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Latin American and Caribbean Jesuits assess mission impact

31 March 2017

2017_03_31_P&P_Photo1Roberto Jaramillo, SJ

Ecojesuit shares this commentary from Roberto Jaramillo, SJ as he assumes his position as the new president of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean (CPAL).  The text is originally written in Spanish, Palabra de la CPAL: Un verdadero “sínodo” jesuítico latinoamericano y caribeño.

It was a fraternal pleasure to meet more than 110 colleagues in Lima from 20 to 24 March.  For the first time in the history of the Society of Jesus in Latin America and the Caribbean, ImPACtando (http://www.impactandosj.org/) gathered members of all the networks and projects (24) and all the provinces (12) of the continent, together with Fr. General and four of his assistants, in a huge Jesuit Latin American and Caribbean synod.

Challenges facing our current reality were presented as these impact the six priorities of the Conference of Jesuit Provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean (CPAL)  in its Common Apostolic Project:

  • Proximity and commitment with those who live in the borders of exclusion
  • Deepening and articulation of the work with young people
  • Dialogue, faith, and cultures
  • Latin American consciousness and solidarity
  • Embodied and apostolic spirituality
  • Strengthening of the apostolic body and collaboration in the mission

Through personal prayers and group sharing, we formed a common discernment that will undoubtedly lead to the renewal of our service in the networks, programs and projects of the CPAL, as well as in our respective provinces.

Some of the most important points emerged as challenges, not only for the core CPAL team (and their action on behalf of the Assembly of Provincials), but also to be re-thought and welcomed as “divine calls” by all networks, projects, programs, and Provinces.  These are:

  • The urgency of improving communication amongst us and using the resources and opportunities that we have at our disposal in a more creative and effective way, as well as the need for a deep personal conversion that allows us to leave our “will and interest” and to know that “we are stronger together”
  • The practice of discernment as a way of governing both personally and institutionally, because we are servants of what the Spirit does and wants to do with us and between us, and together with discernment, the need to plan our mission, and to monitor and evaluate our actions to achieve the desired results
  • The challenge of educating ourselves and integrating the “care of our common home” as a daily personal, community, and institutional practice, consciously and responsibly, and the importance of proactive initiatives in responding to ecological concerns
  • The renewal of the awareness that the apostolic body of the Society is formed by all those who collaborate in the Mission of Christ, and is enriched and strengthened when we are able to co-labor among Jesuits, lay people, other religious, and other believers and non-believers, around common missionary goals. A new fraternal practice, among all, is necessary.
  • The need to creatively “entangle” ourselves among the Society’s various works in Latin America and the Caribbean, taking advantage of the inter-sectoral dialogue, inter-institutional dialogue, and our international presence. Significant impacts can only be achieved by working on common actions and objectives, together with others.

Our meeting was a privileged moment to feel and renew our conscience of being all companions of Jesus: to work with Him, to have the same feelings, not to overtake Him because The Mission is His, but not to be left behind by our fears, insecurities, traditions, and comforts; as in the example of Ignatius who “followed the Spirit.  It was not ahead of him. In this way, he was led softly to where he did not know.  Little by little the way was opened to him, and he went walking wisely ignorant.  Put simply your trust in Christ.” (Nadal, FN II, 252)

Paco Ivern, the first CPAL president, told me in a corridor conversation: “We have made much progress.  Twenty years ago this was practically impossible.”  Much remains to be done.  Moses, standing before the waters of the Dead Sea, with the anguished people and Pharaoh’s troops pursuing him, says to him, “Why do you cry to me? Tell my people to advance!” To us today, as one Apostolic Body, God gives us the same invitation.

We are all CPAL.  The Common Apostolic Project belongs to everyone. Let us not ask what CPAL can do for me, but what should I do in CPAL.  The executive team is at your service.

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