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    It is very comforting to work as a team with the twelve Provincials of CPAL

    At the end of the Consiglio allargato

     Father General’s Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.

    Roberto Jaramillo – Latin America (CPAL)

    In your service as CPAL President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation”, of joy?

    First of all, the willingness of the majority of the Jesuits of the CPAL to think of themselves part of an Apostolic Body that goes beyond provincial borders, participating in networks, interprovincial, supranational or supra-sectoral initiatives, has been very comforting. Very concretely, in 2018 there is a growing articulation of initiatives and resources from different sectors.

    And secondly, it has also been very comforting to work as a team with the twelve Provincials. CPAL is not an intermediate structure between Father General and the provincials, but a way of promoting and advancing in the "co-government" of the region. In this sense, all our assemblies are an occasion to see that in spite of the urgencies which a provincial has to deal with, and which can often be overwhelming, there is a capacity to think about common responsibilities, about what we do together: be it at the interprovincial level, at the level of the Conference and of the universal Society.

    In the context of your Conference, what is the main challenge (or challenges) you will be facing during the upcoming months?

    During the last months of 2018, we will have two important meetings. It is the first time that all the teams involved in formation will meet: people in charge of the novitiates, the philosophates, the theologates, the directors of candidacy programmes, the instructors of Tertianship, to reflect on the challenges of the formation of Jesuits today and the proper accompaniment. That will be in October, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The second challenge is to continue - in what corresponds to us - the process of discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences at this year's second assembly in November. It has been a beautiful process, which has involved not only Jesuits but collaborators in general; which mobilizes much of the current apostolic energies and the future of our service.

    For all this, we have some advantages because of our relative cultural and linguistic unity and because of the tradition in our Conference. I believe that the Spirit is showing confluences in the discernment of the provinces; we will see what comes out.

    What will you mainly remember from your participation at Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relationship with the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?

    In the last two years, the presidents of the conferences have had five opportunities to participate in the extended council. It is a demanding, important, profound moment of investment of energies and also of widening our horizon. It is a great experience to be able to participate in this group of about 25 people from different parts of the universal Society, and to see the richness and apostolic vitality of the Society, as well as the possibilities we have to move forward if we make it more and more united and less "distracted." This process of encouraging discernment of universal preferences has been judiciously discerned. All of this has been comforting.

    [Original ES]

    I admire Fr. General's decision to consult the entire Society

    At the end of the Consiglio allargato

    Father General's Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.

    George Pattery – South Asia (JCSA)

    In your service as JCSA President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation” or of joy?

    The wide spread acceptance and practice of spiritual conversation as a significant tool for discernment in common gives me immense joy. It is making a difference in our meetings of commissions and in community life. Everyone is heard and given significance. Everyone is speaking. In the process, community life gets a new meaning. We learn to discover the interior movements within each one and in the group as a whole. Besides, this tool can be easily adapted to our board meetings and discussions in the commissions. Spiritual conversation is giving us a sense of walking with the Spirit.

    In the context of your Conference, what are the main challenges you will be facing during the coming months?

    The main challenges can be divided into two parts: ad extra and ad intra.

    Ad extra: the growing fundamentalism, narrow nationalism and hate campaign that is being promoted by the present regime in India, is a matter of great concern and challenge. The minorities, especially the Muslims, feel alienated. This is not good for the country. As a Conference, we circulated a statement interrogating the ideology of a Hindu nation and we are engaged in on-going study and reflection. This movement is potentially a divisive force that can rupture the social fabric.

    Ad intra: As a Conference, we are still struggling to include all the countries of South Asia in our apostolic planning. Our concern is still predominantly centred on India. Secondly, as a Conference we are still expanding and building institutions without a definite apostolic plan. I do hope that once UAP (universal apostolic preferences) are finalized, we will be able to give better focus. Thirdly, again at the level of the Conference, we have to invest our energy in forming a team of lay collaborators.

    What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relation to the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?

    The process that we went through and are going through in arriving at UAP is very satisfying. It gives me immense sense of consolation; in these extended consultations, we have been refining our approach; it has been a learning process. Secondly, I admire the decision that Fr. General took to consult the entire Society on UAP. This gives every Jesuit a chance to be part of this process, with a greater sense of universal body for universal mission. There is a sense of moving together as a body with a definite plan.

    Ireland - Half an hour with Pope Francis

    On Saturday, August 25, during his stay in Ireland, Pope Francis dedicated a few minutes of his busy schedule to meet with his Jesuit companions of the Province of Ireland. Afterwards, Fr Leonard Moloney, provincial, wrote his impressions to Father General.

    What struck him was that the Holy Father first apologized for having so little time to spend with the Jesuit group. He had chosen to give longer time, than expected, to meet with victims of abuses committed by clerics. In the presence of the Jesuits, his humanity, his humility, his delight, his ease at being with them were tangible.

    We can summarize in this way what the Pope said he expected from the Irish Jesuits:

    a) To do what they can to help the Irish Church to heal from the awful crisis of clerical sexual abuse, to seek reparation and to give life back to so many people;

    and then,

    b) To examine their ways of being and proceeding to see how they might better encourage young men to join the Province of Ireland. To this end, he proposed to stress the centrality of the joy of the Gospel and the person of Jesus Christ.

    The Pope was also highly critical of clericalism and any form of authoritarianism that might accompany that. He also encouraged his brothers in the priesthood to have a most merciful and pastoral approach to the hearing of confessions, condemning any tendency to ‘judgmentalism’ and prioritizing the presentation of a merciful and loving face of God.

    Father Moloney, in his evocation of this unique meeting, underlined how happy Pope Francis had appeared in the presence of his companions and that his ease increased as the meeting evolved. At the request of the Holy Father who, once again, asked to pray for him, all recited a Hail Mary. The Pope then had to leave the room, not without having greeted more personally those in wheelchairs.

    In short, Father Provincial concludes, it has been a wonderful opportunity for the Province of Ireland, a real privilege, even if the context of suffering and anger of the victims of abuse and of so many Irish people necessarily weighed on the climate of the day.

    A detailed report of the meeting, prepared in four languages, is available from La Civiltà Cattolica: www.laciviltacattolica.it/

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