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Father General visits the South Asia Conference

Father General is visiting the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (16 February - 3 March). He will attend the meeting of South Asia provincials in Sri Lanka; visit the Jesuits and works of the Society in the Jesuit Province of Sri Lanka, and then later travel to India to visit the Jesuits and works of the Society in Karnataka Province. He is accompanied on the trip by Fr Victor Assouad, the Assistant for Western Europe, as well as the two Assistants for South Asia, Frs Lisbert D'Souza and Vernon D'Cunha.

The Lord calls us to a fundamental conversion – Fr Benoit Malvaux, SJ

The General Curia community began the Lenten journey with Mass presided by Fr Benoit Malvaux, the Society's General Procurator. In his homily, Fr Malvaux invited the community to reflect on the three invitations of Jesus in the Gospel: Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting. Fr Malvaux noted that these invitations correspond to three important axes in our lives: "Almsgiving refers to our attitude towards others, prayer to our attitude to God and fasting to our attitude towards ourselves and material goods. Considered in this way, the Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the way we live these important dimensions of our lives."

Below is Fr Benoit Malvaux' homily in full:

Ash Wednesday Homily
14 February 2018
Curia Generalizia

The readings we have just heard are well known to you. We hear them every year during the Ash Wednesday Mass. The disadvantage of such a situation, especially if we have been participating in this Mass regularly for years or decades, is that these readings tell us nothing more. We already know that the Gospel offers us to pray, fast and give alms in secret. It is familiar music, a routine. And so we do not allow ourselves to be challenged any more.

I think it would be a real pity to reason this way. In fact, the Word of God has such a wealth that it is always possible to allow oneself to be challenged by it, to find a new teaching. It is in this perspective that I would like to say a word on today's readings. I will not pretend to say anything new here, but at least suggest some trajectories that may perhaps provoke new answers in us.

Obviously, today's three readings invite us to a conversion: to return to the Lord with all our heart, as the first reading says; or to let ourselves be reconciled with God, as the second proposes to us. Indeed, the time of Lent, which is a time of preparation to celebrate the mystery of the Resurrection and therefore of the presence of the Risen Jesus in our lives, can be an excellent opportunity to take stock of our life, to ask ourselves: how could I live more in conformity with the message of Jesus?

In the Gospel, Jesus proposes three interesting paths. I think it is important that we do not consider them too narrowly. In fact, we could understand this Gospel literally. Is Jesus talking to us about almsgiving? This is the money we can give to people who ask for alms, and we know that there are many of them in Rome. Telling us about prayer? It is about Our Father, the Hail Mary and other formulas that we use when we want to speak to God. Telling us about fasting? It is the fact of refraining from certain foods, such as meat, or even skipping a meal, if we have the strength. If we reflect on the possibility of conversion with this literal understanding of the Gospel, we can decide for example to give more coins during Lent to the beggar at the door of the church, to recite an extra decade of the rosary in the evening and not to eat chocolate on Fridays.

This kind of resolution is certainly not contrary to the Gospel, but the risk would then be to think that it is enough to make small formal changes to convert. Well, I think the Lord calls us here to a more fundamental conversion.

Considering today's Gospel in this perspective, I was struck by the fact that the three attitudes that Jesus proposes correspond to three great axes of our lives. Almsgiving refers to our attitude towards others, prayer to our attitude to God and fasting to our attitude towards ourselves and material goods. Considered in this way, the Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the way we live these important dimensions of our lives.

For example, reflecting on almsgiving, we might ask ourselves: what place do my relatives, friends, colleagues and confreres occupy in my life? Do I really dedicate myself to their time, attention, listening? Or am I so worried about myself that I listen to them with a distracted ear, without worrying about what they are experiencing?

Reflecting on prayer, we might ask ourselves: what place do I give to God in my life? Do I really involve Him in what I live, asking for the help of his Spirit before making an important decision, thanking him for what happens beautifully in my life, offering him even the most difficult moments? Or do I consecrate to Him a few minutes a day with a formal prayer and I live all the rest of the time as if God wasn't there?

Reflecting on fasting, we might ask ourselves: what place do material goods occupy in my life? Are they means to help me live, love God and our brothers and sisters? Or have they taken on such an importance in my life that I have become a slave to them, do I suffer from addiction of excessive dependence on them, and this prevents me from fully living the love to which God calls me?

As I said at the beginning, these are some paths that I propose to you at the beginning of this Lent. Everyone is, of course, free to do what he thinks is good for him, to prepare for Easter, but if we have the opportunity to take at least a moment to reflect on one or the other of these fundamental questions, and to see how to grow in this regard, I think we will have make good use of the opportunity for conversion that the time of Lent offers us.


The Society across the world is facing key choices – Fr Arturo Sosa

Twenty-eight Jesuits and collaborators from the six conferences are currently at the General Curia in Rome to attend a workshop on Apostolic Discernment in Common. The workshop, which is organised by the office of the General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning, Fr John Dardis, runs from 6 - 9 February.

Opening the workshop, Father General noted that the Society is a multicultural apostolic body journeying in fulfilment of her mission in the Church. "We want to walk together, religious and lay people, to incarnate the Church-people-of-God (Vatican II). The Society across the world is facing key choices. There are many calls. And yet, we Jesuits and our mission partners cannot keep reaching out to an indefinite number of needs. We have to make choices. That is why discernment in common is urgently needed."

Father General has therefore called on the workshop to "come up with key principles, tools and methodologies for discernment in common." He acknowledged that it is an enormous task, nevertheless, reminded the participants "if we have that common base, that common foundation, we can move forward."


I find myself in the hands of God - Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)

Pedro Arrupe, SJ, was the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, leading the Society in the realities of serving the Church and people in the post-Vatican II world. Arrupe was a man of great spiritual depth who was committed to justice.




Haiti: International Jesuit solidarity in action

A fruit of the 36th General Congregation

As the 36th General Congregation of Jesuits opened its doors in Rome at the beginning of October 2016, one of the worst hurricanes in recent decades hit much of Haiti. Hundreds of deaths, thousands of homeless, hectares and hectares of crops lost.

The members of the Congregation, through prayer, joined the stricken populations and their Jesuit confreres working in Haiti. Prayer, as so many times, has led to action. While the Congregation’s attention was focused in the days following the hurricane on the election of a new Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, once in office the new superior remembered Haiti.

After consulting with his advisors and Fr. Jean-Marc Biron, provincial superior of French Canada and Haiti, he chose, among the first concrete gestures that would mark his generalate, to launch an appeal, before all the delegates, for Haiti. More specifically, after being informed of proposals made by the Haitian Jesuits who had visited the affected areas, he proposed that the universal Society participate in a project to build simple but solid houses for a number of the poorest families who had lost their homes.

A generous response

And the call was heard: from all over the world Jesuit Provinces, including those with very limited resources, made their contributions. Approximately one million dollars (USD) was raised and the proposal of the Haitian Jesuits was clarified: 75 houses would be built in severely affected communities. Every family would be involved in the construction process. It was a project involving the whole community of the beneficiary villages: the mayor and the parish priest participated actively. It all started in May 2017 under the supervision of a construction engineer from the Jesuit Development Bureau of Haiti, represented by Jean Thomas Dabady, SJ, and with the administrative assistance of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

Results: what is done, what remains to be done

The keys of the first 15 houses were given to the beneficiary families in November 2017 in the municipality of Roseaux. The ceremony was held in the presence of Bishop Gontrand Décoste, SJ. Since December, 30 more houses are under construction, partly in Roseaux and partly in Desormeaux. Then it will be the last phase, in the Port-Salut region, in Cécé and Bergerac. In Haiti, construction materials are not always available, roads to transport them to the affected areas are deteriorated, and few skilled workers are available.

But the concrete participation of the Jesuits, in a context of international solidarity, is a strong sign of the involvement of the Society of Jesus, which is close to the poorest. It should be added that in addition to building housing, the project includes an important component of psychosocial support, prevention in the area of health, healing and support of people traumatised by the passage of Hurricane Matthew. All this illustrates a Jesuit “way of proceeding” that manifests a committed faith, a faith that builds community, a faith that promotes justice.

Protecting the Least Among Us: A statement of USA Jesuits on Abortion

January 22 will mark 45 years since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in the United States, and today the Society of Jesus in the U.S. is asking Jesuits and their collaborators to continue to stand in solidarity with the unborn and with mothers in difficult situations.

"Protecting the Least Among Us: A Statement of the Society of Jesus in the United States on Abortion" reiterates the Jesuits' support for the unborn, calling abortion "part of the massive injustices in our society."

"A spirit of callous disregard for life shows itself in direct assaults on human life such as abortion and capital punishment. ... We also seek justice in ensuring that pregnant women and mothers have the resources they need to care for their children and live full lives."

Father Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S., says, "From the beginning, St. Ignatius founded the Jesuits for the promotion of the faith and the progress of souls in the teachings of Christ. As Jesuits, we continue this mission, to accompany the child in the womb and the community into which each one of us has been born."

The statement comes one day before members of the Ignatian family, including many students at Jesuit high schools and colleges, will gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual Jesuit Mass for Life. Noting that the work to end abortion requires not just a change in policy, but a change in culture, it says, "We see great hope in the large number of individuals, especially young Americans, who are active in pro-life efforts."

In addition to calling for Jesuits to stand in solidarity with the unborn - the "least of our brothers and sisters" (Matthew 25:40) - through prayer and political activism, the statement asks Jesuits to deepen their accompaniment with women who have had an abortion.

Jesuits and their colleagues must "find ever new and creative ways to bring the protection of the unborn and solidarity with mothers in difficult situations into whatever mission they serve."

To read the full statement, available in English and Spanish, click here.

Jesuits issue open letter denouncing ‘grave threats’ against Honduran priest

The conference of Jesuit provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean have released an open letter to the international community defending Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, commonly known as "Padre Melo," against "grave threats," saying they hold Honduran president "Juan Orlando Hernández and his allies responsible for the safety and physical and moral well-being" of Father Moreno and eight other regional leaders.

The full letter is avalaible here

Solemnity of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (January 3)

Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus

The foundational experience which led Ignatius and his companions to call themselves "Company (Society) of Jesus" is traced back to the vision at La Storta.

Ignatius and two of his companions, Peter Faber and James Lainez, travelled from Venice to Rome in 1538 to place themselves and the other companions at the disposal of the Pope. A few miles outside of Rome at a chapel at La Storta, the companions stopped to pray. At this spot, Ignatius had the second most significant of his mystical experiences. In his vision, God the Father told Ignatius, "I will be favourable to you in Rome" and that he would place him (Ignatius) with His Son. Ignatius did not know what his experience meant, for it could mean persecution as well as success since Jesus experienced both.

From the later writings of his companion Lainez, we know the following: "He [Ignatius] told me that God the Father had imprinted on his heart these words - I will be propitious to you in Rome... It seemed to him that he saw Christ with the cross on his shoulders, and near Him the Father who said to Him, ‘I wish you to take this man as your servant.' And Jesus so took him, and said to [Ignatius], ‘I want you to serve us.' And hence, having great devotion for this most holy name, [Ignatius] wished the congregation [of these companions] to be called the Company of Jesus."

Formal approval of this new order was given by Pope Paul III on September 27, 1540. Since they had referred to themselves as the Company of Jesus, in English their order became known as the Society of Jesus.

Earlier, The Society of Jesus celebrated 1 January as the Title Feast, Since the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus occurred on that day along with the Feast of the Mary Mother of God. In the revision of the universal calendar in 1996, the separate Feast of the Holy Name was restored (to 3rd January). However, the Society of Jesus retained for some years the practice of celebrating this feast with that of Mary Mother of God on 1st January.

On 3 December 2012, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, wrote a letter to the whole Society, declaring the decision to make changes in the Liturgical Calendar (Proper to the Society) to correlate with the universal liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. Therefore, now, the Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus is celebrated on 3 January, on the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.

Father General presides at Final Vows

On 8 December 2017, Father General Arturo Sosa presided the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.

During the Mass, Father General received the final vows in the Society of Father Stefano Del Bove of the Euro-Mediterranean Province (EUM), and Father Paul Rolphy Pinto of Gujarat Province (GUJ).

The General Curia is 90 years old

On 8 December 2017, the Jesuit General Curia marked 90 years of presence at the current location on Borgo Santo Spirito 4, close to the Vatican. Here is an entry from the annals of the house for 8 December 1927:

On December 8, Father General (Wlodimir Ledochowski) wished to bless the new Curia under the auspices of the Immaculate Virgin, according to the formula of the Roman Ritual "pro nova domo benedicenda". The ceremony took place this way:

Starting from the lower floors, Father General gradually ascended to the higher floors. All the Fathers and Brothers of each floor, after having received the blessing, also went up following Father General upstairs.

On reaching the top floor, in front of the image of the Sacred Heart, placed at the head of the staircase, the consecration of the whole religious family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was solemnly renewed. 

Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library

Father General Arturo Sosa has named the library of the Society at the General Curia in Rome, the "Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library". This becomes the first Jesuit institution named after the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Father Kolvenbach (30/11/1928-26/11/2016) was an avid user of the library throughout his stay at the General Curia. The renamed library was inaugurated on 24 November 2017.

The General Curia has a great treasure with regard to the wealth of books it has been collecting, over the years, in two large libraries. The first is the so-called "Father General's Library" composed of books written by the Jesuits around the world on a variety of subjects. Practica Quaedam (handbook of the Society) asks the Socii to be attentive to the publications in the respective Provinces and to send to Father General, two copies of books written by Ours. One of these copies is passed to "Father General's Library", while the second copy is intended for the second library; the "Historical Library" that, formerly, was the Library of the House of Writers. This library contains books written by Jesuits and non-Jesuits, which have to do with any aspect that refers to the Society of Jesus, whether about its members, apostolic works, their history or their spirituality.

From its inception, the Historical Library was under the responsibility of the Director of the Historical Archives. However, in 2015, Father Adolfo Nicolás, then Superior General of the Society, wanted the two libraries to be integrated under the direction of a single Director. From then on, the staff of the two libraries embarked on the project of unifying the two libraries. The process involved various activities. First, the space where Father General's Library was operating from needed to be modernised. Fifty years had passed without good maintenance works being done on the walls, humidity levels, lighting, etc. In response to the governmental requirements for buildings safety, this work was incorporated in the remodelling that was taking place in the entire General Curia. These works were completed by the beginning of October 2017 and by the end of the same month, the books that had been kept for 6 months in a warehouse on the outskirts of Rome were returned to their shelves.

Secondly, a selection of duplicate books, as well as of books that did not match the purpose of the library, was made. These were exhibited and made available during General Congregation 36. A significant number of books that were requested by provincials during GC 36 for their province libraries have since been shipped. This has freed up more space in the library, allowing for a reorganization in the placement of books and magazines that are part of our bibliographic wealth.

Thirdly, the integration of the cataloguing of the books of the two libraries under the CEI-BIB, a system of the Italian Episcopal Conference, has continued with greater intensity, allowing us to network with multiple libraries in Rome and of Italy in general. For this work, we have hired extra staff, thanks to the help obtained from the same CEI and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of the Italian Government.

Finally, in addition to acquiring modern shelving for the magazine section, a reading room has been created for researchers. Father General Arturo Sosa has enthusiastically accepted and supported the idea of opening the library to the general public.

The Church was born to communicate the good news

Father General Arturo Sosa says, "The church was born to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ." In a video message to Jesuits and collaborators working in communications offices of the Latin American Jesuit provinces, Father Sosa noted that the Society of Jesus, as part of the Church, is called to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ who gave his life to break what divides us. In Christ, "the barrier of hatred that leads to injustice is broken. The barrier, which produces poverty, exploitation, discrimination, which leads us to wars, that's what Jesus breaks from the cross and becomes the bridge that unites us and that communicates to us the true humanity that is based on the love of God. That is what we want to communicate. That reconciliation of Jesus in us and among us." Click to watch video

New Jesuit provincials concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father

Twelve new Jesuit provincials from around the world recently gathered at the General Curia for a colloquium for new provincials. On Monday, November 13, the provincials concelebrated the Eucharist with the Pope Francis at his residence of Santa Marta in the Vatican. In his homily on the day's gospel, the Pope reminded the congregation of the dangers of scandalizing others. "So, be careful not to scandalize. Scandal is evil, because scandal wounds - it wounds God's People where they are most vulnerable, and strikes the People of God where they are weakest - and many times, the wounds inflicted by scandal are borne by the faithful throughout their lives. Not only does it do harm: scandal is capable of murder - of killing hopes, killing dreams, killing families, killing so many hearts."

Francis Xavier relic arm set for Canadian tour

The relic arm of Saint Francis Xavier, which is kept at the Church of the Gesù in Rome, is set for a month-long, 14-city pilgrimage tour of Canada, beginning with Catholic Christian Outreach's (CCO) Rise Up conference in Ottawa December 28-January 1. A Canadian Jesuit, Fr. Michael F. Kolarcik, who is rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, will accompany the relic to Canada after Christmas and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa will accompany it back to Rome in February. Saint Francis Xavier is considered the greatest evangelist in the Church since Saint Paul. His body, considered incorrupt, is at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, India, though his arm was brought to the Church of the Gesù, Jesuit's mother church in Rome. Read more...

Indonesian state university honours Jesuit Father Franz Magnis-Suseno, SJ

One of Indonesia's oldest universities has honoured a German-born Jesuit, Father Franz Magnis-Suseno, for his "huge contribution" to the study of philosophy in the country. The state-run Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, presented the priest with the award on Oct. 21 as part of celebrations to mark the philosophy faculty's 50th anniversary.
"This award is given to recognize and to honour Father Magnis-Suseno's dedication, contribution and positive influence on the introduction and development of the study of philosophy," dean of the university's philosophy faculty Arqom Kuswanjono said.
Father Magnis-Suseno, 81, has written 39 books and about 600 articles mainly on ethics, philosophy and Indonesian culture. One of his books is Etika Jawa: Sebuah Analisa Falsafi tentang Kebijaksanaan Hidup Jawa (Javanese Ethics: An Analysis of the Javanese Philosophy of Life).
He is an emeritus professor at the Jesuit-run Driyarkara School of Philosophy in Jakarta, where he was also rector from 1988 to 1998 and a former Director of Postgraduate Studies.
Born in 1936, he arrived in Indonesia in 1961 and obtained citizenship in 1977.
He has also been actively engaged in interreligious dialogue. In November 2016, he was awarded the Matteo Ricci International Prize from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Catholic University of the Sacred Heart) in Milan, Italy, for his commitment in promoting interreligious dialogue in the country. In August 2015, he received the Bintang Mahaputera Medal from President Joko Widodo for his intellectual input towards national development.
Source: www.ucanews.com

Our Education mission comes from the Christian faith – Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ

Father General Arturo Sosa says Jesuit schools are a magnificent platform for listening to and serving the youth. Father General said this on 20 October, 2017 in Rio di Janeiro where he addressed the International Congress for Jesuit Education (JESEDU-Rio2017). Addressing the more than 100 Jesuits and collaborators from around the world, Father General reminded them that "Education and schools in particular, are part of the Society's missionary tradition."
JESEDU-Rio2017, Father General said, "is an expression of the thanks we give to God and our benefactors in this area, an affirmation of the importance of the educational apostolate and a push to seek the audacity of the impossible that can carry us even further."
Fr Sosa recalled that his predecessors, Frs. Pedro Arrupe and Peter-Hans Kolvenbach had often stated that the purpose of Jesuit education was "to train men and women for others and with others." He noted JESEDU-Rio2017 was important as it brought together people serving in traditional education institutions and those serving in "new institutional models, born to offer quality education to the poor and excluded, such as Fe y Alegría, Cristo Rey, or Nativity Schools, in addition to the educational services offered by the JRS, enrich the Society of Jesus' educational apostolate in the world."
Father General reminded the participants that "Our mission comes from the Christian faith. It is a service of reconciliation and justice born of the life of Christ, and it must be completed in his way, according to the conditions of our world."

