To All Major Superiors
Convocation of the 70th Congregation of Procurators
The Peace of Christ!
According to our Institute (GC34, d.23, C.n.2), a Congregation of Procurators should be held next year. Therefore, having heard the opinions of my General Counselors, I convoke the Congregation for 9 July 2012, and I direct that Province Congregations be held in conformity with the recently revised Formula for Province Congregations, which accompanies this letter.
Each Provincial should summon the Congregation of his Province, which must be concluded by 15 February 2012. Using the option provided in the Formula for Province Congregations (3 § 3; 95), I have decided that all Regions, both independent and dependent, will designate a Relator without need of a special Congregation. This Relator is to submit a report on the state of the Region, but he will not attend the Congregation of Procurators.
1. Preparation of and Participation in Province Congregations
In preparing and conducting these Congregations, everything must be done according to what is established in the Formula for Province Congregations. In a separate mailing the Secretary of the Society is sending the appropriate Provincials my decisions concerning the participation of Jesuits from dependent Regions and territories in their Province Congregations.
Should a doubt arise, especially with respect to the rights of persons, please submit the question to me for resolution. Similarly, if a Province cannot realistically convoke a Province Congregation meeting the requirements of the Formula, please refer the difficulties to me.
Please note that among the participants in the Province Congregation, there must be at least one formed Brother and two approved scholastics, at least one of whom must be neither a priest nor a deacon (GC34, d.23, D. n.5).
2. Questions to be discussed during Province Congregations
According to No. 2, §1, 2° of the Formula of the Congregation of Procurators, in order to facilitate a discussion of the "overall state and affairs of the Society" during the Congregation of Procurators, the Superior General is to communicate to "members of the Congregation . . . the points he intends to propose for their consideration." I propose that the imminent Congregation of Procurators be considered part of our preparation for the commemoration in 2014 of the 200th anniversary of the Restoration of the Society of Jesus. As the Restoration was an event of re-creation for the Society, I would like to invite Jesuits today to engage in a deeper reflection on the signs of new life and apostolic creativity in both traditional and new ministries the Society. I am therefore asking the Province Congregations to find time during their sessions to reflect on the following questions:
- What are three significant initiatives (in the areas of formation, community life, or the apostolate; involving or not the re-orientation of established works) in the Province that demonstrate its capacity to respond in a timely, effective and evangelical way to important new challenges or needs of the world or the Church today? What kind of impact have these initiatives had on the Province as a whole?
- What are some factors in the Province that facilitate its capacity to respond promptly and effectively to new challenges or needs in the world or the Church today?
- What are some factors in the Province that make it difficult for the Province to give this kind of response?
I am also asking the elected Procurators and regional Relators to include a section responding to these questions in their reports on the state of their Provinces.
3. Other matters to be discussed during Province Congregations
Traditionally, Province Congregations propose important matters for later consideration through the discussion, approval, and submission of postulata. According to the Formula for Province Congregations, such postulata to the General should be "such that they offer him useful knowledge about those matters that should be corrected or encouraged in the province, touch on personal perfection or the help of souls, or propose to him suitable means to achieve this same goal." (cf. Form. Prov. Cong 78 § 1, 2°).
The process for the approval of postulata, however, can be somewhat cumbersome, sometimes leading to unhelpful discussions of detailed textual amendments. Thus, while the consideration of postulata remains part of the agenda of a Province Congregation, discussions at GC 35 indicated the need for a process of wider and deeper apostolic discernment (Cf. GC 35, d. 5, n. 2-6). Therefore, I ask that the upcoming Provincial Congregations, in addition to considering postulata, devote a substantial amount of time to reflection on the state of the Society, the more important opportunities and needs the Society faces today, and how the governance of the Society might address these conditions. A summary of the results of this reflection should be included in the Acta of the Congregation to be forwarded to me. I hope that this kind of communal reflection and discernment will promote a richer and more fruitful experience of the Province Congregation, enabling it to be of greater service to the universal mission of the Society.
Moreover, I wish to remind you that the Province "Congregation is also competent to discuss, under the leadership of the Provincial, questions he has proposed concerning the state of the Province" (Form. Prov. Cong. 85 §4; Cf. GC 34 d.23, D. n. 8).
4. Submission of Documents to the Superior General
I ask that you carefully observe the dates by which various documents are to be sent before, during, and after the Province Congregation, in accordance with the Instructions that the Secretary of the Society will send you.
5. Details concerning the Congregation of Procurators
The 70th Congregation of Procurators will take place in Nairobi, Kenya, begin on the morning of 9 July 2012, and last approximately five days. Before the Congregation, from the evening of 29 June until the evening of 7 July, the Spiritual Exercises will be held in the same place. In order to allow me sufficient time to have an individual colloquy with each Procurator, I recommend that as many as possible take part in these Exercises.
The Congregation of Procurators will deliberate on whether or not to convoke a General Congregation. It will also be an important occasion for discussion and consultation on "the overall state and affairs of the Society, especially the more universal apostolic endeavors." (Form. Proc. Cong. 2 §1, 2°).
I ask that you communicate this act of convocation to all members of your Province (including those in dependent Regions and territories) or independent Region. I commend the Province Congregations and the Congregation of Procurators to the prayers of the entire Society.
Fraternally yours in the Lord
Adolfo Nicolás, S.I.
Rome, 12 March 2011
Anniversary of the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier