One month into General Congregation 36, the delegates have elected four Assistants ad Providentiam – Fr Fratern Masawe, Fr Vernon D’Cunha, Fr Douglas Marcouiller and Fr John Dardis. Fr Marcouiller was also elected as Admonitor to the Superior General.
As Assistants ad Providentiam, their function is to assist the Superior General on behalf of the whole Society. The assistance ranges from external matters “such as clothing, food and any expenditure touching upon the General’s person”, preventing him “from going beyond measure in labours or excessive severity”, and attending “to his soul in case necessity might arise”.
The Assistants ad Providentiam elected on November 4 are among the 12 men Fr General had appointed to the General Council a few days earlier, on October 31. Fr Masawe is also Regional Assistant for Africa, Fr D’Cunha Regional Assistant for South Asia, Fr Marcouiller Regional Assistant for Canada and USA, and Fr Dardis General Councillor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning.
The position of General Councillor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning is new and reflects the desire for the Jesuit central government to pay more attention to the mission of the Society. This should result in more efficient and systematic apostolic planning and evaluation, and better advice given to Father General.
The other members of the General Council are Fr Claudio Paul (Regional Assistant for South Latin America), Fr Gabriel I. Rodríguez (Regional Assistant for North Latin America), Fr Lisbert D’Souza (Regional Assistant for South Asia), Fr Daniel Huang (Regional Assistant for Asia Pacific), Fr Tomasz Kot (Regional Assistant for Central and Eastern Europe), Fr Joaquín Barrero (Regional Assistant for Southern Europe), Fr Víctor Assouad (Regional Assistant for Western Europe), and Fr José Cecilio Magadía (Councillor for Formation).
Of note is that Father General appointed a second Regional Assistant for South Asia, as part of the exploration of possibly having two Assistancies in South Asia in the future.
Only four of the General Councillors are new to the General Curia. Four – Fr Joaquín Barrero, Fr Lisbert D’Souza, Fr Daniel Huang and Father Gabriel Ignacio Rodriguez – have spent more than eight years in the Curia and are reappointed for a shorter period of two years.
In addition, Father General appointed Fr Antoine Kerhuel Secretary of the Society of Jesus on November 3.