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Fr General Celebrates Pentecost at the Martyrs' Shrine in Canada
Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, capped off the second day of his trip to Canada with a visit to Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario, which was constructed in 1926 in honor of six Jesuit and two lay martyrs from the 17th-century missions along the Wye River.
Jesuits arrived in the area in the early 17th century to minister to the Indigenous Wendat people. Fr. Sosa began his day with a tour of the recreated village of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. French Jesuits began the mission in 1639, and it ended in 1649 when they were forced to abandon and burn it down. The site was then dormant for centuries until 1974 when it was excavated and historically reconstructed.
Fr. Sosa was welcomed there by Father Michael Knox, SJ, director of Martyrs' Shrine, who gave him a tour and explained how the Jesuits would have lived with the Huron people in the 17th century.
Next, Fr. Sosa visited the nearby field where Jesuits Jean de Brébeuf and Gabriel Lalemant were tortured and killed by the Iroquois in 1649. In 1977, Father Pedro Arrupe, SJ, another Superior General of the Jesuits, knelt in prayer at the site, and yesterday, Fr. Sosa prayed there as well.
Fr. Sosa's third stop was to the Martyrs' Shrine itself - the centerpiece of the pilgrimage area - which is dedicated to the six Jesuit and two lay martyrs. The Shrine houses the relics of St. Jean de Brébeuf, SJ; St. Gabriel Lalemant, SJ; and St. Charles Garnier, SJ. More than 110,000 people from around the world visit the Shrine's expansive grounds each year.
Fr. Sosa celebrated the Mass of the Solemnity of Pentecost at the Shrine, and in his homily reflected on a number of themes, including how the 17th-century Jesuits trusted in the Holy Spirit.
"The dream of bringing the Christian faith and European civilization to a new world and to new peoples required much trust in the guidance of the Holy Spirit. And so, I feel that it is a fitting honor to celebrate Eucharist with you in this holy place on the Feast of Pentecost as we continue to remember what happened here - the lights and shadows - 400 years ago."
He also talked about the Pentecost moment we find ourselves in. "While the original mission of Ste. Marie has been abandoned since 1649, might we consider it a ‘Pentecost moment' to find ourselves here today? For Pentecost celebrates the presence of God among us who, through his Spirit, pursues the ancient desire to ‘renew the face of the Earth' (Ps 103). And on this great feast, 50 days after Easter and following the celebration of the Ascension where Jesus tells us ‘remember, I will be with you always' (Mt 28), Jesuits and friends remember and renew what has been accomplished here, often at great cost."
Fr. Sosa said that he came there to listen and to learn. "Thus, together, will we better serve and proclaim the Gospel in ways that many, in the incredible diversity of our contemporary world, will better understand and accept." He ended his homily with a Wendat blessing.
“Companions with Others in a Mission of Reconciliation and Justice"
Meeting with Jesuits in Formation is First Stop of Fr. Arturo Sosa's 12-Day Canadian Visit
(Toronto, Saturday, May 19, 2018) -- On day one of his first official visit to Canada since being elected Superior General of the Jesuits in late 2016, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., started his agenda-packed day at Regis College in Toronto doing something he loves: meeting Jesuits in formation. The 40 men, called Jesuit scholastics, are preparing for the priesthood, a process that can take anywhere from 8-12 years.
Founded in 1930 to train Jesuits, Regis College, which is affiliated with the University of Toronto, today offers degrees and programs for lay students, preparing men and women for pastoral ministry and academic careers. While Regis College has been preparing Jesuits for ministry for more than 80 years, Jesuit formation in Canada dates to 1635.
As a Jesuit, Fr. Sosa has always been close to men in formation. As Delegate for the Interprovincial Roman Houses of the Society of Jesus in Rome, he had responsibility for the universities in Rome that train Jesuits for ministry, including the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Pontifical Biblical Institute and the Pontifical Oriental Institute.
In his conversation with scholastics, Fr. Sosa said that reconciliation is at the core of a Jesuit's vocation - reconciliation with human beings, with the environment and with the Trinity. He spoke about the need for men in formation to promote justice and be merciful and to live an austere, ecological lifestyle in proximity to the poor. Another theme was the universality of a Jesuit vocation, calling on Jesuits to be "world citizens, deeply inculturated in the light of the Gospels, sharing with other cultures."
Describing the Society's ongoing discernment about new apostolic preferences as a dynamic process, Fr. Sosa said all Jesuit works should be part of the one and only mission of the Society of Jesus at the service of the Church and humanity. Saying that "we cannot and do not want to do things by ourselves," Fr. Sosa also spoke about the need for collaboration with lay partners.
Heading next to St. Paul's Basilica in downtown Toronto, Fr. Sosa concelebrated the ordination of seven Jesuits, two of whom were ordained to the priesthood and five to the diaconate. The Most Reverend Terrence Prendergast, S.J., Archbishop of Ottawa, himself a Jesuit, presided at the noon Mass and ordained the Jesuits. All seven men have been preparing for this moment during the last several years of theology studies at Regis College.
