December 23rd, 2016
Pope Francis and The General Congregation: Thoughts from the Director
October and November this year (still just 2016!) for me was mostly occupied by attending this gathering of 215 Jesuit from all over the world, the thirty sixth General Congregation. We elected a new Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa from Venezuela, after a very intense period of discernment. We had a very cordial session with Pope Francis and we produced a few statements on the progress of our mission today.
Fr. Sosa is a Latin American who attended a previous Congregation (the 32nd ) with Fr. Jorge Bergoglio, as he was then. Their cooperation will no doubt be close in the immediate future. Francis, coming to the Jesuit Curia to meet us, encouraged Jesuits before God to ask for consolation. He noted that there is much to learn from those times of difficulty or hardship, the Cross, and he encouraged the faithful support of the Church by helping many in discernment for the direction of their lives in today’s world. He said,
“We beg Our Mother to direct and accompany every Jesuit along with that part of the people faithful to God whom he has been sent, along these paths of consolation, of compassion and discernment. “
In writing on our work today, the Congregation noted the on-going mission of reconciliation but noted that this only takes effect when connected to the requirements of God’s justice. On every level, personal, family, society and nation, the reconciling of divisions needs serious consideration of how wounds are fully healed; not by a superficial plastering over of the immediate symptoms of a problem.
All these matters are important to the Hurtado Jesuit Centre here in Wapping, E. London, where we continue to try and work with all like-minded persons in the area to make God better known and loved through activities that try to make the world a better place to live in.
Stephen Power SJ