Ando Isamu, S.J. (Jesuit Social Center, Tokyo)
A month and a half has passed since the most important historical event for the Society of Jesus, the General Congregation, took place. It is the first General Congregation in the last 13 years. With the approval of the Pope, Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach had made public his decision to resign as Superior General. Then, the General Congregation was summoned on January 8 this year. Fr. Kolvenbach's resignation was accepted and a new Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, was elected. Then, business became as usual for the Congregation. Trying to locate ourselves within the actual situation of the world the efforts for Jesuit renewal started to work.
Since many of us, Jesuits in Japan, keep pleasant and personal remembrances of Fr. Nicolas, the actual Congregation has a very particular meaning. Truly, for some of us it is still very difficult to address him as Fr. General.
During this Congregation we strongly feel that Rome and Tokyo are not anymore a 12-14 hour flight far away. When we start work, every morning, we can also sense we are part of the Congregation, thanks to the useful tools of communication organized at the Jesuit Curia. This is the first time in the history of the Society that we have become "Jesuits without Borders." Compared even to 25 years ago when a FAX or a phone call will inform provincial headquarters that a new Superior General had been elected, the Internet shows each of us now his face seconds after his election and brings him to our screen, meeting with the Pope on the spot.
Blogs, echoes, prayers, etc. flow around the Web day and night so that we can read them in various languages, although we still feel Asian languages (Japanese, Korean, Chinese...) are missing. We can see on the screens of our computers daily news on drafts of documents on Jesuit identity and mission, collaboration with others, migrants and refugees, governance, ecology and globalization (?) We can always feel the need for Jesuit renewal (somebody said "re-creation"), better service to the Church and more lively mutual communication among Jesuits. More attention to the poor is also felt, although the promotion of justice, marginalization and globalization do not show their face openly yet. Of course, it might still be too early to give an account of the General Congregation.
I want to end with the remarks of a special correspondent of a big national Spanish Newspaper sent to Tokyo to cover the life and activities of Fr. Nicolas, the new Superior General. The journalist remarked, "We people in the West desire that the Catholic Church and religious congregations give, first of all, a life testimony." And we fully agree.
[New General Fr. Nilolas (left) and Fomer General Fr. Kolvenbach]
(From the Web of Jesuit Curia)
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