The first activity on Father Arturo Sosa’s program in Paraguay was to participate in the “National Encounter of the Ignatian Youth (ENJI).” This annual meeting, which brought together young people from across the country, was held on the campus of the Jesuit School Cristo Rey in Asunción. It is an opportunity, proposed by the Ignatian Youth Network, to strengthen the links between the various movements that reach young people through the Ignatian spirituality experienced and shared. This year’s theme was “To bear more fruit.”
On the significance and relevance of this gathering, Fr. Rogelio Melgarejo, the spiritual advisor of the Ignatian Youth Network, stated as follows: “It is an invitation to an exercise of interiority to look at our lives and recognize that we are living a ‘Time of Magis’. Magis is a Latin word meaning ‘more’; but more in what way? Well, in everything that has to do with our relationship with God and the personal choices that each person has to make throughout his or her life. This is not a plus in quantity, but a plus in quality.”
To the young people gathered before him, Father Sosa presented the Society of Jesus and its way of acting in the world based on what the 36th General Congregation defined: Companions in a universal mission of reconciliation and justice. He insisted that the mission includes many, many lay people, men and women, who are all part of this mission. Father Sosa presented to the young people the Universal Apostolic Preferences, underlining how they are interrelated. The spirit of collaboration is essential to the progress of any of the Society’s current projects. He also mentioned that the preferences are oriented towards political commitment, in the broadest sense, for the reconciled and more just world that the Society’s objectives advocates is only possible through a transformation of society, at the very heart of the world. Political commitment, for the common good, is an important element of this project. You can’t change the world by focusing just on your own success and that of your family and your friends, he said.
Two representatives of the Ignatian Youth Network, Barbara Riquelme and Gilberto Sanabria, spoke to Father General. They told him, among other things: “We want you to know that the time you dedicate to us during your visit of Paraguay is an impetus for us to look for ways in which young people can build the Kingdom of God and its justice, in our society that is so culturally rich, but sometimes wounded by poverty, political corruption and social injustice. This requires us to move beyond our well-being to build the country we love and where we can live in peace and justice. (...) We know that a Christian who lives the Ignatian spirituality cannot remain deaf to Jesus’ challenges, which pass through the faces of our brothers and sisters who suffer.”
We met Barbara and Gilberto. We asked them why they had come to this gathering and what they have received from their membership in an Ignatian movement. See their testimonies in this short video.