One of the many fruits of the two-year discernment in common by the Society of Jesus on what was to become the Universal Apostolic Preferences, is a respect for the power of collaboration. It has long been a staple of ministry for Jesuits worldwide, but with the UAP discernment came a profound realization that collaboration with our lay colleagues and “people of good will” is no longer a nicety of ministry, but an absolute necessity. The simple reality is that it is now impossible to continue the mission set out for us without training, supporting, and DEPENDING on those who share the Ignatian vision.
It is with that sense of collaboration that Fr. General continued his visitation through India, starting with institutes of higher learning in Goa. Fr. Sosa visited the Xavier Centre for Historical Research, founded in 1979 at the height of tension between India and Portugal, and the Thomas Stephens Konknni Kendr, dedicated to the studies of languages - mainly Konknni - and regional cultures. Joining Fr. General were his brother Jesuits from the Province of Goa who presented him with a summary of their works and commitments. Father Sosa took the opportunity to speak with his brothers about the universal apostolic preferences and how it could inform their life, prayer and ministry.
After a three-hour trip to Belgaum, a city in the neighbouring state of Karnataka, Fr. General continued his push for collaboration by celebrating the Eucharist in the Fatima Cathedral with the relatives, friends and ministry partners of the Society of Jesus in the region. Fr. Sosa stressed that living a Christian life, mean living a life with and for others. From Ecclesiastes, he pulled the phrase “Give not your heart to money”, a path that leads to a false sense of self-sufficiency that separates you from fruitful relationships with other people of good will and, of course, God. Preaching on the Gospel, Fr. General acknowledged that Jesus’ admonition, “If your hand pushes you to sin, cut it off”, was harsh but important as it pointed to the moral humility that Christ’s disciples must pursue. As an example of what happens when we allow the lessons of the Gospel to remain in Scripture rather than being the basis of our lives, Fr. Sosa asked the congregation to recall that Mahatma Ghandi, the father of the great nation of India, was deeply inspired by the life of Jesus in the Gospels, but not by the lives of the Christians around him.
As the day drew to a close, Fr. General once again found himself surrounded by his Jesuit brothers. Joined by Curia Assistants Lisbert D’Souza and Vernon D’Cunha, with Goa Provincial Fr. Roland Cuelho, and the Jesuits of the region - including the 20 novices - Fr. Sosa celebrated the graces of the day at of St. Paul’s School, a prestigious institution of learning with 2000 students. Once again promoting the challenge that the UAPs present to ALL people who are part of the mission of the Society of Jesus, Fr. General thanked the assembly of parents and benefactors, and asked them to INSIST on collaboration, the way of the Society of Jesus going forward.