The Jesuits in Australia: Aligned with the Universal Apostolic Preferences

An interview with Fr. Dominic Quyen Vu, Provincial of the Australian Province, during the “Colloquium” for new Provincials that was held at the Curia, in Rome, in March.

Quyen, you have been Provincial of the Australian Province for more than a year now. You had to start your role during the Covid-19 pandemic. What are the challenges?

Melbourne has the highest number of days spent in Covid-19 lockdown in the world, so I am considered as a Covid-19 Provincial. It was quite challenging for me because I took office during the pandemic lockdowns, and was not able to go to the office, let alone visit apostolic ministries and people. We were not allowed to leave our homes except for buying food and getting an hour of exercise within a 5km radius.


Fr. Dominic Quyen Vu.

Could you give us, in a few words, a “portrait” of your Province? What are your main ministries and up to what point do you feel that they are in line with theUniversal Apostolic Preferences?

There are 103 Jesuits in the Australian Province with 93 priests, 4 brothers, 5 scholastics and 1 novice. The average age of the Province is 69. Our Province covers Australia and New Zealand; we have only one Jesuit working in the Hamilton diocese in New Zealand. Our main ministries are: education, spirituality, social apostolate and parish ministry. All of our Province’s ministries have been aligning themselves with the Universal Apostolic Preferences. Our experience is that prayer and our human vulnerability before God underpinall else in the Province. We have given priority to Ignatian Spirituality in all our works and preferences.

What would you say is the main characteristic of your Province? What has made the Australian Province unique?

Caring for the excluded and listening especially to the voices of our First Nations peoples have been our concern in recent years. We have, for a few years, initiated a project called ‘The Bookends Project’ which seeks to reconcile our nation’s historical rejection of First Nations people and those seeking asylum into one of recognition, justice and hospitality. Education and collaboration with the laity have been a unique feature of our Province within the last twenty years. Our lay board members bring diversity of experience, a range of governance skills and a balance of gender to our mission. Lay collaborators head most of our key ministries.


Aboriginal Sunday Mass at Holy Family Parish in Sydney, Australia.

What are you proud of, as Provincial, after a year in your role?

I must say that I am proud of our Province because despite fewer Jesuits, we minister to over 30 different ministries in companionship with over 1,800 women and men who share the Ignatian vision of the service of faith and the promotion of justice in the Australian Province. Most of our Jesuit companions are still very active even though they have passed retirement age.

What is most challenging nowadays for the Jesuits in the Australian Province?

We lack personnel, especially younger Jesuits who can contribute to the number of ministries in our Province.

On a personal and spiritual level - what are your expectations, your dreams, your hope for the Gospel message to have an impact through the work of the Society of Jesus in Australia for the next few years?

My hope and dreams are to continue to carry out God’s work and contribute to the Church in Australia in the area of Spirituality as well as service to the poor and the excluded in our society. The First Companions and St Ignatius’ mission was to save souls and to serve God through others. Hence, the Australian Province will continue to carry out God’s mission in today’s society with joy and with love and to bring Good News to those who suffer from material or spiritual poverty.

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Posted by Communications Office - Editor in Curia Generalizia
Communications Office
The Communications Office of the General Curia publishes news of international scope on the central government of the Society of Jesus and on the commitments of the Jesuits and their partners. It also handles media relations.

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