Fr Sosa visits medical center and Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro

Father General Arturo Sosa visited the Ambulatório São Luiz Gonzaga, a medical clinic located next to Saint Ignatius College. It is a health care centre that offers a wide variety of free medical examinations to the poor population of the city. The association alumni of Saint Ignatius College runs the outpatient clinic of the centre. Fifty-two medical personnel offer their services to more than 80 thousand people a year at Ambulatório São Luiz Gonzaga.
After visiting the clinic, Father Sosa visited the Curia of the Brazilian Province for a brief visit. Later in the afternoon, Father General visited the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. The university was founded by Jesuit Father Leonel Franca, with a group of Catholic intellectuals 77 years ago on behalf of the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro. Since its foundation, the university has been entrusted to the care of the Society of Jesus. The Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro has a student population of 25,000 and has recently been ranked among the top 10 Latin American universities.
After visiting the campus, Father General had a meeting with the university's governing body, after which he delivered a lecture to professors and students whose theme was "A university called to contribute with academic excellence in the mission of reconciliation and justice."
At the conclusion of the lecture, the Rector presented Father General with the "Dom Helder Camara" medal. The day ended with the celebration of the Eucharist in the university chapel. Members of the academic community, members of CLC, diocesan clergy and several friends of the Society participated in the Eucharist.

Father General begins visit to Brazil

Father General Arturo Sosa arrived in Rio de Janeiro on Monday, 16 October for a visit to the Jesuit Province of Brazil, as well as to attend the Jesuit Pre-Secondary and Secondary Education Congress (JESEDU-Rio2017). On Tuesday, October 17, he visited the Colégio Santo Inácio, one of the 17 institutions that make up the Jesuit Education Network (RJE) in Brazil. Colégio Santo Inácio has been in existence for more than 100 years, and has nearly 3,000 alumni in the city of Rio de Janeiro.
Father Claudio Paul, General Counsellor and Regional Assistant for South Latin America has accompanied Father General on this trip to Brazil.

Jesuit Pre-Secondary and Secondary Education meeting – Rio de Janeiro

More than 100 Jesuits and lay collaborators from Jesuit schools and education networks around the world have gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for a congress on Jesuit education. The meeting will run from Monday, October 16th, to Friday, October 20th. According to a statement from JESEDU-Rio2017, "the participants will be working with the goal of establishing a common agenda as a global network of Jesuit education delegates, in which they will specify the challenges, priorities and responsibilities in order to guide Jesuit networking in secondary and pre-secondary education." Fr. General Arturo Sosa is expected to join the meeting later in the week. Read more...

First anniversary of the election of Father General Arturo Sosa

The election of the new Superior General was preceded by two earlier phases: the "De Statu Societatis" and the "murmuratio". The De Statu Societatis phase looked at the current state of the Society, and based on that outlined the profile of Superior General the Society needed.
The murmuratio phase was a four-day period during which the electors had one-on-one conversations (murmurings) who would best fit the outlined profile.
Earlier, on October 3, Father General Adolfo Nicolás had nominated Father James E. Grummer as Vicar. In that capacity, Father Grummer was charged with presiding over GC36 until the election of a new Superior General. On the morning of October 14, Father Grummer presided over the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit in preparation for the election of a new General.
Consequently, and as Jesuit tradition demands the electors returned to the Aula to cast their ballots.
Around noon, Father Arturo Sosa was elected the 31st Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
The following day (October 15), the new Superior General presided over a concelebrated Eucharist of Thanksgiving in the Gesù Church, the Mother Church of the Society of Jesus. During his homily, he took up the image of "the audacity of the improbable" (a theme that Father Bruno Cadoré, OP, used at the opening Mass of the Congregation on October 2). For his part, Father Sosa focused on three themes: cultivating spiritual life, thinking of the complex, and collaboration at all levels.
On October 18, Father General Arturo Sosa had his first encounter with members of the media and at which he took some questions.

Respecting and protecting the dignity of children: a priority for the Jesuits

In our most recent General Congregation 36, held a year ago here in Rome, the General Congregation, the supreme governing body of the Society of Jesus, instructed me, as Superior General "to continue... to promote, within the communities and ministries of the Society, a consistent culture of protection and safety for minors." (Matters Entrusted to Fr. General, GC 36). The text is brief, but it is very significant. It is the expression of the Jesuit commitment to respecting and protecting the dignity of children.
This commitment is not new. It has its roots in St. Ignatius himself. In the formula for the profession of final vows in the Society, after the Jesuit promises "perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience," he then vows "special care for the instruction of children." (Constitutions, 527). No other ministry-for example, teaching, preaching, giving the Spiritual Exercises, serving the poor-is mentioned in the formula; only "the instruction of children." In the next number in the Constitutions, St. Ignatius explains why this phrase is included in the vow formula, giving two reasons.
The first reason has to do with St. Ignatius' recognition of the precious dignity of children. He writes: "the promise about the children is placed in the vow... because of the outstanding service which is given through it to God our Lord by aiding souls which belong to him." This is an amazing phrase. For St. Ignatius, children are "souls which belong to God." In other words, for St. Ignatius, children, who are often regarded as the most marginal and insignificant of human beings, both in the sixteenth century as in ours, are, in fact, God's treasured possessions who merit respect and service. Pope Francis expresses the same conviction when he writes: "A child is a human being of immense worth and may never be used for one's own benefit." (Amoris Laetitia, 170). Of course, we know that both St. Ignatius and Pope Francis learnt this attitude from Jesus himself, who graciously welcomed children and became "indignant" when the disciples tried to keep them away from him, in their mistaken belief that children were unimportant and unworthy of the Lord's attention. (cf. Mk. 10: 13-16).
The second reason St. Ignatius gives is very realistic. He recognizes that it is very easy to forget and neglect care for children. He writes: "the promise about the children is placed in the vow... because it is in greater danger of being allowed to fall into oblivion and dropped than other more conspicuous services..." (Constitutions, 528). In other words, the promise reflects St. Ignatius' concern that the Society not forget those who are most easily forgotten because of their apparent unimportance to the rest of human society.
In our time, we are called in a particularly urgent way to recover and strengthen St. Ignatius' foundational attitudes of respecting and protecting the dignity of children. We live in a world where the dignity of children is forgotten and violated. Children are victims of poverty, war, trafficking, forced displacement, terrorism; children are forced to serve as soldiers, child labourers, sex-workers, drug mules. We in the Church cannot escape our share of responsibility for grave disrespect for the dignity of children, as we confront the painful reality of sexual abuse of children perpetrated by priests, religious, and other pastoral ministers.
The Society of Jesus seeks today to deepen and strengthen its practical and effective commitment to the protection of children. My predecessor, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, asked all provinces, communities and ministries to ensure the existence of three essential elements for safeguarding children. First, good, just and compassionate protocols for handling allegations of abuse of minors. Second, guidelines and policies for ethical pastoral conduct, which aim at promoting, among both Jesuits and our partners in mission, respect for boundaries and clear accountability. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, ongoing training and formation programs to ensure that the protocols and policies do not remain unread documents, but are appropriated and practiced. All these aim at creating a "consistent culture of protection and safety for minors" (GC 36): a culture, that is to say, a normal, habitual way of living, relating, working, serving in which those whom we serve, particularly children, always feel respected, safe, and loved.
Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ,
Superior General of the Society of Jesus

Father General meets Curia team

On 27 September 2017, the anniversary of the founding of the Society of Jesus, Father General Arturo Sosa held a meeting all the Jesuits and lay collaborators working in the Curia. During the meeting, Father General received a copy of the Apostolic Plan of the Curia. The apostolic plan underlines the role of all the members of the General Curia (Jesuits and collaborators), which is to help Father General in his task of leading and inspiring the Society according to the orientations of recent General Congregations. In particular, the Curia Apostolic Plan emphasises that the members of the Curia have the responsibility of helping Father General in facilitating and deepening the conversation with major superiors around cura apostolica and cura personalis.

Vatican Communications Secretariat signs convention with Jesuits

The Vatican's Secretariat for Communications and the Society of Jesus signed a Convention on September 21, 2017.
Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, the Secretariat's Prefect, said, "This signing comes only a few days after the 100th birthday of Fr. Stefanizzi."
"Fr. Stefanizzi was the Director of Vatican Radio during the years of the Second Vatican Council, an event which needed to be recounted to those persons who understood neither Latin nor theology. From this point of view, therefore, Fr. Stefanizzi followed the model of ‘user first', putting primary focus, that is, on the users of communication, which is today the center of the Vatican Media reform desired by Pope Francis. Fr. Stefanizzi knew how to mediate what happened in the Council room with what people needed to know, so as to avoid a double reading of ‘inside' and ‘outside' the Council, often highlighted by both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis," Msgr. Viganò said.
The Prefect of the Secretariat for Communications also expressed gratitude, both his own and that of the whole dicastery, to the Society of Jesus, with which, during the last year and half, a process of discernment and rethinking has begun of the Jesuit's presence within, no longer Vatican Radio, but a much larger reality. With the signing of the Convention, the Society makes itself available to this service according to the apostolic mission of the world of communications. Msgr. Viganò also relayed the gratitude and satisfaction of the Pope for this new form of collaboration within the reform process.
"We are fulfilling," he concluded, "an act of obedience to the Holy Father regarding the criteria indicated by him. This new collaboration will bear much fruit because, when one lives in service to the Church, personal gratification is overcome. Service overcomes each of us, and the hope is that one's vocation can be lived ‘in God's way'. We are not only professionals but good professionals transfigured by the experience of the mystery of God."
"Times change," declared the delegate of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Juan Antonio Guerrero Alves. "They are a part of the vocation of the Society of Jesus to serve the Church, as the Church requests. Our contribution in the field of communications makes us happy, because we can contribute to the reforms desired by the Holy Father."

Source: radiovaticana.va

Looking back at the just concluded Tempo Forte - Fr. George Pattery, SJ

The inscrutable and untranslatable Roman Curial expression - Tempo forte - of Father General's enlarged council, happened again in the mild warm weather of September. It has infused fresh air into us all.
‘Imaginative leadership and strategic thinking' sum up the spirit of the proceedings. ‘Imagination' is a key word for Ignatius; probably in our usual dichotomous way of thinking, we forget to apply imagination to governance; similarly, Ignatius was strategic in his ways, including that of the Spiritual Exercises - strategy of initiating a process of transformation that is unending; a strategy of initiating a team that would share a universal vision. Strategic thinking introduces more than logical arguments.
In the Tempo forte, we discussed ways and means of initiating processes to involve the Society in apostolic planning and in reorganizing the central governance - both of them mandated by GC 36. While accessing models available around us, we searched for refreshing ways through ‘spiritual conversations' engaging both heart and mind to listen to our interior movements and to share views and perspectives.
It appears to me, that different dimensions of reconciliation are emerging. Reconciliation that remains the over-arching thrust of our mission aligning life-mission (a hyphenated expression favoured by Father General). In a world where a ‘normalization of hatred ideology' and a polarization in the name of religion, is prevalent, reconciliation is being retrieved even by civil society (including the world of art) as a viable response - revisiting the experiment of the ‘half-naked fakir' (Mahatma Gandhi)! ‘Servants of Reconciliation and Justice' is a challenge and an opportunity for us to mend our binary ways.
The urgency and freshness of our ways is promising. The six Conferences in the Society are moving, probably at six different ‘paces', underlining the variety and the richness of plurality of the creative Spirit - that is the conclusion, we, the six presidents arrived at, at the end of a separate meeting of the conference presidents.

Secretariat for Ecumenism and Interreligious Relations meets

The Secretariat for Ecumenism and Interreligious Relations had its first meeting with Fr General Sosa from 28-31 August at the General Curia in Rome. Seven of Fr General's advisors for relations with other religious traditions took part in the meeting: Milan Žust (Orthodoxy), who also serves as coordinator for the group, Markus Schmidt (Protestantism), Marc Rastoin (Judaism), Gregory Sharkey (Buddhism), Heru Prakosa (Islam), Felipe Aguilar (Indigenous American Religion), and Mpay Kemboly (Indigenous African Religion). The secretariat's work is aided by the Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning, Fr John Dardis.
The group marked the recent passing of Fr Noel Sheth, a renowned scholar of eastern religions who had been a member of the secretariat since it was established by Fr Adolfo Nicolas. In his place Greg Sharkey presented the reports on Hinduism. John Mundu (Indigenous Indian Religion) was unable to attend this year's meeting, but forwarded reports for the group to discuss.
In addition to giving annual reports on dialogue activities, the advisors considered the issue of religious fundamentalism in their respective traditions, its root causes, and our response to it as Christians and Jesuits. This year, for the first time, General Counsellors were welcomed to the working sessions, which added great depth to the discussions.

Coming Together in the Power of the Spirit - Fr. Antonio Moreno, SJ

Statement of the Philippine Province Jesuits on Fighting the Evil of Illegal Drugs (August 24, 2017)

It is with deep concern for the welfare of our nation that the Philippine Province of the Society of Jesus joins His Eminence Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle in appealing to the "consciences of those manufacturing and selling illegal drugs to stop this activity" and "to the consciences of those who kill even the helpless, especially those who cover their faces with bonnets, to stop wasting human lives."

We agree that the menace of illegal drugs is real and destructive. The imperative to defeat this evil does not belong to the President alone, the Philippine National Police, and the instrumentalities of human government. It belongs to us all. The evil that attacks the human with the power of the demonic, should unite us, not divide us. Battling this enemy, we learn how ineffectual, how flawed, our weapons are. Instead of turning our weapons on one another, we must unite, coordinate, and allow good to ally with good; we must fight this enemy together. Truly, the menace of drugs is not just a political or criminal issue. It is evil that attacks our humanity, turns human beings into zombies, policemen into murderers, criminals into lords, and the poor into the victims of their own security forces. The heartless killing of Kian de los Santos proves this. We cannot fight evil with guns and bullets alone. This evil we must fight with insight, cooperation, cunning, the enlightened use of political and economic power, self-sacrifice, prayer and God's grace.

It is in this spirit that we welcome the call of Cardinal Tagle and the Archdiocese of Manila to a multi-sectoral dialogue. We need to come together to understand the situation in depth. We need to understand why the soul of the war on drugs is a human soul, and why the enemy of this war is not human rights, but lack of commitment to human rights. We need to understand why we cannot fight for human beings by denying them their rights. In a society where the human has so lightly lost his soul to corruption, hedonism, and disrespect for the human person, we need to understand how the poor are illegal drugs' worst victims, addicted, trafficked, then shot by the guns drug money buys. We need to understand how denying the international drug cartels their markets does not mean killing the poor who are their victims, but reforming the structure which keep the poor poor. We need to understand that building the drug-free, smart, socially-just religiously diverse society envisioned by the Duterte administration needs patient multi-sectoral collaboration of good people collaborating with good people. We cannot build the Philippine nation on the cadavers of the Filipino people.

In this spirit of dialogue, where it is clear that the rule of law and the respect for human rights thwart evil, the recommendations of our Ateneo de Manila Human Rights Center pertinent to extrajudicial killings and Operation Tokhang Reloaded might be seriously considered.[1]

Truly, we must conquer evil with good. Though we wish to be in solidarity with all victims of injustice, we must move beyond expressions of outrage to constructive action. Teach the youth, wealthy or poor, in our families, schools and our communities, about the evil of illegal drugs; engage them so they are helped to overcome bad habits and engage in good. Join groups that are involved in rehabilitation; many of these are diocesan or parish based; many of them are Civil Society Organizations. Capacitate ourselves to get involved. Join groups that partner with government to strengthen our security forces' commitment to rights-based policing. Involve ourselves in research that studies the drug trade in the Philippines. Work together with the Church, government and CSOs to truly defeat the drug menace in the Philippines. Use privileged power and information to win this war.
Where the fullness of life that the Lord came to bring us (Jn 10:10) is not to be undermined by the evil of drugs, we must be "as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves." (Mt. 10:16). Some demons can be expelled "only by prayer and fasting" (Mt. 17:21). But prayer and fasting should also lead us to come together in the power of the Spirit to overcome this evil.


From: Ateneo Human Rights Center (AHRC), Summary & Extrajudicial Killings in the Philippines, 2017

• To enact a law clearly defining "extrajudicial killings" in line with internationally recognized standards.

• To conduct an impartial investigation and prosecute all cases of extrajudicial or summary killings. This entails proper documentation of each alleged violation, including the preservation of the evidence gathered.

• To ensure the protection of witnesses to alleged enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings and their immediate families.

• To ensure that police officers engaged in anti-drug operations are aware that killing perpetrated by them where suspects resist arrest does not enjoy the presumption of regularity, and as such, they must prove the legality of such killings.

In relation to the implementation of the Double Barrel Project:

• To ensure that it is not contrary to the Philippine Constitution and other relevant domestic and international laws...

• To guarantee the right of every Filipino to access information, official records, public records, and other documents and papers pertaining to official acts.

• To ensure transparency in processes involved in the Collection and Validation of Information Stage where the identity and criminal activities of suspected illegal drug personalities are documented and verified by police officers.

• To ensure the credibility of intelligence information used as basis for the confrontation of subjects in the House-to-House Visitation Stage.

• To ensure access to the effective remedies, such as the writs of amparo, habeas corpus, or habeas data, which protect the rights to life, liberty, and property of the people. This includes according priority to cases that seek the issuance of these writs.

• To revitalize the efforts in increasing knowledge and awareness of human rights among the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police.

• To extend an invitation to the special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to conduct a fact-finding mission on the alleged extrajudicial and summary killings.


16th Sunday of Ordinary Time

When we look at our world today, sometimes we can't help asking why God seems to allow evil in the world. When we learn about all so much bad news-wars, violence, poverty, injustice, corruption-we can sometimes get the impression that in the battle between good and evil, evil seems to be winning. Even when we look at our families, our neighborhoods or our work environments, we can sometimes find ourselves overwhelmed by seemingly insoluble evils: misunderstandings, divisions, addictions, and so forth.
In our Gospel today, our Lord tells three parables that provide a glimpse of an answer to these questions. First, Jesus tells the parable of the weeds and the wheat. A farmer plants good seed in his field, but his enemy secretly plants harmful weeds. When the workers ask the master of the field whether they should root out the weeds, the master surprisingly says no. The weeds-in Greek, zizania-look too much like the wheat and they are so intertwined that the master fears that his laborers will pull out the good wheat as well. The master counsels patience: the time will come when it will be easier to distinguish between the good wheat and the harmful weeds, and then the bad plants can be uprooted.
This is a first response the Lord gives to the problem of evil in our world. Sometimes good and evil are so deeply intertwined that it needs time and patience to discern which is which. We only need to look at our own hearts to know that this is true. It is often said that our strengths are also our weaknesses; our lights are also our shadows. A man can be passionately concerned about his family: that love can be a strength when it motivates him to work hard to provide for his children; but it can also be a source of evil when he focuses only on his family, forgets the wider community, or even engages in corruption to benefit his family alone. A leader can be really committed to excellence, which is surely a good thing. But this same commitment can make him or her impatient or lacking in compassion for those who are weaker or less capable. I am sure that you can think of many more examples of this intertwining of weeds and wheat, of good and evil in our hearts.
Our first reading tells us that this patience of God towards the mixture of good and evil in our hearts is because of his mercy and kindness, his desire to give us time to change, to grow. "With much lenience you govern us," we read in the Book of Wisdom; "you gave your children good ground for hope that you would permit repentance for their sins."
The next two parables of Jesus offer a second response to the question of the apparent strength of evil in the world. Jesus compares the Kingdom of God to a tiny mustard seed, so small and insignificant at the start. However, when planted it becomes the "largest of plants," providing shelter for the birds of the air. Similarly, the Kingdom of God, Jesus says, is like yeast that is mixed in with flour. The yeast is not only a small amount, it actually disappears, so one can't see it. Nevertheless, because of this seemingly invisible yeast, the whole batch of dough rises.
In other words, Jesus is inviting us to a deep faith that leads to hope. Even though the forces of good and of love might seem to be weaker, smaller, or even invisible compared to the forces of evil and hate in the world, Jesus is reminding us that God is still in control of this world. God, with his loving purposes, is working quietly, secretly, but powerfully and invincibly, like the tiny mustard seed or the hidden yeast.
A wise Jesuit spiritual director once said that the most powerful weapon of the devil is not pride or greed or lust, but discouragement. I think there is much spiritual wisdom in that. Often, what prevents us from doing good is discouragement. We feel there are too many weeds in our hearts or our lives. We lose heart seeing how powerful the forces of evil are. We feel too weak, too few, too insignificant.
Our readings today invite us to not be overwhelmed by discouragement but to continue loving and serving with hope and joy, because God remains the Lord of history. He will separate the weeds and the wheat; he will make the mustard seed and the yeast of the Kingdom grow. Our part is to share in some small way in God's great work of bringing healing, hope, and joy to our world.
St. Ignatius, the patron of your parish, once wrote to a woman who was overcome by feelings of discouragement about herself and her weakness. St. Ignatius wrote: "When the enemy of human nature . . . wants to deprive you of the strength the Lord gives you, and to make you weak and fearful . . . then we must raise ourselves up in true faith and hope in the Lord." (Letter to Teresa Rejadell, 1536). In another letter, St. Ignatius ends with a beautiful prayer to our Lady, asking that she might intercede for us with her Son, so that "our weak and sad spirits may be transformed and become strong and joyful in his praise." (Letter to Ines Pascual, 1524)
Today, then, let us pray for one another, that the Lord may touch whatever discouragement there is in our hearts with his hope. There is so much to do for the Lord, for his people, especially for the poor and suffering of this world. We may be small like mustard seeds or seemingly invisible like the yeast, but we can be the Lord's instruments, and let him work through us, even in our weakness and littleness. We pray with St. Ignatius to our Lady, so that through her prayers, the Lord might transform "our weak and sad spirits" so that we become "strong and joyful" in his praise and service!
Singapore, St. Ignatius Parish Church, 22 July 2017

