Behind the Scenes of CP71

After three weeks of retreat, prayer, discernment, and sometimes-contentious discussion in the birthplace of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the delegates of the 71st Congregation of Procurators has fulfilled its mission and will be returning to their home Provinces with the knowledge that they have helped the Society of Jesus towards the future of Jesuit life and ministry.

The delegates have each spent more than a year to prepare themselves to present the concerns of their Province brothers, but they are not alone in toiling for a successful Congregation. These three weeks in Loyola, Spain, are the end result of thousands of man-hours of preparation by behind-the-scenes Jesuits who envisioned, planned and executed the logistical and spiritual work that made the Congregation possible.


First among these unsung workers is Antoine Kerhuel, Secretary of the Society of Jesus, who has coordinated everything from travel schedules, to sensitive documents, to procedure and on-site logistics. He kept all the pieces moving in the same direction and ensured that the prayer/work balance for the delegates allowed for the best possible discernment of spirit in the time allowed.


If you had walked to the back of the Aula during the Congregation, you would have found Robert Althann, Bernard Goubin, Luis Ovando Hernández and Manickam Shekhar acting as the Secretaries for CP71, furiously typing the official notes of the Congregation in multiple languages. They worked alongside a small army of translators - Pierre Bélanger, Ángel Benítez-Donoso, Alexis Bueno, Boris Foka, Rolphy Pinto, Vivian Richard and Xabier Zabala - who provided real-time English/Spanish/French translations from their darkened booths to the side of the Aula.


Next to them, in a room filled with glowing screens and cables, was Robert Ballecer who was responsible for the stories, videos and broadcasts being produced and published from CP71. Beyond the official duties of the staff, these Jesuits found ways to help their brothers pray and discern, be it by forming a choir, leading prayer, celebrating the Eucharist, disseminating documents, or providing technical support to the delegates.


Then there are the lay colleagues from the Spirituality Center. From the nuns running the grounds to the cooking and cleaning staff, to Iñaki, the incredible audio engineer who tended to the various technologies that made the Aula work, to the Jesuits living at Loyola. Each one of them made living and working in the Sanctuary comfortable enough that the delegates needed only to concern themselves with the goals of the Congregation. The unsung labor of these Jesuits, religious and lay staff became the footprints of the Holy Spirit, walking through Loyola, inspiring the delegates and bringing fruit to the work of their prayer.

By now most of the delegates will have found their way home. Their work will live on in documents and discussions that they’re bringing back to their brother Jesuits. The staff will return to their missions, content in the fact that they have done their part for the governance of the Society. But CP71 is a reminder of what is possible when we let the Spirit guide this “mínima Compañía (least Society)”.

Share this Post:
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.

Related Posts: