memberlogin

To Set a General Free

To Set a General Free …

29458531614 15412a4422The adjective ‘solemn’ finds itself attached to so many events, usually inappropriately, but occasionally a moment arises when only that word applies.  This morning definitely presented one such situation, the acceptance of the resignation of Father Adolfo Nicolás, our Superior General.  For me, the moment eclipsed even the moving and beautiful opening liturgy last evening, led by Fr. Bruno Cadoré, the Master General of the Dominicans.

The day began simply enough. After prayer invoking the Holy Spirit, we engaged the intricacies of opening the General Congregation.  This session was made the more ‘interesting’ by a variety of technical problems that almost necessarily occur in the first use of new tablets by a group of more than 200 people.  For all our education, we can still be ‘technologically challenged’. Thank God good humor abounded as we waited for technicians to make things right. The transformed Aula where we gathered helped set a positive mood. In short order, we declared the Congregation open and valid.

The mood shifted, however, as we entered into a truly historic moment, the consideration of the request of Fr. Nicolás to resign, only the third time a Congregation has had to consider this possibility.  The General spoke from the heart of his reasons for wanting to resign, all rooted in his desire to serve the Society of Jesus and the Church, to ensure that the Society of Jesus would receive the vigorous leadership it needs and deserves.

After a brief report from one of the four Jesuits charged with caring for the good of Fr. General and the Society, the so-called Assistants ad providentiam, all of us prayerfully discerned whether to approve the request, to vote placet (yes) on non placet.  The room was silent, and then, one by one, we approached a large wooden ballot box, there to deposit our ballots.  Not often does one see Jesuits so aware that this is a ‘matter of greater moment’, but then there was no talking, only an appreciation of all this moment meant.  The votes were counted and then read out, with us having voted to approve Fr. Nicolás request.  Back into the Aula he came, there to receive the news, but also our deep gratitude and reverence, expressed in four heart-felt and prolonged standing ovations.  It was, as one delegate noted, one of the most powerful expressions of fraternal love and respect we’d ever seen, something we wish all our brothers had experienced.

It fell to Fr. Federico Lombardi, one of the Assistants ad Providentiam, and formerly the Pope’s Press Secretary, to express our appreciation.  He did a masterful job, speaking of the many ways in which Fr. Nicolás has served us so well.  He recounted so many achievements, the many ways in which Fr. Nicolás had lived out what Fr. Cadoré called us to last evening, ‘the audacity of risking the improbable’.  During eight years as General, he had challenged all mediocrity among his brothers, calling us to depth and a more universal vision of our mission to serve our Creator and Lord. He had forged warm links with both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, no small task in the latter case given that he is the first Jesuit Pope.  Through all that time, as Fr. Lombardi noted, with all the difficulties he had to handle, he always led in a personable, warm, joyful, compassionate way, never having a sad or angry face.  A worthy successor to St. Ignatius.

He now returns ‘to the ranks’, ready to head back to the Philippines as missioned by his provincial.  Still, the warm applause that greeted him even at lunch shows that he will always find himself surrounded by the love, respect, and gratitude of his brothers – and of so many others.  One must describe this morning as ‘solemn’, but not heavy.  On the contrary the solemnity only revealed to us in the Aula – as if it needed to be revealed – the ways in which he has touched our lives, our ministry, our future.  Solemnity can indeed move and express the heart, and so it did this morning.

News and Events

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

May 25, 2017

JEDOAM Meeting in North-West Africa, Lagos - Nigeria

JEDOAM Meeting in North-West Africa, Lagos - Nigeria

The Jesuit Development Officers of Africa and Madagascar (JEDOAM) gathered in the North-West Africa Province (ANW) Lagos... Read more

May 25, 2017

The Jesuit Webmasters and Communications Meeting (JESWEB): Mosta, Malta

The Jesuit Webmasters and Communications Meeting (JESWEB): Mosta, Malta

The Jesuit Webmasters and Communications Meeting (JESWEB) met in Mosta, Malta from the 8th of May to the 11th of May. Th... Read more

May 23, 2017

Laisse ta marque sur la Croix du Christ !

Benjamin NSENGIYUMVA SJUniversidad de Comillas, Espagne, MADRID « J'avais l'impression de participer à un rite paï... Read more

May 23, 2017

Widening the Scope of Child Protection

Widening the Scope of Child Protection

For the past five years, the Eastern Africa Province has been deeply involved in creating a good environment for childre... Read more

May 23, 2017

Celebrating First Vows; By Gonzaga Rafiki Editorial Team

Celebrating First Vows; By Gonzaga Rafiki Editorial Team

On 16th May 2017, the Gonzaga Gonga Jesuit Novitiate celebrated together with their four companions who professed their ... Read more

May 14, 2017

Global Survey on Collaboration and Networking

Global Survey on Collaboration and Networking

May 14, 2017Dani Villanueva "Because of the magnitude and interconnectedness of the challenges we face, it is importa... Read more

May 11, 2017

En amour avec un Dieu déplacé

En amour avec un Dieu déplacé

(Apr-2017) Pau Vidal sj (ESP) "Paradoxalement, c'est parmi les personnes qui connaissent le plus intimement le pouvoir... Read more

May 11, 2017

Artisanal Mining in Katanga – Arrupe Centre, Lubumbashi

Artisanal Mining in Katanga – Arrupe Centre, Lubumbashi

Source: Jesuit European Social Centre - jesc.eu What is a "conflict mineral"? The recently-approved EU legislation... Read more

May 11, 2017

A choking beast of prey – Mega Mines in Zambia

A choking beast of prey – Mega Mines in Zambia

Fr. Chilufya in Kankoyo "A crouching vicious beast of prey whose snorts grow ever louder as if choking on its painful d... Read more

Featured Articles

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

January 21, 2016

Vatican City: Pope Francis speaks out for World Day of Migrants and Refugees

Vatican City, 12 January 2016 – This update originally appeared on the JRS International website. Yesterday, Pope Franc... Read more

January 20, 2016

South Sudan: from Lost Boys to leaders

JRS Eastern Africa Juba, 8 January 2016 In the late 1980's and early 1990's, more than 20,000 boys and girls who fled S... Read more

April 17, 2015

Ongwen’s Surrender and its Implications for Reconciliation in Northern Uganda

By Magara Ibrahim Sakawa- Extract from the Peace Dialogue HIPSIR Since 1989,Northern Uganda has suffered from armed con... Read more

April 13, 2015

Web launching of edujesuit.org

Web launching of edujesuit.org The Society of Jesus and the right to education for everyone: Madrid (Spain), April... Read more

March 11, 2015

JRS: Ethiopia: Photos from Mai Aini refugee camp

Mai Aini refugee camp in northern Ethiopia is home to more than 18,000 refugees from neighboring Eritrea. (Images from C... Read more

March 11, 2015

Jesuits Martyrs in Africa

Jesuits have a tradition of working in some of the most dangerous places and in Africa they can be very often be found i... Read more

March 11, 2015

Aids in Africa: An overview by AJAN

On 5 June 2011, the world marked an unhappy anniversary: 30 years since the first diagnosed case of what would later bec... Read more

Copyright © 2015 JESAM - Jesuit Superiors Of Africa and Madagascar. All Rights Reserved. Powered By Heartbit