Jaeison Monteiro, SJ, came to Canada from the Goa Province (India) until 2024 for his studies. He accepted the invitation to go to Midland last summer to get acquainted with the province and its members.
According to him, this meeting helped discern his own call for his priesthood, but was also a good way of promoting the mission of the laypeople working with the Jesuits. “I liked the fact that both Jesuits and collaborators were coming together, discussing the mission, the fruits of the Jesuit mission as well as the challenges,” says Monteiro.
Collaboration with others: an important decree from General Congregation 36
The collaboration with lay persons is important today in the Society of Jesus. According to Fr. Arturo Sosa, there are a few factors that contribute to what he has termed ‘’a historic moment in the life of the Society of Jesus.’’
Fr. Sosa suggested that with the ‘emergence of lay vocation’ to the Society, in addition to some 16,000 Jesuits there are over 80,000 collaborators worldwide many of whom, men and women alike, are taking positions of leadership. Indeed, as stated in GC36:
- “Collaboration with others is the only way the Society of Jesus can fulfil the mission entrusted to her… Jesuits are called to the mission of Jesus Christ, that does not belong to us exclusively, but that we share with so many men and women consecrated to the service of others.” (GC36 decree 1, 36)
- “GC 36 recognizes the decisive role of our partners in the vitality of the Society’s mission today and expresses its gratitude to all those who contribute to and play significant roles in Jesuit ministry. That mission is deepened, and ministry is extended by collaboration among all with whom we work, especially those inspired by the Ignatian call.’’ (GC36 decree 2, 6)”
Lay vocations in Canada
Monteiro said about the Midland meeting that, “while we also have province gatherings in Goa, we don’t include the lay collaborators. It’s only for the Jesuits. It’s a good opportunity to include the laypeople because they are important factors for our mission. They fund us. They support us. They work with us. They pray for us.”
As in the GC 36 decrees, we read in Pilgrims Together, the apostolic discernment document for the Jesuits of Canada, that lay vocations are important: “we have come to know ourselves better as an apostolic body missioned with Christ:
- We are Jesuits and members of other religious communities
- We are lay women and men
- We are partners with Jesus in service to the Church and to society.”
The Midland meeting, titled Pilgrims Together has thus lived up to its name, bringing various members of the Ignatian family together, united by the mission of the Society of Jesus.