As they welcome their Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, S.J., on May 27 in Montreal, the Jesuits will announce the merger of Canada’s two Jesuit provinces to create the new Province of Canada. This new province includes Haiti and other regions where Canadian Jesuits are active.
Fr. Sosa will deliver the homily at the Eucharistic celebration presided by the provincial superior of French Canada and Haiti, Fr.Erik Oland. Both will be accompanied by the Provincial Superior of English Canada, Fr. Peter Bisson.
It will be a Mass of thanksgiving, first of all to thank the Lord for his accompaniment throughout the 400 years of Jesuit presence in Canada. There is a lot to celebrate:
experiences of inculturation and acquaintance with Aboriginal nations,
proclamation of the Gospel and opening of spiritual paths through the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola,
commitment to education in various institutions and through informal education,
promotion of social justice in Jesus' footsteps and ways.
But the past and the memories will not be centre stage, on the contrary. During the Eucharist, the decree of the Superior General, taking effect on July 31st, will be read: it announces the creation of the PROVINCE OF CANADA of the Society of Jesus, This bilingual Province will implement, throughout Canada, but also in Haiti and other regions where Jesuits from Canada are present, the Jesuits' current emphases.
These men are involved in promoting reconciliation, reconciliation of people with God, reconciliation of people and peoples among themselves, reconciliation with nature and the environment. Their service is marked by audacity, a boldness that leads to the liberation of people, builds bridges, echoes the calls of Pope Francis, himself a Jesuit.
Who would have thought that the Jesuits of the two founding cultures of Canada, French and English, could come together and, together, create something new to respond to the needs and challenges of today?
Yet, that is what is happening, surely the work of Someone greater than themselves!