Slovenia is not a country that is mentioned every day in the news! It is located in the heart of Europe, at the crossroads of the Roman, Germanic, and Slavic cultures. Neither is the “small” Jesuit Province of Slovenia often featured in the Society’s news! But it is the place that Father Arturo Sosa has chosen to spend a few days in order to celebrate the Province’s 50th anniversary with his Slovenian companions. For Father Sosa, as well as for Father Provincial Ivan Bresciani and his team, this visit will not be a time just for nostalgic remembrance; it will also provide a good opportunity to understand better the relationship between the Jesuits’ work of the past 50 years and the challenges presented by the Universal Apostolic Preferences for the future of the Slovenian Province. The Jesuits of Slovenia recognize that the orientations of the Preferences have not yet reached all the Jesuits of the Province and their partners in the mission. The jubilee celebrations and Father General’s visit should give impetus to this commitment for the future.
We asked three Slovenian Jesuits to tell us about their experience of the Province jubilee and Father Sosa’s visit. They were Fr. Ivan Bresciani, Provincial Superior; Fr. Janez Poljanšek, former novice master; and Fr. Primož Jakop, parish priest.
Fr. Ivan Bresciani SJ
On July 31st of this year, the feast of St. Ignatius, the Slovenian Province of the Society of Jesus turned 50 years old. To celebrate this anniversary, Father General Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, will visit us from 24th to 27th October.
The purpose of the visit is first of all to express our gratitude for 50 years of independent activity. Compared to other Jesuit Provinces, we are small and young, but in the course of 50 years we have achieved a lot in Slovenia through our spiritual, pastoral, cultural and intellectual apostolates. Today we are aware that the structure of the Church is changing, especially in the Western world, because of the scarcity of religious vocations and other challenges that await us. The Society of Jesus is therefore organizing itself in new ways by forming unions among the Provinces.
The second purpose of Fr. General’s visit is to share with his ideas about the Society’s Apostolic Preferences. The General will explain these Preferences to us and will urge us to live and work to promote them. While the word “preference” may signify simply a chosen goal, it more basically means a way of life that Jesuits are called to adopt in all their communities and institutions. It is about living and “breathing” together the contents of the Apostolic Preferences in our daily lives.
Fr. Janez Poljanšek SJ
It is with joy that I await the visit of the Superior General, a sign of his fraternal and paternal concern for the life and mission of Jesuits and also of our friends and collaborators. Father Sosa comes when our Province is celebrating with gratitude the 50th anniversary of its existence, but our gaze is turned rather toward the future, toward the possibilities of unification and collaboration with other Provinces. I think that Father General will confirm us in our mission, and that he will exhort us Jesuits and our collaborators to search creatively for new ways to proclaim and bear witness to Christ.
Fr. Primož Jakop SJ
For me, the five decades of the existence of the Jesuit Province of Slovenia are primarily a reason for gratitude. First of all, gratitude to God because he inspired in the companions who made the decisions a fairly clear desire for what had to be done. The Jubilee therefore makes it clear to me that the need that was then recognized for a new, specifically Slovenian Province was part of the Divine Plan. I am also grateful to the confreres who have followed God’s will.
At the same time, I view this anniversary as a challenge for me and my generation: Where does God call us today? I look forward to Fr. Sosa’s visit, confident that his guidance will make it easier for us to find answers to this challenge.