Province Congregation starts today

Today the Jesuits in Britain are beginning a Province Congregation – a special meeting convened roughly every four years. 

The main purpose of the meeting is to elect a representative (known as an Elector) to join Fr Provincial at the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus which has been convoked in October 2016 in order to elect a successor to Fr General Adolfo Nicolàs who announced last May that he will retire when he reaches the age of 80. 

Fifty Jesuits of the British Province are attending the Province Congregation.  Six of these attend ex-officio, including the Provincial, Socius, Treasurer, Regional Superiors (of our two dependent regions Guyana and South Africa) and a Major Superior (Mike Lewis SJ, who is President of the Jesuits Superiors of Africa).  Forty are elected by the Jesuits themselves: each Jesuit may vote for 25 of their colleagues.  These votes, submitted on paper, are counted and collated into the list of 40 by a committee known as the Coetus Praevius.  Fr Provincial has the discretion to add up to five additional men as Provincial appointees.

As well as choosing the Elector to go to Rome for the General Congregation, the Province Congregation has been asked by Fr General to consider the three most important calls that the Lord makes to the whole Society of Jesus today

According to the Constitutions of the Society any member of a Province can propose for consideration matters judged important for the Society’s or the Province’s life and work. The Province Congregation may then put forward these matters (known as postulata) to the General Congregation in Rome.  In the coming days the delegates will also be considering the state and future direction of the British Province.

Read an article by Jack Mahoney SJ on General Congregations since Vatican II