Vol. XVIII, No. 27 09 December 2014
Convocation of the 36th General Congregation
TO THE WHOLE SOCIETY
In my letter of 20 May 2014, I informed you that I had "reached the personal conviction that I should take the needed steps towards submitting my resignation to a General Congregation." Having undertaken the various consultations required by our law (NC 362), I now decree the convocation of the 36th General Congregation, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
The 36th General Congregation will begin with the Eucharist, celebrated on the evening of 2 October 2016. The first plenary session will take place on 3 October 2016, the Feast of St. Francis Borgia, at the General Curia in Rome.
It is now the responsibility of the Provincials and designated Major Superiors to convene and prepare the Province Congregations. In the next few days, the Secretary of the Society will send the necessary preparatory documents. In order to implement the new Formulae for Province and General Congregations, recently revised according to the mandate of GC 35 (d. 5 nn. 2-5), the Province Congregations should be completed no later than 31 July 2015. The time between the end of the Province Congregations and the first plenary session of GC 36 will be used to ensure "a more thorough preparation of the General Congregation" (GC 35 d. 5 n. 4).
I invite the whole Society to enter into a process of deep and genuine spiritual discernment about our life and mission during the coming months. Since Pope Francis has called the entire Church to profound renewal, in view of the many needs and hopes of the Church and world, we can happily embrace his invitation and challenge in the concrete details of preparing for GC 36. I therefore ask all Province Congregations to reflect prayerfully on the following question:
"Meditating on the call of the Eternal King, what do we discern to be the three most important calls that the Lord makes to the whole Society today?"
In addition to sending the minutes of the Province Congregation and whatever postulates may emerge, each Province should submit to me a single page, indicating the three calls discerned by the Province Congregation, including a brief explanation for each.
It is providential that we, as a Society, are beginning this journey towards GC 36 just as the Year of Consecrated Life begins. In his beautiful "Apostolic Letter to All Consecrated People" for this year, Pope Francis expresses his hopes that religious such as ourselves might rediscover the joy of consecrated life, recover our prophetic witness that "wakes up the world," truly become "experts in communion," and go "out of ourselves to the existential peripheries." He asks that all religious discern "what it is that God and people today are asking of them." This is precisely the kind of deep discernment we as a Society are called to make.
I call on all Jesuits and all communities to offer prayers for this time of preparation culminating in the 36th General Congregation. With and like Mary, whose feast we celebrate today, may we, as friends in the Lord and servants of Christ's mission, truly listen to the Spirit in our hearts, in the Church and in the world, so that this least Society might, "in all things," more totally and more joyfully love and serve the Lord and His people.
Fraternally yours in the Lord,
Adolfo Nicolás, S.I.