Today is also the beginning of the commemoration of
the centenary of the creation of the Colombian Province of the Society of
Jesus. During the next year and a half, this beloved Province will celebrate
this reality. It will recognize in grateful memory so many Jesuits and lay
people who already enjoy the fullness of the Lord, so many generous
benefactors, and so many families who have fostered with their Christian
coherence the vocation of their children, who have become part of the body of
the Society in Colombia.
The mission has been exercised in a
traditionally Catholic country, deeply attached to the Church, a welcoming
situation that has also been favorable to the apostolic action of the Order.
However, there were times when a strong political-ideological polarization seriously
damaged the social fabric of the country. There were years of very serious
partisan violence, which will leave its mark on the future of the country, with
successive outbreaks of guerrilla warfare, paramilitary groups and drug
trafficking. Faced with this panorama, the Society of Jesus in Colombia has
always demonstrated its apostolic vigour and its capacity to influence the
social fabric and the ecclesial communion. This painful reality has new and
disturbing manifestations for contemporary Colombia, which, of course, the
Society of Jesus takes into account in the exercise of its mission of
reconciliation, peace and justice.