By the end of the year the National Conference of KSJ Germany takes place. Like in the years before I was invited by the National Board to join this event. This year I accompanied the delegation of Augsburg by train, because I also departed from there.
This conference took place from 27th to 30th December in Altenberg in the northeast of Cologne.
Following closely the developments in Ukraine – especially as they concern our member organization AUCS Obnova Ukraine – we would like to share with you the response of Obnova following our joint day of prayer on the 23rd March 2014, where JECI-MIEC and other regions of IYCS/JECI and IMCS/MIEC in the world took part in. Obnova invites our European platform not to stop our prayer as it is needed in this times of crisis.
. (A few pictures from the recollections of Obnova)
Here the words from the presidency of Obnova:
Dear friends from JECI-MIEC European Coordination,
We would like to thank you very much for the initiative to pray for us, to pray for
Ukraine in such difficult time for all of us! Thank you for your support and staying with
On March, 21-23 we’ve had our common Recollections in Zarvanytsia for
Obnova-Ternopil and Obnova-Lviv. And on March, 22 we were praying together the
prayers, kindly suggested by Fr. Markus. So, we were united in prayers with you, no
matter the place, the day and the hour. In God and in prayer we are united! In Unity is
Unfortunately the news from the Eastern borders of our country is not good.
And now we would like to remind again about the initiative, invite you to join our prayers
and keep doing so in the form and time that is convenient for you.
From the 8th to the 11th May, having been invited by the Presidency of FUCI, the European Coordinator Maximilian Niessen and the European team member Eirini Freri, attended the National Congress of FUCI “Europa al Crocevia- il cammino dell’ intergrazione verso un nuovo continente” in Padova. More than 200 participants all over Italy attended the 2 parts of the Congress. At the first part, the 8th and the 10th of May, lectures from experts and professors took place and at the second part the General Assembly, the statutory meeting of FUCI, where the thesis of the Congress was discussed and voted and also the Representants at the Central Council were elected.
During the General Assembly the European Coordinator addressed the plenary with an intervention that was also pubblished at a magazine and at the whole meeting both the Coordinator and the team member had the chance to contact the participants and inform them about the work of JECI-MIEC.
Thanks to the the presidency of FUCI for the invitation and the local organizers from Padova for making this event successfull.
Dear friends of the European Coordination JECI-MIEC,
dear supporters of Human Rights and democracy,
today we ask you for support in prayer for our members of the Ukrainian Catholic Federation “Obnova” as well as for all citizens of Ukraine.
The leadership of the Federation “Obnova” has chosen to support the Ukrainian Euro-Integration as you can read in the following letter calling for support from our entire membership (link with theletter). For a position of our member organization JEC France please refer to their article.
This support is followed-up with by “Obnova” even after the decision of the Ukrainian President Victor Yanuskovych to dismiss a potential Ukrainian Europe pact. Many “Obnovians” express their support through solidarity with all peaceful protesters.
Regardless of what position one individually wants to take as it regards the question of the Euro-Integration of Ukraine, unjustified violence applied by police-forces against peaceful protesters is in our view unbearable.
That is why we call upon you to join in prayer for all peaceful protesters, the authorities as well as decision-makers in Ukraine and especially for our member organization “Obnova”.
If you want to take action, some members of “Obnova” ask you to take into consideration this petition.
The European Team will continue to be in touch with the leadership of “Obnova” in these hard times for the Federation as well as for the country and will keep you updated about relevant developments.
Having been invited by the national presidency of FUCI – “Federazione Universitaria Cattolica Italiana”, the European Coordinator took the opportunity to participate at the 62nd National Congress, which took place in Rimini from 9th-12th May 2013.
The event bringing together more than 200 participants from all over Italy was titled “Esodo dalla crisi: la via della democrazia” and consisted of two parts: From the 9th-10th May, experts and lecturers had the chance to bring in their contributions to the topic of democracy in a study session – among them many university teachers from the local university of Rimini, theologians, philosophers, economists and lawyers – some of them with controversial positions initiating vivid discussions.
The last two days of the gathering were dedicated to the statutory session of the Congress, where the candidacies for the “Central Council” as well as content-related motions were discussed and voted upon. Finally, the the outcome of the meeting – the “Congress Thesis” – was framed, amended and voted upon. On Sunday, the closing mass was celebrated by S.E. Mons. Francesco Lambiasi, bishop of the diocese of Rimini.
During the statutory part, the European Coordinator also had the chance to address the plenary with an update of the work of JECI-MIEC and a short intervention:
“Truth cannot be produced, what can be produced are facts. We can for example influence a situation in such a way, that it fits to the purpose we intended or to what we want people believe to be the truth… But that is different from truth. Truth is not producible and therefore not subjected to majority opinion; this is something not only Christians, but even secular philosophers of the enlightenment knew, when referring to the practical reason / moral law (Kant) or volonté generale (Rousseau). But if truth is not a matter of majority, of what use is democracy then?
The German constitutional court’s former judge Ernst-Wolfgang Böckenförde once formulated: “The libertarian, secularized state lives by prerequisites which it cannot guarantee itself.” – While in the usual interpretation this phrase refers to something we know as a constitution – so something prior to democracy not simply subjected to majority – Böckenförde and his successor Udo Di Fabio assumed in the “grounds” of democracy first and foremost the values transmitted to citizens through religion – and in our particular case – Christian religion.
