From September 4 to 6, 2023, Dalibor Renić SJ, the new President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, was in Ukraine, where, together with Father Jarosław Paszyński SJ, Superior of the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus, he visited the places where Jesuits serve: Lviv, Chernivtsi and Khmelnytskyi. It was Father Renić’s first visit abroad, immediately after taking up his new position on August 31, 2023. Its goal was to show solidarity with our brothers in Ukraine in the context of the ongoing war.
On September 2, 2023, Dalibor Renić SJ flew to Krakow. On the same day, he met with his brothers from the Residence in Krakow. The next day he concelebrated Holy Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, and then met with the College community and the scholastics, who would begin their philosophical studies at the Ignatianum University a month later. During the meeting with the scholastics, Father President pointed out that in the European context, the challenge for the Jesuits is the constant care for a deep spiritual life and the ability to discern in order to help people encounter God.
On the Sunday evening (September 3, 2023), Fr. Dalibor Renić SJ together with Father Provincial Jarosław Paszyński SJ started his journey to Ukraine. The Ukrainian Mission is an integral part of the Southern Poland Province of the Society of Jesus. On Monday, Father President met with the Brothers who serve in Lviv and Kyiv. He visited the refugees’ house in Lviv, run by Jesuits (JRS Ukraine), and a house in Briukhowychi , where JRS Ukraine cooperates with nuns in helping refugees.
On Tuesday, Father President saw intensive preparations in Chernivtsi for the opening of the “SPACE OF HOPE” project of the Jesuit Center for Spiritual and Psychological Health, Dialogue and Communication next year. The mission of “SPACE OF HOPE” is to be spiritual and psychological help for people from Ukraine who have experienced the effects of the war, then dialogue supporting efforts for a just peace, then forgiveness and reconciliation, and finally communication enabling a meeting on the basis of truth.
On Wednesday, Father Dalibor Renić SJ met with the community of Jesuits in Khmelnytskyi, who run a parish and a retreat house, which was transformed into a refugee aid house immediately after the beginning of the war. The next day, Father President returned to Krakow, and in the afternoon he came back to Brussels, where his headquarters is located.
For the Jesuits in Ukraine it was a special time of meeting and reflection in an atmosphere of brotherly solidarity. It was very important for Father President to personally be with his brothers where the war was going on.