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“The attacks against Pope Francis are directed against a model of Church”
An interview with Father General in Catalonia
During his visit to Spain, in the Catalan region, Father Arturo Sosa gave a long interview to the weekly magazine of information and religious culture Catalunya Cristiana.
After a general presentation of the Superior General, journalists Jaime Aymar and Rosa María Jané Chueca underlined the range of subjects that Fr. Sosa was able to discuss with them. They describe him as an accessible man close to the people, who takes into account both lay people and members of the religious order in his vision of the future of the Society of Jesus. According to him, the core of the Jesuits’ message today is based on reconciliation and justice.
A fair part of the discussion focused on secularization, on the freedom it can bring compared to a Church of Christendom. Father General also revisited the expression “the audacity of the improbable and the impossible”, a theme that inspired the last General Congregation during which he was elected as the head of the Jesuits. He also underlined the central place prayer has in his life, in his way of living his service. He mentioned the call to prayer that he addressed to the whole Society at a time when the Jesuits are involved in a process of choosing apostolic preferences for the years to come.
The title of the article comes from a short part of the interview in which Fr. Sosa talks about the Jesuits’ relationship with the Pope, especially with Pope Francis. “Attacks on the Pope are launched against a model of Church,” we read. The General asserts that there is an organized campaign against Pope Francis. It comes, according to him, from groups that see the Church as an institution that possesses and defends untouchable dogmas and principles. The vision of the Church of Pope Francis, inherited from Vatican II, is that of a Church at the heart of the world, carrying a faith that must respond to the changing conditions of a humanity on the move. The Pope’s “Church model” is based on his pastoral experience in the peripheries of Latin American society. The Jesuits support this approach based on the discernment of situations, those of people and those of the world.
The interview is available in its entirety, in its original Spanish version, by clicking here
Towards the best formation for the new generations of Jesuits
Fr. Mark Ravizza, new General Counselor
Father Mark Ravizza, originally from the USA-West Province, is among the newcomers, this fall, at the General Curia. We invited him to talk about his experience, his responsibilities and his hopes.
1. Mark Ravizza, Father General has chosen you to be one of his General Counselors. What brought you to the General Curia? What are your responsibilities?
What brings me to the Curia is mission. First in the sense, that this is where the Society has missioned me to be. Looking back, I suspect that two of the leading factors may have been: first the work that I had been doing on a renewal of formation in the Conference of Canada and the United States and, second, my involvement during General Congregation 36. Whatever the reasons this particular assignment came as a great surprise to me. However, the grace of being called and missioned is fundamental to who we are as Jesuits.
The second sense in which mission brings me to the Curia is that I am here to support our shared project for the whole Society of Jesus. As a General Counselor, my primary area of responsibility will be formation, but really, the heart of the job is to serve Father General, and to help him, in whatever way I can, to implement both his vision and the mission that emerged with renewed vigor from GC 36. In the little time I have been at the Curia, I have been consoled to see the spirit of prayer, discernment and collegiality that Father General wants to instill in his Council.
2. Tell us briefly about the project you have been involved with during the past few years. How might it help you for your new assignment or mission?
Before coming to Rome, I had the opportunity to help the Conference of Canada and the US imagine new ways to renew and revise its formation, especially in First Studies. The project began as a response to Fr. Nicolás’ Letter on The Intellectual Formation of Scholastics and Brothers. However, it drew additional inspiration from the provincials of Canada and the US who independently had been feeling a need to explore if there were ways that we could update parts of our formation.
I can perhaps best give a sense of the project by sharing some of its major aspirations. The goal is to integrate studies more thoroughly with lived experience and apostolic activity, to live closer to the poor, and to develop interdisciplinary programs that give men the skills they need to more effectively lead institutions, and better serve the contemporary mission of the Society as articulated in our recent documents. There is, of course, and an unwavering commitment to preserve the philosophical and theological rigor of our studies, but also the hope to integrate these courses more holistically into the spiritual, apostolic and communal dimensions of Jesuit formation.
Concerning how this experience might help in my new assignment, it is probably too early to say. I do know that the process we followed taught me even more than the particular programmatic conclusions we reached. This process began first by studying very seriously the vision of formation that Father General and the tradition of the Society were calling us to. Then we brought that vision into conversation with the talents, experience, and creativity of our formators, men in formation, and the people whom they serve and collaborate with. Finally, and most importantly, we kept bringing all of this input back to a process of prayer, spiritual conversation and communal discernment so that we could truly listen to how the Lord was calling us to respond and improve.
3. What would you tell those who would say that what could be appropriate (for the men in formation) in the United States might not be relevant all over the world?
Actually, I would agree with them. Our formation always needs to adapt to the local context; it is never a one-size-fits-all proposition. Having lived in formation communities in the United States, El Salvador and the Philippines, I have especially come to appreciate how deeply culture influences our formation. And this is good and appropriate. Of course, there are many common and universal elements in our formation. These are well expressed both in the rich tradition of documents we have going all the way back to the Constitutions as well as in the Society’s way of proceeding that gets built into our “Jesuit DNA.” One mark of this common formation is a consolation that I imagine most Jesuits have experienced: being able to go into a Jesuit community anywhere in the world, and to feel an immediate sense of shared brotherhood and common mission.
At the same time, the Society also has a rich history of inculturation and accommodation. For the Ignatian imagination, God is always at work in concrete, local ways, and our task is not to impose pre-set ideas on what grace should do or look like. Rather, we are called to accompany people and learn how best to cooperate with what the Spirit is doing in a given situation. In some sense this same type of discernment needs to take place when we adapt the universal elements of our formation to different cultural contexts. Consequently, I would be very hesitant to assume that the programmatic elements that were developed for the centers of study in the US and Canada could, or should, be transferred uncritically to other Conferences. At best, I think we might be able to adapt some of the processes of listening and discernment that were used in order to determine what is most appropriate in a particular context.
4. Concretely, what are your plans for the next few months?
One of my first tasks is to gain some proficiency in Italian since that is the language of the Curia. A second goal is to come up to speed as quickly as possible on how day-to-day work gets done in the Curia. Almost every aspect of the job from consultations with Father General to managing the tremendous volume of paperwork that flows through the Curia is new to me, so this will be a steep learning curve.
Finally, but perhaps most fundamentally, I look forward to learning as much as I can about the realities of formation around the globe, especially in those parts of the world I have yet to visit. This is especially important because our vocations are growing most quickly in the global south, and some of these regions are places that I am least familiar with. My hope is to find as many ways as possible to visit, to listen to, and to learn from our formators, men in formation, and the people they work with. I am really looking forward to getting to know all of our formation programs, and discerning how I can help to promote the best formation possible for our new generation of Jesuits.
Secularization as a "sign of the times"
Fr. Arturo Sosa's intervention at the Synod
On Thursday, October 11, Father General spoke during the session of the Synod of Bishops on youth, faith and vocational discernment. His presentation focused on the theme of secularization. Fr. Sosa first noted that the discussion paper spoke only briefly about this important dimension of the contemporary world - and always in a negative way. He proposed a necessary exercise of discernment, as part of the confrontation of our ways of thinking with reality. This exercise can lead to an understanding of secularization as a sign of the times, a way for the Holy Spirit to guide our reflection and action today.
It is necessary to distinguish between different forms of secularization, some of which are obviously harmful to the universe of faith. For example, a militant struggle against any form of expression of faith in society or various forms of indifference towards what is related to faith.
However, perceiving the process of secularization as a sign of the times allows us to enter into a process of liberation. Liberation from an "automatic" Christianity, the fruit of a Christian society. Indeed, being a Christian in a secular world is rather the result of a well-informed choice, of discernment. Secular society also frees us from conceptions of religion related to tribal or national belonging; it encourages a spiritual experience that brings us closer to our brothers and sisters in humanity, whoever they may be.
Other advantages appear following a discernment on the "sign" that secularization brings. For instance, the importance of the proclamation of the faith, pastoral accompaniment throughout the human and Christian experience, the priority to be given to witnesses. Finally, the context of secularization encourages life in Christian communities of mutual support. Indeed, faith is not lived in isolation but in community, a community that guarantees accompaniment throughout the process of maturation of the faith.
My greatest consolation has been working with the provincials and the Superior General
At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Father General’s Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.
Timothy Kesicki – Canada and United States (JCCU)
In your service as JCCU President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation” of joy?
Over the past four years as President of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, my greatest consolation has been working with the provincials of our Conference and the Superior General in advancing the mission of the Society of Jesus. So much of our work is behind the scenes, but I know first-hand how important it is for the overall mission of the Society. No one enters the Jesuit Order to serve as a superior, but without good governance, there would not be a Jesuit Order. The key to successful governance is for a superior to be rooted in Christ and in prayer. No decision, whether major or minor, should be taken without reflection and prayer. When I take the time to pray and discern with the provincials of the Conference, I am deeply consoled.
In the context of your Conference, what is the main challenge (or challenges) you will be facing during the upcoming months?
An ongoing challenge of our Conference is the formation of new Provinces. This past summer the new Province of Canada was formed, and last year we formed the United States West and Midwest Provinces. These unifications take a great deal of planning and hard work. Once they begin, we trust and pray that they will help us to better do God’s will. Accompanying this ongoing process is a challenge for me, and I am pleased that we are facing it. Since a Province’s primary focus is the apostolic mission and ministry of its members, the success of a new Province is its ability to serve the Kingdom of God. We have undertaken this important process of realignment so that we may more effectively minister in the places we now serve.
What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relationship with the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?
