Father General in Guyana: brief but inspiring
Last weekend, the Jesuits in Guyana welcomed Fr Adolfo Nicolás, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus on a brief visit to the country. Fr General was on his way to a meeting in Mexico for all the Jesuit Provincials of Latin America and the Caribbean and had asked to visit some of countries where Jesuits are working. The limitations of travel within the region meant that he was only able to spend a brief time in each place; however he saw to it that every minute of that time was profitably used.
Fr Nicolás began his visit to Guyana with a quiet moment of respect at the place just in front of St Stanislaus College in Brickdam where Fr Bernard Darke SJ was murdered on 14 July 1979. Fr Malcolm Rodrigues SJ explained to him the circumstances that had led to Fr Darke’s murder, describing it as “a courageous act of witness” during the troubled years under Linden Forbes Burnham. Fr Darke was stabbed as he took photos of an anti-government demonstration, when a gang of pro-government supporters attacked the demonstrators and then turned on bystanders, including Fr Darke. Read more here. Fr Nicolás is pictured here with Fr Rodrigues at the memorial to Fr Darke.
Fr General was then received by Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB before celebrating Mass at Arrupe House where he also preached. The Guyana Jesuits were joined by priests and religious of the diocese for this joyful celebration and afterwards Fr General met with the different religious communities who serve the Church in Guyana.
On Sunday Fr Nicolás visited the Marian Academy where he spoke with the Jesuits and Ursuline sisters who minister in the Rupununi and Pakaraimas; they shared with him some of their hopes and dreams for the future, as did the Jesuits who work in Berbice and on the coast. When he met with "young Jesuits" - those who are just beginning their work in Guyana – Fr General said it was “heartening to see such a large group”. He spoke to them of the need to be creative in their response to the needs of the people but added that “such creativity depends on fidelity to prayer and a serious in-depth study of the situation”.
Following Mass with the members of the Guyana Region, Fr General gave a brief presentation on some of the challenges facing the Church at this time. He spoke of the new energy and life that Pope Francis has brought and encouraged the Region to heed the Pope's call to live the joy of the Gospel.
On Monday Fr General set off for Caracas to meet with Jesuits in Venezuela with Fr Gabriel Ignacio Rodriguez who assists him in all matters concerning Northern Latin America and who is accompanying him.
The Regional Superior in Guyana, Fr Paul Martin SJ, says: “Although it was brief, Fr General's visit was a time of inspiration and renewal for all the Jesuits based in Guyana.”