In his address at the beginning of Mass, Fr. Sosa, who will celebrate the 41st anniversary of his own ordination this summer, spoke about his joy at being able to begin his trip to Canada with the celebration of ordination. He said, "When young men, young people to whom contemporary life offered so many different vocational choices opt for the service of their brothers and sisters and the service of the Lord...they are living testimony of the current relevance of the ideal that Jesus proposed to his close disciples."
The newly ordained priests and deacons hail from both Canada and the United States. Edmund Kwok-Fai Lo, S.J., and Artur Robert Suski, S.J., both members of the Jesuits' English Canada Province, were ordained to the priesthood, while Edward Dawson Penton, S.J., also from English Canada, was ordained a deacon.
The other deacons are Christopher Ewing Grodecki, S.J., from the Jesuits' Maryland Province; Alex Anthony Cazcarro Llanera, S.J., and Robert Bruce Van Alstyne, S.J., from the USA West Province; and James Ronald Sand, S.J., from the USA Midwest Province.
Jesuit formation is a top priority for the Society of Jesus as evidenced by the breadth of Canadian formation houses. In addition to Regis College, the Jesuits of Canada operate novitiates in Montreal and in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as well as a house of first studies in Toronto and two houses of special studies in Ottawa and Quebec City. Committed to formation in Indigenous culture, history and spirituality, the Jesuits established an Indigenous immersion experience for Jesuits in formation two years ago. This summer, the two Jesuits ordained today, Frs. Lo and Suski, will have pastoral assignments in First Nations communities.
Fr. Sosa's concelebrants for the ordination Mass included Fr. Peter Bisson, S.J., the Provincial of the Jesuits' English Canada Province, and Fr. Erik Oland, S.J., the Provincial of the French Canada Province, which includes Haiti. This summer, the two Provinces will form one new Province of Canada. Fr. Sosa named Fr. Oland as the new Province's first Provincial. He assumes his new role on July 31, 2018, the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.
After a reception with new priests and deacons, Fr. Sosa headed to an on-camera interview with Salt + Light, a Catholic media ministry in Toronto.
At the end of his first day in Canada, which concluded with a casual barbeque with scholastics at their residence near Regis College, Fr. Sosa expressed joy, consolation and excitement about the rest of his visit.
"What a beautiful way to start a trip. One down, one to go. I can't wait," he said, referencing the Quebec City ordination he will attend next weekend.
“Ask that the Society may be able to discern” – Fr Arturo Sosa
Father General, Arturo Sosa, visited the Jesuit community of Alcalá de Henares this Monday, May 14, accompanied by the Provincial, Antonio España, the Regional Assistant for Southern Europe, Joaquín Barrero, and the Delegate for the Third Age, Cipriano Díaz. Fr Sosa arrived at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, where the community is located, after meeting with the Bishop of the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares, Juan Antonio Reig Pla.
On his arrival, Father General was received by Rafael Mateos, superior of the community. Together they went to the infirmary, where they greeted the Jesuits of this community individually. At noon, Fr. Sosa presided at the Eucharist on the feast of St. Matthias. In his homily, he urged us to follow the example of the Apostle by accepting "the Lord's call with gratitude". He also recalled the treatment of Jesuits as "friends in the Lord to the extent that we are friends of the Lord. Without him we can do nothing." Fr Sosa also expressed his gratitude by emphasizing that "friendship is giving one's life, and in this community there are many lives given to the Lord."
Father General Arturo Sosa highlighted the figure of Pedro Arrupe as an example of someone who gave his life to the Lord and asked those present to "put Arrupe in their prayers and ask for his beatification". He also asked for prayer for the Society: "In any discernment, it is necessary to make clear how one has to make the decision. Therefore, pray to help us so that the Society may be able to discern."
After Mass, Father General went to the Historical Archives of the Province of Spain on a visit led by Brother Wenceslao Soto, director of the Archives, together with the Jesuits Amancio Arnáiz and Juan Andrés Llauger who work there. Among others, Br Soto introduced Father Sosa to some of the most valuable documents in the archive, such as a facsimile edition of Elizabeth the Catholic's will, a late 14th century scroll or a royal provision of Juana ‘la Loca'. Fr Sosa was particularly interested in a document signed in Caracas in 1729 and several letters from the Jesuit Cristóbal Ferreira, whose life was narrated in the film Silence.
Father General shared lunch with the community, thus ending his visit to the Province of Spain which began on Friday with the meeting of the superiors of the Jesuit communities. In this trip, Fr Sosa has had meetings with lay people and Jesuits from the PAL of Madrid, members of the executive teams of the Education Sector and has visited Villagarcía and Valladolid to finish in Alcalá de Henares. He will soon return to Spain for the international meeting of Jesuit universities, which will take place from July 8 to 12 in Bilbao and Loyola; he will also visit Catalonia from September 21 to 27 for the meetings of Jesuits from Europe.
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