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“No matter how difficult the work, it gives hope”

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the cross : Faith and Politics Workshop resumes in Venice after last session of 2020 was canceled due to covid. What does it contain?

Father Benoit Villemar: Formed in 2006 under the auspices of the Jesuit Centers of the European Jesuit Social Center in Brussels and the Aggiornamenti Sociali in Milan, this seminar brings together young people who wish to or are already engaged in public life. Articulating their commitment to their faith through conferences and exchanges reflects them. The choice of Venice is symbolic. From this city is the long border between East and West Saint Ignatius of Loyola left for the holy land. It was there that the first Jesuit companions found themselves, hoping to take their turn, before realizing that their vocation called them to stay, not to go and live as monks. Our faith is called to be lived daily, in the noblest sense: in our society.

Who will attend this session?

PBW: 20 young people aged between 20 and 35 years registered. At the end of their studies, young professionals come from all over Europe, especially from countries with the Society of Jesus: Italy, Portugal, Ireland, France, Belgium… Many work in these areas. Political science, law or economics, some are members of youth political movements, others from associations, especially the JRS Association (Jesuit Service for Refugees).

They engage “Wounded World”This version is captioned, echoing Pope Francis’ words that the Church should be. “Like a field hospital”. They want to answer things that are not easy, and they face difficult trade-offs: How to reconcile different points of view? How do we give voice to those who are less heard? We try to give them the tools to help them discern what is right and the resources to hold on and keep working.

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How do you see the relationship between political commitment and trust? “Public Service as a Christian Vocation”Want to take on the theme of the session?

PBW: We consider political commitment in a broad sense: through civil society, associations, NGOs, or working within state administrations and structures. This is reflected in the choice of our three guests this year: politician Peadar Tobin from the Irish social-conservative party Antu, Maltese lawyer Katrin Camilleri, honored by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Rosario Farmhouse President of the National Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Children and Adolescents in Portugal.

In a society where the temptation to confine faith to private life is great, we help partners reconcile their faith and commitment on a daily basis so that they can feed each other. Many of the answers will be personal, but one thing seems essential to me: as Christians, we want to bring hope no matter the difficulty of the task. For St. Ignatius, God is in everything. Adopting a Christian view of the world means, on the one hand, seeing it at work in the world and believing that things are moving in a positive direction. On the other hand, it means adjusting my actions towards this goal. It is not only salvation but also my responsibility.

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