Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ
Some 180 Jesuits and 40 of their colleagues in schools, colleges, spirituality centres and pastoral work met last week for three days at the Hayes Conference Centre in Derbyshire.
This was the biennial meeting of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, enriched by the presence of members from around 20 other provinces of the Society who are studying or working in Britain.
The highlight of the meeting was the participation of the Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ, who spoke warmly of the work of the province, and listened attentively to the various presentations about the challenges and opportunities that Jesuits face in their mission in Britain in the 21st century. He met separately with the Jesuit Brothers and Jesuits in training, and joined the Jubilarians at a celebratory dinner, along with the Archbishop of Westminster, Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, who celebrated Mass for the delegates.
The Superior General's visit to the British Province had started at the Apostolic Nunciature in Wimbledon, where he was greeted by Archbishop Antonio Mennini. And he returned to Wimbledon towards the end of his visit, when he celebrated Mass with Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark at Sacred Heart Church.
Fr Nicolás' busy schedule took him to Tyburn, where he paid tribute to the many martyrs who were executed for their belief, and to Lambeth Palace where he had a private meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury. His visit concluded at Wapping, where he opened the new Hurtado Jesuit Centre, which, among other activities, will provide a new base for the Jesuit Refugee Service.
The theme of the Province Meeting was 'On Mission for the Life of the World', which gave speakers broad scope to address such issues as how religious life can be at the service of the Church and its mission, as well as its role in serving all sectors of society, especially the elderly and the vulnerable. There was also a striking presentation by BBC Natural History producer, Mary Colwell, and Fr Chris Boles SJ of the Lauriston Jesuit Centre in Edinburgh, on the ecological challenges facing society and how the Society of Jesus is responding to some of them.
Further reports and photos from the 2011 Province Meeting will be published soon.
Source: Jesuit Communications