Jesuit Novitiate
Novitiate of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus


EYM, what a surprise!

04 Dec 2017

EYM, for those who do not know what it means, stands for Eucharistic Youth Movement. It is a Jesuit formation programme for youngsters, from primary school to high school. Just a month ago, I have joined the EYM, in my adulthood, as a novice.

Before starting the Novitiate, I knew almost nothing about the EYM, I had only heard some people describe it. After a month of EYM and two months of Novitiate, I can confirm that the weekly two-hour meeting I spend at the EYM is the highlight of the week.

To introduce my experience, I would like to narrate a sweet story. Last summer, I met a friend, who has been involved in the EYM for a number of years. All she did was speak to me about the EYM. She was always saying how she enjoys giving her time for youngsters, how wonderful the EYM is, how it gives her life etc. etc. etc. She wished that throughout my journey within the Society of Jesus, I will have the opportunity to be a co-ordinator within the EYM. Having no direct experience of what it means to be part of the EYM, I took her lightly (obviously!). More so, I used to enjoy pulling her leg, to make her realise that she was exaggerating.

When Father Master informed me that my apostolic service would be as a co-ordinator at the EYM, I smiled as the memories of last summer came to mind. I told myself: “I was looking for it, I deserved to be punished in this way! This is just the right punishment for teasing my friend!” At least God has his creative ways of guiding my life and “punish” me.

She was right, and I was mistaken. What a lovely group of youngsters I was sent to! The group caters for the 14-15 age bracket. They are beautiful! As for the co-ordination of the group, I found myself with three young university students from Genoa together with another young Jesuit in formation. From the start, I was impressed by their attention and dedication during the preparation meeting as well as by the way they lead the meeting with the kids, every Friday. When they were young themselves, they received so much from the EYM. Now that they have grown up, they are eager to return their beautiful experience. It is evident, even if they do not say it.

Further to the weekly meetings, there is also a two-day camp biannually, a period of serving the poorest within the territory, a summer camp and the annual national meeting, where all the youngsters over twelve years of age from all over the country meet in Frascati for three to four days. This year this meeting will commence on the 7th December.

All these occasions are useful for the youngsters to grow in their relationships, to get to know each other better, to make new friends, to enjoy themselves, to grow through activities. Last November, precisely on the 17th and the 18th , I got the chance to live my first two-day camp. I really enjoyed it. And from being a suspect who presents himself every Friday as one of the co-ordinators (the kind of, “Who on earth is he?”), for them I am now Nicola, pronounced with the accent of my home province, Puglia.

Who would have told me? Just a month ago, I did not even know anything about Genoa, let alone the EYM. My friend was right: The EYM brings me life, enjoyment, fulfilment and growth. Maybe I am exaggerating now, just like my friend did last summer. But in the end it  was all true. EYM, what a surprise!

Interview with the new Socius Fr. Davide Saporiti

21 Nov 2022

In September a new Socius arrived in our community: Fr. Davide Saporiti SJ. His predecessor Fr. Iosif Şandoru SJ began the third year in the Dominican Republic.

You have been for 10 years in the retreat house in Bologna. How did you take the news when the Provincial communicated your new destination?

Initially with a bit of sorrow at having to leave a place I knew and loved where I spent all my energy; loved for the activities I carried out and the beautiful relationships I experienced. Later, however – I say this without rhetoric – deep inside me I felt peace because I understand the apostolic mobility that is part of our vocation. The Jesuit is a man sent for others. I understand that staying too long in reality runs the risk of becoming its owner, of taking root, of no longer having pastoral freshness and therefore not doing good for the work itself. In this new destination, i.e. in the Novitiate, I have no problem with the type of work or the environment, but – as often happens – a sense of inadequacy arises in the face of novelty: am I capable of doing well the things that are asked of me? At the same time I feel that in the Novitiate I can give the best of myself.

You celebrated your 25th anniversary in the Society of Jesus a few weeks ago. You are now 6 Jesuits in the Society of your year. What is your memory of the Novitiate?

The first thought is that we are half the number of novices I entered with. Thinking of former companions, I realise that those who continue the journey in the Company are no better than those who leave: indeed, the vocation is something personal. (Although it has to be confirmed by the Society).
For me it was very formative to join a heterogeneous group. Companions with very different ecclesial experiences, different maturations, different tastes, have opened my eyes to so many sensitivities that I had not considered before. The most emotional memories are definitely with the people, both novices and formators. A unique bond remains with the companions of the novitiate, even if we hear each other very little. I also have vivid memories of the typical novitiate experiments: the month of Cottolengo, the Lent experiment with students from one of our colleges and, of course, the Month of Spiritual Exercises; these were the passages that marked me deeply: every time I think about them a light goes on.

And what is your memory of your Socius? In what aspect do you want to be like him?

In the two years of novitiate I changed Master and also Socius. The first was very gentle and also very learned without showing it. The second was good at accompanying and guiding Spiritual Exercises, I saw in him a model of a Jesuit. Both were very helpful and I too would like to be helpful in what was asked of me. Above all, God willing, I would like to witness with my life more than with words the joy of following the Lord in the Society. But this is also true in other environments, not only in the Novitiate.

What will your commitments be this year?

I am understanding little by little, because some things have changed since I did the Novitiate. I interpret my role in concentric circles. The first circle (and the most important) is the life of the Novitiate: the formative modules with the novices, the instruction for the Month of Spiritual Exercises, the re-reading of the Month and everything related to the life of the Novitiate in the strict sense. Then, a subsequent “circle” concerns the life of the house and our works in the city: guiding guests who make the Spiritual Exercises, spiritual accompaniment, helping the pastoral care of the Jesuits in the city (SEEL for young people, CLC…). Finally, the more ‘external’ circle includes all the requests that arrive from the diocese or from our Province: formation courses, Spiritual Exercises courses and so on…

What memory would you like to leave in the memory of the novices? What message would you like to communicate through your example of life?

As mentioned earlier, I would like to communicate the joy of following the Lord in the Society. When I think of the Jesuits I admired in my youth, what impressed me about them was not only and above all their great pastoral skills (although they are important) but that they taught me ‘who a Jesuit is’: a person sent because he feels part of a universal body, a person in love with the Lord who can only spend his life for others, a person capable of self-denial and obedience, capable of living in community with a constructive style (today we would say ‘synodal’) but always in obedience to the superior because the two are not mutually exclusive. I too would like to testify, at least in part, to all this.


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