Father General in London – The London Jesuit Centre

Father Arturo Sosa visited the British Province and met with Jesuits in the London area on his last day. He celebrated Mass at the Jesuit Church in the city center and inaugurated a portion of the new London Jesuit Centre. This initiative is significant for revitalizing the Society’s service, maintaining its long-standing tradition of intellectual apostolate in Britain, and making it relevant to today’s needs.

During his visit, Father General delivered a homily on the Scripture texts of that Easter Friday. Here are some excerpts of the same.

“In the first reading it is the very idea of resurrection which the Temple authorities find so disturbing. Not the resurrection of Jesus but the resurrection of the righteous hinted at in the prophets Isaiah and Daniel. This was the doctrine supported by the Pharisees but opposed by the Sadducees and the Temple establishment. Why is that idea so potent - and so threatening? Because it indicates the activity of a living God who upholds the righteous who are denied justice and dignity in this life, a God who is in fundamental solidarity with the innocent victims of the world. This very idea is destabilising to vested interests and established power groupings.

We live in a hyper-complicated world today, one which defies easy analysis. But anyone who is prepared to entertain the idea of resurrection is obliged to ask who are the innocent victims whose dignity has been denied them and whom the Living God will surely vindicate. (...)


The Gospel of John, which we have just heard places us before a scene which interrogates the question of the fruitfulness of the labours of the apostles. The disciples have spent the entire night fishing, but they have had no success. Only in the morning, after receiving instruction from a Jesus they do not even recognise, do they suddenly find the fish they were seeking - and in such quantity!

The message to us today, to people who want above all to be fruitful servants of Jesus Christ, is that we will only be fruitful if we listen out for the voice of Jesus. Jesuits are not always good at this! Some of us will happily stay up all night devising clever plans based on our own ideas. But if we aren’t listening to what the Lord is saying they come to nothing. Listening out for the voice of the Lord is a challenge, a spiritual challenge. It is not an easy option. it means putting aside ideas we had long ago and which served us well then but don’t apply in the world of today. (...)

The disciple today needs a restful heart, a contemplative stance that gazes on a broken world with love. We Jesuits need to discover this demanding way of being companions of Jesus so that we can truly be contemplatives in action, action that is fruitful.”


The trip also provided an opportunity for Fr. General to visit the new London Jesuit Centre, where the Director, Fr. David Birchall, shared the center’s objectives, approaches, and strategies.

“After the closure of Heythrop College, which was the British Province theologate and part of London University, the British Provincial did not want the Jesuits to end work in philosophy and theology at the level of higher education. So, the main Jesuit residence in London was converted into a teaching space. The London Jesuit Centre opened in September 2019. But early in 2020, the Covid lockdown began. This put a brake on the development.

The Centre has three strands, one for general theology, the second for the environment and social justice, and the third, promoting Ignatian Spirituality. The year 2021 saw courses being offered, mainly online. But it was not until 2022 that the centre really began to grow. At the beginning of the academic year of 2022-2023, I was appointed as Director of the centre and charged with making this new venture better known, particularly among younger adults. The aim too, was to link up with other tertiary education institutions which were involved with teaching theology. A task made all the more important as the number of Christian theology courses that UK universities offer has been in decline for many years.


As well as working with universities, the London Jesuit Centre is liaising with Catholic dioceses in London and the South-East of England to find out how best it can serve the Church. With the steady decline in the number of priests available to run parishes, the Church is going to need more theologically literate lay people to help run Christian communities. The London Jesuit Centre could help provide the diocese with part-time courses for catechists and lay Church leaders.

Fr General, during his visit on 14 April, has officially opened the last part of the London Jesuit Centre to be developed, a large lounge, which will enable participants to mix and socialise. A particularly important facility for the young adults’ groups and the Westminster LGBT+ group that already meet in the centre.”

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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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