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Tuesday, February 28, 2017
New Provincial for Jesuits in Zimbabwe
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¬†Fr Stephen Buckland SJ has taken over as Provincial Superior of the Jesuits in Zimbabwe. During a celebration of the Eucharist in the Arrupe College chapel on Wednesday, 30 July, and in the presence of many Zimbabwean Jesuits and some friends, the official letter of appointment, signed by the new Jesuit Superior General, Fr Adolfo NicholŠs SJ, was read out. In his homily, the new Provincial stressed that it will be his task to preserve the identity and particular charism of the Society of Jesus in Zimbabwe as well as respond to the needs of the present time which are marked by hunger, instability and unrest, violence, poverty and AIDS. His time, he said, will be the cusp of the changeover from foreign-born to locally-born Jesuits. 'The Society of Jesus strives to give glory to God and to help souls,' he said. 'What this old formula means is that anything that enhances our humanity and promotes our growth as persons gives glory to God since God has identified himself with the human race and every human person in the incarnation - a tremendous vision spurring Jesuits on in all their endeavours.' Stephen Buckland was born in Zimbabwe in 1952 and educated at St George's College. He took a degree at Cape Town University. He joined the Society in 1976 and was ordained a priest by Archbishop Chakaipa in 1986. He gained a doctorate in philosophy at Cambridge University and taught at Chishawasha Major Regional Seminary and more recently at Arrupe College, the Jesuit School of Philosophy and Humanities which he helped build up as dean. He was a participant in the recent 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus in Rome, which he attended as Zimbabwe's elected delegate together with his predecessor, Fr Fidelis Mukonori SJ. After Mass, Brother Dominic Shoniwa SJ expressed the province's appreciation for all Fr Mukonori had done during nearly seven years as Provincial. He mentioned his participation in the African Peace Initiative and his role as mediator and peacemaker in general and his readiness always to intervene on behalf of Jesuits, other religious and lay people in difficulties with the civil authorities as well as his constant care for members of the province. He mentioned that during Fr Mukonori's time in office 36 young men joined the Society, eight were ordained priests and four took their final vows. Note: Zimbabwe was a part of the British Province of the Society of Jesus until November 1978 when it became a province in its own right.
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