You are serving as Provincial for a large Province in Eastern Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda). Tell us a few words about the demographics of your Province.
Eastern Africa Province (AOR) is blessed with 227 Jesuits, i.e. 10 brothers, 108 scholastics, and 109 priests. Our average age is about 43 years. We come from all over the world, but an increasing majority comes from the six countries of the Province. We grew by 11 last year. We engage in: schools, parishes, social justice, youth ministry, retreat work, services to the poor, intellectual apostolate, refugee services, media, and prayer for the Church and Society.
There is certainly diversity among the peoples of these lands, among the Jesuits as well. How do you, as Provincial, can create unity in spirit?
We are learning to celebrate our rich cultural and ethnic diversity. As Jesuits, we bear the mission to learn from and teach the people we serve how to live well together and how to think and engage regionally. The bond of our unity as a Province is the urgency and complexity of the work at hand and the keen awareness that we need one another to begin to answer to the call of the Kingdom in this part of God’s world.
You have been Provincial for more than a year. Could you identify the three main challenges you have been facing.
So far, the three major challenges we face are simultaneously three major blessings. We lack funds; we face an urgent and high demand for our engagement as Jesuits; and yet so many of the men are still in formation. At the same time: We are called upon to work with slender means as Jesus Himself chose; we are likely to be relevant for the foreseeable future; and the youth and numbers of companions are a sign of hope.