On the first day of the Congress of the Social Apostolate, an awaited speaker was Patxi Álvarez SJ, former Secretary of the SJES (2011-2017). The theme of his intervention was: "A faith that does justice: history, life and spirituality of the social apostolate". His presentation echoed his recent book entitled “Serving the Poor, Promoting Justice”. It is a historical overview of the involvement of the Society of Jesus in the various fields of the social apostolate.
The starting point is 1891, the date of publication of the first social encyclical, Rerum Novarum, by Pope Leo XIII. Reading Fr. Álvarez’ book, one realizes the variety of projects proposed over the years and up to the present day, projects adapted to the concrete historical moments in which they were implemented.
This overview shows how the social apostolate has been carried out in constant dialogue with history, since concrete social problems and their evolution have directed the social work of the Society. In turn, this apostolate has been animated by listening to the Spirit. It has shown an overflowing creativity in its accomplishments and has been characterized by audacity and generosity. The desire to serve the poor at all times and to promote justice, in order to give birth to a more human and solidary world sprang, from them.
The volume wants to be a song of hope and a tribute to so many men and women who have collaborated in this social commitment of the Society of Jesus and continue to do so today, working so that those who are excluded may have life and life in abundance.
The book was published in Spanish and English.