When it comes to truth and values we have to speak also about failure, about failing in achieving values or coming closer to the truth. Potential failure, or let us name it imperfection, is – not only according to Catholic Church’s teaching – a central aspect of our human nature. Since we are in a crisis, imperfection could be translated as our ongoing tendency to crises. What an “optimistic” outlook… But imperfection is at the same time the starting point for introducing democracy as the best tool we have for society. Why? Because democracy takes human imperfection serious: It acknowledges the fact, that no person is perfect or the only bearer of truth. Anyone of us has the tendency to do mistakes – that is why important decisions need to be taken jointly.
If a perfect person would exist, human decisions would not be needed anymore. We as Christians believe that such a person does not exist within the limits of being human, except of Jesus Christ being truly God and truly man. In line with that we share the hope that he will come again to install his eternal kingdom. Until then, democracy is the best means we have within our limited and imperfect human measures, because it takes seriously our imperfection.”
Thanks again to the presidency of FUCI for the kind invitation and to the local organizers from Rimini for making this event possible.
From 22nd – 25th March 2013, Maximilian Niessen, European Coordinator of the European Coordination JECI-MIEC, attended the 10th national meeting of JECI-MIEC’s national member organization Enosi Katholikis Neolias Elladas (EKNE Greece) after having been invited to this event by the national board of EKNE in order to represent the European Team of JECI-MIEC.
Beforehand the meeting, on the 21st March 2013, Maximilian already took the opportunity to visit the national chaplain of the university students’ organization Enosi Katholikon Phititon Elladas (EKFE Greece), Rev. Prof. Michalis Roussou SJ, with whom he had a very fruitful exchange on how to make the cultural identity of Europe graspable for young people.
The national meeting of EKNE itself gathered 94 young people aged from 16-30 from Catholic highschool students’ groups from all over Greece, particularly Athens, Thessaloniki, Tinos, Syros, Korfu, Krete, Patra and Santorini. Organized by the EKNE local group from Athens the meeting took place in the Catholic secondary school Agios Iosiph and focused this year on the motto for the WYD 2013 “Go and make disciples of all nations.” (Math. 28,19).
The daily morning program consisted of two elements: Games and reflections on scripture texts from the New Testament (both gospels and letters). The priests facilitating these spiritual animations put very much effort into an interactive and participant-centered approach which resulted in really fruitful discussions. In the afternoons there was a prayer and adoration of the holy sacrament on the 23rd March and a holy mass with the Archbishop of Athens, Excellency archbishop Nikolaos Phoskolos, on the 24th March. Furthermore the national board of EKNE gathered for its annual statutory meeting. Afterwards the participants had the chance to enjoy informal evenings in Athens. At this occasion, Maximilian Niessen also had the chance to get into contact with Catholic students from Albania and Kosovo.
Saturday, 8th December 2012 was an important day for one of our member organizations, ASTRU Cluj (Romania), celebrating 10 years from the reactivation of the association under the name they activated many years before 1948 and on the same day having the General Assembly. This special day was celebrated by 100 participants coming together especially for this event, under the motto “Help us Lord to be useful for the Church and our people” (Fr. Vasile Fernea).
The first part of the day started with ASTRU Gala, where older and newer members of ASTRU positively responded to the invitation addressed to everyone who got in contact with the members and activities of the organization. The Gala was opened with a word from the president of ASTRU, Ms. Raluca Fernea. Among the guests we will mind the eparchial bishop, His Excellency Florentin Crihalmeanu, the president of the Catholic Action of Romania – Oana Tuduce, and the European Coordinator of JECI-MIEC – Maximilian Niessen, all of them having had the chance to address few words of congratulations and encouragement for the future to the members and guests present, followed by awarding members of honour of ASTRU Cluj – the ones that founded the association as well as people who supported and encouraged us through their efforts and commitment towards the activities carried out during the years. Fr. Radu Talpalariu, the general spiritual assistant was the one closing the first part of the morning, followed by some short videos made by our members expressing their wish for ASTRU’s future.
After each member of honour, when receiving the diploma, have said few words about what ASTRU means or meant for them when being active in the association, at noon we all entered the chapel to participate in the Holy Mass celebrated by the bishop and the spiritual assistants of the parish groups.
The second part of the day consisted of the statutory part, the main points on the agenda being the evaluation of the statutes, adoption of the budget for the coming year and elections for the next mandate. In this purpose, the newly elected board has broaden in number of members, since the structure of the organization has changed as well, and the number of members is increasing each year. Therefore there have been elected seven members in the new board, three of them going on with another mandate and another four members are ready to commit for the the next two years for the well-going of the organization. The newly elected board for the next 2 years mandate is composed by one president: Raluca Fernea, 4 vice-presidents: Bogdan Bursas, Laura Sopon, Mihaela Sopon and Renata Talos, one secretary: Mihaela Simionas and the financial manager: Delia Dumitras.
During the Study Session 2009, Martynas Pilkis, one of the participants from Lithuania, took an interview with Fr. Chris McCoy, International Chaplain of IMCS. We thank him for sharing this interview with us.
On 20-22 November 2009 the General Assembly (Delegiertenversammlung) of AKH Germany will take place in Mainz, where delegates of the Germany catholic university parishes gather to do the review of the last year and decide on the projects for the comming year.
Subject is : “Flirt with God – the university parish as a spiritual place”. www.fhok.de