Fr General creates a new English-speaking section for a new Caribbean Province

From today the Jesuit Region of Guyana will include the Jesuit community of Kingston, Jamaica, which will thus become part of the British Province of the Society of Jesus, in an interim arrangement which will lead ultimately to the creation of a new Caribbean Province.  Up until now the Jesuits in Jamaica have been members of the North-East United States Province. Guyana remains for the time being a dependent region of the British Province.

In August Fr General Arturo Sosa SJ named Fr Christopher G. Llanos SJ of the Canadian Province as the new Regional Superior of Guyana.  Previously he was Superior of the Kingston community.

In 2011 Fr General Nicolás initiated a process of renewal of the Province structures of the whole Society of Jesus. Over the next two years Jesuits of the Region will integrate the work of the Jesuits in Guyana with the work of those in Jamaica to create an English-speaking section of a new Caribbean Province.  The new Province should come into being in 2020.  There will be two other sections: Cuba and the Dominican Republic. It is this innovative governance by “section” that has made possible the unification of the Society scattered among the rich diversity of the Caribbean nations.

Fr Provincial Damian Howard SJ has written to the Superior of the Jesuits in Jamaica, Fr Chris Llanos, welcoming the decision.

“It is with gratitude and hope that we welcome you into our Province … we look forward to getting to know you”, he writes, “Be assured that, from now on, we will count you very much as part of our Jesuit family.”

Guyana’s association with the British Province dates back to 1857 when Fr General Peter Van Beckx asked that men be sent to British Guiana. The Catholic population of this British colony was rapidly growing as a consequence of the arrival of large numbers of Portuguese indentured labourers. Since British Guiana was an English-speaking colony the mission was entrusted to the (then) English Province.