continued meeting with Jesuit worker-priests, with those working with
indigenous peoples, with parish priests, and with priests who thought through
their identity working at a Social Center. Each encounter left an unforgettable
life story written. Decisive were the accompaniment and analysis of the Social
Centers in Central America, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Dominican Republic and
Venezuela. Since 1949 they have had a mission assigned by Fr. John-Baptist
Janssens, SJ: to elaborate diagnoses which ground the work plans for justice
and peace. For this it was necessary to prepare Jesuits with special studies.
the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, sensitivity to the problems of society
changed. New challenges arose: climate change, migration, political
polarization. In view of this, the provincials of Latin America and the
Caribbean published in 1996 a letter in Mexico on neoliberalism in which they
reflect on the criteria and consequences of this system, on the characteristics
of the society that we long for, and indicating concrete tasks in the
educational, social, and pastoral fields.
In 1999 the Conference of
Provincials of Latin America was founded to promote collaboration among the 12
meetings of the social assistants of the Conference of Provincials with the
secretary of the Social Apostolate, we have had the opportunity for mutual
support and joint thinking about how to respond to new challenges. For example:
We decided to participate in the World Social Forum III in Brazil, whose moto
was: “Another world is possible.”
dictators came the crisis of democracy. A paradoxical nostalgia for
authoritarian governments arose, according to a study of the UN. We planned a
program of political education in order to dignify the exercise of politics. It
would be carried out in all of the provinces, and the impact of our apostolate
The CPAL established its
priorities: the serious problem of injustice, attention to the Amazon, Haiti,
and Cuba, ecological problems, violence, reconciliation and migration.
In the way we plan our work we began to give priority to discernment,
moving from the question of “What must we do?” to that of “What is God doing?”
so as to dedicate all of our efforts to collaborating with Him.
[Article from "Jesuits - The Society of Jesus in the world - 2020", by Jorge Julio Mejía SJ]