We are united in our desire to promote peace and reconciliation, says Fr Sosa after first dialogue with Buddhists

Landing in Siem Seap on the second leg of his first trip to Asia Pacific, Fr General Arturo Sosa quickly found himself in completely different setting. From Indonesia, a predominantly Muslim country with about 350 Jesuits and many institutions and collaborators, he was now in a largely Buddhist country, with a small cohort of 26 Jesuits working with a modest number of collaborators.
It was his first time in a Buddhist country, and to visit Jesuits and partners in mission working together in such a context, he shared in his homily on July 15 in the chapel of the Metta Karuna Reflection Centre in Siem Reap where stayed for most of his visit.
He pointed out that the readings of the day were reminiscent of General Congregation 36, saying "In a world of so much violence, divisions and intolerance, we are called to build bridges, to create a ‘culture of hospitality' and welcome. In a world where there is so much ‘fear and anger,' and where ‘hope is threatened,' we are called to bring the hope of the risen Lord in all our apostolates and ministries."
Later that morning, Fr In-don Oh SJ, Superior of the Jesuits in Cambodia, presented the history of the Jesuit mission in the country, from its beginnings in the refugee camps of Thai-Cambodia border in the early 1980s to its present commitments in social service, education, ecology, interreligious dialogue and pastoral work. Msgr Enrique Figaredo SJ, the Apostolic Prefect of Battambang, introduced Fr General to the creative ministries of the Prefecture.
In his talk after the presentations, Fr Sosa underscored the importance of collaboration and reminded them that they are, themselves, collaborators too. "We like to talk about Jesuit mission with our collaborators. But, we have to remember that our mission is not our own, but Christ's mission, and we Jesuits are also collaborators in that mission," he said.
In the afternoon, Fr General met with a group of Buddhist monks to learn about Buddhism and Buddhist work on peace and reconciliation in Asia including the story of the Buddhist peace walk, begun by the great Buddhist sage Maha Ghosananda during the bloody days of the civil war in Cambodia.
The 80 Jesuits, collaborators and volunteers gathered were touched by the simplicity, depth and spiritual wisdom shared by Buddhist monk Ven Sovechea and peace activist Bob Mat. Fr Sosa found it "deeply consoling to see how we are united in our desire to promote peace and reconciliation in our world". He added, "It is also consoling to see how we share a belief that the path to peace begins from within, from the deep transformation of the inner person, from growing in detachment and in loving kindness".
The interreligious dialogue ended fittingly with the blessing of the wheels of reconciliation located along a pond in the Metta Karuna grounds that was hollowed by a cluster bomb. The monks chanted blessings for peace and reconciliation, and the Christian beatitudes were proclaimed in the Khmer language.
Afterwards, JCAP Coordinator for Dialogue with Buddhism Fr In-gun Kang took Fr General to the 1,000 year old Wat Svayromeath, the oldest temple in Siem Reap. It was Fr Sosa's first visit to a Buddhist temple and the Chief monk Ven Vuthi introduced Fr General to 80 novice monks - children and teenagers studying in the monastic school - who impressed him with their concentration during meditation. In a gesture that surprised Fr Kang, Ven Vuthi invited him and Fr Sosa to sit among the young monks.
"It is very unusual to sit in that way in the Theravada tradition; even the king has to respect monks by sitting in a separate seat. I think Ven Vuthi respected us as equal religious friends who deserve to sit together in the temple," said Fr Kang.
On July 16, Fr General Sosa flew to Phnom Penh where he visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Memorial Museum built to remember the tens of thousands who were tortured and killed after the Khmer Rouge took power in 1975. The visit prompted Fr Sosa to recall the tragic events of his own country, Venezuela, during the dictatorship. He said that this kind of history is tragic and terrible but something that people have to remember. After his tour, Fr Sosa met with Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler, Apostolic Vicar of Phnom Penh.
The following day, Fr General visited Banteay Prieb, the Jesuit vocational training centre for survivors of landmines and polio and people with learning disabilities that had been the foundation of Jesuit involvement in Cambodia. Fr Sosa was also shown the room where Richie Fernando, a Filipino Regent, was killed in October 1996 while attempting to calm a problem student who had threatened the school with a grenade. Fr Sosa, moved by the martyrdom of Richie, offered a short and silent prayer in front of Richie's memorial and blessed the people gathered around.
Fr Oh, who accompanied Fr Sosa from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and then to Singapore, said that Fr Sosa's visit had been a source of inspiration for the Jesuits and collaborators in the Cambodia mission. "Many expressed their gratitude and joy for being graced with his loving presence, simplicity, joyful laughter and accessible nature."

Six Jesuits ordained priests in Indonesia

The Society of Jesus welcomed six new priests from the Indonesia Province with the ordination of Fathers Antonius Dhimas Hardjuna SJ, Ferdinandus Tuhu Jati Setya Adi SJ, Gerardus Hadian Panamokta SJ, Stephanus Advent Novianto SJ, Thomas Septi Widhiyudana SJ and Thomas Surya Awangga Budiono SJ.
They were ordained by the Archbishop of Semarang, Msgr Robertus Rubiyatmoko, on July 13 in the Church of St Anthony of Padua in Yogyakarta. Emeritus Archbishop of Jakarta Julius Cardinal Darmaatmadja SJ and Fr Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, concelebrated the Ordination Mass as did Indonesia Provincial Fr Sunu Hardiyanta SJ and St Ignatius College Rector Fr Andreas Sugijopranoto SJ.
During his homily, Bishop Rubiyatmoko highlighted the many firsts in the occasion. It was his first presbyteral ordination since his appointment as Bishop. It was the first time for Fr General Sosa to concelebrate an ordination Mass in Indonesia, and the first ordination Mass in the local church to have a children's choir. All six ordinands were also from different dioceses.
Speaking at the end of the Mass, Fr General, who was in Indonesia for his first official trip to the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific, told the new priests, "Do not be afraid to sail into the deep and be fishers of people". The ordinands had chosen as their ordination theme, "Because of His Grace and Love, I Cast the Net", inspired by the vocation of St Peter.
All six men had studied in minor seminaries prior to entering the Society, with most of them attending the Jesuit-run St Peter Canisius Minor Seminary. All but one, Fr Novianto, studied Theology at Sanata Dharma University, the Jesuit university in Yogyakarta. He did his Theology in the Loyola School of Theology in Manila.
Four of them - Fr Hardjuna, Fr Setya, Fr Budiono and Fr Widhiyudana - have been assigned as associate pastors in different parishes in the Archdiocese of Semarang. Fr Hardjuna will go to St Anne Parish in Duren Sawit, Fr Setya to St Servas Parish in Kampung Sawah, Fr Budiono to St Joseph Parish in Ambarawa and Fr Widhiyudana to St Isidore Parish in Sukorejo.
Fr Novianto will serve as associate pastor of the Immaculate Heart of the Virgin Mary Parish in Tangerang in the Archdiocese of Jakarta, while Fr Panamokta has been assigned to St Aloysius Gonzaga High School in Jakarta.
The new priests led their first mass with the community members of St Ignatius College the day after their ordination.
Source: http://sjapc.net

Dialogue with Buddhists

Thank you very much for your time and the wisdom you shared today. I have learned many things from you, and you have given me many things to think about and to pray about.
It is deeply consoling to see how we are united in our desire to promote peace and reconciliation in our world. It is also consoling to see how we share a belief that the path to peace begins from within, from the deep transformation of the inner person, from growing in detachment and in loving kindness.
I am grateful for what my brother Jesuits do to promote dialogue with Buddhism here in Cambodia, whether on the level of scholarly exchange, of prayer together, or on the level of shared life and common action serving the poor. Thank you for the meaningful and inspiring witness of how you live our Jesuit mission of reconciliation.
Among the many things I have learned from Pope Francis, one is his insistence on the importance of creating a culture of encounter. He uses this phrase all the time. He believes that, in our divided world, where some want to build walls, what we need to do is to promote encounter, without fear and with respect, people meeting people, listening deeply and respectfully to one another, building relationships and friendships.
Thank you for this event of encounter this afternoon, which has enriched me, and which I hope will bear fruit in service.
July 15, 2017

A new way of seeing

I am very happy to be with you this morning, to celebrate the Eucharist with you. This is my first time to visit a Buddhist country, and to visit Jesuits and partners in mission working together in such a context. So I am looking forward to learning from you and seeing things in a new way from my short visit.
Seeing things is a new way, according to today's readings, leads as to reconciliation and hope. In our first reading, the brothers of Joseph are very afraid after the death of their father Jacob. They fear that their brother Joseph will take revenge on them. In a way, their fear has a basis. They treated Joseph very badly, and caused him terrible suffering when they sold him into slavery because of their hatred and jealousy.
But what we see in today's reading is a very touching story of reconciliation that takes place because of a new way of seeing. Joseph does not deny his suffering or the injustice that happened to him. But through his suffering, he has learned to see things differently. He was able to see God's plan, God making good come out of evil in his life. So he tells his brothers, "Do not be afraid. . . .The evil you planned to do me has by God's design been turned to good." Joseph's words "touched the hearts" of his brothers and made possible a new beginning for them.
In our Gospel, Jesus also helps his disciples to see things in a new way. As he sends out his apostles on mission, they were afraid, knowing that conflicts and hostility awaited them. So he encourages them three times not to be afraid! And he does this by pointing out something that they must have seen everyday, but perhaps did not really notice or see in a deep way. "Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing," Jesus reminds them. "So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows!"
God seems to be reminding us that relationships can be healed and fears can be overcome when we learn to see in a new way, a way rooted in faith, that is able to see God working in our world, tenderly, lovingly, with a plan to save and to make good come out of evil. It may be good to ask ourselves: what relationships in my life, in our communities, in our world need healing? What fears and anxieties trouble me, or burden those around me? How might I be invited to see in a new way, from the viewpoint of faith?
Our readings remind us too of GC 36 , which speaks of our mission today as a mission of reconciliation and hope. In a world of so much violence, divisions and intolerance, we are called to build bridges, to create a "culture of hospitality" and welcome. In a world where there is so much "fear and anger," and where "hope is threatened," we are called to bring the hope of the risen Lord in all our apostolates and ministries. I know that you here in Cambodia have been deeply committed to bringing reconciliation and hope, especially to the poor, since the beginning of this mission. The Word of God today reminds us that this mission of reconciliation and hope involves helping people see themselves, those who have hurt them, those who are different from them, in a new way. It means seeing God working in the midst of broken relationships and difficult situations, and working with him to bring about a more joyful human family.
Perhaps then we can pray for something that seems very simple, in our Eucharist this morning. When Pope Francis met us during GC 36, he surprised us all by telling us that we have to improve in asking God persistently for consolation, so that we too can share that consolation with others. Consolation, which is not just feeling good, but, as St. Ignatius reminds us, is an increase of faith, hope and love in us, allows us to see the world in a different way, because we see our gracious God acting in it and inviting us to join him. May the Lord fill each one of us with consolation, so that we can more joyfully promote reconciliation and inspire hope in our world.
Siem Reap, Cambodia Homily, 15 July 2017

Fr General Arturo Sosa highlights community and collaboration in visit to Indonesia

Fr Arturo Sosa SJ kicked off his first official trip to Asia Pacific as Superior General of the Society of Jesus with a visit to the world's most populous Muslim nation - Indonesia. Fr Sosa, who spent most of his three-day visit from July 11 to 13 in Yogyakarta, stressed that he was there "to learn and not to teach".
At a gathering with some 300 Jesuits of the Indonesian Province on July 12 at the Driyarkara Auditorium of Sanata Dharma University, Fr Sosa learned the context and challenges they face in Indonesia. Among these challenges are addressing the country's poverty, environmental degradation and radicalism.
He told the Province to take courage and affirmed their efforts in collaboration. "We have to grow in awareness that we are collaborators in God's mission, and God is active," he said. "What seems impossible is possible because God's actions will lead us in His direction. So don't be afraid."
He also underscored community life as an essential dimension of the Jesuit mission. "Only if we have good community life can we be good messengers. Discernment is very important. It links with life and mission. The mission is the main concern, the organisation will follow," he said.
After the gathering, the Superior General held a closed door meeting with Jesuit scholastics and novices before celebrating a cultural Mass with the the Jesuits, lay collaborators and Sanata Dharma community. Concelebrating with him were Jesuit jubilarians celebrating 25, 40, 50, 60 and 70 years in the Society and in the priesthood.
In his homily, Fr General highlighted the diversity of the twelve men Jesus chose to share his mission, relating it to the congregation. "We too are so diverse ... We have Christians and some who belong to other faith traditions. But we are united by our commitment to the mission of Christ."
However, diversity is also a challenge, he said, because many people are afraid of those who are different from them and it is this fear that builds walls and often results in violence. "Community and collaboration are very important invitations to all of us today, precisely because we live in a world of so much division, polarisation and fear of diversity."
Fr General also met with some leading Muslim scholars. He opened the conversation by speaking of his desire to learn about the context of Indonesia, sharing how his country, Venezuela, is also a pluralistic society in terms of its ethnic and historical background.
Two Muslim professors of Sanata Dharma University shared that in their decades of teaching at the Jesuit university, they have found respect, inclusion and a shared mission. Dr Suhadi from Gajah Mada University related how the concept of a Pesantren, the Islamic boarding school, is similar to that of the seminary. Fr Sosa responded by echoing Pope Francis' words at the Conference for Peace in Cairo last April that "Religion is not a problem but part of the solution".
"If people can see us [Muslims and Christians] working together in the service of the human family, especially the poor, then they might see what is deepest in our hearts and what binds us together: our faith in a merciful God who wants, not violence and hatred, but love and peace in our world," he said.
In the evening, Fr Sosa gave a striking message to some 800 Jesuits and collaborators during a cultural programme celebrating collaboration. Collaboration, he told them, is rooted in the Trinitarian God who, looking down on the world, decides to collaborate to save humanity. He then led the group in praying an especially composed prayer for collaboration, in Bahasa Indonesia and English.
On July 13, Fr Sosa met with Archbishop of Semarang Msgr Robertus Rubiyatmoko and assured him of the Jesuits' support for the Church in Indonesia, especially in the work for the poor and marginalised. He then presented the Archbishop with an image of Maria de la Strada taken from one of the altars in the Church of Gesu in Rome.
Before concluding his trip in the country, the Superior General concelebrated the Ordination Mass of six Indonesian Jesuits. Speaking at the end of the Mass, he repeated to the newly ordained priests what he had told the Jesuits at their gathering the day before: "Do not be afraid. We need courageous people in the Society and in the Indonesian Church".
The whirlwind visit was a time of grace for the Jesuits in Indonesia, who took his words to them to heart in their discussion of the implications of his message to their life and mission. As Indonesian Provincial Fr Petrus Sunu Hardiyanta said, "We are really grateful that Indonesia Province had the opportunity to be visited by Fr General. The generosity of Jesuit missionaries in the past has generated generous Jesuits, generous colleaagues and alumni of our schools, colleges and University, who are now working not only in Indonesia but also in Thailand, Myanmar and Cambodia. Fr General has invited us to deeper collaboration, community life and communal discernment in order to serve the mission better."
Source: http://sjapc.net

Dialogue with Lay Catholics in Public Life

I am grateful to the Jesuit Province of Indonesia for organizing this dialogue with you, lay Catholics who have received what Pope Francis has called "the virus" of Ignatian formation, and who now play important roles in Indonesian society. St. Ignatius used to call himself "the pilgrim," someone actively searching for the will of God. I would like to use that word for myself and for all of us too. I come here as a pilgrim among my fellow-pilgrims, not as an expert with all the answers. I received a list of possible questions that you bring to this dialogue, but I also have a list of questions that I want to ask you! My hope is that, through our brief exchange, we can help each other see a little more clearly what God might be calling us to be and do in our world where there is so much beauty and hope, but also so much suffering and despair.
The goal of these brief remarks, then, is to provide some thoughts that might stimulate or initiate our dialogue. What I would like to do then is to share some perspectives from our recently concluded 36th General Congregation, held last year in Rome, during which we reflected on concerns in the Church and the world and we discerned our response as a Society.
There will be three parts to my sharing. First, I will identify some global issues that challenge us and call for a response. Second, I would like to say a word about the response of the Society summarized in the word "reconciliation." Third, I will end with some elements that will make renewal in our apostolates and ministries possible. Hopefully, this presentation might help give you a better sense of some of the concerns of the Society of Jesus today and can initiate our conversation.

I. The Situation of the World
We began the Congregation reflecting on a document called the De Statu Societatis that had been prepared by a special committee, which included one of your outstanding Indonesian intellectuals, Fr. Herry Priyono. That document highlighted some lights and shadows in our world today, areas of serious concern for all humanity, for the Church and the Society of Jesus. Let me mention six inter-related areas of global concern:
• First, unprecedented demographic shifts. Millions of people have become migrants and refugees, fleeing conflicts, poverty, natural disasters, searching for a better life. Some societies have responded with welcome, but others have reacted with fear and anger, seeking to build walls and strengthen barriers.
• Second, growing inequality. While the global economic system has created enormous wealth and has allowed some countries to move large segments of their populations out of poverty, at the same time, inequality is growing in a staggering way. The gap between the rich and the poor has increased, and certain groups of people, such as indigenous peoples, have become even more marginalized.
• Third, increased polarization and conflict. War, conflict, acts of violence, intolerance and terror are on the increase. While the true causes of much of this polarization is poverty, fear, ignorance, and despair, sadly much violence is justified using the name of God. The use of religion and God to justify hatred and violence is one of the great counter-signs of our time.
• Fourth, the ecological crisis affecting what Pope Francis has called our "common home." As Pope Francis has emphasized in Laudato Sí', the dominant way human beings produce and consume and the spread of a "throw-away" culture have gravely harmed the environment and threaten the sustainability of our planet for future generations.
• Fifth, the "expanding digital ecosystem." The Internet and social media have changed the way human beings think, react, communicate and inter-act. This is not just a question of technology, but of a new world in which people live. It is the beginning of a huge cultural change that is progressing at an unimaginable speed, affecting inter-generational and personal relationships, and challenging traditional cultural values. This digital ecosystem has made possible the spread of information and the globalization of solidarity; but it has also given rise to greater divisions, the spread of viral hatred and fake news.
• Sixth, the weakening of politics as a means of seeking the common good. In many places in the world, there is widespread disillusionment with the way politics has been practiced by politicians and political parties. There is a deep well of discontent with and distrust of political leaders, because of so many unfulfilled expectations and unresolved problems. This discontent has made it possible for certain populist leaders to rise to power through their exploitation of people's fear and anger and their seductive but unrealistic promises of change.

