Reunion may 2018From 2nd to 3rd of May 2018, the Jesuits belonging to Rwanda-Burundi Region gathered in Kigali to participate in an exercise that is currently ongoing worldwide, involving Jesuits into a discernment process on the apostolic preferences of the universal Society of Jesus for the next ten years. To maximize the materialization of this exercise’s potentials, the RWB Jesuits sought the support of the incumbent President of JESAM, Rev. Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ to facilitate the proceedings. In total, 16 Jesuits were convened as either superiors of local communities, or directors of works, or else as professed fathers working in the region of RWB.

The general mood of the exercise was very prayerful and frank. On the first day, the facilitator introduced the Jesuits in attendance to the exercise of reminiscence. He invited his audience to focus their gaze on their experience of the past 15 years during which the Society of Jesus has guided its engagement along the lines of the apostolic priorities, which were set in 2003 and adopted by the 35th General Congregation in 2008.

 In the process, the facilitator also drew the attention of his audience to the recommendations of the GC 36 which tasked the Superior General to initiate a process of identifying apostolic priorities. The present gathering was then understood as one step constitutive of the discernment process which responds to the directives of the general congregation to Father General.

The discussions and spiritual exercises incurred during the first day session laid down convenient grounds for the second day’s proceedings. On this day, the audience was invited to focus on possible directions that the Lord wants the Society of Jesus to take in the midst of the World’s current outlook. In a nutshell, the question was about how and where should the Society of Jesus as a whole carry out its apostolic mission in the World as the latter is today. The proceedings proved enriching as they helped the members of the audience ponder over various horizons that could identify as the Society’s next apostolic fields.

In the end, the small groups, created to allow for maximum participation in discussions, had to bring down their multiple choices to one impending and urgent priority in their judgment. The task proved grueling in execution with a happy surprising ending in its conclusions. All the groups arrived at one technically distinctive and yet common conclusion as they saw it fit to consider the ministry of the Spiritual Exercises a priority that the Society of Jesus should universally focus on in its apostolic engagement in the world.

In sum, the past two days have been intense and very informative to many participants in varying degrees. In prayerful and frank discussions, the Jesuits in attendance gathered their thoughts and shared their deepest desires for the universal Society of Jesus as they also took some moments to introspect their own local apostolic output. In the end, everyone left with a deep sense of satisfaction and gratitude for the opportunity to live such moments of discernment and taking stoke of the Society’s status in the world. With the help of God, the future looks brighter thanks to the outcome of the concerted efforts dispensed to shape this future in question.

Patrice Ndayisenga, SJ

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