Is leadership too important to be left to leaders?

Fr Xavier Jeyaraj SJ, President of the Jesuit Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat in Rome, has this week been speaking at Jesuit parishes and schools about lgnatian leadership. Fr Xavier’s visit also marks the 50th anniversary of the secretariat and comes just days after Fr Auturo Sosa SJ, Father-General of the Society of Jesus announced the new Universal Apostolic Preferences of the society for the next ten years.

In speaking to young people at schools and to groups in parishes Fr Xavier emphasized that we all have the potential to be leaders in today’s challenging climate, but that involves having the courage to say truth to power. He encouraged his audiences to think about engaging in democracy as more than just elections, highlighting that democracy also needs a spirituality of justice and love.

Fr Xavier cautioned against the cynical use of elections as an attempt to legitimize authoritarian regimes. He emphasized that true democracy requires a spirituality of justice and love. He also highlighted the negative impact that industry can have on indigenous peoples and the environment, citing examples from India and Latin America.

After speaking in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Preston Jesuit Missions welcomed Fr Xavier to Jesuit primary school Donhead Preparatory in Wimbledon. Over 70 people heard Fr Xavier share the four new priorities for the Jesuits as well as responding to his message that we can all do something to care for our common home.

Director of Jesuit Missions, Paul Chitnis, said “Fr Xavier has highlighted powerfully the importance of actively advocating for social justice in our accompaniment of the poor and marginalized. His presence this week and his inspiring words are a strong affirmation of Jesuit Missions.”

Frances Murphy, editor of Thinking Faith, commented "Fr Xavier's remarks tied in perfectly with the UAPs recently announced by the Society of Jesus. He invited us all to be authentic and humble leaders in our daily lives by responding to the needs of the world around us, following the inspiring examples of St Ignatius, Pedro Arrupe and Pope Francis."

This article was first published on Jesuit Missions's website