II. God's Mission, Our Mission
Most concerned human beings would ask: What are we to do, in the face of these enormous challenges?
For people of faith, however, the first question to ask is: what is God doing, how is God acting in this world? St. Ignatius reminds us that God lovingly labors in the world; and the heart of Ignatian spirituality is discernment, seeking to see how God is laboring in the world, and how he calls us to share his work as individuals and as groups.
Reflecting on this world in the light of the Word of God and our experience, GC 36 recognized anew what St. Paul already wrote about in the Second Letter to the Corinthians: that God is "reconciling the world to himself in Christ." (2 Cor 5:19). Thus, GC 36 felt strongly "the call to share God's work of reconciliation in our broken world." (GC 36, D.1, No. 21). It identified three dimensions of this one work of reconciliation: reconciliation with God; reconciliation with one another; and reconciliation with creation. This is how the Society of Jesus today sees its mission, its call from the Lord.
We will not have time to go in depth into these three dimensions, but let me say a word about each of these dimensions of mission.
• First, reconciliation with God. I quote some striking words from the speech Pope Francis gave in Egypt last April, when he participated in the Conference for peace organized by the Grand Imam of Cairo. There Pope Francis said: "Religion is not a problem but a part of the solution: against the temptation to settle into a banal and uninspired life, where everything begins and ends here below, religion reminds us of the need to lift our hearts to the Most High in order to learn how to build the city of man."
"Religion is not a problem but a part of the solution." An increasingly secularized world sees religion as the problem, the cause of violence, for example. Thus, part of our mission must be to give witness that religion, or better, faith is "part of the solution." Religion, true religion, helps us make the world more human, not less human. I think this is one reason why Pope Francis is so effective as a religious leader: he is first of all a witness. He is completely consistent; he shows credibly how faith in Christ makes a person joyful, compassionate, free. We Jesuits know that we have to undergo much conversion if we are to be better witnesses. Our words are often better than our lives.
My predecessor, Fr. Nicolás, who lived in Asia for 40 years, always emphasized the importance of witness in Asia, witness that speaks more powerfully than words. But witness, if it is real, must come from within, from a genuine and deep relationship with God. Thus, GC 36 emphasizes that Society must continue to promote Ignatian spirituality and all the ministries that help people know, love and surrender to the living God.
This focus on renewing Ignatian spirituality is a call we feel for ourselves as Jesuits. GC 36 calls the Society to a "profound spiritual renewal." But we are also convinced that Ignatian spirituality is a gift for the whole Church, especially for those who are actively involved in service such as you. One of the signs of hope I see is that so many lay people are being formed deeply as spiritual guides and directors in so many parts of the world, including Asia, China, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Vietnam, for example. I am also happy to see programs for Ignatian leadership for Jesuits and lay people being developed and run in Asia, Europe, the United States, and Latin America.
• Second, reconciliation within humanity. GC 36 highlighted three forms of suffering and alienation that call for special attention from the Society: namely, first, displaced peoples, that is migrants and refugees; second, marginalized peoples who suffer most from the growing inequality in the world, such as indigenous peoples; third, violence and intolerance justified by "distorted religious convictions."
There is much to be said, but I would like just to emphasize two points here from GC 36. First, GC 36 asks the "Society to promote everywhere a more generous culture of hospitality." Hospitality is one of the most important and most neglected virtues for our world today. It is not simply a matter of social graces or politeness, of welcoming guests. It is the virtue that allows me to hear the moral claim of any human being on me, regardless of race, gender, class or religion, simply because the other person is a human being, created in the image of God. It is the virtue that allows people to see those who are different not as threats or enemies to be feared, but as fellow human beings to be welcomed. It is not an easy mindset to promote, because so many elements in our culture today, whether it be political or so-called religious leaders, or the media, promote fear, suspicion and exclusion instead of hospitality.
Second, GC 36 also highlights the importance of education in forming men and women committed to and able to promote reconciliation. Education in formal and informal structures are the biggest apostolic commitment of the Society of Jesus and the field of a huge collaboration with so many others.
I would just like to mention the example of Jesuit Refugee Service, which has recently become more fully engaged in education for refugees on primary, secondary and tertiary levels. Millions of children are included among those who are refugees today, and the average length of time of displacement, including staying in the refugee camps, is 17 years. Without education, these child refugees will not have a future. Moreover, the former international director of JRS always insisted that, without education, refugee camps will simply become breeding grounds for extremism. At the same time, these children will not be refugees or displaced people for the rest of their lives. They need to be helped not to waste this time of their life when they can be formed for a better future.
• Third, reconciliation with creation. GC 36 wholeheartedly supports the analysis of Pope Francis in Laudato Si', who said that the environmental crisis in our world is due to the deeper social crisis: the way our current economic systems produce, consume and discard. Thus, GC 36 asks the Society to help promote a more sustainable direction of development.
As you know, discussions in this area of models of economic development is very intense. Many intellectuals, scholars and politicians do not agree with Pope Francis' view of the interconnectedness of the economic, social and environmental crisis. Many of them are sceptical about the possibility of another economic model and deny the connection between economics and justice as the fundamental basis of a democratic society. We do not think in that direction. We believe that what seems impossible is possible. We know that another world is possible; that another, more humanizing economic system is possible, and we are trying hard to make our best contribution to make it happen. Just to give you an example: Recently a small group of international Jesuits and lay leaders from our social centers and universities came up with an important analysis of the present world economic model, which was published in Promotio Iustitiae.
I would like to simply emphasize however that GC 36 not only calls for these grand, macro-level solutions to the ecological crisis of the world. It asks for two very practical, and in some ways, more difficult steps. First, "changing our personal and community lifestyles." This is a big challenge. Second, "to celebrate creation, to give thanks." I remember one wise Jesuit deeply involved in ecology insisting that we must begin with thanksgiving for creation, because we will not protect what we do not love, and we can only love our common home if we can celebrate and give thanks for it.

III. Towards a Renewal of our Service
I have described some of the global issues we are concerned about, and also explained our articulation of our mission today as one of promoting reconciliation with God, reconciliation within humanity and reconciliation with creation. Let me end by identifying some concrete elements that should characterize our service or apostolate if we are to be more effective servants of Christ's mission of reconciliation. These are addressed by GC 36 to Jesuits and Jesuit works (cf. Dec. 1, Nos. 31-38); but I think you might find they might be applicable to you too, so I will propose some questions for reflection for each as well.
• First, "all our ministries should seek to build bridges, to foster peace." One might ask: in my service, do I build bridges, do I promote mutual understanding, forgiveness, communion or do I polarize and divide further?
• Second, depth. This was a favorite word of our former Fr. General. By this, he meant, spiritual depth, a deep rootedness in God, but also intellectual depth, because the complex problems of our time require a depth of reflection and understanding that will lead to true, longer lasting solutions. How much of the service I give draws on my faith, my relationship with the Lord? Is what I do marked by serious study, reflection, analysis?
• Third, collaboration. The mission of Jesus Christ does not belong to the Society of Jesus, but to all who feel drawn to this mission, even those who do not know him but embrace his values. The challenges are so great that the time of "single fighters" is over; we can only respond to the great concerns if we are willing to work together. We are invited to become a minima Compañía in collaboration, focused on collaboration with others in Christ's mission. How much collaboration do I promote? To what extent do I facilitate service in common and to what extent am I sometimes an obstacle?
• Fourth, promoting processes. GC 36 took this idea once again from Pope Francis, who has insisted that we should not be so much concerned about "occupying spaces, but promoting processes." In other words, we do not measure our effectiveness by the size of our buildings or the number of our students, but by asking: in the people we help and in the works we do, are persons and societies undergoing processes of change and transformation?
• Finally, hope. "We need more than ever to bring a message of hope," GC 36 insisted, "hope that is born of consolation from encounter with the risen Lord." There is so much despair and desolation in our world. The hopes that the consumerist world gives to the young-a new cellphone, a new gadget--are too small for the hearts of human beings. Many embrace extremist movements precisely because these movements connect individuals to a larger goal, or dream, or narrative, worth the sacrifice of their lives. What about us? Where do I find hope in my own life or work? What do we do to help hope grow in those I serve?
I will end here, but I hope that these thoughts can stimulate our conversation. I have questions as well, but we will begin with your questions. I take this opportunity to thank you for your support for the Society of Jesus. I also ask you to continue to pray for us, to dialogue with us, to correct us when needed, so that together we can serve God's mission of reconciliation in our world.

Jakarta, Indonesia, 13 July 2017


We know that we live in a world in which many are afraid of diversity

In our gospel today, we hear the story of the Lord's choosing and commissioning the twelve apostles. Jesus calls to himself twelve of his disciples and gives them authority to share his mission, a mission of freeing those who are help captive by "unclean spirits," and of healing "every disease and every illness." But what strikes me most today is the diversity of the men he chose to share his mission. They were so different from one another.
For example, we know Peter to be a reactive, impulsive man, who speaks before he thinks, like when he asked Jesus to walk on water or when he said he would never deny Jesus. On the other hand, we have Thomas, who seemed to be the opposite, so cautious, that he would not believe Christ was risen until he had proof. We have the brothers James and John, whom Jesus gave the nickname "Sons of Thunder," Boanerges, perhaps they were so noisy and hot tempered that they wanted to call fire down on a Samaritan village that would not accept Jesus. On the other hand, there is James son of Alphaeus who must have been so quiet that there is no word of his recorded in the Gospels. Their political views must have been different also. In the group was "Matthew the Tax Collector," who must have been some kind of collaborator with the Roman colonizers. But there was also "Simon the Cananean," who is identified with Simon the Zealot, who may have had some connection with the Jewish freedom movement.
With all their diversity, Jesus sent them as a group, as an apostolic body, not just as individuals. Matthew says, "Jesus sent out these twelve." The name "the twelve" became a recognizable group in the community of Jesus.
This Gospel is like a mirror for us who are gathered here today. We too are so diverse. There are Jesuits from different countries, like Indonesia, Germany, Myanmar, Thailand-and one from Venezuela! We have lay faithful, religious and priests; we have Christians and some who belong to other faith traditions. But we are united by our commitment to the mission of Christ: liberating those who are enslaved and healing those who are suffering, proclaiming the nearness of the Kingdom of God.
Diversity is a gift, but it is also a challenge. We know that we live in a world in which many are afraid of diversity, in which there is fear of those who are different, a fear that builds walls and sadly often results in violence. You know this sad reality too well here in Indonesia. Our recent General Congregations have emphasized community as mission and collaboration among Jesuits and partners in mission. These two words, community and collaboration, are, I believe very important invitations to all of us today, precisely because we live in a world of so much division, polarization and fear of diversity.
How can we grow in our living of community as mission and in collaboration in mission?
478 years ago, in Rome, ten men of very diverse backgrounds and personalities gathered to discern together whether God was calling to remain united as a group. Some of their countries were at war with each other. Some came from noble families, others were from peasant origin. But, after much prayer, reflection and sharing, these first companions of Ignatius discerned that it was God's will that they remain together.
It would be good to recall what they recorded in the famous document, the Deliberation of the First Fathers: "Since our most merciful and affectionate Lord had seen fit to assemble and bind us to one another-we who are so frail and from such diverse national and cultural backgrounds-we ought not to sever what God has united and bound together. Rather, with each passing day we ought to confirm and strengthen the bond of union, forming ourselves into a single body. Each should have a knowledge of and a concern for the others, leading to a richer harvest of souls; for spiritual power, as well as natural, is intensified and strengthened when united in a common arduous enterprise far more than if it remains fragmented in many parts."
I think this text offers us two suggestions for improving in community and collaboration. First, we must constantly remember that we find ourselves together, not because of our choice or because we have similar tastes or interests, not because we have the same nationality or religion, but because God called us together. Just as Jesus called together the diverse group of apostles together, so the first companions were deeply convinced that, despite their diversity, "our most merciful and affectionate Lord had seen fit to assemble and bind us together." That is why they were convinced that they should not divide "what God has united and bound together." That is why they decided that, "with each passing day we ought to confirm and strengthen the bond of union."
Do I really, deeply believe that the brothers I live with, so different, so unique, are united to me by the call of the Lord? Do I truly believe that those with whom I serve in different apostolates are with me because the Lord also called them? How do I try, in concrete ways, "with every passing day" to strengthen the bond of union? What attitudes within me or what actions or words from me create distance or division, instead of union, and how might the Lord be calling me to change?
Second, the first fathers wrote that "each should have a knowledge of and a concern for the others." Too often we hear Jesuits say that their community is like a boarding house or a hotel. We have pleasant but superficial relationships with one another. We sometimes hear something similar in our ministries, among Jesuits and our partners in mission. That is why GC 36 insists so much on making space in communities "for encounter and sharing," for "spiritual conversation." (GC 36, D. 1, No. 10 and 12). GC 36 reminds us that "this disposition to attend to the Spirit in our relationships must include those with whom we work." (No. 14).
Sometimes, we Jesuits are afraid of empty spaces. When there is an empty space, we fill it immediately with work or with distractions. GC 36 very clearly invites us to make space, to "make room," so that we can know each other and show concern for one another more deeply. How can we make this more concrete in our communities and our ministries? Remember that this deeper knowledge and concern for one another is for the sake of mission: as the first companions said, it leads to a "richer harvest of souls."
As we gather this morning, we pray that the Lord may bring peace and understanding to our divided, broken world. And we pray that, like the twelve, like the first companions, we may be better instruments of that peace of the Lord, by giving more credible witness through our living more generously and more joyfully community as mission and collaboration in mission.

"Religion is not a problem but part of the solution" Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ

Dialogue with Muslim Leaders,
I thank you for the time and the wisdom you have shared this afternoon. I have learned a lot and you have given me much to think about and pray about.
To conclude, I want to share a passage from Pope Francis's speech in Cairo, in the Conference for Peace organized by the Imam of Cairo. These words struck me very much. Pope Francis said: "Religion is not a problem but a part of the solution: against the temptation to settle into a banal and uninspired life, where everything begins and ends here below, religion reminds us of the need to lift our hearts to the Most High in order to learn how to build the city of man."
"Religion is not a problem but part of the solution." I think we can only convince people of this, and work together against extremism, if we show that faith in God leads us to build the city of man, to making history more human. That is why the dialogue of common action, in education and social development, as we have discussed today, is a positive step forward. If people can see us working together in the service of the human family, especially the poor, then they might see what is deepest in our hearts and what binds us together: our faith in a merciful God who wants, not violence and hatred, but love and peace in our world.
Thank you. May God bless all of us and all who work for peace in God's name.
Yogyakarta, July 12, 2017

Fr. General Arturo Sosa arrives for first visit to JCAP

Superior General of the Society of Jesus Fr Arturo Sosa arrived in Yogyakarta, Indonesia today, July 11, on the first leg of his first visit to the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP).
Tomorrow, Fr General will meet with the Jesuits of the Indonesia Province for talks pertaining to General Congregation 36, which elected him as Superior General last year, and directions of Jesuit life, mission and engagements.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim country and in Yogyakarta, Fr General will be meeting with Muslim scholars. During the meeting, he will be given an introduction to Islam in Indonesia and discuss possible collaborations in the fields of education and social development.
A reception is planned with 800 lay collaborators and alumni of Sanata Dharma University, and Fr General will be speaking to them about Ignatian collaboration.
On July 13, Fr Sosa will meet with the newly installed Archbishop of Semarang Robertus Rubiyatmoko before concelebrating the Ordination Mass to the priesthood of six Jesuits in the Church of St Anthony of Padua.
His next stop is Cambodia, where he will meet with Jesuits and collaborators, and visit some of the mission’s works.
Cambodia is a predominantly Buddhist country and on July 15, Fr Sosa will join the meeting of Jesuits and friends on Buddhist-Christian Dialogue in Siem Reap. From the meeting he will learn how Jesuits and Buddhists are cooperating in Cambodia for peace and reconciliation through Jesuit-Buddhist dialogue and action, and the Dhamayietra (Peace Walk) movement.
Later, in Phnom Penh, Fr General will tour the Tuol Sleng Genocide Memorial Museum, meet with Bishop Olivier Schmitthaeusler and visit Banteay Prieb, the Jesuit vocational school for disabled survivors of landmines and polio.
On July 17, Fr Sosa will go to Singapore to join the JCAP Major Superiors in their four-day assembly. He will also meet with the Jesuits of the Malaysia-Singapore Region, visit the Archbishop of Singapore William Goh and give a talk to lay collaborators before flying back to Rome at the end of the week.

Main photo: (L to R) Fr Fransiskus Asisi Susilo, Local Superior of Bellarminus community, Fr General Arturo Sosa and Indonesian Provincial Fr Petrus Sunu Hardiyanta
Source http://sjapc.net

Xavier Centre for Historical Research (XCHR) inaugurates Jesuit Studies South Asia

Jesuit Studies South Asia: A Report on the GOA Conference

Xavier Centre for Historical Research (XCHR) inaugurated its Jesuit Studies South Asia programme with a Conference entitled Towards a History of the Jesuits in South Asia: Post-Restoration Period. The Conference was formally inaugurated by the Provincial of Goa, Fr. Rosario Rocha SJ, on June 29th in the presence of around 30 Jesuit and lay participants from the four South Asia administrative zones (North, South, West and Central). The Conference presentations and discussions highlighted the rich and complex Jesuit narrative in South Asia.
The 16 formal paper presentations, ranging geographically from Nepal to Kerala, showcased the vast Jesuit involvement in South Asia. The papers covered topics such as, Jesuit archival sources in India and Rome; Adivasi outreach in Central, Southern and Western India; research in botanical and physical sciences; education, art and architecture; missionary activities and interfaith and intra-faith relations, etc. Open house discussions, break-out group sharing, and one-on-one campus encounters made for exciting intellectual exchanges and possible collaborative ventures. The participants were pleased to discover (some for the first time) the multi-cultural Jesuit heritage across South Asia. The papers will now be edited for publication in 2018.
XCHR, proved to be a fitting venue for the Conference. The well laid out infrastructure within a green, clean and quiet campus provided the right atmosphere for intellectual and social exchanges. Our sister institution next door, the Konknni Language Centre, served as an excellent venue for hospitality and social exchanges. A cultural performance of song and dance by the neighbouring villagers of Socorro regaled the entire conference audience. Finally, following in the footsteps of Francis Xavier, the Conference climaxed with a Eucharistic celebration at the mausoleum of the Saint at the Basilica of Bom Jesus, in historic Old Goa.
The newly inaugurated Jesuit Studies South Asia programme has plans to expand its activities through seminars, study, research, conferences, publications, etc. The primary aim of Jesuit Studies is to promote research and the publication of scholarly articles for wider circulation world-wide. Should you or others you know be interested in the Jesuit Studies project kindly get in touch with us at:
Jesuit.studies@xchr.in or xchr.studies@gmail.com
Savio Abreu SJ, Rinald D'Souza SJ, Anthony da Silva SJ
Organizers, Jesuit Studies South Asia


Meeting of jesuit editors

It is difficult to date the creation of the network of european jesuit cultural reviews. However, one can say for certainty that it existed 40 years ago, long before internet was widespread. The directors of these reviews meet once a year in order to discuss their mission and identity, share ideas and articles, exchange information on the progress and difficulties encountered working on their reviews, as well as the current political and religious news in their respective countries.
For the fourth time since 1982, the meeting this year was organised by choisir of Switzerland, from the 25th to 28th of May, at the domain of Notre-Dame de la Route in Fribourg.
Present this year were the jesuit or lay-person leaders of Civiltà Cattolica (Roma), Obnovlejni Zivot (Zagreb), Horizontes (Athenes), Etudes (Paris), Streven (Antwerp), À Sziv (Budapest), Signum (Stockholm), Thinking Faith (London) ... and of course choisir (Geneva). They were joined during one evening, by the provincial of Switzerland, Christian Rütishauser.
These reviews represent for our Order precious instruments of intellectual apostolate. Their aim remains the same: integrate faith in the local culture, and intervene discerningly in the societal debate. The means used to undertake this mission do not cease to change, for, similar to other written media, the jesuit reviews face difficulties in terms of circulation. Thus a greater internet presence is sought along with the organisation of multiple events (conferences, book editing, etc.).
These moments of exchange allow the guests to discover, and for some rediscover the social, political and cultural landscape of the host country. The relations between the Christian faiths in Switzerland are well advanced, helped by the presence in Geneva of the headquarters of the World Council of Churches (WCC). Jean-Blaise Fellay, former editor-in-chief of choisir recalls having brought his colleagues to the Mur des Réformateurs in 1982. In this year of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the subject is once again relevant. Reverend Martin Robra of the WCC, expert on ecological and ethical questions, discussed the relations between the Catholic Church and the WCC during his talk with the guests. He described the key dimensions of the ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, based on recent events: the Pope's presence at the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in Lund in 2016, the World Mission Conference to take place in 2018 in Tanzania, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, the call for an inter-religious meeting in Cairo from the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb. "These four events represent unity, the mission, justice, peace and inter-religious dialogue" stated Reverend Robra.
These four days spent together also included joint celebrations of the eucharist and recreational activities such as the visit to the College of Saint-Michael in Fribourg, site of the tomb of Saint Peter Canisius sj.
Lucienne Bittar, rédactrice en chef de choisir

Father General holds extended council meeting

Father General's Enlarged Council consisting of all the Assistants, six Presidents of the Conferences, four Secretaries (Secondary Education, Higher Education, Social Justice, Collaboration) met in Rome for an eight day retreat together and a Tempo forte (intense time of reflection on the life and mission of the Society). The retreat was held outside Rome about 80 km away at Torricella; Ignatian in approach and content, Father Paolo Alonso, SJ, from Spain led us through the retreat. It was a precious quiet time with the Lord and with one another; building ourselves up in the Spirit to function as a Council body.