The election of Father General Arturo Sosa has brought new energy and wisdom to the Society. One of his first major undertakings as Superior General has been implementing the decrees of the 36th General Congregation. The Congregation called for these new Universal Apostolic Preferences which will significantly orient our future mission in the Church. The most recent meeting of Fr. General’s extended council helped us to advance this process. I am blessed to serve on this council with the five other Conference presidents from the other continents of the world. This dynamic interaction underscores for the global dimension of the Society of Jesus.
We are invited as a body to find the hand of God
At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Father General’s Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.
Antonio Moreno – Asia Pacific (JCAP)
In your service as JCAP President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation” of joy?
The discernment on the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) is a novelty in the Society's way of proceeding. The tool we are using is discernment in common. We are used to vertical mode of discernment, that is, one personally discerns what God is calling the person. In the discernment of UAPs which started last year, we are invited as a body to find the hand of God in regard to the apostolic challenges that the Society should address in the next ten years. This whole process is a very consoling one for me. There is a great deal of prayer, reflection and spiritual conversation as one body to search for God’s desire for the Society’s apostolic preferences following the spirit of the first companions in Venice.
In the context of your Conference, what is the main challenge (or challenges) you will be facing during the upcoming months?
In the coming months, we will be in a discerning mode as we finalize our UAPs. Some Provinces and Regions, along with the apostolic sectors and formation centers, have submitted the report on their discernment. Several other groups are completing their discernment process or about to submit their reports to the Conference. Our discernment process, as a Conference, will be held from 30 Oct to 01 November, in Tokyo. Apart from the discernment on the universal apostolic preferences, one of the main challenges we are trying to look into is the accompaniment of the small and struggling units of the Conference (Cambodia, East Timor and Myanmar) and our engagement with China. This could mean some changes in our current governance structure. Another main challenge is once the new UAPs are released, the conference will need to appropriate these and discern our own apostolic roadmap for the next few years.
What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relationship with the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?
In the last Consiglio allargato meeting, we were trying to fine-tune the discernment process of the Conference and the how the whole body will receive the new UAPs. The role of the Conferences will be very crucial in the reception, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the tasks to make the preferences real and “alive”. It dawned on me that, increasingly, the role of the Conferences is significantly important in regard to the UAPs.
Any mission in the Society is an expression of trust and confidence
At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Father General’s Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.
Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator – Africa and Madagascar (JCAM)
In your service as JCAM President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation”, of joy?
I believe that any mission in the Society is an expression of trust and confidence. My main interior sentiment is one of gratitude – gratitude to the Society for entrusting this mission of service in leadership of the Conference of Africa and Madagascar to me. I am consoled by many things: the vitality of the mission of the Society in Africa and Madagascar, the dedication and selflessness of major superiors, local superiors and directors of work; the grace of cooperation for common projects, like the Child Protection programme and a new Conference tertianship. I may add the shared companionship, friendship and collaboration with Presidents of Conferences; the positive energy among Jesuits in formation and the positive direction of the Conference in general. I could go on.
In the context of your Conference, what are the main challenge (or challenges) you will be facing during the upcoming months?
The challenges are not new; neither are they limited to just a few months. The Conference is still fragile in terms of experience, depth and wisdom. That is to be expected in a Conference were a majority of Jesuits are young and still in formation. There is also the matter of big socio-economic and political issues that define and dominate the context of our mission in Africa and Madagascar – issues such as corruption, conflict, religious tension, poverty, migration, refugees, etc. The challenge here is how to generate an apostolic response in a manner that is creative and effective, without becoming paralyzed by despair. And, as a Conference, we still need to develop further the (infra)structure for communication, collaboration and networking.
What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relationship with the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?
This is a privileged moment in the Society. I am grateful for the grace to be part of a discerning apostolic body under the leadership of Father General focused on finding the will of God for us in the next ten years and beyond. Co-responsibility for this process and the universal mission of the Society is a grace that I cherish now and will continue to cherish.
Father General Arturo Sosa visits Ignatian Manresa
(Manresa). On Wednesday, 26 September 2018, Father General Arturo Sosa visited the Ignatian places in Manresa. Manresa is an important part of the journey of St Ignatius Loyola, and of the Society of Jesus.
In 1522, Ignatius of Loyola came down on foot from Montserrat to Manresa. Here he spent eleven months, a time of pivotal importance for his life and for that, which would later be the Society of Jesus. His privileged place of prayer was the Cave. The experience lived here by Saint Ignatius was the origin of his book Spiritual Exercises.
On his visit to Manresa, Father General Sosa took time to pray in the same cave where Ignatius spent long hours in prayer. Father General then celebrated the Eucharist in the chapel of the cave, expressing gratitude for the opportunity to do so in this space, so central to Ignatian spirituality.
While in Manresa, Father General also met with the Mayor of Manresa and member of the Board of Trustees of Fundació Cova Sant Ignasi, Valentí Junyent; and the Councillor for Tourism, Housing and Local Government, Joan Calmet. Aspects related to the preparations of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Saint Ignatius in Manresa were discussed.
Apart from the Cave, Father General also visited other Ignatian places in Manresa. He visited the Chapel of the Rapture, in the old Hospital of Santa Llúcia, the Creu de Tort or the Pou de la Llum, the place overlooking the river Cardoner, where Ignatius, on his way to the chapel of Saint Paul, stopped and went through the Cardoner experience illustrated in his autobiography. There Fr. General was able to recall this moment, with the reading of the section of the Autobiography that recalls the Ignatius’ experience. Father General was accompanied and guided by the Jesuit Xavier Melloni on this tour.
Fr. Sosa encouraged the Jesuit community of Manresa and the team of the centre to continue working to promote the international network of spirituality centres of the Society of Jesus.
Europe is being besieged by forces of withdrawal, fear and mutual exclusion
At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Franck Janin – Europe (JCEP)
In your service as JCEP President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation”, of joy?
This first year as President of the European Conference was a year of discovery. A large part of my time consisted in participating in the meetings of the collaboration networks (about twenty) that exist between the Provinces and Regions. What delighted and comforted me mostly, was to see all these companions - and for some networks their partners in the mission - coming from all over Europe, entering into dialogue, sharing their experiences, considering common projects. The European Conference is marked by a great diversity of countries, languages and sometimes difficult histories. What we can build in terms of common thinking and action is of paramount importance at a time when Europe is being besieged by forces of withdrawal, fear and mutual exclusion. The Province of the Near East is also part of our Conference. The idea that conflicts of interest can turn into deadly conflicts should never be underestimated.
In the context of your Conference, what is the main challenge (or challenges) you will be facing during the upcoming months?
In this sense, one of the major challenges of our Conference is to continue to build a true union of hearts and minds among us. It is clear that religious or not we are influenced by the socio-political conditions in which we live. This tends to undermine understanding and unity among nations or regions. It also reflects on our relationships between Jesuits. Our mission at the 36th General Congregation was strongly confirmed as a mission of reconciliation. Being credible in this ministry of reconciliation presupposes that we do not stop working to build communion among ourselves. The restructuring of the Provinces, which is also an ongoing exercise in the Conference, can be an opportunity to open our borders and overcome our mutual particularities and fears. We will soon discuss the question of our Formation Centres among major superiors. Making them ever more “European” is also a challenge.
During this Consiglio Allargato we heard many testimonies on critical situations in our world. This contemplation of the world, directly linked to what Saint Ignatius proposes in the Exercises with the contemplation of the Incarnation, is key in this process of discernment of our universal apostolic preferences. It was, Ignatius said, in contemplating the world in its need to be “saved”, that the Trinity made the decision that the Son would become man. I would keep in mind the suburbs of Naples, the exploitation of peoples and nature in the Amazon, the supra-national political and economic stakes that fuel wars everywhere, such as in Syria, the challenges of reconciliation that we hope for, while conflicts, whether open or closed, seem never to end... Let us hope that this contemplation will enable us to make the necessary choices knowing that our “least Society”, while having many resources, can only be humble and count on God’s grace.
Fr. Arturo Sosa opens the Assembly of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials
(Barcelona, 22 September) Father General Arturo Sosa and the President of the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials, Fr. Franck Janin, today opened the Assembly of the Conference of European Provincials. The Conference, which brings together the three assistancies of the Society of Jesus in Europe, is being held at the San Ignacio de Sarriá Retreat House in Barcelona.
The meeting has two main themes of work. In the first place, the apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus at the global level, a work that the Society is doing to identify those themes that should mark the lines of the coming years. Secondly, the reality of Jesuit formation centres in Europe to encourage cooperation among them.
Fr Arturo Sosa and Fr. Franck Janin recalled the relevance of the process in which the Society is immersed at world level in the definition of apostolic preferences. They highlighted the work of discernment that is going to be carried out these days, starting from the work that has already been done in the last few months in the provinces, and that now the provincials are going to analyse taking into account the reality not only of Europe but also of the Society of Jesus throughout the world. This same formula is carried out in the rest of the assistancies of the world.
Fr. General Sosa emphasised the importance of the present moment, an idea that had also appeared in the prayer prior to the beginning of the Assembly, with a quotation from General Congregation 36, which cries out "now is the time" before the challenges we have to face.
The participants will dedicate three days of work to all these questions, from today until next Monday. In addition, the assembly is also an opportunity for assistancies to hold separate meetings. The meeting of Southern Europe took place on the Friday before the Assembly, while the rest of the Assistancies will meet next Wednesday. Thirty-two Jesuits, among them provincials, some representatives of the most numerous provinces, Fr. General and his assistants for Europe, are taking part in this meeting. The day before the beginning of the Assembly, yesterday Friday, the Spanish Fr. Antonio España welcomed all the participants and presented the Province.
