As you inaugurate the new Jesuit Province of Southern Africa under less-than-ideal circumstances, I would like to join you virtually with a message of encouragement and hope.
Today, you realize a dream (in some respects like in the Kumandra realm in the film: Raya and the Last Dragon). It is a dream of an apostolic audacity starting with GC35, of restructuring which inculcated freedom, generosity and collaboration of former regions and provinces irrespective of linguistic, cultural, and historical differences. Neither Idai, the cyclone, nor the present covid-19 pandemic nor its lockdowns, which continue to affect millions of people, were deterrents to these trendsetting dream. On the contrary, they brought out the best of our humanity and called forth action on the forefront.
The prevailing despondency in many countries in Southern Africa, as well as emerging issues such as the insurgence in Northern Mozambique, environmental degradation in Malawi, increased poverty of the suffering poor in the context of the current pandemic all, need a common audacious response. It will be important for you to open conversations that can help foster a deeper analysis of these situations and help chart the best ways forward.
Furthermore, in your apostolic audacity, obviously new challenges arise the Call of GC36 to be ‘Companions in a Mission of Reconciliation and Justice’, the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs), the Ignatian Year, and the context of a post-pandemic world. The context will shape the specifics. However, as you know, the UAPs seek to deepen our personal, communal and institutional conversion. They are a guide for improving both the apostolic work of the body of the Society as a whole and the many different ways in which we carry out our ministries, which are where the UAPs will take flesh. The Universal Apostolic Preferences will give you a fresh spirit and a new passion.
I join you and all your friends in fervent prayer for this new Southern Africa Province. I plead for Our Blessed Lady’s intercession so that through all these, you may continue to give witness to what it means to be companions of Jesus and sons of St. Ignatius.
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