What are two months in a person’s life? What is less than two months’ time if you wish to become familiar with a culture so marvelously rich as the Indian? In two months, one can merely gather impressions about a country, nothing more than that. However, one can meet and befriend new people – and that is something, something wonderful!
Take a dozen Jesuits. Make them stand at seven stations on a route between a shrine near Budapest and their community house in the capital of Hungary. Ask them to describe each step of the Jesuit formation at the consecutive stops. Add them a hundred friends, and get the whole lot of people run or walk the 9 kilometre distance amidst the woods.
This September saw a unique occasion in the history of their main church, a double jubilee and a final vow, thus altogether four reasons to celebrate for the Hungarian Jesuits. It was on the 7th day of the month that the province became independent 110 years ago. On the mass celebrated by Elemér Vízi for the occasion, the provincial recalled the ancestors of the present day Jesuits and praised them for their persistence throughout the hard times.
“We are in the most beautiful cathedral possible”, these were the words that Szabolcs Sajgó, the Jesuit director of the House of Dialogue in Budapest, began his unprecedented holy mass with over River Danube on 28 July. The liturgy took place on Liberty Bridge, a scheduled monument of the city, interconnecting the two banks of the Hungarian capital. The site is closed off from traffic on four weekends each summer.
This July saw a unique technical innovation in Hungarian Jesuit church dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It was the first time in the country that a Paypass terminal was installed in a church for an alternative to the traditional way of offerings. The stand, set up in one of the corners of the building, is meant to serve those who do not carry cash on them, but would like to support their community by way of this digital “collection box”.
Some 600 pilgrims with more than ten buses, accompanied by a dozen Jesuits from the Hungarian Province of the Society of Jesus hit the road at the end of May to journey to Romania. Their destination was a Hungarian national shrine to the Virgin Mary called Csíksomlyó (Șumuleu Ciuc), in Transylvania region, where they attended a mass celebrated by Pope Francis.
A first of its kind conference was held in Budapest on child protection within the church. The event featured P. Hans Zollner SJ, president of the Centre for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University as keynote speaker. The co-organisers were the Ignatian Pedagogic Workshop and the Catholic Pedagogic Institute.
The Hungarian Jesuits respect the freedom of expression. However, it is painful to see that it is the guest author of America, the flagship magazine of our Society of Jesus, who tries to make political profit from the visit of Pope Francis to Csíksomlyó. We are taken aback to read that he wishes to set an agenda to the leader of the church, of whom to meet with, what to say and how he should comment the Hungarian political life.