It is very comforting to work as a team with the twelve Provincials of CPAL
At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Roberto Jaramillo – Latin America (CPAL)
In your service as CPAL President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation”, of joy?
First of all, the willingness of the majority of the Jesuits of the CPAL to think of themselves part of an Apostolic Body that goes beyond provincial borders, participating in networks, interprovincial, supranational or supra-sectoral initiatives, has been very comforting. Very concretely, in 2018 there is a growing articulation of initiatives and resources from different sectors.
And secondly, it has also been very comforting to work as a team with the twelve Provincials. CPAL is not an intermediate structure between Father General and the provincials, but a way of promoting and advancing in the "co-government" of the region. In this sense, all our assemblies are an occasion to see that in spite of the urgencies which a provincial has to deal with, and which can often be overwhelming, there is a capacity to think about common responsibilities, about what we do together: be it at the interprovincial level, at the level of the Conference and of the universal Society.
During the last months of 2018, we will have two important meetings. It is the first time that all the teams involved in formation will meet: people in charge of the novitiates, the philosophates, the theologates, the directors of candidacy programmes, the instructors of Tertianship, to reflect on the challenges of the formation of Jesuits today and the proper accompaniment. That will be in October, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. The second challenge is to continue - in what corresponds to us - the process of discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences at this year's second assembly in November. It has been a beautiful process, which has involved not only Jesuits but collaborators in general; which mobilizes much of the current apostolic energies and the future of our service.
For all this, we have some advantages because of our relative cultural and linguistic unity and because of the tradition in our Conference. I believe that the Spirit is showing confluences in the discernment of the provinces; we will see what comes out.
What will you mainly remember from your participation at Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relationship with the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?
In the last two years, the presidents of the conferences have had five opportunities to participate in the extended council. It is a demanding, important, profound moment of investment of energies and also of widening our horizon. It is a great experience to be able to participate in this group of about 25 people from different parts of the universal Society, and to see the richness and apostolic vitality of the Society, as well as the possibilities we have to move forward if we make it more and more united and less "distracted." This process of encouraging discernment of universal preferences has been judiciously discerned. All of this has been comforting.
I admire Fr. General's decision to consult the entire Society
At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Father General's Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.
George Pattery – South Asia (JCSA)
In your service as JCSA President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation” or of joy?
The wide spread acceptance and practice of spiritual conversation as a significant tool for discernment in common gives me immense joy. It is making a difference in our meetings of commissions and in community life. Everyone is heard and given significance. Everyone is speaking. In the process, community life gets a new meaning. We learn to discover the interior movements within each one and in the group as a whole. Besides, this tool can be easily adapted to our board meetings and discussions in the commissions. Spiritual conversation is giving us a sense of walking with the Spirit.
In the context of your Conference, what are the main challenges you will be facing during the coming months?
The main challenges can be divided into two parts: ad extra and ad intra.
Ad extra: the growing fundamentalism, narrow nationalism and hate campaign that is being promoted by the present regime in India, is a matter of great concern and challenge. The minorities, especially the Muslims, feel alienated. This is not good for the country. As a Conference, we circulated a statement interrogating the ideology of a Hindu nation and we are engaged in on-going study and reflection. This movement is potentially a divisive force that can rupture the social fabric.
Ad intra: As a Conference, we are still struggling to include all the countries of South Asia in our apostolic planning. Our concern is still predominantly centred on India. Secondly, as a Conference we are still expanding and building institutions without a definite apostolic plan. I do hope that once UAP (universal apostolic preferences) are finalized, we will be able to give better focus. Thirdly, again at the level of the Conference, we have to invest our energy in forming a team of lay collaborators.
What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relation to the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?
The process that we went through and are going through in arriving at UAP is very satisfying. It gives me immense sense of consolation; in these extended consultations, we have been refining our approach; it has been a learning process. Secondly, I admire the decision that Fr. General took to consult the entire Society on UAP. This gives every Jesuit a chance to be part of this process, with a greater sense of universal body for universal mission. There is a sense of moving together as a body with a definite plan.
Ireland - Half an hour with Pope Francis
On Saturday, August 25, during his stay in Ireland, Pope Francis dedicated a few minutes of his busy schedule to meet with his Jesuit companions of the Province of Ireland. Afterwards, Fr Leonard Moloney, provincial, wrote his impressions to Father General.
What struck him was that the Holy Father first apologized for having so little time to spend with the Jesuit group. He had chosen to give longer time, than expected, to meet with victims of abuses committed by clerics. In the presence of the Jesuits, his humanity, his humility, his delight, his ease at being with them were tangible.
We can summarize in this way what the Pope said he expected from the Irish Jesuits:
a) To do what they can to help the Irish Church to heal from the awful crisis of clerical sexual abuse, to seek reparation and to give life back to so many people;
b) To examine their ways of being and proceeding to see how they might better encourage young men to join the Province of Ireland. To this end, he proposed to stress the centrality of the joy of the Gospel and the person of Jesus Christ.
The Pope was also highly critical of clericalism and any form of authoritarianism that might accompany that. He also encouraged his brothers in the priesthood to have a most merciful and pastoral approach to the hearing of confessions, condemning any tendency to ‘judgmentalism’ and prioritizing the presentation of a merciful and loving face of God.
Father Moloney, in his evocation of this unique meeting, underlined how happy Pope Francis had appeared in the presence of his companions and that his ease increased as the meeting evolved. At the request of the Holy Father who, once again, asked to pray for him, all recited a Hail Mary. The Pope then had to leave the room, not without having greeted more personally those in wheelchairs.
In short, Father Provincial concludes, it has been a wonderful opportunity for the Province of Ireland, a real privilege, even if the context of suffering and anger of the victims of abuse and of so many Irish people necessarily weighed on the climate of the day.
A detailed report of the meeting, prepared in four languages, is available from La Civiltà Cattolica: www.laciviltacattolica.it/
At the source of Pope Francis' serenity
During his recent trip to Ireland, Pope Francis had a meeting with several Jesuits of the Irish Province. One of his Jesuit companions asked him: "Holy Father, how do you manage to keep your heart happy with all that is happening to you?” The Pope, after a good moment of reflection, replied that it was undoubtedly a grace from the Lord. But he added that, on a daily basis, for about forty years, he had been saying a prayer of Saint Thomas More and that this helped him a lot.
Here is this prayer, source of serenity and strength for our universal pastor:
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion,
and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body,
and the necessary good humour to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul
that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humour.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.
New wine, old wineskins – Past, present and future
Closing of the Extended General Council
"You don't tear a piece of the future to mend the holes of the present, already old, and preserve the comfort of the known space and the traditional ways of doing."
Father General Arturo Sosa was preaching at the closing of the weeklong Extended Council, which began on 3 September and ended on 7 September at the General Curia, in Rome. In his reflections on the Gospel of the day he said: "Jesus warns us against the temptation to close ourselves in the present for fear of being snatched away by the novelty represented by an uncertain future,"
Referring to the ongoing discernment about universal apostolic preferences of the Society, Father General stated:
"During this week, we have experienced another stage in the long journey of discernment about universal apostolic preferences. We thank the Lord for having accompanied us on this journey and supported us in our search for novelty, so often brought by the freshness and enthusiasm of our companions in the shared mission. We have tried to look at the present human story with the eyes of the Crucified-Resurrected."
In addition, Father General urged the Society to heed the invitation to conversion:
"With the help of those who generously accompanied us in the various sessions - we tried to look at the complex reality of today's world and its tendencies, with the gaze of the crucified-resurrected and our limited reality as a religious and apostolic body. From this gaze the invitation to personal, community and institutional conversion emerged forcefully as a condition for the possibility of serving Christ's mission in the world as part of his sinful Church."
Father Sosa also reminded the Jesuits of the importance of prayer while engaged in the mission of being ministers of reconciliation.
"We have also reiterated the need to heal our wounds and collaborate in the healing of the Church to become ministers of reconciliation in the human story seriously wounded by injustice and sin."
Referring to Saint Paul, Father General urged the congregation to always remember that "We are stewards of the mysteries of God. Attention: stewards, not owners or masters. They are the mysteries of God and must remain so. Paul concludes: what is required of stewards is that each one be faithful. This also requires fasting and prayer, to receive the gift of fidelity in the service of faith and the promotion of justice and reconciliation."
Father Sosa concluded his homily with an expression of gratitude to the Lord.
"With a heart full of gratitude for so many gifts received from the Lord in our journey as an apostolic body and for the graces received during this week, we also turn to Mary and Joseph. They were the couple who knew how to visit the future and prepare new skins to receive the newness of God, so that they may lead us by the hand in the direction of the encounter with Jesus and we can become messengers of hope."
[Original omelia IT]
An actuary invited to meet the Extended General Council
Among the guests invited by Father General to make a presentation to the members of the Extended Council, there is a Jesuit actuary, Fr. Edgar Magallanes, from Venezuela. He kindly shared the context of his contribution.
• Edgar Magallanes, what is the reason for your presence in the General Curia of the Society of Jesus these days?
Father General asked me for an actuarial work that would forecast the number of Jesuits in the Universal Society and in each Conference for the next 30 years as one of the inputs for the discernment of the apostolic preferences of the Society for the next 10 years. I have dedicated myself exclusively to this work for three months, being advised by the actuarial consultant METRICS RISK, C.A. in Venezuela, and counting on the invaluable support of the General Curia.
• Without revealing secrets of the work of the Consiglio allargato, what are the key ideas that you bring to the attention of Father General and his council members?
