Father General Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has appointed new Presidents for the Jesuit Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, Latin America and Europe.
At our annual meeting with Fr General in Rome this month, the six Jesuit Conference presidents identified significant strategies that are bearing fruit for greater solidarity among Jesuits and our colleagues globally, and planned new cooperative measures. Since the primary goal of conferences concerns mission, we dealt with questions such as restructuring of governance arrangements, solidarity in sharing resources across the Society, cooperation in the formation of Jesuits and promotion of studies in Ignatian spirituality.
Spanish Jesuit missionary Blessed José de Anchieta was declared a saint by Pope Francis on April 3. His canonisation was celebrated with joy in churches in Brazil, where he is known as the Apostle of Brazil.
The new St Anchieta was a highly influential figure in Brazil’s history and one of the founders of the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In a Mass to celebrate St Anchieta, Cardinal Orani Tempesta, Metropolitan Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, said it was “impossible to write about the history of Brazil without mentioning the presence of Jose de Anchieta”.
With a Pope whose language and behaviour so closely reflect his Jesuit identity, the Society of Jesus is enjoying a period of encouragement in its mission. Pope Francis models a discerning, compassionate, pastoral approach for the Church. Each day he surprises us, yet his initiatives make sense to many people, whether believers or not, whether Christians or not.
From his very first words as Bishop of Rome, our new Pope Francis revealed a gracious respect for the religious belief, freedom of conscience and dignity of each person – values and behaviour so essential for Christians in Asia Pacific. His first blessing was a simple, modest acknowledgement of the conscience of each person: “Since many of you are not members of the Catholic Church, and others are not believers, I cordially give this blessing silently, to each of you, respecting the conscience of each, but in the knowledge that each of you is a child of God.
Pope Francis is the first Jesuit Pope. In a statement issued on March 14, Father General Adolfo Nicolás SJ gave thanks to God for the election of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio SJ as the Pope, which he said “opens for the Church a path full of hope”. We republish here Fr General’s statement, Pope Francis’ response, and Fr General’s report of his visit with Pope Francis on March 17.
Statement of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus on the election of Pope Francis
In his invention at the 25th Synod of Bishops, Fr General Adolfo Nicolás, superior general of the Society of Jesus, told the Synod that “a New Evangelisation has to learn something from the First Evangelisation, from the things we did well and from the mistakes we committed as well as the insufficiencies we suffered in our desire to communicate the Gospel”.
Representatives from each Jesuit Province converged on Nairobi, Kenya, for the Congregation of Procurators that was held from July 9 to 15, 2012.
The Congregation of Procurators is called into session by Father General every four years after the end of a General Congregation. The 84 Procurators present were elected by their Provinces and 13 others participated ex officio. There were 7 Procurators from Africa, 14 from Latin America, 18 from South Asia, 7 from Asia Pacific, 29 from South, Central- Eastern and Western Europe, 9 from the United States.
The Society is now at a new stage brought about by a couple of converging factors – the demographic realities and how we can best serve the universal mission today.
Our numbers have been in decline for the last 40 years – from over 30,000 in the 1960s to fewer than 18,000 today. The steep declines in Europe and North America and consistent decline in Latin America have not been offset by the significant increase in South Asia and a small rise in Africa.