We have just concluded the Consiglio Allargato or “Expanded Council” of Father General, comprising Counsellors, Regional Assistants, Conference Presidents and heads of the Secretariats. It began on Monday, 9 September, 2019, and lasted the entire week. The dynamics of the CA mix inputs from various resource persons, formal discussion sessions, moments of personal and shared prayer, Eucharist, spiritual conversations in small groups and in plenary sessions, and a fair amount of conviviality and fraternal exchanges and encounters. It all happens under the wise and watchful guidance of Father General – no surprise, because the aim of the CA is to offer help and support to Father General in fulfilling his mission of governance. We always aim to do this in a space of prayer, discernment and conversation.
The just concluded CA covered many topics, including the practice of cura personalis and cura apsotolica, networking in the universal Society, the Synod on the Amazon (October 2019), the formation of Jesuits and partners in and for apostolic collaboration, and ideas and plans for the Ignatian Year (May 2021-July 2022) – not forgetting the universal apostolic preferences which provided the overarching framework for this Consiglio Allargato. Some of the people who served as resources persons on various topics included J. Garcia de Castro SJ, Cardinal-elect Michael Czerny SJ, Dani Villanueva SJ and Jim Grummer SJ.
Following the meeting, Father General would usually take time to further reflect on the proposals from CA before communicating his decisions.
All told, this has been another CA of intense prayer, open conversation and discerning effort to enhance and advance the mission of the universal Society.