Father General’s visit to Honduras

One of the blessings of travelling with Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ – Superior General of the Society of Jesus – is that you have the opportunity to see the ministries of the Church in all their forms. A week ago, he was in Panama, celebrating the start of World Youth Day with MAGIS pilgrims. Then he was listening to the tales of a Church and Faith repressed while expressing his solidarity with the Mission in Nicaragua. Halfway through his visitation, Fr. General now finds himself in Honduras, listening to representatives from the various Jesuit apostolates in the second poorest country in Central America.

Fr. Sosa met with as many representatives as possible from the diversity of apostolates in Honduras. From Fe y Alegría, to the San José Institute, to the Honduran Institute of Radio Education (IHER), to the Ignatian Family and San Ignacio Parish, Fr. General listened to Jesuits and lay colleagues express their hopes for the future of their ministries, and the challenges of working in Honduras. As the sharing continued, Fr. General identified a commonality among the discussions: a fear to hope and dream. Some spoke of frustration in addressing the high unemployment rate in the country, others on the challenges of dealing with severe inequality in income distribution, still others openly expressed their fear that they didn’t have the ability to follow the Holy Spirit and maintain the good works already being done.

In response, Fr. Sosa offered the message that has become the theme of his Central American visitation: hope. “The Society of Jesus expects you to be open to dreams”, he told them, “and to have faith that those dreams can be fulfilled.” He asked for a “Holy Boldness” especially as we deal with the need for reconciliation in societies that have been deeply fractured by economic injustice, violence, racism, and anything else that might pull us apart from each other or away from God or God’s creation. In addressing their fear of being able to continue the work, he reminded them of three fundamental elements for the work of the Society: discernment, collaboration and networking. – In those three, we can realize the ministries of which we dream.

It was that same message that Fr. General would carry into his meetings with his Jesuit brothers as he spoke of the state of the Universal Society, the restructuring of the Provinces, and the hope that the Society would increase its collaboration with lay partners in the mission. On the later, Fr. General stressed that Jesuits need to first, “accept that the mission is shared, and that we (the Jesuits) are also collaborators” and secondly to humbly recognize, “that we are not the owners of the company, that we do not become Jesuits to be heads of works but to serve.”

As he wrapped up his visitation of Honduras, Fr. Sosa visited ERIC-Radio Progreso - a work dedicated to reflection, analysis and social communication. Founded in 1980 to improve the living conditions of the rural poor in Honduras, ERIC has spread to the rest of Central America, offering radio education, legal advocacy, community organizing, and governmental transparency. Fr. General thanked ERIC for almost four decades of ministry, “I take great joy of having met with brothers who are united. The joy of knowing that we share the same concern in Honduras, share the same direction and share the same faith.”

Link to Flickr album

Watch the video on the visit of Fr. General to Honduras (available in Spanish)