At the beginning of April, Father General announced the appointment of a new Assistant to the General Treasurer. Fr. Sebastian Jeerakassery, of the Delhi Province. He will take over next autumn from Fr. Charles Lasrado, of the Karnataka Province, who has been providing this service for the past nine years.
Fr. Charles' mission was to offer the services of the General Treasurer' Office mainly to the Assistants of Asia Pacific and South Asia. For a short time, he also served some Provinces in other parts of the world. During all these years, he participated in the Investment Committee of the Curia and facilitated many seminars and workshops for new treasurers and auditors of community accounts in various parts of the world. With the arrival of his successor, in addition to assuring the transition, he will continue until the end of 2020 to contribute to the committee for the revision of the Statutes of Poverty and the Instruction on the Administration of Goods.
We asked him what he recalled most from his years in the service of the Treasurer's Office.
“One of my tasks is to accompany the Province treasurers in ‘Our Way of Proceeding’ in regard to financial matters and in the observance of our ‘Statutes on Poverty,’ In this process, the willingness of the treasurers to follow the norms of the Society and the efforts made by them is truly gratifying.
“I have interacted with over a hundred Jesuit treasurers. Most of them did not have professional training in accounting and finance. Many of them would not have opted to become treasurers. Yet, the zeal with which they applied themselves to their tasks always enthused me.
“I had the opportunity to observe the dynamics of financial administration of over forty Provinces and Regions. While some Provinces oversee their financial affairs with textbook precision, others are a bit liberal. A few of them placed faith more in personal trust than on a paper trail. It is amazing to know the diversity of accounting and financial management practices followed by the Society worldwide.”
As for his successor, Fr. Sebastian Jeerakassery - better known simply as "Jeera" - he will soon complete his mandate as Provincial of the Delhi Province. Here is his reaction when he learned of his appointment.
“My appointment as Assistant General Treasurer was a pleasant surprise to me. I would have thought someone who is more efficient and capable could fill the post. Maybe my experiences as Treasurer of the Province and Revisor of Jesuit Conference of South Asia would have prompted Fr. General to appoint me to this post.
“Further, I am a good companion to most Jesuits. I am rooted in Ignatian Spirituality and the charism of the Society. I am aware of the documents and decrees of the Society. I can communicate difficult decisions in an empathetic way to Jesuits under my care. I deal with conflicting situations with ease, trusting in the divine Providence. I feel my administrative skills and my love for the Society and its charism are qualities needed for the revision and future implementation of the Instruction on the Administration of Goods.”
Let us mention that the General Treasurer's office is a major service of the Curia. Five Jesuits assist the General Treasurer, Fr. Tom McClain, in various ways. The team also includes five lay people on staff.