The processes of assimilation and internalization of the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs) continue in the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP). In a workshop with Jesuits and collaborators in the Cambodian Mission on 19 February, the anniversary of the promulgation of the UAPs, JCAP President Fr Antonio “Tony” Moreno SJ reminded the participants “that the UAPs are a Mission of the Church entrusted to the Society, and stressed that it is not only the doing that is important but also being what the UAPs expect of the Jesuits.”
Fr Tony shared with Ecojesuit his 10 UAP takeaways that guide and ground our work in the different ministries all around the world:
- The UAPs are orientations entrusted to Jesuits and their companions in mission by the Church through the Holy Father. In a sense, they are not simply our “preferences,” but discerned missio Dei.
- The UAPs are not just about doing something apostolic and how we do things. They invite Jesuits and their companions to a process of conversion, a way of being. They are expressions of the crying need of the 36th General Congregation for conversion at all levels: personal, communal and institutional. “The preferences are also about how God can change us.” (Fr General Antonio Sosa SJ)
- The UAPs are an expression of synodality, of walking together along the path and being guided by the Spirit. The verbs speak of movements: “to show the way to God through the Spiritual Exercises and discernment,” “to walk with the poor and outcasts,…” “to accompany the young people in the creation of a hope-filled future,” and “to collaborate in the care of our common home.”
- The UAPs are interrelated, although as the Pope says, the first preference presupposes that it is “a basic condition” without which “the other preferences will not bear fruit.” They are neither disparate nor are they to be pursued separately.
- The UAPs specify the mission of reconciliation and justice of the 36th General Congregation. They are neither ministries nor ministries-based.
- The UAPs are not only for Jesuits. They invite partners in mission (even those who don’t share our faith) to pursue the same preferences.
- Good communication and textual explanation, while important in propagating the preferences, are not enough. They challenge both Jesuits and partners in mission to an encounter with Jesus like the experience of the disciples on the road to Emmaus.
- While there is a sense of urgency in the expression of the UAPs, it takes time to assimilate and internalize them. One cannot just implement the UAPs without going through the process of assimilating them. The assimilation of the UAPs is a necessary condition prior to the implementation phase.
- Collaboration, networking and discernment are operative principles in the UAPs. Without the practice of these principles, the UAPs will not go far enough.
- The preferences tighten the unity and consistency of our life-mission.
Fr Gabriel Lamug-Nañawa, Country Coordinator of Jesuit Service Cambodia, wrote a related article Wellsprings of encounter: A reflection on the UAPs.