience them in all their forms.
Encourages the continuation of the Barcelona 2022 spirit of contemplation of reality, rigorous reflection in prayer and discernment leading to commitment.
Thanks Father General Arturo Sosa SJ for his presence at the Congress and for his enthusiastic, demanding and inspiring message, and assures him of his support in carrying out his mission and of his availability for any task he would like to entrust to the former students.
Assures Francis, Bishop of Rome, of his affection and support for his efforts to reform the Church to make it more faithful to the Gospel, in particular
- by refocusing it on the love and mercy of God,
- with concern for the poor and marginalised
- by going beyond and accomplishing the work of God (la iglesia en salida), meeting people where they are,
- by giving the laity, especially women and young people, a place worthy of what they can contribute to evangelisation.
Thanks the organisers of the Congress and all their teams for their rigorous preparation and flawless execution, which contributed to its success, both in terms of content and the atmosphere of fraternity that prevailed.
Thanks Mr. Alain Deneef for his nine years as president of WUJA, during which he faithfully fulfilled the precept of Saint Ignatius “In all Love and Serve”, laid enduring foundations for our world union and marked a course that will be to inspire future generations of graduates of the Society of Jesus.
Summary of the content
As Father General said, the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) can be a fruitful field of collaboration between the Society of Jesus, its different networks and the alumni movement at local, regional and global level.
The workshops held during the Congress demonstrated this by proposing various initiatives that could make the work on the themes dealt with during the Congress more concrete:
- Commit to promoting an integral ecology, including its spiritual dimension
- Take initiatives for action and reflection on sustainability, the circular economy, water, etc.
- Promote education in ecological awareness
- Advocacy on ecological issues
- Respond to the right to migrate, by promoting relevant education and employment projects
- Respond to the right not to migrate by promoting employability and education in countries of origin
- Help counter negative perceptions of immigrants through Gospel-based stories
- Promote and fund diversity in our schools
- Assist in the integration of migrants
- Encourage access to university education for migrants
- Raising awareness in different cultures
- Promoting the responsibility and visibility of women in the Church
- Promoting education for equality
- Proposing a World Union network on women’s issues
Inter-religious dialogue :
- Getting to know other religious traditions in a friendly way
- Joining with people of other faiths to work for justice
- Sharing moments of prayer with people of other faiths
- To dialogue with people of other faiths on major issues that concern us all (education, peace, ecology).
- Promoting a greater presence in social networks
- Encourage open standards in education and research, and lifelong learning.
- Encourage education that combines technology, spirituality and ethics
- Help focus our lives on the common Gospel and Ignatian values that animate us
Social innovation :
- Creating communication channels between associations promoting social innovation
- Fostering bottom-up transformation processes
- Providing young people with life stories about possible career paths
- Establish a funding fund for social impact initiatives
- Testimony about the Barcelona Congress (by a group of young alumni from Portugal)
- An Australian alumnus looks back to the 10th Congress (by Andrew Horsley, member of the Council of WUJA)
- A culture of collaboration to become persons with and for others (article on the website of the Society of Jesus)
- Harnessing the potential of Catholic education alumni to improve schools, univeresities and society (Global Catholic Education Project)