Smiles, hugs and consolation as Fr. General visits the Province of Portugal

On his first day in Portugal, Fr. Arturo Sosa visited the Algarve, passing through the village of São José de Alcalar and the parish of Nossa Senhora do Amparo. He was received with enthusiasm, simplicity and joy.

May you be in our path a star that illuminates, a compass that guides us, a flame that inflames, warms us and fills us with affection. Feel good, much loved, well-liked, as an envoy of our Lord Jesus Christ.” With these words, written and recited by teacher Lutília Rocha, the Parish of Nossa Senhora do Amparo community in Portimão greeted and thanked Fr. Arturo Sosa at Saturday’s celebration.


Mass with the parishioners of Nossa Senhora do Amparo.

On the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Arturo Sosa, recalled the enthusiasm and missionary spirit of the Jesuit and the attraction he managed to arouse around him, preaching the Gospel in the East. “The only reason for being of the Church, of the Society of Jesus, of a parish, can only be to announce the Lord,” he stressed, adding that “we are all challenged to do so, at every moment”, and that the world today “needs, more than ever, this presence of the Lord.”

Before going to the parish of Nossa Senhora do Amparo, the first visit of Fr. General to the Province of Portugal was to the village of São José de Alcalar in Mexilhoeira Grande. Fr. Domingos Monteiro da Costa, the Jesuit who founded this social apostolate, has the particularity of welcoming the elderly in their own houses, built around squares that resemble a neighbourhood. Almost 80 collaborators are working closely with Fr. Domingos, helping in medical and caring for the elderly. The interaction with Fr. General brought smiles to people’s faces.


Fr. General with the volunteers at the village of São José de Alcalar in Mexilhoeira Grande.

Never heard of a surprise visit from Fr. General? Well, here is one. Soon after he left Algarve, on his way to Lisbon, he stopped at Pragal, where the Jesuits run a parish, a social work centre and animate the youth ministry. His unexpected visit to the parish of St. Francis Xavier was consoling. This parish community has many migrants from Mozambique, Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, who are second-generation residents in Portugal. Many greeted Fr. General and shared the joy of having the Jesuits work for their community, which articulates the mission as defined by the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus.

On arriving at Colégio São João de Brito in Lisbon, Fr. General, after sharing a meal with the collaborators and Jesuits, took time to visit the elderly Jesuits in the infirmary. One of them, looking at the portrayal of Fr. General hanging on the refectory wall, said, “You look more lively and warm in presence than in the picture”. The loving presence of Fr. General brought smiles to their faces as he visited them in their rooms.

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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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