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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...
International Congress for Jesuit Education Delegates Jesedu-Rio 2017
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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".
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.
I. The Situation of the World
II. God's Mission, Our Mission
III. Towards a Renewal of our Service
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.
"Religion is not a problem but part of the solution" Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ
Dialogue with Muslim Leaders,
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).
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The World: Collaboration
The Catholic Church: inclusion
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)
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.
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.
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.
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 :
“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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.http://www.blitzquotidiano.it/cronaca-italia/severin-leitner-gesuita-di-70-anni-e-lalpinista-morto-sul-gran-sasso-2204506/
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
Phone: 00977 - 9808744007
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.
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.
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.
Fr. Alexis Premkumar, SJ released after eight months in captivity in Afghanistan
After more than eight months in captivity, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) is delighted by the announcement of the release of Fr Alexis Prem Kumar. JRS is immensely grateful to the Indian government for its role in achieving his release.
"The last eight months have been a long and difficult period of uncertainty for Fr Prem's family, friends and colleagues. You cannot imagine our relief that he is now home, safe and sound. We are aware of the tireless efforts at many levels to achieve his release and we are grateful for the consolation we have received from the prayerful support of countless friends - including those of the school children from the school where he was kidnapped," said Fr Peter Balleis SJ, JRS International Director.
See more at: JRS NEWS
Fr. General welcomes the First Cardinal of Myanmar
Fr. General welcomed Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, Myanmar's first Catholic Cardinal, at the Curia today. Cardinal Bo aims to work toward peace and reconciliation between the country's divergent religious groups, in the present time of increasing intolerance toward religious minorities. The relationship between the Jesuits and the local Church in Myanmar goes back to 1958, when the Maryland Province sent seven Jesuits there at the request of the Catholic Church in Myanmar. Even after facing an expulsion in 1966, the Jesuits returned in 1998 and continued to support the mission in Myanmar till today. The ordination of Wilbert Mireh, the first Myanmar Jesuit priest, in 2013 has given a clear identity to Jesuit Presence in the country.
Fr. Theodore Overberg completes 50 years in the Society of Jesus
The entire Jesuit Curia in Rome gathered yesterday in the domestic Chapel of the Annunciation to thank God for the gift of Fr. Theo and for his great contribution to Society of Jesus for the past 50 years.
Born in the Netherlands, Fr. Overberg's family emigrated to Australia while he was still a child, and he was brought up just outside Ballarat, where he was educated by the Christian Brothers.
He entered the Society of Jesus in 1965, and was ordained in 1978. He served first as Vice Rector of Aquinas College at the University of Adelaide, then as Rector there, before transferring to St Thomas More College in 1997.
He served as Rector here for two years, then took up the post of Master of Novices for the Australian Jesuit province. Fr. Overburg returned to Perth in 2009, where he continued to serve as the parish priest of Holy Rosary Church in Nedlands.
Fr. Theo has been appointed Regional Secretary for the Asia Pacific Assistancy by Father General and has been on this post from mid-March 2011.
Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) meets in Rome
The annual meeting of the Interprovincial Permanent Commission (CIP) is being conducted at the Curia this week. The group of eight Jesuit major superiors comes together annually to discuss the universal Society's mission in Rome with Fr. General and his Delegate for the Roman Houses. The new Delegate, Fr. Arturo Sosa presented his report and the challenges of Roman Houses (DIR). The other topics includes, education, formation and fund raising under DIR. The major input sessions are conducted by Civiltà Cattolica, Vatican Radio, Pontificio Istituto Orientale.
Father General in Vietnam
17 January , 2015 Father General arrived the Vietnam Province to participate in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jesuit in Vietnam. He was accompanied by the Regional Assistant, Fr. Daniel Patrick Huang, and also by Fr. General's Regional Assistant for Western Europe, Fr. Antoine Kerhuel. One day before the closing Mass of the Jubilee, Father General presided the Mass with the members of Vietnam Province and received the final vows of 11 Jesuit priests and brothers at the chapel of Saint Joseph Jesuit Scholasticate.
- Chình Tràn, S.J.
Society of Jesus marks 400 years in Vietnam
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: More than three thousand people participated in the concluding Eucharist marking the arrival of the first Jesuits in Vietnam 400 years ago. Fr. General joined the group of 15 Bishops and Jesuits of Vietnam in making this great occasion a key event in the history of the Society of Jesus.
The Jesuits who arrived in Vietnam soon after the death of Matteo Ricci in Beiging in 1610, were inspired by his style and began to make friendship with the local people by learning their language and culture. For instance, the works of a French Jesuit, Alexandre de Rhodes (1591-1660), led to the adoption of Romanized script for the Vietnamese language which is still used today.
Though the suppression of the Jesuits was brought about one and half century after their arrival initially, in 1957, the South Vietnamese government invited them to help develop universities, followed by requests from bishops in Vietnam to assist in training local clergy.
Fr. General Arrives in Hong Kong
13 January 2015, the first day of the arrival of Fr. General along with two of his Assistants, Frs. Antoine Kerhuel and Daniel Huang, commenced with visiting Jesuit places and meeting the Jesuits of Hong Kong and Macau. Fr. General is on a two weeks long visit to the Asia Pacific; during which he will visit the provinces of China and Vietnam. He will be participating in the commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first Jesuit in Vietnam. He will also attend the conference of the Provincials of the Asia Pacific. (Photo courtesy: Daniel Huang).
The 36th General Congregation
The 36th General Congregation will begin with the Eucharist, celebrated on the evening of 2 October 2016. The first plenary session will take place on 3 October 2016, the Feast of St. Francis Borgia, at the General Curia in Rome.
"Meditating on the call of the Eternal King, what do we discern to be the three most important calls that the Lord makes to the whole Society today?"
Rev Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.
The Colloquium for the New Provincials 2014
The Colloquium for the newly appointed English-speaking Provincials began on 1st December at the Curia in Rome and will continue until 13th Dec. The group, guided by Fr. Antoine Kerhuel, has 15 participants. Fr. General will be addressing the group on the challenges and new directions of the Society and he will also attend the presentation of the Province by each member.
“Opening doors to the displaced is not only a Christian, but a human value,” says Fr. General.
20 Nov. 2014: On the on thirty-fourth anniversary of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), Fr Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, had a conversation with Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, Director of the Holy See Press Office, on the theme of Hospitality on the Frontiers. . It was organized by JRS and Centro Astalli. The three main points discussed were : 1) Reception and hospitality of refugees and displaced people, 2) Reconciliation, 3) Access to education for every children of the world.
While indicating the emergency of Reconciliation and need for education of every child to build communities of peace and respect, Fr. General underlined the responsibility of each of us to be hospitable to the displaced, "We Jesuits believe that opening one's door to the displaced is not only a Christian value, but a human one. Our understanding recognizes the claim that all of us have to be welcomed, not because we are members of a specific family, race or faith community, but simply because we are human beings who deserve welcome and respect."Reade More at JRS website:
"Brazil as one Province, is like the times of Anchieta," says Fr. General.
Sunday, November 16, marked a historic moment for the Jesuits: the creation of the new unified province of Brazil and the installation of Father Renato John Eidt, as the Provincial. The ceremony was held at Rio de Janeiro (RJ). "We are at a historic moment because Brazil will be as it was in the times of Anchieta, a single province after having had a very creative story to be three provinces and one region," said Father General during a conversation. "We formed a new province, with a new structure in order to respond to new challenges."Read More (Portuguese)