Europe: New Social Apostolate coordinator
The Social Apostolate in Europe now has a new coordinator; the position had been vacant for some time. Fr Brendan MacPartlin SJ has been appointed for three years and officially started on 1 September; nevertheless, he came to the Social Week of the Jesuits in Europe (in Piest’any, Slovakia) at the end of August to introduce himself. During his presentation, he said that his role was still very much “under construction” but that the Conference of European Provincials (CEP) had given him some helpful guidelines for his work.
According to the CEP, the Social Apostolate in Europe is in need of a person who can think and act at the European level without inhibiting the creativity and initiative appropriate to the provincial level. The challenge is to identify links and synergies that constitute a collective European response. By doing this Fr MacPartlin hopes to add value to local works without introducing top heavy arrangements. A council, established to discern and advise him, will meet four or five times a year. While the new coordinator will work from Dublin, his job will involve much travelling to get to know the people and works of the Social Apostolate.
Fr MacPartlin’s previous experience with the Social Apostolate includes being provincial coordinator for Ireland from 2003 to 2006, a post now occupied by a lay person. He has been teaching Employment Relations and Social Ethics at the National College of Ireland for the last 30 years but found himself still dealing with the labour question while issues of the wider social question had become more urgent. He is looking forward to the new challenge which he hopes can enhance the work that is already being done.