This in fact is a follow up of GC36, especially of Decree 2, on Governance - a new way of looking at governance in the Society. This enlarged council is ‘the central government of the SJ' as Father General shared in his briefing.

The focus of the council meeting during the tempo forte week was a review of the apostolic preferences as mandated by GC36. The process adopted was in keeping with ‘discernment in common' in the spirit of GC36. After spending time in prayer over the proposed theme, we gathered in smaller groups to share our interior movements, to recognize the movement of the Spirit in the group and in the light of which to discuss various aspects of the issue. It taught us to arrive at a process that could be followed in discerning the apostolic preferences for the Society. Father General will now proceed, to take the matter forward, as he thinks best after listening to the council.

The presidents spent another day evaluating the entire process and also sharing on the Conferences and their responses to GC36.

A new connectivity is emerging between the Central administration and the Conferences, facilitating mutual communications. Father General has hereby invited us to view the Society and its mission as the responsibility of all the Conferences, Provinces/Regions, and has initiated a process that is oriented towards such a goal. The fundamental tool towards such a process is ‘Discernment in Common' - a means to integrate life, mission, community and governance. Let us join in this process by learning ‘discernment in common' as the best means to build up the Society as ‘fervour' as Nadal said.

This note is dispatched from Manresa where I am lecturing to the seventh group of Ignatian Immersion Course. Keep us in your prayer.

George Pattery, SJ

International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education

The International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education (ICAJE) met in Rome from May 24 to 27. The annual meeting is an opportunity for the six regional delegates, the Secretary for Education and the assistants to the Secretariat to come together, share the state of Jesuit Education in the world, the projects of the secretariat and discuss initiatives that can support the construction of the Jesuit School network.

Important topics for this meeting were: (1) The upcoming International Congress of Jesuit Education Delegates (JESEDU-Rio2017), October 2017 and the results of the virtual version held in March 2017. We see JESEDU as an opportunity that will allow us to work on a global agenda to strengthen the international network of Jesuit Schools. The commission worked in the approach to the ideas for a global agenda (2) Educate Magis: the commission had the opportunity to discuss the current development of this project aimed to connect schools and allow for global collaboration at the service of the mission. (3) The commission had the opportunity to reflect around the decrees of the GC36 and the related documents (homilies, letters) . (4) The commission discussed the education delegate role description at the provincial level and began a process to agree on some common basic ground for the job. We also discussed the associated/partnered/endorsed/companion schools as they are classified in each region. (5) The commission met F. General and discussed with him some of the most pressing challenges of Jesuit Education in the regions and worldwide. (6) The Secretary for Education presented the report on Jesuit Education today, the internal and external challenges and the current projects developed by the Secretariat.

Jose Mesa, SJ - Chair, Secretariat for Secondary and Pre-secondary Education
Rafael Galaz - Assistant to the Secretariat for Secondary and Pre-Secondary Education - Special
William Muller, SJ - Delegate for North America, Director of the JSN
Brian Flannery -Delegate for Europe
Sunny Jacob, SJ - Delegate for South Asia, Secretary for JEA
Hugo Alexis Morales, SJ - Delegate for Latin America, President of FLACSI
Johnny Go, SJ - Delegate for Asia Pacific, Secretary for Secondary Education JCAP
Joe Arimoso, SJ - Delegate for Africa, President of JESAMED

Diary of St. Ignatius Loyola restored

The original copy of the Spiritual Diary of St. Ignatius Loyola has been restored.  The painstaking work was carried out by a team led by Dr Melania Zanetti of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore. In 2016, the same team completed the restoration process of the original manuscript of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Dr Zanetti presented the restored diary to Father General Arturo Sosa on Saturday, April 22. 

Father General meets with collaborators and Ignatian family

Bukavu, DR Congo: On May 2, Father General met Jesuit collaborators and the Ignatian family (CLC, Apostleship of Prayer and Eucharistic Youth Movement), as well as the faithful of the local Church at Saint Peter Claver Church, in Bukavu. Father General expressed concern about the political and security situation in DR Congo. The Society will endeavor to respond in the best way possible, he said. The best answer, for Father General, must be part of the ministry of reconciliation to which the GC36 invites us. After a short photo shoot with the faithful, Father General visited the works of the parish, including the St. Peter Claver dispensary.

Father General’s Tour of the Rwanda-Burundi Region

Kigali, Rwanda: On 28 April, Father General visited Ecole Primaire Saint Ignace and Saint Ignatius High School in Kigali, Rwanda. In his address to the students, Rev. Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ praised the staff and students for the work they are doing and encouraged the Jesuits in their trust and commitment. He mentioned that he also is a graduate from a Jesuit High School, which had started very small but with time, little by little has emerged into a big school. He told the school administrative staff that they are not alone. God is with them, and the Society of Jesus is with them too. He encouraged them to keep the spirit of the magis; a spirit that reminds everyone that they can do more and better, he added. "Magis moves you to be always better in service to others, to the African continent, and to the entire human society." He concluded his address inviting students to join the Society of Jesus: "we want to have Jesuits from you. Open your eyes and ears, and pray for that with me, so that we may have more Jesuits to continue the work your instructors are now doing."

Portal on Jesuit Studies

The Institute for Advanced Jesuit Studies at Boston College is working on a portal aimed at providing informed direction to the rich primary sources and burgeoning scholarship in the field of Jesuit studies. The Portal will grant free, online access to a curated, aggregated and fully searchable collection of materials - selected from different websites and all related to the history, spirituality, education, and pedagogical approach of the Society of Jesus. Director of the Institute, Fr. Casey Beaumier (WIS) presented the project at the Jesuit Curia in Rome, on March 21. He explained that the Portal, which becomes active on May 2, 2017, will, among other things, provide access to: Essential documents, international symposia on Jesuit Studies, Jesuit Historiography Online, Jesuit Sources, the Institute's Online Library, Boston College Jesuit Bibliography Online, Jesuitica Directory.

Stirring the Waters – Making the Impossible Possible (Voices of Faith 2017)

I would like to thank Voices of Faith and the Jesuit Refugee Service for inviting me to celebrate International Women's Day with you and all of those gathered here today.
I take this opportunity to show my gratitude to the women who will be speaking today, women making a difference in their families and communities, especially in the most remote corners of the world. These are difficult times in our world, and we need to stand and work together as women and men of faith.
As you know, the global theme for this year's celebration of International Women's Day is Be Bold for Change. Here in Vatican City, physically at the center of the church, Voices of Faith and JRS seek to be Making the Impossible Possible. Especially here in Rome, that is a bold change! I would like to reflect on what making the impossible possible means to me as the leader of the Society of Jesus, as a citizen of the world, and as a member of the Catholic Church. We need to have the faith that gives the audacity to seek the impossible, as nothing is impossible for God. The faith of Mary that opened her heart as a woman to the possibility of something new: to become the Mother of God's son.

JRS: Resilience
As you may be aware, I come from Latin America, a continent with millions of displaced people. With almost 7 million, Colombia has the largest number of internally displaced people in the world, and a disproportionate number of them are women and children. I served at the border between Colombia and my native Venezuela for 10 years. I have seen first-hand the suffering of those forced to abandon everything to save their lives.
In Colombia, for example, women and girls are among the most vulnerable due to widespread violence caused by decades of conflict. They are exposed to armed recruitment and are likely to fall victim to one form of exploitation or another, ranging from modern day slavery, to survival sex and human trafficking. Many of them flee to neighboring countries in search of safety, and often find themselves on their own in efforts to sustain their families.
I have also witnessed women's resilience. Despite this traumatic reality, women often find their way to not just surviving, but also overcoming all the difficulties of exile and forced migration. Resilience is what enables us to move forward and think of the future. Resilience is essential for making the impossible possible. Let me offer an example.
At the Venezuelan-Colombian border, the Jesuit Refugee Service has been present for more than ten years. During this time, JRS has brought refugee women from Colombia together by using their artistic expression as a starting point for rediscovering resilience.
While expressing themselves creatively through art, women also share their experiences and create a network of support to improve their psychosocial well-being. This healing environment is a place for listening and coming together-in other words, resilience. Resilience empowers women and ultimately results in hope and the possibility of reconciliation with the past, with those who have harmed them, and with those where they now live. Reconciliation requires courage, and too often, even in 2017, women's courage, women's resilience, is unrecognized and undervalued.
By building human connections resilience reknits the communal fabric. Some may say such resilience is impossible to discover: JRS and Voices of Faith say otherwise.

The World: Collaboration
As a member of the human community, each of us is likely appalled at the situation of our world. Human displacement has hit an all-time high, representing incredible human suffering around the world. Ongoing conflicts are at the root of most of this forced exile.There are more than 65 million forcibly displaced among us: one in every 113 people globally is now an asylum-seeker, an internally displaced person, or a refugee.
We have to think about the ways that we, as the human community can respond. I cannot put enough emphasis on this need for collaboration between women and men. I believe that only together we can achieve what today seems impossible: a humanity reconciled in justice, living in peace in a common house well kept, where there is room for everyone because we recognize that we are sisters and brothers, son and daughters of the same God who is Mother and Father of us all.
We need to collaborate, support and learn from one another. It already seems impossible to imagine peace in places like Central African Republic, or South Sudan, or Colombia. Can we have the audacity to dream that women and men working together will bring peace to these countries? I think these impossibilities can come closer to reality if women play a greater role in the conversation.
I am not surprised that Angela Merkel has been the most courageous and visionary leader in Europe during this time of phenomenal forced migration. She had the compassion to look at those who were in need, and the vison to see that they would make a contribution to Germany and Europe.
Another extraordinary leader is Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the President of Liberia. Through her single-minded dedication and vision, she has brought peace and reconciliation to her war-torn country in a way that most men thought would be impossible.
At the same time, the widespread reality is that women are not paid for the work they do, or are paid less than men for the same work. In the West, women earn on average 70 cents for each dollar or Euro a man earns. The gap grows larger in developing areas of the world
Many of us are looking at the world through the prism of xenophobia and narrowmindedness these days, a prism which seems to feed on discord and marginalization. In the Jesuit magazine America, political commentator Cokie Roberts, the daughter of two former members of the US Congress, puts the reality succinctly: "...Congress needs more women. Then maybe, just maybe, Washington would work again."
We can listen carefully to the experience of women in the public sphere, hear how they work together, and be inspired by their courage. These are stories of doing the impossible.

The Catholic Church: inclusion
The role of women in the church can be, and has been, described in many ways: keepers of the faith, the backbone of the Church, the image of Mary alive among us. We Jesuits are deeply aware of the roles that women play in our ministries: lay and religious women serve as presidents and headmistresses, retreat center directors, teachers, and every possible role one can think of. As you probably know, the Spiritual Exercises, the foundation of Jesuit spirituality, were first developed by St. Ignatius of Loyola before the Jesuits were founded. Our spirituality is open to all, women and men that want to become women and men with others and for others.
In the broader church, there are contrary currents about the role of women at this time. As stated by Pope Francis, women play a fundamental role in passing on the faith and are a daily source of strength in a society that carries this faith forward and renews it. Church teaching certainly promotes the role of the women within the family, but it also stresses the need for their contribution in the Church and in public life. It draws upon the text of Genesis, which speaks of men and women created in the image of God and the prophetic praxis of Jesus in his relationship with women.
Pope Francis has been quite outspoken about women in making decisions and holding responsibilities in the church. He has also created a "Study Commission on the Women's Diaconate" to explore the history and role of women in this church structure.
But if we are honest, we acknowledge that the fullness of women's participation in the church has not yet arrived. That inclusion, which would bring the gifts of resilience and collaboration even more deeply into the church, remains stymied on many fronts. One aspect has been mentioned by the Pope: we have to work harder to develop a profound theology of women. I would add that an ecclesiology...the study of the church...that includes women is equally needed if women's roles are to be included as they should.
Indeed, the inclusion of women in the Church is a creative way to promote the necessary changes in it. A theology and an ecclesiology of women should change the image, the concept and the structures of the Church. Should push the Church to become the People of God, as was proclaimed by the Second Vatican Council. Women's creativity can open new ways of being a Christian community of disciples, men and women together, witnesses and preachers of the Good. News.
But perhaps more importantly, the inclusion of women will also be an outcome of the key concerns of the Pope. By bringing Vatican II to life and incorporating the poor into our church, Francis is giving women's voices more opportunity to speak and be counted. No one is more resilient that women building and supporting the church in the poorest parts of our world.
In his efforts against clericalism and the elitism and sexism that come with it, the Pope seeks to open our future to voices outside of the Vatican, to bring the experience of the world into forming that future. The opposite of clericalism is collaboration, working together as baptized daughters and sons of God.
These efforts have begun the process of deeper inclusion of women into the core of the Church. As challenging as the refugee crisis or other world issues are, to some of us, this might be truly, the impossible.
St. Francis of Assisi himself said: "Start by doing what is necessary, then what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible." In that spirit, we are here today to listen to Voices of Faith, to hear stories of resilience, collaboration and inclusion. We have more than started. We will not stop.
Thank you very much.
Arturo Sosa, S.I.
March 8, 2017

Father General calls for networking in Jesuit higher education

Father General Arturo Sosa has urged Jesuits serving in higher education to draw on networking as a way of becoming more effective in their ministries. Speaking to the Vidyajyoti Theology Faculty in Delhi, on February 18, Father General pointed out that "The 36th General Congregation makes a strong invitation to Jesuits to collaborate and network as the way of proceeding to be effective in our mission today." He observed that Jesuits are responsible for over 200 faculties of philosophy and theology, as well as higher education institutions around the world. "Taking seriously the General Congregation's invitation, I want to insist that you and all the Higher Education institutions in South Asia form an effective network. This would be the best way to improve collaboration among Jesuit institutions," he said. Read more...

Love the Stranger - Statement of California and Oregon Provincials on Immigration

February 1, 2017

Dear Brothers and Friends,

We write to express our dismay at how the national conversation about immigration has taken a sharp and harshly xenophobic turn under the new administration. There is no doubt that the most recent executive order flatly contradicts a fundamental obligation of our Judeo-Christian tradition: "love the stranger, for you were once strangers in Egypt (Dt. 10, 19)" and "I was a stranger and you made we welcome (Mt. 25, 37)". Pope Francis has also been clear: we are called "see a ray of hope...in the eyes and hearts of refugees and those who have been forcibly displaced," and to serve immigrants and refugees however we can. By contrast, the President's Executive Order callously sends large numbers even of women and children back to the horrors of war, starvation, massive repression and even death.

We recently returned from the 36th General Congregation, which declared, "in the face of attitudes hostile to displaced persons [including refugees and migrants] our faith invites the Society of Jesus to promote everywhere a more generous culture of hospitality." As members of a global religious order that works to form men and women of conscience and compassion, we unequivocally denounce the Trump Administration's Executive Order as an affront to our mission, an assault on American and Christian values, and a repudiation of our humanity. No area of the country has benefited more from the contributions of immigrants than the West. We raise our individual and collective voices against the harsh and inhumane policies of the current administration, which thinks nothing of building a wall and slamming the door in faces of the world's most vulnerable people.

In these challenging days, we renew our commitment to be bridge-builders between people of differing political views while also standing firmly for the values of the Gospel and of our Catholic Social Teachings.

Prayerfully yours in Christ,

Scott Santarosa, S.J. (Provincial, Oregon Province)
Michael Weiler, S.J. (Provincial, California Province)

Fr. General's message for World Day of Refugees 2017


I wish to begin by expressing my gratitude, and how deeply moved I am, to have this opportunity to share with you this moment of reflection and prayer.

This moment presents an important invitation to the Society of Jesus to accompany, with its few resources, and to share in the anxieties and hopes of the refugees here in Italy and everywhere in the world. As you may be aware, I come from Latin America, a continent in teeming with millions of refugees and migrants for the same reasons that we have heard in the moving testimonies of Asiz, Dhurata, Mortezza, Mirvat and Edelawit.

I have encountered similar situations on the border between Colombia and Venezuela, where I lived for ten years before being called to Rome. I met entire families that had been forced to abandon everything to save lives threatened by injustice and violence that has taken hold of our societies. I met children and young people who had been forced to become soldiers and to participate in wars so far away from their dreams, thoughts and desires. But importantly, I also encountered the generosity of many families who welcomed the refugees as brothers and sisters in search of a new life. I came across some schools, teachers, Christian communities willing to lend a hand to the new arrivals. Through these encounters, I became more and more aware of the challenges states face in facilitating the legal integration for refugees, which would grant the refugees access to job opportunities and personal development. I have witnessed the human pain resulting from abuse by police bodies and human traffickers.

Therefore, the efforts of closely accompanying the refugees and migrants, particularly the young and vulnerable, are close to my heart. I wish to encourage and promote efforts that ensure the protection of life and the hope of the child and adolescent refugees, especially those recruited by traffickers to convert them into the so-called baby-traffickers.

It is necessary to promote citizens' movements that put pressure on states and governments of Europe and other parts of the world in order to create safe access to legal channels for children and teenagers forced to leave their homes, their countries, and many times, even their families to make a future elsewhere. The absence of these channels adds new dangers to the path of migrants and increases the injustice suffered by those who have had to flee their homeland. The absence of adequate protection, the difficulty of access to humanitarian visas and efficient policies of social inclusion nourishes one of the greatest scourges of humanity in our times: human trafficking. And that is what we heard in the testimonies of young people today.

The political development of Europe has created multiplicity of public institutions that aim at protecting the rights of people, especially children and young people. The increasing flow of migration challenges these institutions to ensure that there is reliable and adequate protection for many who arrive each day to knock on the doors of European countries seeking to be included and not excluded. Europeans, children of a culture that claims human rights as a sign of human and social progress, are invited by migrants to deepen their human and political conscience to demand that governments create reception systems, with facilities adequate and conveniently located throughout their territories to ensure a humane reception of migrants, especially to young people.

Europe and all other migrant receiving countries should become a source of pride by creating the circumstances in which those who come find human conditions to rebuild their lives and young people can dream about their future with the ability to make it happen if they too will put in the necessary effort.

Dear friends, we are gathered here today in Gesù Church in honour of so many migrants and refugees who are struggling to rediscover the worthiness of their human life. I invite you all to step up your effort to make our societies places of genuine welcome to those who are suffering because of the need to migrate.

Thank you so much.
Arturo Sosa, S.I.


Father General meets Rome based Jesuits

More than 200 Jesuits from communities around Rome braved the January 7 cold to come to the Curia Generalizia to meet with Father General Arturo Sosa. At the beginning of every year, Father General hosts the Jesuits based in Rome to wish them well in the coming year. This year was particularly special because for some of the Jesuits, it was their first personal encounter with Father Sosa. In his usual manner, Father Sosa shared a light moment with each of the guests. There are over 400 Jesuits currently residing in Rome, spread across the International Roman Houses and communities of the Italian Province.

Epiphany in the Curia

The Magi have slowly been trickling into the Curia Generalizia in the past few weeks. First to arrive was Father Victor Assouad (PRO), the new Regional Assistant for Western Europe. He was followed by Father John Dardis (HIB), Assistant ad Providentiam and General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning. Father Claudio Paul (BRA), Regional Assistant for Latin America South has also arrived in the Curia. On January 4, the winds of Epiphany blew in Father Vernon D’Cunha (BOM), Assistant ad Providentiam and Regional Assistant for South Asia. Other new members of the Curia Generalizia community include Father Anselm Ekka (RAN), Assistant Treasurer General, and Fathers Joseph Xavier (MDU) and David Holdcroft (ASL), both of whom are joining the Jesuit Refugee Service International Office in Rome.

Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach has died

Rome (Sunday, 27 November 2016): Former Superior General of the Society of Jesus Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ, has died. He died in Beirut, Lebanon, on Saturday, November 26, 2016. He was the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, serving from 1983 to 2008. Born on 30 November 1928, Father Kolvenbach entered the Society on 7 September 1948. He was ordained on 29 June 1961. He pronounced his final vows in the Society on 15 August 1969. On 13 September 1983, on the first ballot, he was elected the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

As a young man, lived most of his teen years during the German occupation of the Netherlands. He would later note that experiencing war was not an uncommon experience in the formation of a Superior General. It was the experience of Ignatius at Pamplona, and the experience of his predecessor, Pedro Arrupe, who witnessed the dropping of the atomic bomb. Father Kolvenbach also lived in the midst of war in Beirut as a professor of linguistics and working with refugees in Lebanon.

In an interview with the Jesuit run America Media in 2007, Father Kolvenbach noted that while living in the midst of war emphasizes the fragility of human life, the sound of a bird singing after a night of terror announces that "death will never have the last word in the Creator's will."

Father Kolvenbach spent many years in academic life, primarily teaching linguistics in Lebanon. He was named the Vice Provincial of the Near East, made up of the regions of Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. In 1981, he was appointed as Rector at the Oriental Institute in Rome, a position he held until his election as Superior General.

Upon his election, Kolvenbach carried out his responsibilities with energy and compassion. He visited as many Jesuit provinces and individual Jesuits as he could. His was a calming presence in the midst of the many questions the Jesuits faced both within and outside the Church. In 1995, he presided over the 34th General Congregation of the Jesuits, which addressed issues including the mission of the Society in the modern world and the impact of the revision of Canon Law.

In February 2006, Kolvenbach informed the members of the Society of Jesus of his intention to step down in 2008. His resignation was accepted at the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Shortly after General Congregation 35, Father Kolvenbach returned to Beirut, where he worked as a librarian until his death.

See also http://jesuits.org/news-detail?tn=news-20161126012218


Pope Francis’ Visit to the Congregation

There is a well-established tradition that on the occasion of a Jesuit General Congregation, the Holy Father meets with the delegates. Since most of the time this happens as an audience in the rooms of the Vatican, it is not the first time that the pope himself choose to meet the Jesuits as they are gathered in the General Congregation in the curia of the Society. So this Monday, 24 October, Pope Francis came discreetly to the curia and was greeted by Father General Arturo Sosa and the superior of the curia community, Father Joaquín Barrero.

These two accompanied him into the aula, and the Pope participated in morning prayer with the delegates. The theme of the prayer, the good shepherd, had been chosen for the occasion. The Ignatian tradition reflection made a reference to Fr. Franz van de Lugt, who made himself pastor of his own in Homs, Syria, until he was killed by the insanity of war. The members of the Congregation prayed for Pope Francis, as he often requests of all those he meets.

Pope Francis came to the General Congregation with a message. He gave an encouraging speech that set a direction. The speech gave a good idea of the manner in which he is coming to see the service of the Church and of the world that the Society of Jesus can offer, a relevant way connected to his own ministry. His whole intervention was characterized by an openness to what lies ahead, a call to go further, a support for caminar, the way of journeying that allows Jesuits to go toward others and to walk with them on their own journey.

To start out, quoting Saint Ignatius, the Pope recalled that a Jesuit is called to converse and thereby to bring life to birth "in every part of the world where a greater service of God and help for souls is expected." Precisely for this reason, the Jesuits must go forward, taking advantage of the situations in which they find themselves, always to serve more and better. This implies a way of doing things that aims for harmony in the contexts of tension that are normal in a world with diverse persons and missions. The Pope mentioned explicitly the tensions between contemplation and action, between faith and justice, between charism and institution, between community and mission.

The Holy Father detailed three areas of the Society's path; we will come back to each of them in the coming days.
(1) The first is to "ask insistently for consolation." It is proper to the Society to know how to console, to bring consolation and real joy; the Jesuits must put themselves at the service of joy, for the Good News cannot be announced in sadness.
(2) Next, Francis invites us to "allow ourselves to be moved by the Lord on the cross." The Jesuits must get close to the vast majority of men and women who suffer, and, in this context, it must offer various services of mercy in various forms. The Pope underlined certain elements that he had already had occasion to present throughout the jubilee year of mercy. We who have been touched by mercy must feel ourselves sent to present this same mercy and, he added, in an effective way.
(3) Finally, the Holy Father invites us to go forward under the influence of the "good spirit." This implies always discerning, which is more than simply reflecting, how to act in communion with the Church. The Jesuits must be not "clerical" but "ecclesial." They are "men for others" who live in the midst of all peoples, trying to touch the heart of each person, contributing in this way to establishing a Church in which all have their place, in which the Gospel is inculturated, and in which each culture is evangelized.

These three last words of the Pope's speech are graces for which each Jesuit and the whole Society must always ask: consolation, compassion, and discernment. 

A "group outing" to the beauty, history and Christian adventure

Almost all the delegates to the General Congregation and many members of the supporting  teams left the General Curia to travel to the Vatican Museums, a twenty minute walk. Father Adolfo Nicolás was among them for his last night in Rome before leaving for a new mission of his Jesuit life. For two and a half hours, the delegates enjoyed a visit organized especially for them, outside of business hours. With treasures from different parts of the world, the Vatican Museums are considered the largest after the Louvre in Paris.

First, some praise for the excellent logistics of the organization. Our large crowd was divided into a dozen groups of 20 to 25 people, each led by a professional tour guide offered by the institution. One could choose to participate in a group in English or Spanish. A sophisticated Wi-Fi system allowed each group to hear, with an earpiece, its own guide on a specific frequency. In addition, the groups did not follow the same route to avoid congestion. A successful planning!

The museum director, Antonio Paolucci, with Father General at his side, welcomed the Jesuits and said he was honoured to provide an opportunity for them to enjoy a cultural moment in a place where art meets history and Catholicism. This introductory gathering was held in the hall between the Pauline Chapel and the Sistine Chapel. It is in this room that the cardinals, during a conclave and before entering the Sistine Chapel for the vote, share information informally; one could almost see it as the hall of murmuratio! The frescoes around us stressed primarily the Renaissance Church’s desire to for recognition as a political power. It is a context that seems far from the mind of Pope Francis, but it is a part of history that we need to know and to face.

Each group then left with its guide. Because of the Jesuit character of the visitors, the Redemptoris Mater chapel, decorated by the Jesuit artist Marko Rupnik and his team at the Centro Aletti, was accessible: the visitors discovered the rich illustration of the history of Redemption, through the giant mosaics. The two chapels, the Pauline and Sistine, where several famous artists practised their art – particularly Michelangelo – captured the attention of all groups. We must emphasize the quality of the guides who talked about arts and artists, but we also able to set what we could admire in its historical context and in connection with the different symbolic and spiritual currents evoked.

All participants in this tour would like to thank the ministers and the kitchen staff of the houses were they stay for having prepared for a full meal for them when they came back, around 10 PM.

A few reactions :
- What struck me was the density of the artistic history of the Church. (Ludovic Lado – ACE)
- How lucky we were to have lots of time to appreciate what was shown to us! (Heru Prakosa – IDO)
- I was amazed by the knowledge of our guide. Also by the environment of a Roman Palace, while I was thinking of Pope Francis’ ways. (Joseph D’Mello – KAR)
- As a museum: fantastic! As a residence for the pope : a golden cage! (Peter Bisson – CDA)
- A visit more spiritual than what I had expected, especially the chapel created by Rupnik, where elements of the orthodox tradition are included, in the heart of the Vatican! (Javier Vidal – ANT)

“Faces from the Frontiers” – by John Dardis, SJ

When you look around the aula at the General Congregation or share meals with people, it all seems quite ordinary. At first. You see a group of Jesuits - priests and brothers, smiling, joking, eating, having serious conversations, praying. Their dress is ordinary - in fact some could do with a new shirt or two! - with a wide assortment of styles and no uniformity except for official occasions. St Ignatius would approve.

But when you get to know the people and learn their stories you see something different, something quite amazing and inspiring.

There is Francisco de Roux, from Colombia, who has been involved in the peace talks there between the rebels and the government. Then there is José Minaku, the Provincial of Central Africa. His territory, so rich in its traditions, not to speak of its mineral wealth, has been torn by the conflict in the Kivu region near Rwanda and Burundi. Dany Younes is the Provincial of the Near East. His province includes Syria, Turkey, Lebanon. He has to accompany and support his men and those who work alongside them as they deal with the war in Syria, instability in Turkey and the over one million refugees who have arrived in Lebanon. One of his men, Frans van der Lugt was murdered just about 18 months ago in Homs. You can meet Jean Baptiste Ganza, Regional Superior of Rwanda-Burundi, who lost most of his family in the genocide back in 1994 and who is helping to build a new Jesuit region with reconciliation and mutual understanding as foundations. I've met up again with Korean Jesuit In-don Oh - I first met him a few years back just outside Phnom Penh in Cambodia, a country that had suffered so much under Pol Pot. Tony Corcoran is Superior of the Russian Region and Ukraine where a torturous war still rages. Hung Pham, from the Southern Province of the USA, is the son of Vietnamese refugees who left in the 1970s as boat people. The Regional Superior of Nepal is among us - Boniface Tigga. That country is still coming to terms with the aftermath of the earthquake there. And then the new Fr General, Arturo Sosa, an expert in Political Science who has worked for years at the political frontiers in Venezuela and now has come to lead the Society of Jesus to new frontiers.

All of these men represent frontier ministry. Frontiers where Jesuits are somehow at home; where they can be creative; can love; can serve; can give their lives if necessary. And what is most impressive is that they are not special. They represent the thousands back home who are quietly working away while all of us here are speaking, sharing, praying, dreaming...and imagining new ways of serving at the side of Jesus as he heals and liberates people today.

And finally, the most recognised frontier face, Pope Francis himself. He will soon address the Congregation from his perspective at the frontiers of the Church. What will he say? What directions will he indicate? One thing for sure is that he will keep us moving, draw us forward, point out new challenges. We're looking forward to it. 

Who helps the General to govern?

Since the General Congregation in the coming days will have the task of identifying the people who will form the government of the Society, in these early days of the "ad negotia" phase, thought is focused on the structure of the central government of the Society. Several presentations have been offered to the delegates to allow them to reflect on the current structure of the General Curia.

In particular, the presentations traced the historical development of the role of the assistants, and the demanding job of identifying their current job-description. Four General Congregations (GC1, GC31, GC34, and GC35) reflected and defined the role of the assistants.

At present, the governance of the Society comprises the Assistants ad Providentiam and Regional Assistants. The Assistants ad Providentiam are four and they take care of Father General, his lifestyle, his health, his manner of governing, so that he can properly carry out his mission of leadership. Regional Assistants help the General in the universal government, considering their specific geographical area. Together, they constitute the board of the General. The efforts at renewal of the Curia in recent years have been carried out keeping in mind that Ignatius himself invited the Society to take care that the central government would not become a bureaucratic office but maintain the awareness of being a means to grow the body of the Society in service of God and of the Church.

Another topic of discussion was the situation of the conferences in the world. Several aspects have been taken into account: the enormous diversity of shape due to the different historical origins, the relationship between them, the connection with the central government, and the relationship with the provinces. Currently there are six conference in the world: Africa and Madagascar, Asia Pacific, South Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America.

To continue their work on these topics, the delegates manifested an interest in hearing the opinion of their new Superior General. 

A First Encounter with the Press

Just a few days after his election, Father General Arturo Sosa met with some 70 journalists in the aula of the General Congregation, his baptism to this kind of event as Superior General of the Society of Jesus. He was introduced by Fr. Federico Lombardi who mentioned that the new General had been part of the 33rd General Congregation in 1983 as the youngest delegate. Fr. Lombardi emphasized the good relationship between Fr. Sosa and the previous General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás. He noted that Fr. Sosa was the first non-European General of the Jesuits.

In his initial remarks, the new Superior General stated that he was at peace, that although he certainly did not expect to be elected, he was confident in God and ready to serve the Society of Jesus and the Church in this new role. He also mentioned how grateful he was, on behalf of the whole Society, to his predecessor, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, who had given himself entirely to his service; he mentioned that the previous Superior General will be returning serve according to the instructions of his superiors, as any Jesuit does whatever his responsibilities has been within the Order. Finally, he stated that this General Congregation was not expected to change the direction the Jesuits have been involved in for decades now, that is, the service of the faith and the promotion of justice. Rather, there is a need to find the best and most efficient ways to serve today in a diversified and multicultural world and in a context that is asking for multiple types of collaboration.

There were some 40 minutes available for questions from the journalists. There were a dozen questions asked from media members from a number of countries among them Spain, Chile, Argentina, France, the USA and Italy.

The first question was not unexpected: what would the new General say about the situation of his country, Venezuela? Fr. Sosa acknowledged that he had spent a large part of his academic life studying and commenting on the political life of Venezuela. He explained briefly how a country that was living only on the income from one natural resource, within a system entirely managed by the government, could not easily live a true democracy. On the other hand, he insisted on the fact that a large part of the population is hoping for new bridges between all so that a real dialogue could start in view of building something that would profit all.

Two or three questions were related to Pope Francis, his expected relationship with him and more broadly the relationship of the Jesuits with the pope whom they vow to serve. The General was also asked if he liked to be considered "the Black Pope". To this last question, he answered that he was not fond of this designation. He explained that since the beginning the Jesuits have wanted to respond to the popes' requests to serve where there was need, because they believe in the universal vision the pope has as universal pastor. He also mentioned that he had several opportunities to meet the present Pope, first during the 33rd General Congregation, then within the context of his work with the social centres in Latin America, in Argentina, and more recently in his duties as Delegate of the Father General for the Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works. Their encounters have always been cordial and fruitful.

Father General was also asked about the way he was elected, the reasons for the resignation of his predecessor and the fact that he was elected for life, about his priorities, about the main challenges the Jesuits are now facing. To each one of these questions he shed light on the meaning of his function and moreover on the commitment of the Jesuits to contribute, humbly, and through their attachment to Jesus, to the building of a world that would give the priority to each human person. 

The Congregation continues after the election...

For the first two weeks of October, the attention, not only of the Jesuits but also of many people, was centred on the election of the new Superior General of the Jesuits. Now that Father Arturo Sosa has been elected, what will the Jesuits gathered for the General Congregation do for the next several weeks together at the General Curia?

On Monday morning, October 17, the delegates gathered again in the Aula. The first to speak was the newly elected Father General; he underlined once again the legacy that his predecessor, Father Adolfo Nicolas, leaves behind. Fr Sosa remarked that Fr Nicolás had requested to absent himself from the work of the Congregation, so as to give it complete freedom: he added, of course they could count on his prayers. The outgoing General will enjoy a short break before starting his new ministry in the Philippines. Fr Sosa then sketched an overall picture of the work that remains to be done.

The Secretary of the Congregation, Fr Orlando Torres, then outlined in more detail what the next stages of the Congregation will involve. One of the most important tasks of the Congregation is to provide the new General with "assistants". In Jesuit jargon, they are spoken of as "assistants ad providentiam", charged with the task of ensuring the good running of the Society, and of an 'admonitor', a close companion who mainly looks after the health of the Superior General, understanding the term 'health' in a broad sense.

Following the recommendations of the Coordinating Committee, it was proposed to the Assembly to postpone the election of the assistants. We believe that it is preferable for this election to take place once the Congregation has fulfilled another important task: updating the governance structures of the Society at the universal level, in order to achieve the greatest possible apostolic effectiveness.

Then, a member of the Commission on Governance, Fr. Mark Raper, presented the issues that have arisen in the preparatory works of the plenary assembly. Without going into detail on the content of those works or the different presentations, the Congregation is being asked to reflect and analyse the relationships between the General Curia, the Jesuit Provinces and the Conferences, with a view to better service.

Fr Raper proposed to the delegates to take some time for personal reflection and schedule time for meetings by geographical groups (called "Assistencies") in order to prepare possible decrees concerning the organisation of the central Governance of the Society. After presenting the contributions from these meetings, and taking into account the opinion of some experts, it is expected that in the following days decisions can be made on these issues.

Once this is accomplished, the Congregation will be able to identify and elect the Assistants to work with Fr. General within the new governance structures. 

First Homily of the new General

Dearest Brothers,

A few days ago, in this very Church of the Gesù, where the remains of St. Ignatius and Pedro Arrupe are laid to rest, Fr. Bruno Cadorè invited us to have the audacity of the improbable as the distinctive stance of persons of faith, who seek to bear witness to such faith in the complex reality of human life. He invited us to leave behind our fear and to row out into the deep, as a kind of attitude for being at once creative and faithful during the General Congregation.

Certainly, the audacity that we need in order to be servants of the mission of Christ Jesus can flow only from faith. For this reason, our gaze is directed first of all to God, since you have only one Father, and He is in heaven, as the passage from the Gospel which we have just heard reminds us. And as the Formula of the Institute reminds us at paragraph no .1: "Let (the Jesuit) have before his eyes, as long as he lives, before anything else, God, and then the form of this his Institute." In fact, it is the whole heart that we wish to have in tune with the Merciful Father, the God who is only Love, our Principle and Foundation - the heart of each of us and also the heart of the body of the Society.

If our faith is like that of Mary, Jesus' own mother and the Mother of the Society of Jesus, our audacity can go even further and seek not only the improbable, but the impossible, because nothing is impossible for God, as the Archangel Gabriel proclaims in the scene of the Annunciation (Luke 1:37). It is the same faith held by St. Teresa of Avila, or St. Teresa of Jesus, whose memorial we celebrate today. She too, without fear, entrusted herself to the Lord in order to undertake the improbable and the impossible.

Let us ask, therefore, for this faith from the Lord, so that we, as the Society of Jesus, can also make our own the words of Mary in her response to the extraordinary call that she received: "Behold the servant of the Lord: Be it done to me according to your word." Like Ignatius and the First Companions, like so many Jesuit brothers who have fought and who fight today under the banner of the cross, in service only to the Lord and to his Church, we too desire to contribute to that which today seems impossible: a humanity reconciled in justice, that dwells peacefully in a well-cared-for common home, where there is a place for all, since we recognize each other as brothers and sisters, as sons and daughters of the same and only Father.

For this reason, we reaffirm even today the conviction of Ignatius as he wrote the Constitutions: "Since the Society of Jesus was not instituted by human means, it is not through them that it can be preserved and increased, but with the all-powerful hand of Christ, our God and Lord; in Him alone must our hope be placed."

With our hope placed in God and in God alone the General Congregation will proceed with its deliberations and it will contribute to its duty to preserve and grow this whole body (Const. 719).

The preservation and growth of the body of the Society is tightly bound to the depth of the spiritual life of each of its members and of the communities in which we share life and mission with our companions. At the same time, it is necessary to have an extraordinary intellectual depth in order to think creatively about the ways in which our service to the mission of Christ Jesus can be more effective, in the creative tension of the Ignatian magis. To think about ways of deeply understanding the unique moment of human history in which we are living, and to contribute to the search for alternatives for overcoming poverty, inequality, and oppression. To think so that we never cease posing pertinent theological questions, and so that we continue to deepen our understanding of the faith that we ask the Lord to increase in ourselves.

We are not alone. As companions of Jesus we too want to follow the journey of the incarnation, to identify ourselves with the human beings who suffer the consequences of injustice. The Society of Jesus can develop only in collaboration with others, only if it becomes the least Society that collaborates. Let us be attentive to the linguistic pitfalls here. We want to increase collaboration, not just to seek that others collaborate with us, with our own works, only because we don't want to lose the prestige of the position of who has the last word. We want to collaborate generously with others, inside and outside of the Church, in the awareness, which comes from the experience of God, of being called to the mission of Christ Jesus, which doesn't belong to us exclusively, but which we share with so many men and women who are consecrated to the service of others.