This actuarial work is based on the study of three basic variables: Entries, Departures and Deaths. Through the evidenced statistics of the years 2001 to 2017 for the Universal Society and for each Conference, the trend of the variables in question is studied and projected. This forecast becomes a tool for discernment and subsequent decision making, especially with respect to the variables Entries and Departures. Departures are a source of concern, especially for the Conference of Latin America.
• As an actuary, what, in your opinion, are the most relevant data on the demographic situation of the Society of Jesus that could guide our apostolic commitments during the coming years?
A first piece of information concerns a certain geographical transition, in the future, since the greatest number of Jesuits are coming from the Conferences of South Asia and Africa; this defines a new face of the Universal Society that more regularly draws on the richness of these regions. A second data concerns a demographic transition in terms of age, in a Society that, although the number of its members is decreasing, has a slightly increasing structure in terms of their age. In other words, the age pyramid of the Universal Society has a slightly broader base; it has more young people than older Jesuits.
• You are Venezuelan, like our Father General; have you had opportunities to work with Fr. Sosa before his election as Superior General? What is the connection between you?
Father Arturo was my superior during my teaching at the Catholic University of Táchira (UCAT). At that time, under the provincialate of Fr. Arturo Peraza, Father General Adolfo Nicolás requested from us to discern the sustainability of the Province of Venezuela and I was asked to do an actuarial study as input for that purpose. Father Sosa helped me with the reading of this first study and how to structure the final report. In addition, we participated in the Inter-Border Apostolic Network - RAIF - and jointly in the Social Observatory of Táchira, at the same University.
Reanimation of the mission of the Society of Jesus
Extended Council meets in Rome – Orientation address from Fr General
The five day meeting of the Extended General Council (Consiglio Allargato) began on Monday September 3rd with a Eucharist with the Jesuit community. The meeting lays the ground for the January 2019 discernment of the Universal Apostolic Preferences. Below are extracts from Fr General’s opening remarks.
• Universal Apostolic Preferences
Father Arturo Sosa spoke first of the Apostolic Preferences. He emphasised that this process, in which the whole Society of Jesus is involved, can lead to a reanimation of the Society; it can also show a special way to live our relationship with the Holy Father. Discernment has already taken place in most provinces and meetings of conferences of provincials will now move the process forward.
Reanimation of the Society
“The first (issue) is the importance that the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAP) can have in the reanimation of the apostolic body of the Society and in the orientation of its apostolic planning in the years to come… [T]here is a great responsibility to find a formulation of UAP that helps as much as possible toward that end”.
Relationship to the Holy Father
“[We] see in the formulation of the apostolic preferences an occasion to live “sacramentally” the connection of the Society of Jesus to the Church through its availability to the Holy Father circa missiones. The process of discernment in common … seeks to deepen our availability for collaboration in the mission of the Church in the way that the Holy Father thinks best. Therefore, I will go to the Holy Father not only seeking confirmation and blessing…but rather to receive from him the accents of the mission of the Society in the next years through apostolic preferences received from his hand.”
Fr. Sosa said that Pope Francis is glad that the process is conceived as one of tension between the future and the present. The Pope also insists on the need to take into account the vulnera-bility of so many persons. While the word ‘reconciliation’ has in some circles been devalued, we need to explain it and use it well. “It is at the center of the message of the Gospel from the beginning of the life of the Church” said Fr Sosa.
“What I will communicate to the whole Society will be the mission we will have received from the Holy Father with a plan for assimilating it” he added. “This follow up can become an effective instrument to achieve the desire expressed by the members of GC 36 to have a central government focused on mission.”
• To contemplate the world through the eyes of the poor
Father Sosa then spoke of “the challenge of recovering the proclamation of the faith and the pastoral accompaniment of human and Christian maturation as the axis of all that we do. We need to propose again in a fresh way the first proclamation of the faith.”
He emphasized the importance of Christian communities and their ability to discern:
“If they are communities able to discern, then they will be communities able to welcome those who are different; to initiate and accompany new ways of giving a word of hope to people who, in the traditional way of focusing the moral teaching of the Church, do not have space, or do not find a place in society but who, as human beings, are also called to live an experience of God. Communities open to the young, to listen to the young. Communities open to promote equality between man and woman, which in contemporary societies still does not exist.”
Still on the issue of the Church, he said,
“The Church today still faces the challenge of incarnating definitively the ecclesiology of Vatican II. To become a Church “People of God”, a Church community of communities, a Church open to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, a Church able to discern … a Church that leaves behind internal power struggles and does not worry about gaining or maintaining social prestige by the standards of those who dominate the world.”
• Forming universal citizens
An inescapable dimension of our apostolic action, in Fr. Sosa’s vision, is to contribute to form-ing universal citizens in this plural and multicultural world.
Fr Sosa emphasized the promotion of a culture of safeguarding of children and vulnerable people.
• Our apostolic poverty
General Congregation 36 insisted on real closeness to the poor. This also implies an austere life on our part said Fr General:
“Although poverty is not an ideal but rather the fruit of structural injustice (sin), one of the greatest signs of in-humanity, it is also the way of redemption if we make ourselves poor as Jesus did.” said Fr Sosa. “I propose to invite the apostolic body of the Society to an examen and discernment of our apostolic and religious life in poverty from which will flow not only orientations for the proposed revision but also effective ways to come clos-er to the life of the poor and to acquire that vision so characteristic of the disciples of Jesus.”
The Extended Council meets from September 3rd to 7th . Fr General’s usual Council is joined in this meeting by the Conference Presidents, the Sector Secretariats and the General Treasurer.
The Extended Council of Father General: on the choice of apostolic preferences for the Society
For several months, Jesuits around the world have been reflecting on what the apostolic preferences of the universal Society might be over the next ten years. In the communities and works, then at the level of the consultations of each of the provinces and finally during meetings of provincials of the different geographical units of the Society, they sought to discern what specific services the Society could render to the Church and to the world in this 21st century. This was in response to an explicit request from the Superior General who took office at the end of 2016. And, at the beginning of 2019, the process must come to an end with the publication, by the General, of documents - proba-bly both in written and audiovisual formats - explaining the fields of interest that will henceforth at-tract the particular attention of the entire "Jesuit galaxy".
This Monday morning, September 3, a new type of meeting opened at the curia of the Society: an "enlarged Council". For five full days, Father General Arturo Sosa will be surrounded not only by his usual counsellors, the regional counsellors and the general counsellors, but also by the presidents of the Jesuit Conferences of the six groups of provinces throughout the world and by some important officers of the government of the Society. In all, 25 Jesuits.
As Fr. José Magadia underlined during the homily at the opening Eucharist he presided, the meeting is an important step towards the defining of a Society of Jesus attuned for our time. If one cannot yet know which preferences the participants will indicate as the most important, the Gospel of the day, in Luke 4, gives clear indications as to the meaning and direction of Jesus' ministry. The "companions of Jesus" have certainly to get their inspiration from Jesus who quoted the prophet Isaiah: "[The Spirit] sent me to bring the Good New to the poor, to announce to the captives their liberation, and to the blind that they will regain their sight, to set free the oppressed and to announce a favourable year granted by the Lord."
Jesuit priest killed in Peru
Spanish Jesuit priest Father Carlos Riudavets Montes working among the indigenous people of Peru’s Amazonia region, was found dead in his school kitchen with his hands tied and stab wounds in his body.
A Spanish Jesuit missionary priest working among the indigenous people in Peru's Amazonia regions has been killed. The body of Father Carlos Riudavets Montes was found Friday morning with his hands tied and several stab wounds lying in the kitchen of the Valentín Salegui school he ran in Yamakai-entsa district in the Amazonian jungle province of Bagua.
The priest’s body was discovered by the school’s cook, Gumercinda Diure, the director of education of the Amazonia region told RPP radio. Diure said it did not appear to be burglary because nothing was stolen.
The Jesuit province of Peru has confirmed the death of Fr. Riudavets. "We express dismay and sorrow at the death of Father Carlos Riudavets, the Jesuit province of Peru said in a statement.
Fr. Victor Hugo Miranda, the spokesperson for the Peruvian Jesuit province told Vatican News that the Jesuits of Peru have expressed their concern and worry at what has happened and are awaiting information from authorities regarding the murder of Fr. Riudavets.
While rejecting all forms of violence, Fr. Miranda said, the Jesuits of Peru are proud of the work in the mission of Fr. Riudavets.
Fr. Riudavets, 73, whose school provides education to the children of the Yamakai-Entsa indigenous group, served in the north central part of the Peruvian Amazon for 38 years.
A native of Sanlúcar de Guadiana (Huelva), in Spain, Fr. Riudavets came to Peru as a young scholastic in the pre-priesthood preparation stage. He studied theology in Lima and had experience in teaching in Piura in the north. After his priestly ordination, he was sent in 1980 to the Jesuit mission in the Vicariate San Francisco Javier del Alto Maranon, an area that includes part of Jaén (in the region of Cajamarca) that is the land of the Awajun-Wampis people.
Fr. Miranda said Fr. Riudavets worked for almost 40 years among the indigenous people as a teacher and then principal and was very close to the people.
Diure said Fr. Riudavets had been threatened by a student who was expelled from the school. Police said they are investigating the killing.
The Peruvian bishops conference has urged the authorities to clarify facts and arrest those responsible.
The Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM) noted that Fr. Riudavest was much loved by the people of the area, especially by the Awajún-Wampis. Fr. Riudavest leaves behind a legacy of commitment, responsibility and love for the indigenous people, REPAM said.
Poverty affects some 35% of the people of the Amazonia region where the murdered priest lived and worked. The region is also hit by a large number of cases of HIV transmission, rape of girls, illegal mining and oil spills that contaminate the water supply to the local communities.
