At the end of the Consiglio allargato
Father General’s Extended Council met in early September. The presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, which on a geographical basis bring together the Jesuit Provinces of the whole world, participate in this body. We asked three questions of each of the presidents; here are their testimonies.
Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator – Africa and Madagascar (JCAM)
In your service as JCAM President, what has been, up to now, your main source of “consolation”, of joy?
I believe that any mission in the Society is an expression of trust and confidence. My main interior sentiment is one of gratitude – gratitude to the Society for entrusting this mission of service in leadership of the Conference of Africa and Madagascar to me. I am consoled by many things: the vitality of the mission of the Society in Africa and Madagascar, the dedication and selflessness of major superiors, local superiors and directors of work; the grace of cooperation for common projects, like the Child Protection programme and a new Conference tertianship. I may add the shared companionship, friendship and collaboration with Presidents of Conferences; the positive energy among Jesuits in formation and the positive direction of the Conference in general. I could go on.
In the context of your Conference, what are the main challenge (or challenges) you will be facing during the upcoming months?
The challenges are not new; neither are they limited to just a few months. The Conference is still fragile in terms of experience, depth and wisdom. That is to be expected in a Conference were a majority of Jesuits are young and still in formation. There is also the matter of big socio-economic and political issues that define and dominate the context of our mission in Africa and Madagascar – issues such as corruption, conflict, religious tension, poverty, migration, refugees, etc. The challenge here is how to generate an apostolic response in a manner that is creative and effective, without becoming paralyzed by despair. And, as a Conference, we still need to develop further the (infra)structure for communication, collaboration and networking.
What will you mainly remember from your participation to Father General’s Consiglio allargato, in relationship with the process toward the definition of Universal Apostolic Preferences?
This is a privileged moment in the Society. I am grateful for the grace to be part of a discerning apostolic body under the leadership of Father General focused on finding the will of God for us in the next ten years and beyond. Co-responsibility for this process and the universal mission of the Society is a grace that I cherish now and will continue to cherish.