Maltese Jesuits hold their Province Congregation

Jesuits who attended the Province Congregation 2012 (from left): Paul Chetcuti, Mark Cachia, Anthony Cilia, Vincent Magri, Joseph Cassar, Josef Briffa, Robert Soler, Salvu Mifsud, Pierre Grech Marguerat, John Scicluna, Paul Pace, Reno Grech, Michael Bugeja, Arthur Vella, Konrad Grech, David Cefai, Godwin Preca, Patrick Magro, Ray Pace, Paul Zammit, Edgar Busuttil, Alfred Micallef and Alfred Darmanin. (Photo: Paul Chetcuti, SJ)

St Ignatius was very practical man. When he founded the Jesuit Order, Ignatius of Loyola did not want to hold ‘general chapters’ (what Jesuits call General Congregations) at fixed times, say every 4 or 6 years as was customary with other religious orders. He believed that these meetings are very time consuming and expensive, so that they should be kept at a minimum!

Instead, he devised a system which ensured enough communication to enable the General to govern the Society without requiring these regular meetings. However, as a check to this, Jesuit representatives from each Province gather every four years in their own country to discuss whether or not it is in fact time to hold a General Congregation.

Malta’s provincial congregation, made up of 20 elected Jesuits and three ex officio members, gathered at Mount St Joseph between the 2nd and the 5th of January. Of course the obligatory vote was taken on this question (where the answer was ‘no’). 

The congregation proceeded to electing  Fr Joseph Cassar SJ as Malta’s representative, and moved on to discussing other issues of major importance: the strengths and weaknesses of the Province and its work and how best to prepare for the future; work with young people; collaboration between Jesuits and lay people; and our financial situation.

'The atmosphere was very positive and peaceful, and the discussion took place in a spirit of realistic hope,' said Fr Paul Pace SJ, Provincial.

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