No surprise there! Those of you who follow the Society’s
activities on our website, through our newsletters and on our social media will
know that for one week at the beginning of January each year, Father General
convenes his Extended Council - in the jargon of the General Curia, the Consiglio
Allargato. While the flow of information between the Superior General and
his closest Assistants is continuous - with individual meetings every week and
Council meetings two or three times a week - Father Sosa is keen to widen this
circle. Members of the Extended Council include the four heads of the Apostolic
Secretariats (Service of Faith, Secondary and Pre-secondary Education,
Higher Education, Social Justice and Ecology) and the Presidents of the
Society’s six Conferences (Latin America and the Caribbean, Canada/United
States, Europe, Africa and Madagascar, South Asia and Asia-Pacific).
The January 2024 meeting will focus on the theme of
formation. It is, therefore, largely under the responsibility of Father General’s
Assistant for Formation, Fr Mark Ravizza. The programme sent to the members lays
out the proposed context for the discussions and opportunities for joint
discernment. It is clear that Jesuit formation has become increasingly “international”.
It is indeed rare for a young Jesuit to do all his academic and spiritual
formation only in his own Province. What are the consequences, what are the
advantages already identified, what are the challenges or even the
disadvantages linked to this “globalisation” of Jesuit formation?
But there is another aspect to which the Extended
Council must pay attention. The Society can no longer simply focus on the
formation of its members, but is increasingly called upon to offer
opportunities and even programmes of formation to “non-Jesuits”, lay people or
religious women and men from other congregations, who are active partners in
the Society’s mission. The members of the Extended Council will explore what
has already been done in this respect in different Provinces or at Conference
level. They will also be able to learn about projects for the formation of lay
personnel in the Society’s secondary schools in which even management positions
are held by lay people. Another aspect will be highlighted: that of the
formation of lay members of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network.
asked Mark Ravizza a few questions about this week’s Consiglio Allargato.