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Father General opens the Assembly of the European and Near East Provincials in Germany.

On his first anniversary as Fr. General, Arturo Sosa addressed the Conference of European Provincials, recalling the importance of launching and accompanying processes within the Society of Jesus: “walking with two legs, spiritual life and intellectual depth, and walking with others”.

Between the 14th and 19th of October, the Provincials and Regional Superiors of Europe and the Near East gathered in Heinrich Pesch Haus (Ludwigshafen, Germany) to discern together on the direction provinces and regions are taking and how they can best serve God.

Fr. Franck Janin, president CEP & Fr. Orobator, president JESAM

Compared to the previous ones, this assembly had a new feel to it. To begin with, it was the first one presided over by Fr. Franck Janin. Moreover, there were 11 new Provincials and Regional Superiors, almost half of them. The Major Superiors also had the opportunity to meet Father General, who gave a speech about the post-GC36 challenges facing Europe. Among them, he drew their attention to the importance of the intellectual apostolate as a tool for reconciliation; the unity of life and mission as a call for renewal in a personal, communitarian and institutional conversion; and the integration of migrants as an evolving challenge.  

What was probably the most important in terms of content, was the launch of two important processes that will hopefully lead us to conversion. These are: the formation centres process (at conference level) and the apostolic preferences process (at global level).

  • The first process will provide Major Superiors with information about the current state of the Jesuit formation centres across Europe and the Near East. These initial efforts will help them make the necessary decisions to improve the formation of young Jesuits.

  • The second, launched by the Curia in Rome, is focused on asking provinces and regions to identify a list of apostolic preferences to focus on for the next decades. In Fr. General’s words, the apostolic preferences “create for us the tension of seeking the most universal good as the ultimate goal of the numerous apostolic activities the Society carries out […] the universal apostolic preferences become a horizon for the discernment in common which helps to guide and direct the apostolic planning of the Society’s resources at all levels”.

In addition to the two processes launched during this General Assembly, there was also an update from several of the people involved in the works of the Conferences. These included: the Jesuit Tertianship in Dublin, the network of primary and secondary schools (JECSE), the Higher Education for Social Transformation programme (HEST), the Jesuit European Social Centre (JESC) and the Jesuit Refugee Service in Europe (JRS).

The General Assembly was also an occasion to thank Fr. John Dardis for his seven-year service as president of the Conference. There was a unanimous applause of gratitude, and Major Superiors extended their best wishes for his new mission as General Counsellor for Discernment and Apostolic Planning of the Society.

The outlook for the upcoming year looks very interesting and consoling, to say the least, but remains quite challenging. The ongoing projects and programmes will improve the way we serve others, while the two processes being launched will help the provinces and regions become a discerning body.

All of this will hopefully lead us to a greater love for Jesus Christ and a greater desire to serve Him.

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