In the journey of collaboration, with the grace of God, we will also find new companions to increase the number, always much too small no matter how great, of collaborators who, along with the others, are invited to be part of this body. There is no doubt about the need to increase our prayer and our work for vocations to the Society, and to continue the complex commitment to provide the formation that makes of them true Jesuits, members of this multicultural body that is called to testify to the richness of interculturalism as the face of humanity, created in the image and likeness of God.

Let us, therefore, today make our own the words of the Apostle Paul: may the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded toward one another according to the example of Christ Jesus, so that you may give glory to the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ with one heart and one voice. (Rm. 15:5-6)

In the Church of the Gesù in Rome, October 15, 2016

(Original in Italian) 

In the Rooms of St. Ignatius

On Saturday morning, before the first Eucharist presided over by the new Superior General of the Jesuits, Fr. Arturo Sosa, a short and discrete ceremony took place at the Gesù, in the chapel of the rooms of St. Ignatius, the Camerette. The New Superior General was accompanied by a member of the General Council, Fr. Joaquín Barrero, by the archivist of the Society, Fr. Brian Mac Cuarta, by two electors, Father Bienvenido Nebres (the oldest of the electors) and Brother James Edema (the youngest elector). A deacon also accompanied them. Our photographer was also present.

After a moment of silent prayer, an excerpt from the Gospel of Saint Matthew was read. In this passage, Jesus reminds his disciples that they have only one 'Master' and that the greatest among them must be their servant.

In the same spirit, Father Bienvenido Nebres reminded the new General of the qualities he must possess, according to what St. Ignatius described in the second chapter of Part IX of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus. Particular attention was drawn to the following words:

"Do not seek esteem or honour from men, but rather seek to be pleasing to the Lord alone.
Love the Society, not as your own possession, but as that which has been committed to you.Remember that you have been given to us as a guide so that we all may persevere and grow in this way to heaven that is the Society."

At the end of this reading, Father Nebres and Brother James Edema, presented to the General the Formula of the Institute and the book of the Constitutions with these words:

"Receive the Formula of our Institute and the Book of the Constitutions of which today you have become the custodian: be attentive to the universal welfare of the Society so that with the grace of God and of your good governance, this apostolic body entrusted to your care may persist and grow in charity and at the service of Christ and of the Church his spouse."

In silence, the small group joined the large number of concelebrants, downstairs, for the beginning of the Mass of Thanksgiving.

Mass of Thanksgiving presided by the new General

The afternoon of Friday, October 14, after the election, the congregation members were able to take a well deserved break. They met this morning at the Gesù Church for the second time in two weeks. They had the joy to be around their new Superior General, Father Arturo Sosa, who therefore had the opportunity, in his homily, to offer for the first time a spiritual message inspired by the Holy Scripture.

The first reading was taken from the wisdom tradition, the book of Sirach. It emphasized how the search for wisdom provides the intelligence and opens the way for just decisions. Whoever has this wisdom coming from the Lord will spread it to all nations. Psalm 88 reminded that the Lord is pleased by the fidelity of his servant. An excerpt from the letter of St. Paul to the Christians of Rome exhorted them to avoid causing scandal and division, but mainly to show perseverance and hope by doing everything for the good of their neighbour. In the Gospel of St. Mark, Jesus invited his disciples to be watchful at all times.

In his homily, the new Superior General first recalled that a few days earlier, at the opening of the General Congregation, the Master of the Dominicans had invited the Jesuits to the audacity of the improbable, something that characterizes a person of faith. Fr. Sosa was even more daring: referring to Mary, he opened the way to the audacity not only of the 'improbable' but also of the 'impossible', because "Nothing is impossible for God", had said the angel Gabriel.

The General added: "We ask the Lord for that kind of faith, because we can make it our own, as Society of Jesus, the faith expressed in Mary's words in response to receiving the extraordinary appeal: 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord, all be done according to thy words.' As Ignatius and his first companions, like so many brothers who fought and lived under the banner of the cross in the service of the Lord and his Church, we also want to contribute to what seems impossible today: a humanity reconciled in justice, living in peace in a common house well kept, where there is room for everyone because we recognize that we are siblings, son and daughters of the same and unique Father."

Father General then stressed the fact that we are not alone to accomplish this task; we do it in collaboration. Not only that of collaborators in our works, but by making ourselves collaborators of people, inside and outside of the Church, who are involved in a mission that is not ours exclusively, a mission we share with many men and women dedicated to the service of others. 

Father Arturo Sosa SJ, 31st General of the Society of Jesus

The 36th General Congregation has elected Father Arturo Sosa Abascal, of the Jesuit Province of Venezuela as Superior General.

Father Sosa was born in Caracas, Venezuela on 12 November 1948. Until his election, Father Sosa has been Delegate for Interprovincial Houses of the Society in Rome, as well as serving on the General Council as a Counsellor. He obtained a licentiate in philosophy from l'Università Cattolica Andrés Bello in 1972. He later obtained a doctorate in Political Science from l'Università Centrale del Venezuela, in 1990. He speaks Spanish, Italian, English, and understands French.

In 2008, during General Congregation 35, Father General Adolfo Nicolás appointed Father Arturo Sosa as General Counsellor, based in Venezuela. In 2014, Father Sosa joined the General Curia community and took on the role of Delegate for Interprovincial Roman Houses of the Society of Jesus in Rome, which include: the Pontifical Gregorian University,  the Pontifical Biblical Institute, the Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Vatican Observatory, Civiltà Cattolica, as well as international Jesuit colleges in Rome.

Between 1996 and 2004, Father Sosa was provincial superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela. Before that, he was the province coordinator for the social apostolate, during which time he was also director of Gumilla Social Centre, a centre for research and social action for the Jesuits in Venezuela.

Father Arturo Sosa has dedicated his life to research and teaching. He has held different positions in academia. He has been a professor and member of the Council of the Andrés Bello Catholic Foundation and Rector of the Catholic University of Tachira. He has pursued research and teaching in the field of political science, in various centers and institutions, as the Chair of Contemporary Political Theory and the Department of Social Change in Venezuela at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

In 2004, he was invited as a visiting professor by the Latin American Studies Center at Georgetown University in the United States while he was a professor in the Department of Venezuelan political thought of the Catholic University of Tachira.

While Father Sosa election as superior general completes one of the main tasks of GC 36, the group's work is not over. Now the delegates will tackle matters of mission, governance and the state of the Society. Topics may range from the Society's changing demographics to challenges in worldwide ministries, to the Jesuit response to a rapidly changing world, environmental concerns, poverty and violence.

The Mass of the Holy Spirit or "The Holy Eucharist in view of the election"

The day of the election of the future General, the electors gather to celebrate the Eucharist; they invoke the Holy Spirit once again that he inspire them at the moment of the vote which will commence immediately after the celebration.

This year, the Votive Mass of the Holy Spirit will be presided over by Fr. James Grummer, who until the election of the new superior general, is acting as vicar general of the Society after the General Congregation accepted of the resignation of Father Adolfo Nicolás. The opening monition of the celebrant clearly speaks about the intention, which has reunited Jesuits.  Thus: In this Holy Year, during which the entire Church is called to live the grace and the tenderness of the mercy of God, we are invited to pray without ceasing to the Holy Spirit that he favor Christian unity and that he give us the courage to throw ourselves forward, generously, in requesting the intercession of our blessed martyrs, baptized in blood for the love of Christ and of his Church.

The Liturgy of the Word stresses the importance of the Holy Spirit. In the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians, the Apostle recalls that the gifts of grace are varied but that it is always the same Spirit who acts.  All things considered, "each receives the gift of the manifestation of the Spirit for the good of all." The gospel, it places us at the Cenacle, when the disciples are reunited in prayer.  They harbor fear, but Jesus appears to them and saying "Peace be with you." He also says to them "Receive the Holy Spirit."

After the celebration of the Eucharist, the electors will return in silence to the aula where, after a last admonition from one of the Assistants ad providentiam, Fr. Lisbert D'Souza, the vote for the election of a new General of the Jesuits begins. 

Fr. Orlando Torres SJ, Secretary of the Congregation

Today, October 7th, the electors voted for three major officials of the General Congregation.

Father Luis Orlando Torres, a Jesuit from Puerto Rico and a member of the USA Central and Southern Province (UCS) was elected Secretary of the Congregation. At present he is the rector of the Jesuit Community of Collegio Internationale del Gesù in Rome.

The first Assistant Secretary is Father Agnelo Macarenhas from Goa Province. He is also the Under Secretary of the Society at the General Curia in Rome.

The second Assistant Secretary is Father Francisco Javier (Patxi) Alvarez from the Spanish Province. He works in the General Curia as Secretary for Social Justice and Ecology.

Their principal task is to prepare, throughout the Congregation, the Acts of the Congregation, and all the official documents that will be used by members in the Aula. 

Not the same tongue, but the same language - Interview with Arturo Sosa, SJ

One may wonder how this group of men from hundreds of countries, gathered in this beautiful hall, can truly understand itself, given that each person brings with himself a cultural baggage that necessarily influences his understanding, the way he interacts, and the way he intervenes. We met with Father Arturo Sosa, a Venezuelan, and we asked him this question.

If cultural differences are real, those gathered at the General Congregation also have a common baggage, the one linked to their experiences of the Spiritual Exercises and their practices of discernment. They have a great desire to hear the same voice, that of the Holy Spirit. This is also what has been felt in recent days, leading to the first major decision taken by the meeting: to allow more time before starting the four-day murmuratio that will lead to the election of Father General. This exercise has made space for the Spirit and, perhaps surprisingly, led to an unanimous decision that involved a change in the program that had been planned by the Coordination Committee.

Even when it is true that the CoCo [Coordination Committee], responsible for the proper functioning of the work, should make proposals, the Formula of the Congregation allows for much flexibility for members to organize their work. The common feeling that has been experienced – gradually formed by listening to the Spirit in the days that we have just experienced – has pushed members to ask for time enough before the Murmuratio begins. We are 212 electors; those of us who know the most electors, upon starting the process, know at most only a third of them. Some do not personally know anyone since they have not had the chance to participate in this kind of international meeting of Jesuits. We have clearly expressed the need for more time in order to grow in mutual knowledge.

There was already, in the method that we have used, a procedure that encouraged this knowledge of each other. Ten times we have found ourselves in a group of a dozen or so of companions, and every time we have met some new companions. But these gatherings of 90 minutes were somewhat short, after all. If English is understood by the vast majority of participants, it is often the 2nd, 3rd or 4th language of many; the same goes for Spanish or French. It is not sufficient therefore to use a common tongue [fr. langue –lit, tongue] for the type of work that falls to us; we must arrive at a common language [fr. langage]. This is our challenge: to use a common language that will allow us to listen to each other while, at the same time, allow the Spirit to speak. Indeed, the Holy Spirit does not speak directly; he always speaks through human voices, through each one of our voices.

Therefore, we have found it important to take time to ensure that we find a common language that will allow us to make decisions that are the expression of the Spirit’s inspiration in us; this is what we call, in the language of the Society, “the will of God.”

Eucharist in Saint Peter's Basilica

This morning, Friday, the members of the Congregation with the staff members had to wake up early. To begin the day, they all took the short trip from the General Curia to Saint Peter’s Square. They walked under heavy rain: was it the blessings of heavens pouring on them?

They went first through the Holy Door of the Year of Mercy. This jubilee year promulgated by Pope Francis opened on 8 December 2015 and will soon draw to a close, on 20 November 2016, the Feast of Christ the King. This tradition linked to jubilee years refers first of all to Jesus himself, who said, “Whoever enters through me will have Life” (John 10:9). The symbol of the door implies, too, the invitation to take a step forward and to leave something behind. This process is meaningful at the moment when Jesuits prepare to elect a new general superior.

The electors then celebrated the Eucharist in the “Chapel of the Cathedra” or of the chair of Saint Peter. The window representing the light shed by the Holy Spirit fits perfectly the context of the General Congregation. This chapel is located directly behind the main altar of the Basilica. Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, the oldest member of the Congregation, was the main celebrant.

In his short homily, the celebrant underlined the relations between Peter’s experience with Jesus and ours, as companions of Jesus. Making a reference to the place where we were, St. Peter’s Basilica, as well as the basilica of St. Peter in Gallicantu, in Jerusalem, he described the scenes of the denial of Saint Peter, of his profound grieving after his fault and of the breakfast on the shore of the lake, when Jesus, after his resurrection, invites his disciples to share a meal with him. What comes out of the three scenes – and can inspire us – is Jesus’ love for his disciples. To this love we are invited to respond, like Peter did: “Lord, you know everything, you know that I love you.” On the occasion of this first Friday of the month, we are invited to let the Love of the Heart of Jesus to touch our own hearts.

Click here to see the entire Album on the Mass at St Peter's

The first session in the aula and Father Nicolás’ resignation

The members of General Congregation 36 had the opportunity to participate, during the preceding days, in information sessions about their work and technical environment in the aula, including the use of the electronic tablets through which they are getting access to the majority of the working documents and materials. Therefore, on this Monday morning, at 9:00 a.m., they were all set to begin the work of the Congregation in earnest.

On the feast day of Saint Francis Borgia, patron of the General Curia, Fr. James E. Grummer invited the assembly to stand and invoke the Holy Spirit by singing the Veni Creator. Immediately after, he invited Father General to say a few words. Fr. Nicolás stated that he was handing over the facilitation of the Congregation to Fr. Grummer and that he had chosen him to be the Vicar General of the Society for the time before the election of a new General. Father Nicolás then opted to leave the rostrum and to sit among the other members of the Congregation. The assembly went on with the prayer. Every day, it is possible to pray along with the members of the Congregation since the prayer of the aula is available to all in the "prayer room" section of the website gc36.org.

Father Grummer then introduced the team of copy secretaries who take notes of everything that is said during the Congregation. Then, each one of the simultaneous translators introduced himself specifying the languages he would handle. A word was said about the IT team. At that time, the assembly was ready to start its official business, the first step being to recognize that everyone was present and that the Congregation was "complete". The media team of the Congregation left the room because all the Congregation work is done in camera.

Later during the first morning, Father Nicolás submitted his resignation to the General Congregation. After deliberations, the Congregation voted to accept Father Adolfo Nicolás resignation as Superior General of the Society of Jesus. From that moment on, Fr. James Grummer took the responsibility of the Society of Jesus as Vicar General.

Photos from the Opening Session and Resignation

Fr. Bruno Cadoré, OP, to the Jesuits: The faith of audacity – the faith of the humble servant

The 215 members of the Jesuit General Congregation 36 celebrated Mass at the Church of the Gesù on October 2, to launch the Congregation. The main presider was Father Bruno Cadoré, the Master of the Order of Preachers (also known as the Dominican Order). The relationship between the Dominicans and Jesuits goes back to the conversion of Saint Ignatius, who would ask himself, "If Saint Dominic did such and such, why can I not?" Additionally, there is a tradition that when the General of the Jesuits dies, the Master of the Dominican Order is invited to celebrate the Eucharist. In this case, Father Cadoré was invited to preside at the Mass to launch the Congregation, which will accept Father Adolfo Nicolás' resignation as Superior General of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). Father Nicolás along with the General Counselors and all the other electors were present. Also present was a large number of Jesuits who live and work in Rome.

Father Cadoré, delivered a homily inspired by the Scripture readings of the day, the 27th Sunday of Ordinary time. These were excerpts from the prophet Habakkuk, from second letter of Saint Paul to Timothy and from the 17th chapter of Saint Luke's gospel.

Father Cadoré began by drawing attention to the apostles' request to Jesus: "Lord, increase our faith!" This is the mindset that is needed at the beginning of this General Congregation. The homilist explains: "This faith is necessary - even if it remains as modest in appearance as a mustard seed - because it is about daring to aim for the improbable: 'you can say to this mulberry tree, be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you'. It is even more necessary, because it is to understand that, even if we aim for the incredible, it is about daring to say: 'we are unworthy servants: we have only done our duty'!  An assembly such as yours (...) will without doubt move between the duty of constantly calling the Society to dare the audacity of the « improbable » and the evangelical willingness to do it with the humility of those who know that, in this service where the human engages all his energy, « everything depends on God".

This audacity to aim for the improbable was Ignatius' characteristic at the time he founded the Least Society of Jesus. Is it still possible in our time of crisis, while violence in so many forms is experienced? It is possible, says the Dominican to the Jesuits, if it is "this audacity to make heard through your commitments, your words, your solidarity, the always unexpected voice of the One in whom the world hopes, who reverses death and establishes life, the One to whom you seek to give the greatest glory?" It is only possible if it is solidly founded on Paul's advice to his friend Timothy: "To find the strength and creativity of fidelity in the breath in which the Spirit holds us as he leads us to encounter and to listen to the other, who creates a well of compassion in the heart of the person, who consolidates the unbreakable alliance with those who are entrusted to us."

Finally, Fr. Cadoré insists on the fact that if the faith the apostles need has to be characterized by audacity, it has to be, at the same time, the faith of the humble servant, the faith of a life truly given for others. "Of what, precisely, are you the servant? Of a table, a table of sinners, a table of welcome for all to which are invited the blind and the lame, Pharisees and publicans, adulterers and good people. Your founder, Ignatius, prayed like this: 'Lord Jesus, teach us to be generous, teach us to serve You as You deserve, to give and not to count the cost, to fight and not to heed the wounds, to toil and not to seek for rest, to labour and to ask for no reward save that of knowing we are doing Your will'. Is this not an invitation, once more today, to place ourselves, all of us, at the service of this table?"

On Monday, October 3, the 215 electors will gather in the Aula of the Congregation to begin the first session of the plenary session of General Congregation 36. Father Adolfo Nicolás is expected to present his resignation on the first day of the Congregation.

Here you can download the full text of the homily

What is a General Congregation?

In the 476 years since its founding, the Society of Jesus has convened only 35 general congregations. The 36th General Congregation will convene in Rome on October 2, 2016. A general congregation is always summoned on the death or resignation of the head of the Society - the Superior General - to choose his successor, or when the General decides action is needed on serious matters that he cannot or does not want to decide alone.
The current Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, a native of Spain, announced in December of 2014 his intention to resign. Fr. Nicolás was elected in 2008 to succeed Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, SJ.
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Chest of Relics

All along its history, the Society of Jesus has given the Church many Saints and Blessed, among whom not a few were martyrs. Since the ‘Chiesa del Gesu' is the Mother Church of the Jesuit Order, an important number of relics is kept in its sacristy and most of which are kept in very simple containers.
With the aim of displaying them in a more dignified way for the respect of the faithful, but especially to emphasise the unity of the body of the Society, we felt the need to place them all in one main chest. This was made possible through the generous artistic work of Maestro Ernesto Lamagna, an Italian sculptor of international fame.
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Original Manuscript of the Exercises restored

The oldest manuscript of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius has been restored. Over the years, acid had corroded the paper inks, perforating many pages and threatening the preservation of the document. Complete with the handwritten notes by Ignatius Loyola, the manuscript was presented at a conference held at the Gregorian University in Rome. Father Ignacio Echarte, the Secretary of the Society, represented the Society at the conference. Melania Zanetti of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, explained the painstaking process that resulted in the restoration of the manuscript. The project was funded by the Fundación Gondra-Barandiarán de Getxo, Bizkaia, a province in the autonomous community of the Basque country. The restoration was designed by Carlo Federici of the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice and the Vatican School of Library Science. The restoration was commissioned by the Archivum Romanum Societatis Iesu, where the manuscript is now safely kept. 

Father General's Visit to San Salvador

From April 30 to May 6, Father General traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador, for a joint meeting of the Jesuit conferences of Latin America and Canada-USA. One of the major discussions of the meeting centered on reflecting on how best the Society can serve the Church in the Caribbean region. In his address to the gathering, Father General focused on the importance of moving towards a universal mission. Serving a common mission, Father General observed, begins from acquiring knowledge about different regions, which will in turn lead to collaboration. It requires building networks, reflecting on common apostolic priorities, and eventually establishing common apostolic projects. The meeting ended with visits to the tomb of Archbishop Oscar Romero in the Cathedral of San Salvador, the hospital chapel where Romero died, and a visit to the site of the martyrdom of the Jesuit priest, Rutilio Grande. 

