During his visit to Northern Poland on May 14 and 15, Father General met with lay people close to the Society of Jesus.
Starting with Łódź on the 14th, Father Sosa spent time with some 500 lay people from the parish of the Holy Name of Jesus. All are engaged in the Spiritual Exercises in various ways. Fr. Remigiusz Reclaw, superior and parish priest, mentioned in an interview that many of these people from other experiences such as the Charismatic Renewal or the New Catechumenate are drawn to Ignatian spirituality which teaches them discernment, listening to God in their lives and their commitment. They are also called to strengthen their faith together to create a positive influence on their entire environment.
Fr. Reclaw also insisted on a new orientation for these “collaborators”: he made them understand that they are collaborators of God rather than collaborators of the Jesuits. Moreover, he pointed out that everything should be done in the spirit of collaboration between the different parish groups in order to offer a better service.
On the evening of May 15, Father General was in Warsaw where he met with more than 150 people, representatives of the ecclesial communities and movements who are active in the Jesuit-run centres of Northern Poland. Father Sosa addressed CLC members with a specific message. He encouraged them to grow as a movement of lay Catholics, mature in their faith, spiritual experience, intellectual reflection and Christian practice of service to others.
In his speech to the laity, Father General spoke of collaboration in the Church. He emphasised that there are no “primary and supporting roles” in the Church’s mission. In the context of modern challenges, such as increasing secularization, persistent human divisions and environmental emergencies, all Christians must feel the call to act, to discern and to proclaim the Gospel. So no one can say that he has collaborators, because we all have to be collaborators. Fr. Sosa has repeatedly warned against clericalism, which is an effect of the clergy’s “corporate culture” and is rooted in the mentality of the Church’s members.
Father General also answered questions from the participants. One of the issues concerned the sexual abuse crisis in the Church, which has recently worsened in Poland. Father Sosa urged the audience to consider this crisis as a challenge and an opportunity to change and purify the Church and not as an instinctive motivation for self-defense. Scandal requires penance and a request for forgiveness in order to experience God’s mercy. He reiterated that the abuse scandal is not only about the Church, not only about minors and not only about sexual issues. In this situation of crisis, we must carry the cross and suffer with the Church in order to be able to purify and renew it with determination.