An atmosphere of prayer and discernment marks the meeting of Father General’s Extended Council (Consiglio Allargato) which has gathered at the Curia of the Society. While the Council’s deliberations are private, the Society’s Secretariat has published some of the topics on which the members of the Extended Council will focus. This Council consists of the ad providentiam and Regional Assistants, the six Presidents of the Jesuit Conferences, and the heads of the Secretariats at the Curia.

After the opening Mass, presided over by Fr. Joaquín Barrero on Monday morning, the meeting began by clarifying some general objectives. The members of Father General’s Extended Council offer him advice on how to adapt, as appropriately as possible, the Universal Apostolic Preferences to the mission of the Society. The meeting provides an opportunity to discuss helpful structures and ways which strengthen the relationships between the different groups which collaborate in the work of the Society.

As is always the case with meetings of Father General’s Council, the deliberations are private. But a number of topics on the agenda have been publicized. Attention will be given how to better understand and implement the Universal Apostolic Preferences. For example, the Council will consider the most effective ways in which the Secretariats of the Society can collaborate, disseminate, and implement the Preferences more effectively. Another item centers on the delicate issue of the protection of minors and vulnerable people: how the universal Church can be helped in this? The counsellors will also discuss the next “Ignatian Year”, 2021-2022. This will celebrate, in particular, the 500th anniversary of Ignatius’ conversion, after he had been wounded in combat.

The process and the “way of proceeding” of these meetings of the Extended Council have been marked, in recent years, by prayer, by spiritual conversation, and by sharing in language groups. Father General asks the advice and support of his advisors to specify more clearly the link between the Preferences, as presented, and the conversion that they imply, especially in relation to the upcoming “Ignatian year.” The question is being considered: in what way may the Universal Apostolic Preferences hold a call to conversion, both on the personal and the community levels?

Explore the photo album to see a behind-the-scenes look at the Extended Council.