The educational work of the Society of Jesus should be characterized by an Intellectual Apostolate – Fr Sosa
The Superior General of the Jesuits, during his meeting with representatives of the educational works of the Bolivian Province, exhorted that Ignatian pedagogy be understood as a commitment to deepen knowledge in order to be able to influence the transformation of reality and to be effective in the service of others.
Indigenous peoples denounce State abuses and ask the Jesuit General to communicate to the Pope
San Ignacio de Moxos, 16 July 2018 (ANF). - After learning of the concerns and problems faced by the indigenous people of the region of Beni, Father General of the Society of Jesus, Arturo Sosa SJ, promised on Monday to do his utmost so that the indigenous peoples of the world, especially those of the Amazon region, can make their voices heard at the next Pan-Amazonian Synod convened by Pope Francis in October 2019.
Source: Fides News Agency
Learn how to discern the signs of the Lord in order to collaborate in the reconciliation of the world – Fr. Sosa
Father General Arturo Sosa has urged Jesuits and collaborators to be attentive to the signs of the Lord's actions in order to collaborate in the process of reconciliation of men with one another, with humanity, with creation and with God himself. Father General made the remarks during the Eucharist celebrated in the city of Cochabamba
Fr Arturo Sosa, SJ to young Ignatians: “Choosing is an exercise in freedom.”
Sixty-five young people of Ignatian charism from the Jesuit province of Bolivia had a meeting this Sunday with the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa.
Father General asks the media to report with love
Santa Cruz 14 July 2018 - Father General of the Jesuits, Arturo Sosa, in his meeting with social communicators and journalists of the Society of Jesus this Saturday asked them to "report with love" and to always highlight the positive news, which builds, supports and serves as an example.
We cannot stay out of the great dialogues of our time – Father General Arturo Sosa
On July 14, Father General Arturo Sosa had a meeting with journalists and communicators working in the media of the Society of Jesus, as well as other guests representing the Catholic media of the Church in Bolivia.
The Jesuits in Bolivia, presence and integral apostolic work
In the Bolivian Province of the Society of Jesus, 70 Jesuits present in the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Beni Chuquisaca and Oruro, carry out more than fifty social, educational, parish, communication, spiritual and other works.
Father General Arturo Sosa visits the Province of Bolivia
Father Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus will arrive in Bolivia from July 14-19 where he will participate in various meetings in Santa Cruz, San Ignacio de Mojos, Cochabamba and La Paz.
Visit of Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, to Bolivia
Dear Companions and Collaborators in God's Mission:
Receive fraternal greetings and the hope that the joy and strength of the Spirit will fill your daily tasks with both service and family.
Fr. Osvaldo Chirveches, SJ
The Jesuit university should be a source of reconciled life – Fr Arturo Sosa
The universities of the Society of Jesus should be "deeply committed to the processes of reconciliation," says Father General Arturo Sosa. Father General Arturo Sosa said this while addressing the International Association of Jesuit Universities in the Basilica of St Ignatius at Loyola, Spain.
A foundational moment in a foundational place – Loyola, Spain
Father General Arturo Sosa officially signed the charter establishing the International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) on 11 July 2018, at Loyola, Spain. The charter was also signed by the Secretary for Higher Education, Fr Michael Garanzini, and representatives from each of the six Jesuit conferences.
Inauguration of International Association of Jesuit Universities - Bilbao
The International Association of Jesuit Universities (IAJU) was officially inaugurated at Deusto University (Bilbao). The inauguration ceremony was attended by the King of Spain, Felipe VI; the president of the Basque Government, Iñigo Urkullu; and Father General Arturo Sosa SJ. Also present are 300 delegates from Jesuit universities around the world who are currently attending a conference in Bilbao, under the theme "Transforming Our World Together."
The International Jungmann Society meets in Nairobi
The International Jungmann Society for Jesuits and Liturgy held its biannual congress at the Jesuit Mwangaza Spiritual Centre in Nairobi, Kenya, from 25 to 30 June 2018. The congress addressed the link between liturgy and popular devotions. While the liturgy of the Latin Catholic Church is particularly expressed in the celebration of the sacraments, especially the sacrament of the Eucharist, popular devotions are numerous, complex and marked by cultural and geographical diversity. Historical and religious reasons may explain their birth. How can they enrich the liturgy of the Church? What are the opportunities and risks? From Sacrosanctum Concilium (Vatican II) to Evangelii Gaudium (Pope Francis), theologians have approached this issue from different perspectives. For some, devotions speak to the heart of the person, while the liturgy speaks more to the intellect. For others, we should seek to harmonize popular practices with the liturgy of the Church, without forgetting what is stipulated in the last order of Canon Law, namely the salvation of souls, as the supreme law to be observed in any attempt to regulate the life of the Church (Can. 1752).
Discerning Future apostolic preferences based on founding documents
Discerning Universal Apostolic Preferences for the next ten years and a review of key Jesuit sources were major themes of a June meeting at the Jesuit General curia. A full day was spent in a spiritual and reflective reading of the Formula of the Institute - the founding document of the Society of Jesus. Father José de Garcia de Castro, a Spanish Jesuit and an expert in Ignatian Spirituality and in the Jesuit Constitutions, guided a series of meditations and reflections. The Consiglio then connected the concepts and experiences of Ignatius in the 16th century to contemporary times. The Formula of the Institute speaks about ministries of reconciliation as being one of the foundational themes; and indeed the word ‘reconciliation' has been a major focus of last number of General Congregations.
Jesuits in the New Province of Canada: not administrators, not dreamers, but committed "collaborators"
Church of the Gesù, Montréal, May 27, 2018
Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, has already spent more than a week in Ca-na-da. After Toronto and Midland, he met for a few days with the provincial superiors of Canada and the United States in Montreal. On Friday, May 25, he went to Quebec City, stopping along the way at the Jesuit infirmary in Richelieu, in the enchanting setting of the banks of the Richelieu River. The infirmary is under the responsibility of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate; Oblates and Jesuits, therefore, share the facilities but also part of their community life.
Quebec - Haiti: a Jesuit Connection (A visit under the signs of rootedness and openness to the world)
It was in Quebec City that the French Jesuits of the 17th century established the "base camp" for their mission of evangelization in North America. It was in the footsteps of these pioneers that Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, had a very busy day in the same city of Quebec on Saturday, May 26.
Fr General Celebrates Pentecost at the Martyrs' Shrine in Canada
Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, capped off the second day of his trip to Canada with a visit to Martyrs' Shrine in Midland, Ontario, which was constructed in 1926 in honor of six Jesuit and two lay martyrs from the 17th-century missions along the Wye River.
“Companions with Others in a Mission of Reconciliation and Justice"
Meeting with Jesuits in Formation is First Stop of Fr. Arturo Sosa's 12-Day Canadian Visit
(Toronto, Saturday, May 19, 2018) -- On day one of his first official visit to Canada since being elected Superior General of the Jesuits in late 2016, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., started his agenda-packed day at Regis College in Toronto doing something he loves: meeting Jesuits in formation. The 40 men, called Jesuit scholastics, are preparing for the priesthood, a process that can take anywhere from 8-12 years.
“Ask that the Society may be able to discern” – Fr Arturo Sosa
Father General, Arturo Sosa, visited the Jesuit community of Alcalá de Henares this Monday, May 14, accompanied by the Provincial, Antonio España, the Regional Assistant for Southern Europe, Joaquín Barrero, and the Delegate for the Third Age, Cipriano Díaz. Fr Sosa arrived at Colegio San Ignacio de Loyola, where the community is located, after meeting with the Bishop of the Diocese of Alcalá de Henares, Juan Antonio Reig Pla.
On his arrival, Father General was received by Rafael Mateos, superior of the community. Together they went to the infirmary, where they greeted the Jesuits of this community individually. At noon, Fr. Sosa presided at the Eucharist on the feast of St. Matthias. In his homily, he urged us to follow the example of the Apostle by accepting "the Lord's call with gratitude". He also recalled the treatment of Jesuits as "friends in the Lord to the extent that we are friends of the Lord. Without him we can do nothing." Fr Sosa also expressed his gratitude by emphasizing that "friendship is giving one's life, and in this community there are many lives given to the Lord."
Father General Arturo Sosa highlighted the figure of Pedro Arrupe as an example of someone who gave his life to the Lord and asked those present to "put Arrupe in their prayers and ask for his beatification". He also asked for prayer for the Society: "In any discernment, it is necessary to make clear how one has to make the decision. Therefore, pray to help us so that the Society may be able to discern."
After Mass, Father General went to the Historical Archives of the Province of Spain on a visit led by Brother Wenceslao Soto, director of the Archives, together with the Jesuits Amancio Arnáiz and Juan Andrés Llauger who work there. Among others, Br Soto introduced Father Sosa to some of the most valuable documents in the archive, such as a facsimile edition of Elizabeth the Catholic's will, a late 14th century scroll or a royal provision of Juana ‘la Loca'. Fr Sosa was particularly interested in a document signed in Caracas in 1729 and several letters from the Jesuit Cristóbal Ferreira, whose life was narrated in the film Silence.
Father General shared lunch with the community, thus ending his visit to the Province of Spain which began on Friday with the meeting of the superiors of the Jesuit communities. In this trip, Fr Sosa has had meetings with lay people and Jesuits from the PAL of Madrid, members of the executive teams of the Education Sector and has visited Villagarcía and Valladolid to finish in Alcalá de Henares. He will soon return to Spain for the international meeting of Jesuit universities, which will take place from July 8 to 12 in Bilbao and Loyola; he will also visit Catalonia from September 21 to 27 for the meetings of Jesuits from Europe.
"We collaborate" rather than "they collaborate" – Fr. Arturo Sosa
Father General's visit to the PAL of Valladolid, Villagarcía y León began in the infirmary of Villagarcía de Campos on Ascension Sunday. Accompanied by the Provincial of Spain, Antonio España, the Regional Assistant of Southern Europe, Joaquín Barrero, the Delegate for the Elderly, Cipriano Díaz, and the Delegate of the PAL, Gerardo Villar, he toured the house, greeting the residents and the staff who take care of the elderly. A meeting of friendship, between colleagues, that at 12h. was extended to more Jesuits, more than a hundred, already in the recently restored Capilla del Cristo (Chapel of Christ). He presented himself as the Jesuit admired and grateful to know Villagarcía. "A complete myth", he said, because of all the news of the novitiate and of his practices known through the Spanish Jesuits who arrived in Venezuela, his native country. He commented that when he joined the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits had only been in Venezuela for 50 years and 40 percent of his companions were Spanish. However, they achieved a good transition thanks to their inculturation from which they transmitted their passion for Jesus.
The core of Arturo Sosa's talk came from the 36th General Congregation, where he was elected to succeed Fr Adolfo Nicolás in 2016 and whose decrees mark the future of the Jesuit vocation towards "reconciliation". With all that complexity of a wounded, moving and unequal world, healing only exists if there is justice, mercy and forgiveness. For Sosa, the sense of reconciliation has been present in the core of the Society since previous congregations, although it has been expressed from other dimensions such as faith and justice, dialogue between cultures and religions. The challenge now is that this future is built in partnership with others. "GC36 paid more attention to the way we do things than to what we do," he explained, and among the ways we do things, he pointed out the first: discernment, a first way that goes hand in hand with apostolic planning "to make things better, more and better" and work with others. "The mission of the Society of Jesus is not of the Society, it is of the Church, because since we were born, we were born to serve the Church. He invited the Jesuits to change "the mentality" and think more of "we collaborate" than "they collaborate". And he added: "to share mission even with those of us who do not share the faith but share the mission".
Arturo Sosa also reviewed the three mandates of GC36 to the Jesuits: the in-depth review of apostolic preferences with the greater participation of the Jesuits. The work will last 10 years, and the time will be devoted to planning how they will be carried out. The second mandate is to review the poverty statute and the rules for the administration of temporary goods. "It puts us in an important spiritual situation because it puts us in front of one of the thorniest issues like poverty." He recalled how the first Jesuits lived the poverty from which the Society of Jesus was born and the vow of the Jesuits. "The image we give is not that we live poorly. Objectively, in most cases, as a body, our image is too far from living in poverty," he acknowledged. For Fr Sosa, the important thing in the future is to recognize the way to be closer to Jesus who became incarnate in humanity "poor among the poor". Finally, the third mandate is the promotion of a culture of safeguarding children and vulnerable persons. An ambitious mandate because the contribution would be that of social transformation through justice and reconciliation. "A complex job that won't last 10 years but generations."
"En Todo Amar y Servir Foundation" in the Province of Chile
Why not invest one peso to get four?
From May 1 to 5, the Province of Chile, through the En Todo Amar y Servir Foundation, offered a workshop to the provinces of the CPAL interested in improving their levels of fundraising through donations. The offices in Mexico, Paraguay and Venezuela participated. The workshop was held at the spirituality centre in the municipality of Padre Hurtado, in the metropolitan area of Santiago.
Background of this workshop
What is the Membership Plan?
A successful proposal in a difficult context. Conditions for good results.
A look ahead
Spain: 700 young people at MAG+S Easter meetings
The pastoral Ministry of the Province of Spain held 10 Easter meetings for 700 young people. The meetings were in many places and formats, but with the same spirit: contemplate and share, to accompany and serve Jesus and others. For a young person who wants to follow Jesus in a demanding and hurried world, living Easter authentically is a unique and central occasion in his journey of faith. Easter has moments of prayer and personal accompaniment, time to share in groups and celebrations with the liturgy of the paschal triduum.
Belgium: Communication is in our DNA
Thirty-four Jesuits and collaborators from nineteen countries around Europe and further afield held their annual communication meeting in Brussels last week. The JesWeb group was started in 2005 by a group of Jesuits and co-workers responsible for maintaining province websites. The meeting was launched with a personal video message of encouragement from Father General Arturo Sosa SJ, who reminded delegates that "for Saint Ignatius communications was almost an obsession. It is in our DNA.... Our mission is to ‘go out to the whole world and proclaim the Good News'". Read more...
CPAL creates platform for participation in Youth Synod 2018
The Youth and Vocation Ministry Network of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials of Latin America (CPAL) is developing a web-based platform that will provide an avenue for young people to actively follow the activities of the Synod on the Youth in Rome, in October 2018. The platform, available at https://escuchando.lat/, will be a listening post for young people of Latin America and the Caribbean during this time of preparation and a place for participation during the Synod itself. Read more (in Spanish)...
New statutes for the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network
With the encouragement of Father Adolfo Nicolás, the process of recreating the Apostleship of Prayer proceeded for several years. On April 18, 2018, Bishop Angelo Becciu, Substitute for General Affairs to the Vatican Secretary of State, informed Father General Arturo Sosa that on March 27, 2018, the Holy Father established the Pope's World Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer) as a pontifical work, with its headquarters in the Vatican City State, and approved its new statutes. The various Provinces and Regions of the Society of Jesus will continue to support the "Pope's World Network of Prayer" so that the Gospel may grow in the lives of the men and women of our time.
Kenya: Linking Africa and Europe in Nairobi
On the occasion of the plenary meeting of the JESAM (April 26-28) - the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar - in Nairobi, Fr. Franck Janin (President JCEP) - the Jesuit Conference of European Provincials - and Fr. Johan Verschueren (ELC) participated on April 24 at the "Commissio mixta", the six monthly joint meeting of representatives of both Jesuit Conferences. Previous meeting was last October in Ludwigshafen (GER). Actually the "commissio mixta" is composed by the presidents of the Conferences, accompanied by one member of the Conferences.
Fr Sosa visits restored Chapel of "Silk Weavers" in Venice (Italy)
On Wednesday, 11 April 2018, Father General Arturo Sosa visited Venice to participate in the inauguration of the restored Chapel of Silk Weavers (Cappella dei Tessitori di seta) in the Church of the Assumption. The restoration of the chapel was completed with the help of the Swiss Foundation Pro-Venice. Father General was accompanied by Father Joachin Barrero, Regional Assistant for Southern Europe Assistancy, as well as Father Gianfranco Matarazzo, provincial of the Euro-Mediterranean Province of the Society of Jesus. Civic authorities of the City of Venice also participated in the ceremony.
Although the Society no longer has a community in Venice, Father General noted that the city "remains a great light for the Jesuits and their history, which was lit when the first ten companions, most of whom had completed their studies at the Sorbonne in Parish, gathered there in 1537 with the intention of embarking for the Holy Land and beginning a full apostolic life."
The Venetian stay of the first companions was a time of discernment, of searching for the will of the Lord, so that they could make a decision about their future. Even today, the Venetian period remains for the Jesuits a heritage of lived history, an essential memory. General Congregation 36 recalled the importance of the Venetian period of the Society by saying of the first companions, that "As they discerned new direction for their lives, they held fast to what they had already found to be life-giving: sharing their lives together as friends in the Lord; living very close to the lives of the poor; and preaching the Gospel with joy." (GC 36, D.1 n4).
Inauguration of the Jubilee Year of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga
Father General Arturo Sosa inaugurated the Jubilee Year of Saint Aloysius Gonzaga at the Church of Saint Ignatius in Rome, on 9 March. About 100 priests concelebrated with Father General, and a large congregation participated in the Mass. The Aloysian Jubilee Year will run from 9 March 2018 to 9 March 2019.
Aloysius Gonzaga (1568-1591) gave up a privileged life and a princely inheritance to live the vows of religious life even to the point of contracting the plague because of his selfless care for people already sick with it. He was the eldest son of the Marquis of Castiglione, and heir to the family title. The Gonzagas were known as patrons of Renaissance artists, and they ruled what amounted to a kingdom.
Below is Father General's homily at the inauguration of the Aloysian Jubilee Year.
Fr Arturo Sosa, S.I.
The youthfulness of Saint Louis Gonzaga is not only a matter of age. It is youth that comes from freedom, the freedom to discern to make decisions in harmony with God's plan, and the willingness to lead a life consistent with the choice made. For this reason, we welcome the happy coincidence of the dates of the Aloysian Jubilee Year, the death of Stanislao Kostka, the Synod on youth, faith and vocational discernment, and the World Youth Day.
The freedom that makes us young people is the result of the liberation that humanity receives from the Incarnation and Resurrection of Jesus. Jesus, the Son, who became one of us, opens the way to liberation, the fruit of love that gives life, because we all have life in abundance. The encounter of every human being with Jesus frees him from everything that prevents him from following the path of the gift of love. The encounter with Jesus changes our way of seeing, what our narrow gaze has imposed upon us.
Liberation in Christ invites us to take the paths we have never imagined before. Roads that we do not know where they will lead us; but it is not necessary to know because this acquired freedom derives from faith, it derives from trust placed only in God, who will guide us with his Holy Spirit. Freedom consists in maintaining our entire trust in God alone, and in letting ourselves be guided towards Him along the paths that he wants to reveal to us at the time.
