Service of Faith
History and Mission of the Secretariat for the Service of Faith
General Congregation 35, Decree 5, “Governance at the Service of the Universal Mission,” mandated the General of the Society to “…undertake a comprehensive review of the central governance of the Society, with a view to re-organization for the service of mission.” As that decree makes clear, the purpose of such a review is “…the provision of the resources and staff needed to handle the ordinary governance of the Society, while allowing the General the opportunity to do comprehensive apostolic planning and to animate the whole body of the Society” (#10 ).
In his letter to the whole Society of February 25, 2011, entitled “Changes in the Central Government of the Society,” Fr. Adolfo Nicolas announced the first steps of re-organization, among which was the restructuring of the Secretariats based at the Curia. Whereas the secretariats had been organized according to apostolic sectors, Fr. Nicolas announced a new structure for the secretariats, which would reflect better the understanding and formulation of Jesuit mission that emerged from CG 35. There would now be three “Core Secretariats,” whose responsibilities correspond to the most important dimensions of our mission which should be present in all apostolic sectors: The Secretariat for the Service of Faith, the Secretariat for the Promotion of Justice and Ecology, and the Secretariat for Collaboration.
Fr. Blaszczak with Sonia Berri
On June 20, 2011 Fr. Nicolas appointed Fr. Gerald Roman Blaszczak, S.J. to serve as Secretary for the Service of Faith. Fr. Blaszczak assumed his responsibilities on Nov. 1, 2011.
The Secretary for the Service of Faith has the following responsibilities:
- As Advisor to Fr. General on the main issues that the Society must address in the Service of Faith. He should be conversant with the challenges the Society is facing in its service of faith in the different regions of the world. He should gather information from the Regional Assistants and from the Conference Coordinators, and through study, consultation and visits constantly update himself so that he can advise Fr. General and his Council on the obstacles we are encountering and the best practices that are emerging.
- As Animator of the Service of Faith as a Dimension of all our Apostolates. Working in collaboration with the Curia Secretaries, he should help define and animate the service of faith in all sectors. Together, they should promote dialogue and reflection on the relationship between religion and culture, Church and Society, faith and reason in all our ministries.
- As Coordinator of Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality. At the level of the Conferences, he should encourage Jesuits and our co-workers who labor in these sectors to respond to their mission in a manner that is well-planned, relevant to the contemporary situation, and in coordination with other apostolic sectors. He should promote the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises, and support the Conference coordinators of Ignatian Spirituality.
- As a Member of the Committee for Mission. He should participate in the work of this “small commission with the General Council to discuss, discern and propose matters involving our common mission” (“Changes in Central Government,” 2011).
- As Coordinator of the Secretariat for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Relations.