For Jesuits and our partners, the start of a new year offers the chance to give thanks for all who walked with us and revealed God’s presence in our lives over the last 12 months.
Whether giving thanks for our benefactors, feeling a sense of wonder and excitement while looking at the faces of our new Jesuit priests, Chris Ryan, S.J., and Kevin Spinale, S.J., or reflecting on the accomplishments of our Nativity middle school graduates who mature and choose to maintain their Jesuit connections, I continue to marvel at the many opportunities for the Society to do extraordinarily good work. This report, which captures some of the highlights of our ministries, offers a fine perspective on the 2015-2016 fiscal year and does so through a lens that focuses on the primacy of accompaniment.
As many of you know, St. Ignatius Loyola, the Society’s founder, referred to himself again and again as a “pilgrim.” Nearly 500 years ago, he recognized that the most meaningful way to follow Christ was to walk beside others. With the essence of Ignatius’s bold vision always in the background, the charism that guides our schools, parishes and various ministries remains an integral part of our walk with those whom we serve.
Indeed, along countless paths, Jesuits and their colleagues share in the struggles of people facing many different types of needs: from students in underprivileged neighborhoods having their first leadership opportunities, to people who are new to this country and those who are eager to experience the Spiritual Exercises, to young men and women in their 20s and 30s who are struggling to keep faith at the center of their busy personal and professional lives. However, we recognize that, as was the case in Ignatius’s journey, our daily struggles can be transformed into life-altering opportunities with long-range consequences. In short, where there is suffering, there is the opportunity for conversion.
As our friend, you have accompanied the Jesuits on our ever-challenging and ever-transformative journeys. In fact, your support has enabled us (among other achievements) to provide meaningful experiences for men in formation; strengthen our international works in Jamaica, Jordan, and Micronesia; and help the Northeast Province fund the health care centers that are home to some 100 Jesuits who are in need of medical assistance.
As you browse through this report, I invite you to consider the ways in which your path has crossed with the Jesuits. Whether you refocused your prayer life at one of our retreat centers, found a few tranquil moments of peace in one of our parishes, or gave thanks for a friend or mentor whom you first encountered at a Jesuit school, please know that we value your willingness to accompany us and to share in our efforts to build deeper, broader, and richer connections with the Lord.
With your help and with God’s blessings, the Jesuits will strive to accomplish even more in the years to come and will attract, on our pilgrimage, greater and greater numbers of friends who wish to be in our company.
As we begin the month of February, please know that I send blessings for this year, while extending heartfelt gratitude for your steadfast support of our various ministries and missions.
In Corde Jesu,
Very Rev. John J. Cecero, SJ
Provincial, USA Northeast Province
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