From the moment he was liberated in Christ, Saint Paul can affirm: I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ--the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. (Phil. 3:8-9)
To make oneself young, leaving infancy behind, means to go out of oneself, to accept that the centre of real life lies outside of us, in the love that we have received. The experience of being loved is the source of the liberation process, with which it is possible to make fundamental decisions. To make an election, in the language of Ignatian spirituality. Young people dream of a different life, better than the one they know around them. Inner freedom awakens the desire to contribute to making this better life real, and leads to the need to choose a way to do so.
Youthfulness is also the ability to discern in such a way as to find, in one's inner movements and in the experiences of one's own history, how the Lord continues to act in the world and confirms the call to follow him. The call to help reconcile human beings with one another, and to take care of our common home, this universe in which we live with such neglect, and also with Him, our creator.
Discernment demands that we live free from the rules that impose offerings and sacrifices on us in the name of God. That we follow love as the only way of true life and the only commandment, as the scribe who asks Jesus to understand well: "Well said, teacher," the man replied. "You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices." (Mk 12:32-33). This is what Ignatius calls indifference to any social, family or other kind of pressure that limits the willingness to set out on the road, having as sole guide the Holy Spirit.
Freeing oneself is a process of conversion, through which the experience of the Father's merciful love allows the forgiven sinner to prepare oneself to love one's neighbour as oneself, to listen to the Son's call to offer oneself, to contribute to the proclamation of the Good News of the Gospel. Freedom, experienced as indifference, brings us closer to others, to those who are different, to those who are most in need... to all those who are discarded by a sin that has become a social structure of exclusion. By approaching them as fruit of having experienced the closeness of the Lord, we make ourselves close and ready to be sent, so that we may in all things love and serve.
Young people also have enthusiasm and a strong desire to dedicate themselves totally to accomplishing what has been chosen. For the young man, the liberating experience of mercy, which frees him, is not enough. The conversion that leads him to choose to follow Christ and be sent is not enough. The young man puts all his energy into making real what he has dreamed, desired and decided to do. The young man, as the verse of the Psalm says, which composes the antiphon of today's Eucharist, is the one who has innocent hands and pure heart: he will ascend to the mountain of the Lord, and will remain in his holy place. Innocent hands and pure hearts are the fruit of conversion, which leads to freedom and the desire to love and serve in everything. It is to set out on the road and climb to the mountain of the Lord, collaborating with his mission of reconciliation in this world.
The Eucharist that we celebrate to start this Jubilee Year of St. Aloysius Gonzaga is a good opportunity to ask the Lord for the grace of this youth, with which our heart remains in tune with His plan for the liberation of humanity, and we give ourselves totally to make it possible.
Translated from Italian
Relate mission of CVX-CLC to key elements of Vatican II – Fr Sosa
Father General Arturo Sosa has urged members of Christian Life Community (CLC) define the mission of the movement in relation to the key elements of the Second Vatican Council. He said this when he met with members of the World Executive Council of Christian Life Community at the Jesuit General Curia in Rome on 4 March 2018. Father Sosa noted that the Second Vatican Council took seriously the mission of the laity in the Church.
Father General also reminded the CLC members of the importance of involving the youth in the mission of the movement. Youths will ensure continuity of the mission of community in different parts of the world. He said the members of CLC were apostles within the Church, sent out on mission. As such, their mission should also include reaching the youth, who in recent years are being recognised as a very important group within the Christian family.
Members of the World Executive Council of Christian Life Community were in Rome to attend a weeklong meeting, which was also a preparatory meeting for the CLC World Assembly that will take place in July 2018 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Father General visits the South Asia Conference
Father General is visiting the Jesuit Conference of South Asia (16 February - 3 March). He will attend the meeting of South Asia provincials in Sri Lanka; visit the Jesuits and works of the Society in the Jesuit Province of Sri Lanka, and then later travel to India to visit the Jesuits and works of the Society in Karnataka Province. He is accompanied on the trip by Fr Victor Assouad, the Assistant for Western Europe, as well as the two Assistants for South Asia, Frs Lisbert D'Souza and Vernon D'Cunha.
The Lord calls us to a fundamental conversion – Fr Benoit Malvaux, SJ
The General Curia community began the Lenten journey with Mass presided by Fr Benoit Malvaux, the Society's General Procurator. In his homily, Fr Malvaux invited the community to reflect on the three invitations of Jesus in the Gospel: Almsgiving, Prayer, and Fasting. Fr Malvaux noted that these invitations correspond to three important axes in our lives: "Almsgiving refers to our attitude towards others, prayer to our attitude to God and fasting to our attitude towards ourselves and material goods. Considered in this way, the Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the way we live these important dimensions of our lives."
Below is Fr Benoit Malvaux' homily in full:
Ash Wednesday Homily
The readings we have just heard are well known to you. We hear them every year during the Ash Wednesday Mass. The disadvantage of such a situation, especially if we have been participating in this Mass regularly for years or decades, is that these readings tell us nothing more. We already know that the Gospel offers us to pray, fast and give alms in secret. It is familiar music, a routine. And so we do not allow ourselves to be challenged any more.
I think it would be a real pity to reason this way. In fact, the Word of God has such a wealth that it is always possible to allow oneself to be challenged by it, to find a new teaching. It is in this perspective that I would like to say a word on today's readings. I will not pretend to say anything new here, but at least suggest some trajectories that may perhaps provoke new answers in us.
Obviously, today's three readings invite us to a conversion: to return to the Lord with all our heart, as the first reading says; or to let ourselves be reconciled with God, as the second proposes to us. Indeed, the time of Lent, which is a time of preparation to celebrate the mystery of the Resurrection and therefore of the presence of the Risen Jesus in our lives, can be an excellent opportunity to take stock of our life, to ask ourselves: how could I live more in conformity with the message of Jesus?
In the Gospel, Jesus proposes three interesting paths. I think it is important that we do not consider them too narrowly. In fact, we could understand this Gospel literally. Is Jesus talking to us about almsgiving? This is the money we can give to people who ask for alms, and we know that there are many of them in Rome. Telling us about prayer? It is about Our Father, the Hail Mary and other formulas that we use when we want to speak to God. Telling us about fasting? It is the fact of refraining from certain foods, such as meat, or even skipping a meal, if we have the strength. If we reflect on the possibility of conversion with this literal understanding of the Gospel, we can decide for example to give more coins during Lent to the beggar at the door of the church, to recite an extra decade of the rosary in the evening and not to eat chocolate on Fridays.
This kind of resolution is certainly not contrary to the Gospel, but the risk would then be to think that it is enough to make small formal changes to convert. Well, I think the Lord calls us here to a more fundamental conversion.
Considering today's Gospel in this perspective, I was struck by the fact that the three attitudes that Jesus proposes correspond to three great axes of our lives. Almsgiving refers to our attitude towards others, prayer to our attitude to God and fasting to our attitude towards ourselves and material goods. Considered in this way, the Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the way we live these important dimensions of our lives.
For example, reflecting on almsgiving, we might ask ourselves: what place do my relatives, friends, colleagues and confreres occupy in my life? Do I really dedicate myself to their time, attention, listening? Or am I so worried about myself that I listen to them with a distracted ear, without worrying about what they are experiencing?
Reflecting on prayer, we might ask ourselves: what place do I give to God in my life? Do I really involve Him in what I live, asking for the help of his Spirit before making an important decision, thanking him for what happens beautifully in my life, offering him even the most difficult moments? Or do I consecrate to Him a few minutes a day with a formal prayer and I live all the rest of the time as if God wasn't there?
Reflecting on fasting, we might ask ourselves: what place do material goods occupy in my life? Are they means to help me live, love God and our brothers and sisters? Or have they taken on such an importance in my life that I have become a slave to them, do I suffer from addiction of excessive dependence on them, and this prevents me from fully living the love to which God calls me?
As I said at the beginning, these are some paths that I propose to you at the beginning of this Lent. Everyone is, of course, free to do what he thinks is good for him, to prepare for Easter, but if we have the opportunity to take at least a moment to reflect on one or the other of these fundamental questions, and to see how to grow in this regard, I think we will have make good use of the opportunity for conversion that the time of Lent offers us.
The Society across the world is facing key choices – Fr Arturo Sosa
Twenty-eight Jesuits and collaborators from the six conferences are currently at the General Curia in Rome to attend a workshop on Apostolic Discernment in Common. The workshop, which is organised by the office of the General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning, Fr John Dardis, runs from 6 - 9 February.
Opening the workshop, Father General noted that the Society is a multicultural apostolic body journeying in fulfilment of her mission in the Church. "We want to walk together, religious and lay people, to incarnate the Church-people-of-God (Vatican II). The Society across the world is facing key choices. There are many calls. And yet, we Jesuits and our mission partners cannot keep reaching out to an indefinite number of needs. We have to make choices. That is why discernment in common is urgently needed."
Father General has therefore called on the workshop to "come up with key principles, tools and methodologies for discernment in common." He acknowledged that it is an enormous task, nevertheless, reminded the participants "if we have that common base, that common foundation, we can move forward."
I find myself in the hands of God - Pedro Arrupe, SJ (1907-1991)
Pedro Arrupe, SJ, was the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, leading the Society in the realities of serving the Church and people in the post-Vatican II world. Arrupe was a man of great spiritual depth who was committed to justice.Read more...
Haiti: International Jesuit solidarity in action
A fruit of the 36th General Congregation
As the 36th General Congregation of Jesuits opened its doors in Rome at the beginning of October 2016, one of the worst hurricanes in recent decades hit much of Haiti. Hundreds of deaths, thousands of homeless, hectares and hectares of crops lost.
The members of the Congregation, through prayer, joined the stricken populations and their Jesuit confreres working in Haiti. Prayer, as so many times, has led to action. While the Congregation’s attention was focused in the days following the hurricane on the election of a new Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, once in office the new superior remembered Haiti.