JesWeb Meeting in Germany

The annual JesWeb meeting (for web masters and editors of online Jesuit productions) took place at Heinrich Pesch Haus in Ludwigshafen, Germany from 11-14 April. Although JesWeb is officially a gathering of the European Jesuit Conference, it has in recent years attracted participants from other parts of the world. This year, there were representatives from all the six Jesuit conferences. The participants exchanged experiences and shared updates on their work. In addition, media teams of MAGIS Poland and General Congregation 36 gave updates of the communication strategies for the two events. 

The Curia Community celebrates the Jubilee of Mercy

The General Curia community recently marked the Jubilee Year of Mercy with three important events. The highlight of the events was Friday, March 18 when the community made a pilgrimage through the Holy Door of Mercy at St. Peter's Basilica, before celebrating mass at the tomb of Saint Peter in the Vatican Grottoes. The previous Sunday, March 13, members of the Curia Community celebrated mass at Regina Coeli prison, led by the community superior, Father Joaquín Barrero, who regularly visits the prison on Saturdays and Sundays. Finally, on March 20, about 30 homeless people housed in the Dono di Misericordia dormitory joined the community at the table of lunch. The Dono di Misericordia dormitory located at the General Curia was Father General's gift to the Holy Father as a place of temporary shelter for the homeless.

Andhra: 21 February 2016

We arrived at Andhra Loyola College [and] the fun began. We had four Hindu students chant prayers and offer us a vessel with a coconut to touch. This was a traditional Telugu welcome, we were told. In the early afternoon Father General met with the Jesuits of the area. His talk centred on the preparation for General Congregation 36. Later in the afternoon, he addressed the staff and students of the College - over 5,000, on the football field. Here he focused on the aim of Jesuit education to help students grow and enable them contribute to a new humanity. This, he said, calls for forming relationships, interaction, a search for depth, a sense of humour, and time for play and sports (where one learns to interact within a system of rules).

VATICAN RADIO: New structure in the mission of the Society of Jesus

On February 29 2016, Father Federico Lombardi and Dr. Alberto Gasbarri ended their long and fruitful mission at Vatican Radio, as Director General and Administrative Director respectively. Having fulfilled the mandates for which they were appointed, the end of their duties also marked the disappearance of the positions of Director General and Administrative Director at Vatican Radio. Vatican Radio will now fall under the new Secretariat for Communication, created by Pope Francis on 27 June 2015 with the aim of restructuring and streamlining all Vatican communications.
Pope Francis has expressed his desire to entrust to the Society of Jesus with the management of Vatican Radio in the new communications structure of the Holy See. In September 2015, the Holy Father appointed Fr Andrzej Majewski as Director of Programs at Vatican Radio. With the departure of Fr Lombardi from the radio, Fr Majewski is now the head of a team of more than twenty Jesuits who have committed themselves to continue offering the service of communicating the Gospel, the Pope’s and the Church’s messages through easily accessible multicultural, multilingual, pluralistic multimedia and digital productions. With 85 years’ experience of Jesuit presence at Vatican Radio, Father General and the Jesuits who are currently missioned to Vatican Radio are exploring ways of effectively participating in the complex process of restructuring one of the most important means of communication of the Vatican.
In the restructured structure of Vatican Communications, Father Federico Lombardi remains head of the Holy See’s Press Office and Spokesperson of the Holy Father.

AP: Click to Pray, the new app to pray with Pope Francis

Click to Pray presents something different each of the 365 days of the year. You can join millions around the world from different cultures and languages in praying for the universal challenges confronting humanity. "Click To Pray invites men and women around the world to accompany Pope Francis in a new digital way, with the hope that the continents unite in prayer for the great challenges of the world and the mission of the Church as expressed in the Pope's intentions," said Fr. Frédéric Fornos, SJ, International Director of the Pope's Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer). 

Arrupe Place wins 2015 Community Wellbeing Award

Following the nomination of the Parramatta City Council, Arrupe Place was presented the 2015 Community Wellbeing Award by the Australian Psychological Society (APS). Run by the Jesuit Social Services, Arrupe Place was established in early 2015 by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). This initiative was started to provide practical support to people seeking asylum, especially in Western Sydney, to face basic challenges and to avoid being isolated. The Shelter Project Coordinator, Maeve Brown said: "This award is a fitting tribute to the Shelter Project Team, both volunteers and staff, for their dedication, compassion, and hard work." Brown acknowledged and thanked the support of all the JRS partners in Arrupe Place.

Fr. Ellacuría’s Archive is included in the Documentary Heritage list

The Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen (MUPI) (Museum of the Word and the Image) reported that UNESCO has included the archive of the Jesuit Father Ignacio Ellacuría as part of the documentary heritage for Latin America and the Caribbean. The delegate of the Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as director of the MUPI, Carlos Henríquez Consalvi, recently gave the certificate to the Rector of the Centro American University (UCA), Fr. Andreu Oliva, the current successor of Fr. Ellacuría. Fr. Ellacuría was murdered November 16th, 1989 during the Salvadorian civil war, together with other Spanish Jesuits, a Salvadorian Jesuit, and two women. The archive is of philosophical and theological interest, but it also contains documents and materials of Fr. Ellacuria's thoughts on the political situation in El Salvador and Central America in the eighties and early nineties.

SJES - Networking for Justice

From November 17th-20th, fifty-five Jesuits and collaborators gathered in Loyola, Spain for a meeting organized by the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat. The meeting brought together the various networks of the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network (GIAN) to share their experiences, and plan for better engagement in the social apostolate. Speaking in an interview at the meeting, Fr. Francisco Javier Álvarez de los Mozos, Secretary for Justice and Ecology said: "There are many global apostolic challenges for the Jesuit and Ignatian family. I dream that we can become a large and much better structured body serving the needs of the poor in the world. Networking is a must today. It respects local autonomy while at the same time allowing us to work together for a common cause."

Coetus Praevius Meeting

The Preparatory Commission (Coetus Praevius) for GC 36 met in Rome from Monday 31st August until Saturday 12th September. The task of the group was to draw up an agenda for the upcoming General Congregation. Read More >>

St Ignatius hospitality students serve up Middle Eastern feast

On August 31st, seven female students of the Saint Ignatius' College Adelaide Senior School prepared a Middle Eastern menu for the lunch of the staff. These girls were part of the Jesuit Service and Hospitality course, an integrated learning subject that was activated last year, as part of their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Stage 2. In this course, the students learn how to cater, serve and organize an event and this was the occasion to test the skills learned during the course. The students were delegated the responsibility of the organization, while they experimented and selected recipes under the direction of a renowned Adelaide Chef and their teacher, Rosa Matto. The money raised in this event was donated to Jesuit Mission Australia.

Illustrated book on the Society of Jesus will be launched in the Pateo do Collegio

On the occasion of the 475th anniversary of the foundation of the Society of Jesus, September 27th 2015, the Pateo do Collegio in partnership with the Edições Loyola will launch an illustrated book entitled Jesuítas: uma pequena história ilustrada. The book, written by the Jesuit Father Gerardo Cabada Castro and illustrated by Luiz Boschi Grecco with watercolor paintings, is about the history of the Society of Jesus, starting from the conversion of Saint Ignatius of Loyola to the election of Pope Francis. The project, which started during the bicentenary of the restoration of the Society, is mainly targeted at bringing the Jesuit story to children. That is because most Jesuits who are involved in education and formation, are convinced that children are the ones who will build a more human and just world.

GC36 - Coetus Praevius

Preparations for General Congregation 36 have begun in earnest with the first gathering of the Coetus Praevius (Preparatory Committee) in Rome from August 31 to September 12, 2015. The committee is comprised of two representatives from each of the six Conferences of Africa and Madagascar; Latin America; Canada and United States; Europe; South Asia; and Asia Pacific. Father General Adolfo Nicolas and Father Douglas Marcouiller from the General Curia in Rome are also members of the Coetus Praevius.

Centenary of the Eucharistic Youth Movement

I am glad that we could organise together with the EYM Italy team the Centenary of the Eucharistic Youth Movement in Rome. The EYM is present in 56 countries all over the world and very different from each other. The previous Director, Fr Claudio Barriga, SJ, was very helpful in weaving the international network of this youth movement. This international meeting in Rome was also important for testing our unity in diversity.
During the private Audience with Pope Francis, youths coming from different countries asked him some questions. The Pope talked about different subjects such as tensions in the families, conflicts, the role of grandparents in the families, encountering Jesus, experiencing peace, etc. However, I think what impressed the youths most was the Pope's attitude, simplicity, closeness, joyfulness. His being witness of an actual inner freedom.
At a certain point, the Pope said: "We are at war: [...] this is the third world war, piecemeal. [...]; but there are also many beautiful things and many good things, and many saints hidden among the People of God. God is present. But there are signs of hope and there are signs of joy. Have courage and go forward!" Seeing 1,500 youths coming from 35 countries of the 5 continents was for me an actual sign of hope. These 5 days were not only a time of brotherhood and joy but also a time for sharing deeply the heart of the EYM: friendship with Jesus, Eucharist, mission. It was a time for celebration, but for many people it was also an occasion to open our heart to Christ. The Lord, through the Holy Spirit, did marvelous things. Thank you so much to the EYM Italy team who did great work of high-quality!
Frédéric Fornos sj
International Director of the World Network of Apostleship of Prayer and of the EYM, as delegate of Father General.

Australian Jesuit highlights parish role in climate action

Fr Gregory Jacobs SJ, parish priest at Holy Family Parish at Mount Druitt, New South Wales, Australia says the parish can play an important role in climate action.
'The parish remains the archetypal Church community, and as such retains an essential place and space for any Christian to live out their commitments to God, to each other and to the world', he writes in his essay. 'Pope Francis continues these themes in Laudato Si' by expanding our horizons to include nature alongside the poor as needing constant care and protection by the Church.
The parish, he writes, is a natural place for prayer, liturgy and the sacraments; for the living out of human relationships and, as a community, going out into the world to fulfil our mission of caring for the poor. 'But we have not always looked at the parish as the place and space for exploring our connections with the earth.

Educate Magis: Inspiring global connections among Jesuit Educators

Over the past few years the ambition and desire by many to work as a "universal body with a universal mission", as recommended by General Congregation 35 have come to fruition and begun blossoming all over the Jesuit world. One area where this has become particularly apparent is in the education sector. Amidst the preparations and as a continuation of the International Colloquium on Jesuit Secondary Education (ICJSE) in Boston, 2012 and the International Seminar on Ignatian Pedagogy and Spirituality (SIPEI) in Manresa, 2014 various initiatives and projects were born in the spirit of global Jesuit education and networking. One of these is Educate Magis, an idea which was born at the ICJSE and has been coming to life since.

The Camino Ignaciano

Those who desire to make the pilgrimage can walk or cycle their way across Spain, embarking on the same trip that Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus, completed after his conversion in 1522.
The route is roughly 650 kilometres long and divided into 27 stages across the Basque Country and the provinces of Rioja, Navarra, Aragon and Catalonia. The countryside in this part of Spain is dazzling and diverse - mountains, rivers and even a desert.


JRS Workshop

During the week of 13-17 July JRS has sponsored a Leadership Competency Workshop for new regional, country and project directors. The goal of the workshop has been to help develop leadership and managerial skills in new JRS leaders. Specific topics included: Ignatian spirituality, growth in self awareness, motivation of and creating effective teams, decision making skills, and working with stakeholders.

Socii of ALS, ALM, EMR (Spanish Group) Meet in Rome

Though the meetings of New Provincials, Treasurers, and Conference presidents are quite regular in Rome, Socii are rare specious. In contradiction to their rare appearance in the General Curia, they do almost all the communications between the local Provincial Curia and the General Curia Rome. Normally the Socii meet in their own respective conferences with input session from the Secretary of the Society. However, this time the Socii were called to Rome.

There are 18 participants from Latin America and Sothern Europe, mainly from the Spanish speaking region.  The Regional Assistants along with Secretaries accompany the Socii during this meeting which began on 29th June.  On top of the sessions with the Secretary of Society on regular communicative matters and the revised "Practica Quaedam," there are also sessions with the Procurators, Archivists, and the General Treasurers.

The Socii will also have a chance to visit some of the Ignatian Rome especially the Rooms of St. Ignatius and La Storta before they conclude on 4th July.

Celebration of two Jubilees

Curia celebrated the Jubilees of Frs. Eugenio Costa (ITA) and Louis Boisset (PRO) both completing 50 years of priesthood. The Community congratulated and thanked them for their services to the Society. Fr. Eugenio is working in the curia as Secretary for the Sothern European Assistancy while Fr. Louis Boisset is the Secretary for the Western European Assistancy. Both charms the curia with their unbeaten simplicity, affection and wisdom.

Sudden demise of Fr. Severin Leitner, SJ Shocks the Curia

It was shocking to receive the news this evening that Fr. Severin Leitner, the Regional Assistant and council member of Fr. General for Central and Eastern Europe, passed away while trekking on the Gran Sasso mountains in Aquila, Italy.  According to the message received, he fell off the mountain while reaching a height of 2800 meters. Details of the incident are awaited. 


Fr. General Arrives in Cameroon

On Sunday, April 26, 2015 the Province of West Africa had the honor of hosting Father General Father Adolfo Nicolas and the General Assistant for Africa Father Fratern Masawe for a brief visit to Douala.

They arrived at Douala International Airport at 16:40, Cameroonian. They were met in the airport lounge at 17.10 by Father Provincial and a few other Jesuits. After about thirty minutes, the delegation left the airport for the Provincial House in the neighborhood of Bali. They were offered the dignity of a police escort. At the Provincial House, Father General met Jesuits from Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Congo Brazzaville.

Father General then interacted with the gathered Jesuits, who introduced themselves informing him what ministries they were involved in, and so on.

This presented an opportunity for some Jesuits to get to know Father General, and  for him to put names to the faces of some companions.

Fr. Tcheumtchoua Nzali William Fils, SJ

Nepal Jesuits Call for Support to Earthquake Relief Work

Fr. Boniface Tigga, SJ, the Regional Superior of Nepal Jesuits, has made an appeal to the friends and well wishers around the world to support the Jesuit Relief work in Nepal after the devastating earthquake on 25th April 2015. The emergency work will include temporary shelters and supply of food and other necessities for the victims who have lost their houses. The probable target of the Jesuits would be to attend the people in the far remote villages where it is hard for anybody to reach. This will be finalized after discussing with Government officials and other collaborating groups. At present the schools and other institutions have opened their ground for the shelters. Many are stranded on the open ground as the aftershocks are still occurring and the damaged houses are not safe to return to. The medical care has to be reached outside Kathmandu too. The Jesuits have set up an information desk at Kathmandu who could be contacted for directing your valuable donations and support.

You may contact the Nepal Jesuits via:

The official information desk for Nepal Jesuit Earthquake Relief work office

Email  <sjrelief4nep@gmail.com>

Phone:  00977 - 9808744007

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sjrelief4nep?fref=ts

Read the Press release from Nepal Region Superior:http://sjweb.info/imagesnews/nepalquake1.pdf

The Colloquium for the new Provincials

The Colloquium for the new Provincials (English speaking) has begun on 13th April 2015 at the General Curia Rome. There are 17 Provincials participating in the meeting. The colloquium, will offer them a deeper understanding of the issues facing the universal Society, the opportunity to study more intensely the commitments and duties of a Provincial regarding cura personalis, cura apostolica, community and apostolic life, from legislative, financial and organizational perspectives. The meeting gives Father General the prospect of knowing better his closest collaborators and bringing them up to date on the projects he is carrying forward in accord with the directives of the General Congregations. The new Provincials will also have the opportunity to understand, the General Curia, its many offices and secretariats, and have the occasion to visit the international Roman houses. The meeting will continue till Saturday 25th April.

Father General Visits the Holy Land

From March 27 to April 6 Father General, Nicolás was in the Holy Land to visit the community of Jesuit brothers and to celebrate the Easter Tridum in those places where our Lord walked and so rich in inspiration. It is the first time that a General of the Society of Jesus visited the Holy Land who was accompanied by Fathers Antoine Kerhuel, Assistant for Western Europe, Michael Kolarcík, Rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute Rome and Arturo Sosa, Delegate for Interprovincial Houses.

The first part of his stay was characterized by a visit to the Center for the Care of the migrants in Tel Aviv, where Fr. General presided at the Eucharist. From there he proceeded to Jerusalem where he made a pilgrimage to the traditional places (the Mount of Olives, Bethsaida, the Holy Sepulcher, Golgotha, the Cenacle of Pentecost and the part of the Old City), also participated in the procession of the Palm Sunday. Then he paid a visit to Msgr. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Mgr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio to Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land and the French Consul, Mr. Frederic Desaneaux. Finally he visited the Church of the Nativity and the Catholic University in Bethlehem.

The second part of his stay was dedicated to reflection and discernment on the mission of the Society of Jesus in the Holy Land. In a meeting with the Jesuits working in Jerusalem and Bethlehem Father General reflected on the future of the mission of the Society of Jesus in the Holy Land and better organization of its ministries.

Then in a meeting with all the Jesuits present in the House of St. Ignatius and the community in Amman, who came specially to meet Father General, Father General answered questions about the apostolic priorities of the Society, on the process of 36th General Congregation and about Pope Francis. This was followed by the Eucharist presided by Father Nicolás and then a fraternal dinner for everyone present.      

For the Holy Week Services from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday Father General accompanied by the Fathers Stefano Bittasi, Antoine Kerhuel and Arturo Sosa, went to the Benedictine monastery in Tabgha, in Galilee, where he participated in the liturgies of the Easter Triduum and visited places related to the life of the Lord Jesus in Galilee (Nazareth, Capernaum, Mount Tabor, Hill of the Beatitudes).   

It was a fruitful visit, fruitful both as a spiritual experience and as an encounter with the Jesuit brothers and the complex reality in which they are committed to a challenging apostolate

Socii of US-Assistancy Meet in Rome

From 24 to 27 March, nine Socii from Canada and United States held their annual meeting at the Curia in Rome. The Socii of US-Assistancy usually come together in Rome every third year for their annual meeting. This time, besides the regular input sessions from Offices of the Curia, they also had a hand on training on Communication Strategies for the preparation of GC 36 and a special session on the new Practica quaedam. Fr. Jesús Rodríguez, S. J. the secretary of the USA Assistancy co-ordinated the group.

The Delegates of the Jesuit Formation – Europe

The Delegates of the Jesuit Formation in Europe had a half day meeting with Fr. General at the Curia on 25th of March. There were 19 participants including the Fr. John Dardis, S.J., the President of European Jesuit Conference. The group discussed various stages of Jesuit Formation and clarified questions with Fr. General with regard to the new challenges faced within and outside the Society. The regular meeting was held at Collegio Bellarmino. Fr. José Magadia , S.J. the General Assistant for Formation, had to leave the group after two days due to the medical appointment.

Meeting on Centers of Ignatian Spirituality

On Monday and Tuesday, March 16 and 17, the Curia hosted 15 experts in the Spiritual Exercises and Jesuit "studies." The purpose of the gathering was to continue and deepen their understanding of the work being done to advance serious study and training in the field of Ignatian Spirituality, and to propose ways to promote interest in our spiritual tradition, Jesuit history and collaboration among these programs. Fr. General has encouraged, for some time now, the sharing of resources between long -establishing programs and institutions and those where efforts are only now being launched.
Institutions represented in the group included Boston College, the Gregorian, Comillas, Centre Sèvres, JST Santa Clara, Deusto, Pune, and Sentir in Australia. Fr. Joseph Christie (MDU) was put in charge of this collaboration effort. This informal council plans to assist the Pune Theologate as it launches its masters degree program in Ignatian Spirituality. They are also considering a common website for the sharing of resources and information. Interest in the Spiritual Exercises and Ignatian Spirituality has dramatically increased with the Pontificate of Pope Francis.

The New Provincials Meet in the Curia

The Colloquium for new Provincials (Spanish speaking) has begun on 2nd March 2015 at the General Curia Rome. There are 12 Provincials participating in the meeting. The colloquium, will offer them a deeper understanding of the issues facing the universal Society, the opportunity to study more intensely the commitments and duties of a Provincial regarding cura personalis, cura apostolica, community and apostolic life, from legislative, financial and organizational perspectives. The meeting gives Father General the prospect of knowing better his closest collaborators and bringing them up to date on the projects he is carrying forward in accord with the directives of the General Congregations. The new Provincials will also have the opportunity to understand, the General Curia, its many offices and secretariats, and have the occasion to visit the international Roman houses. The meeting will continue till 14th Saturday.