2014-12-12 13:00:00

Jesuits prepare for General Congregation

(Vatican Radio) The Superior General of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – Fr. Adlofo Nicolás SJ, officially convoked a General Congregation of the Society this week. Scheduled for October, 2016, the General Congregation will be the thirty-sixth gathering of its kind since the founding of the Company in 1540. According to the letter by which “Fr. General” – as his fellow Jesuits style him – informed his confreres throughout the world of the convocation, General Congregation 36 will have two main focal points: the acceptance of Fr. Nicolás’ resignation, and election of a new Superior General; the sharing of reflections on, “the three most important calls that the Lord makes to the whole Society today[.]”

“The next eighteen months are a time of discernment for the Society of Jesus in the entire world,” explains Fr. Michael Rogers SJ, a Jesuit priest pursuing advanced studies in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University here in Rome, in an interview with Vatican Radio. “One of the things that is particularly interesting,” he continues, “is the question that Pope Francis poses to the whole Church: that of going to the existential frontiers,” an idea that has become a recognizable refrain of the Francis papacy.

Listen to Fr. Michael Rogers SJ's extended conversation with Chris Altieri

The call to go to the existential frontiers (which Francis has extended to the whole Church), however, is in essence a synthesis of the exhortation Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI gave to the Society at the time of General Congregation 35, and perfectly in keeping with the Society’s founding ethos and charism. “Pope Francis has clearly listened to the recent history,” says Fr. Rogers, adding that the recent history of the Society is one that has sought to recover the zeal for mission – intellectual, spiritual, moral and corporal – that has inspired Jesuits from the time of Ignatius and his companions, through the centuries, and down to the present.  

Asked what it means to be a Jesuit today, Fr. Rogers says, “To be a Jesuit today really means to follow in the very best of our tradition.”  

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