After consulting with his advisors and Fr. Jean-Marc Biron, provincial superior of French Canada and Haiti, he chose, among the first concrete gestures that would mark his generalate, to launch an appeal, before all the delegates, for Haiti. More specifically, after being informed of proposals made by the Haitian Jesuits who had visited the affected areas, he proposed that the universal Society participate in a project to build simple but solid houses for a number of the poorest families who had lost their homes.
A generous response
And the call was heard: from all over the world Jesuit Provinces, including those with very limited resources, made their contributions. Approximately one million dollars (USD) was raised and the proposal of the Haitian Jesuits was clarified: 75 houses would be built in severely affected communities. Every family would be involved in the construction process. It was a project involving the whole community of the beneficiary villages: the mayor and the parish priest participated actively. It all started in May 2017 under the supervision of a construction engineer from the Jesuit Development Bureau of Haiti, represented by Jean Thomas Dabady, SJ, and with the administrative assistance of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.
Results: what is done, what remains to be done
The keys of the first 15 houses were given to the beneficiary families in November 2017 in the municipality of Roseaux. The ceremony was held in the presence of Bishop Gontrand Décoste, SJ. Since December, 30 more houses are under construction, partly in Roseaux and partly in Desormeaux. Then it will be the last phase, in the Port-Salut region, in Cécé and Bergerac. In Haiti, construction materials are not always available, roads to transport them to the affected areas are deteriorated, and few skilled workers are available.
But the concrete participation of the Jesuits, in a context of international solidarity, is a strong sign of the involvement of the Society of Jesus, which is close to the poorest. It should be added that in addition to building housing, the project includes an important component of psychosocial support, prevention in the area of health, healing and support of people traumatised by the passage of Hurricane Matthew. All this illustrates a Jesuit “way of proceeding” that manifests a committed faith, a faith that builds community, a faith that promotes justice.
Protecting the Least Among Us: A statement of USA Jesuits on Abortion
January 22 will mark 45 years since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in the United States, and today the Society of Jesus in the U.S. is asking Jesuits and their collaborators to continue to stand in solidarity with the unborn and with mothers in difficult situations.
"Protecting the Least Among Us: A Statement of the Society of Jesus in the United States on Abortion" reiterates the Jesuits' support for the unborn, calling abortion "part of the massive injustices in our society."
"A spirit of callous disregard for life shows itself in direct assaults on human life such as abortion and capital punishment. ... We also seek justice in ensuring that pregnant women and mothers have the resources they need to care for their children and live full lives."
Father Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S., says, "From the beginning, St. Ignatius founded the Jesuits for the promotion of the faith and the progress of souls in the teachings of Christ. As Jesuits, we continue this mission, to accompany the child in the womb and the community into which each one of us has been born."
The statement comes one day before members of the Ignatian family, including many students at Jesuit high schools and colleges, will gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual Jesuit Mass for Life. Noting that the work to end abortion requires not just a change in policy, but a change in culture, it says, "We see great hope in the large number of individuals, especially young Americans, who are active in pro-life efforts."
In addition to calling for Jesuits to stand in solidarity with the unborn - the "least of our brothers and sisters" (Matthew 25:40) - through prayer and political activism, the statement asks Jesuits to deepen their accompaniment with women who have had an abortion.
Jesuits and their colleagues must "find ever new and creative ways to bring the protection of the unborn and solidarity with mothers in difficult situations into whatever mission they serve."
To read the full statement, available in English and Spanish, click here.
Jesuits issue open letter denouncing ‘grave threats’ against Honduran priest
The conference of Jesuit provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean have released an open letter to the international community defending Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, commonly known as "Padre Melo," against "grave threats," saying they hold Honduran president "Juan Orlando Hernández and his allies responsible for the safety and physical and moral well-being" of Father Moreno and eight other regional leaders.
Solemnity of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (January 3)
Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus
The foundational experience which led Ignatius and his companions to call themselves "Company (Society) of Jesus" is traced back to the vision at La Storta.
Father General presides at Final Vows
On 8 December 2017, Father General Arturo Sosa presided the Mass of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady at the Church of the Gesù in Rome.
During the Mass, Father General received the final vows in the Society of Father Stefano Del Bove of the Euro-Mediterranean Province (EUM), and Father Paul Rolphy Pinto of Gujarat Province (GUJ).
The General Curia is 90 years old
On 8 December 2017, the Jesuit General Curia marked 90 years of presence at the current location on Borgo Santo Spirito 4, close to the Vatican. Here is an entry from the annals of the house for 8 December 1927:
On December 8, Father General (Wlodimir Ledochowski) wished to bless the new Curia under the auspices of the Immaculate Virgin, according to the formula of the Roman Ritual "pro nova domo benedicenda". The ceremony took place this way:
Starting from the lower floors, Father General gradually ascended to the higher floors. All the Fathers and Brothers of each floor, after having received the blessing, also went up following Father General upstairs.
On reaching the top floor, in front of the image of the Sacred Heart, placed at the head of the staircase, the consecration of the whole religious family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was solemnly renewed.
Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library
Father General Arturo Sosa has named the library of the Society at the General Curia in Rome, the "Peter-Hans Kolvenbach Library". This becomes the first Jesuit institution named after the 29th Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Father Kolvenbach (30/11/1928-26/11/2016) was an avid user of the library throughout his stay at the General Curia. The renamed library was inaugurated on 24 November 2017.
The General Curia has a great treasure with regard to the wealth of books it has been collecting, over the years, in two large libraries. The first is the so-called "Father General's Library" composed of books written by the Jesuits around the world on a variety of subjects. Practica Quaedam (handbook of the Society) asks the Socii to be attentive to the publications in the respective Provinces and to send to Father General, two copies of books written by Ours. One of these copies is passed to "Father General's Library", while the second copy is intended for the second library; the "Historical Library" that, formerly, was the Library of the House of Writers. This library contains books written by Jesuits and non-Jesuits, which have to do with any aspect that refers to the Society of Jesus, whether about its members, apostolic works, their history or their spirituality.
From its inception, the Historical Library was under the responsibility of the Director of the Historical Archives. However, in 2015, Father Adolfo Nicolás, then Superior General of the Society, wanted the two libraries to be integrated under the direction of a single Director. From then on, the staff of the two libraries embarked on the project of unifying the two libraries. The process involved various activities. First, the space where Father General's Library was operating from needed to be modernised. Fifty years had passed without good maintenance works being done on the walls, humidity levels, lighting, etc. In response to the governmental requirements for buildings safety, this work was incorporated in the remodelling that was taking place in the entire General Curia. These works were completed by the beginning of October 2017 and by the end of the same month, the books that had been kept for 6 months in a warehouse on the outskirts of Rome were returned to their shelves.
Secondly, a selection of duplicate books, as well as of books that did not match the purpose of the library, was made. These were exhibited and made available during General Congregation 36. A significant number of books that were requested by provincials during GC 36 for their province libraries have since been shipped. This has freed up more space in the library, allowing for a reorganization in the placement of books and magazines that are part of our bibliographic wealth.
Thirdly, the integration of the cataloguing of the books of the two libraries under the CEI-BIB, a system of the Italian Episcopal Conference, has continued with greater intensity, allowing us to network with multiple libraries in Rome and of Italy in general. For this work, we have hired extra staff, thanks to the help obtained from the same CEI and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage of the Italian Government.
Finally, in addition to acquiring modern shelving for the magazine section, a reading room has been created for researchers. Father General Arturo Sosa has enthusiastically accepted and supported the idea of opening the library to the general public.
The Church was born to communicate the good news
Father General Arturo Sosa says, "The church was born to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ." In a video message to Jesuits and collaborators working in communications offices of the Latin American Jesuit provinces, Father Sosa noted that the Society of Jesus, as part of the Church, is called to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ who gave his life to break what divides us. In Christ, "the barrier of hatred that leads to injustice is broken. The barrier, which produces poverty, exploitation, discrimination, which leads us to wars, that's what Jesus breaks from the cross and becomes the bridge that unites us and that communicates to us the true humanity that is based on the love of God. That is what we want to communicate. That reconciliation of Jesus in us and among us." Click to watch video
New Jesuit provincials concelebrate Mass with the Holy Father
Twelve new Jesuit provincials from around the world recently gathered at the General Curia for a colloquium for new provincials. On Monday, November 13, the provincials concelebrated the Eucharist with the Pope Francis at his residence of Santa Marta in the Vatican. In his homily on the day's gospel, the Pope reminded the congregation of the dangers of scandalizing others. "So, be careful not to scandalize. Scandal is evil, because scandal wounds - it wounds God's People where they are most vulnerable, and strikes the People of God where they are weakest - and many times, the wounds inflicted by scandal are borne by the faithful throughout their lives. Not only does it do harm: scandal is capable of murder - of killing hopes, killing dreams, killing families, killing so many hearts."
Francis Xavier relic arm set for Canadian tour
The relic arm of Saint Francis Xavier, which is kept at the Church of the Gesù in Rome, is set for a month-long, 14-city pilgrimage tour of Canada, beginning with Catholic Christian Outreach's (CCO) Rise Up conference in Ottawa December 28-January 1. A Canadian Jesuit, Fr. Michael F. Kolarcik, who is rector of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, will accompany the relic to Canada after Christmas and Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa will accompany it back to Rome in February. Saint Francis Xavier is considered the greatest evangelist in the Church since Saint Paul. His body, considered incorrupt, is at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in Goa, India, though his arm was brought to the Church of the Gesù, Jesuit's mother church in Rome. Read more...
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.
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