Dear WUJA President

Dear Members of ECJA Board,

Dear delegates to ECJA

My friends,

Although some usually call attention to the fact that I make very long speeches I am going to be brief today and that’s the reason why I had to have a written speech rather than a classic improv session.

As you all know I’ve declined becoming a member of the ECJA board due to my commitment with my own association, the desire to establish the Portuguese Federation of Jesuit Alumni and of course because our delegate in all national and international entities is Ricardo Rodrigues presente here. But as I’ve had the chance to tell some of you, back in July, since the first invite, back in february, when my name was mentioned to become a member of the ECJA Board, I began a very deep discernment process in order to understand if that was indeed God’s will.

I’ve talked with all my association board members, with my school’s Director,, our Spiritual Assistant, and of course our Provincial in order to understand what my position should be.  The end of this process you all know now.

First of all I’m humbled, honored and grateful for this opportunity to lead ECJA for the next 2 years. It was beyond all my dreams and expectations, since I began this journey back in 1997, to be here today with such a responsibility. Nevertheless I accepted my nomination as a candidate to the presidency with one purpose, and one purpose only, which is to give ECJA the best possible office that could be given in order to grow and be the European hub we all want for all the Jesuits alumni.

Many of you don’t know me. So, it is good for you to have a little peak. Whatever I do is because I believe in it, because I think it is in the best interest of ECJA and all its members and of course all the Jesuit alumni in europe. I’m not and won’t be politically correct just because I have. I’m a doer, I’m a working guy, I put everything I have in the smallest task I’m given all for the greater glory of God because that’s the only way I know to glorify and maximize the talents He has given me.

So in addressing you, if I should say something which is not to your liking, please take it in good grace for I shall say it with the best intention of serving the best interest of ECJA.

I am just going to tell you what I consider to be absolutely essential in this 2 years term:

In the first place, I was elected, I suppose, upon the promise and upon your conviction that I would bring energy, new ideas, new ways of doing things and to make ECJA more known and active. I’m ready to fulfill it but I cannot, however, give you even a relatively good office by myself alone. I might work twenty-four hours every day, kill myself working, but I cannot be doing it alone.

In order for me to accomplish my purpose, I must have the cooperation of all the ECJA board members, ECJA counselors and of course all of those who kindly would like to participate in this endeavor.

I also want to say to all of you, ECJA board members, delegates and friends, that it is not a difficult task to give ECJA a little bit more of what all we ever had in the past. All that is necessary is for everyone to know that the office is not given to him for the purpose of his own personal aggrandizement, nor with the idea of permitting him to use its office as a CV milestone. The office is given to a man or a woman in the interest of ECJA.  The office is not the personal possession of the man or a woman who occupies it. The office is given to someone as a sign of trust towards him or her to serve ECJA interests.

In the second place I want to tell you all what I consider should be our path for the next 2 years.

As you all may know  the four pillars of ECJA are:

  • To collaborate with the Jesuits, namely in Europe, regarding education, social and spiritual activities
  • To establish and develop an European network of Jesuit Alumni
  • To collaborate with european and world institutions or movements of catholic alumni/ae
  • To actively participate in WUJA

Our first level priorities will be:

  • To collaborate with the Jesuits, namely in Europe, regarding education, social and spiritual activities
  • To establish and develop an European network of Jesuit Alumni
  • To actively participate in WUJA

And our second level priority is to collaborate with the European and world institutions or movements of catholic alumni/ae.

To collaborate with the Jesuits, namely in Europe, regarding education, social and spiritual activities we will begin with JRS Europe and the Jesuit European Social Center.

To establish and develop an European network of Jesuit Alumni our intention is to increase the number of Associations/Federations in ECJA, establish an European intervention that mobilizes the U30 alumni, and to provide access to all Jesuit alumni to transnational activities.

Last, but not least, our first level priority is to participate actively in WUJA with Francisco Guarner and his team. The representative position of ECJA in all the entities we are in should be seen as an add value contribution to them.

In parallel with the previous actions we will review:

  • ECJA financing model
  • ECJA role in the society
  • ECJA Communication and Social Media (on-line) presence

Last but not least there are some organizational issues I believe we should think about it:

  • ECJA Membership (Federations, Associations, Individuals)
  • ECJA voting rights
  • ECJA external representation (WUJA, UNAEC, OMAEC, etc.)
  • ECJA Activities (organizers and participants)

I know that some, if not all these issues, were talked about and worked on in the past but my feeling is that we should look at them again and make a profound discernment process to find out some answers.

I won’t bother you more with my smooth talk and I finish this speech with some words of gratitude, appreciation, recognition and hope.

My first words go directly to Enrique and Chris who left the office today.

Thank you, for all the efforts, hidden and visible work you’ve done in these last years in ECJA. I only hope I’m able to someday give to ECJA what you’ve given and that others will recognise in me the real servant I was as you both were.

“Thank you” doesn’t feel like enough, but it truly sums up how I feel. I’m so thankful for what you’ve done.

Thank you to all the previous board members, delegates, and Jesuit alumni involved in ECJA life since its foundation who kept the wheel turning. Your contribution all over the years has not gone unnoticed and I will try to maintain and pass it forward to the next generations.

An appreciation word to my school colleagues, who represented us during many years as our delegates for introducing me into ECJA world back in 1997 when I was in the presidency of our association and after that for maintaining this liaison, with ECJA and after with WUJA as council member representing ECJA and showing that despite Portugal is a small country we can contribute with huge achievements.

My last words go directly to all Colégio S. João de Brito Alumni/ae. Guys I hope I will honor our school, our country and make you all proud of all the work I will do here. It was because of you that I’m here.

And now yes I finish thanking the loves of my life (Raquel my wife, Margarida and Duarte my kids) for always supporting me, for encouraging me to be better every day and for being an example of what is a jesuit alumni as a man and women to others, always available to lead and serve. We are a proud team of 4 Jesuit alumni.

Many thanks to all and let’s awaken the sleeping giant!!!


Filipe Farelo

President of the Board of The European Confederation of Jesuit Alumni