Source: Digital News Service SJ
After his journeys this summer, Digital News Service SJ asked Father General for some of his impressions. Here are his answers.
Q. This summer has been a time of many journeys for you. You have visited the two Brazilian Provinces, and participated in the MAGIS preparation for World Youth Day in Rio de Janeiro. There was the CLC meeting in Lebanon, and visits to the Provinces of Colombia and Ecuador. You took part in the World Congress of Former Students in Medellin. Which of these experiences made the deepest impression on you, and why?
A. Clearly, it was the Mass with the MAGIS young people. I was impressed by so much energy and hope, and their desire to do something for the Gospel and the Church. The event was well organized, with great attention to detail, but you could also see the dynamism of the youth, as well as their desire to live with enthusiasm and to dedicate themselves to something that is worthwhile.
Q. What has changed in young people as a result of their participation in the MAGIS days in preparation to the World Youth Day?
A. The specific fruit for them was to meet other Christians who, amid great difficulties, live their faith with joy and dedication to others. Right from the start, that was a very positive experience of their meeting each other in Brazil.
Q. it was courageous for CLC to assemble in Lebanon. It took place in the Middle East, which is still in turmoil. What value do you give to this decision?
A. I think it was a decision that indicates the maturity and serenity of CLC at the present time. Precisely because of the delicate and difficult situation, I believe it is important to be present. We tell the local people that we are with them and share in their pain and anxiety for the future.
Q. it was also new territory for the alumni to select Latin America for their meeting. Does this have any special significance?
A. There are many alumni in Latin America. It made sense to have the World Congress there. I hope that the Congress was also an opportunity for greater participation by people from Latin America.
Q. You have now visited a number of Provinces in Latin America. Can you give an impression of the life and activity of the Society on this continent?
A. I found these Provinces full of energy, creative initiatives, and enthusiasm. I think Latin America has gone through very difficult times. It has experienced many transitions. It is clear that this has led to human and spiritual depth, which is good for all of us. It is a young continent, full of life and vitality. It also has important tasks that are not easy to implement. But they are doing it.
Q. Could the selection of a Latin American Pope have positive implications for vocations, and for our Jesuit apostolates?
A. The effects are being felt even in vocations, but that does not mean that we should change the way we do things. It has certainly raised the interest of young people in the Society of Jesus. But our tradition of testing and carefully examining a candidate’s vocation remains as it is, and I hope that this does not change. In the Society, we want those whom God calls and wants among us. Any motivation is good for a first contact. But then comes the process of discernment. It is important that this continues to be solid and well done. I certainly hope it remains so in the future.