The Jesuits' General Congregation
On Monday, January 7, 2008, 226 delegates representing the 19,000 Jesuits worldwide will gather in Rome to say goodbye to their Father-General Peter-Hans Kolvenbach who is stepping down after serving as the society's leader for 25 years. The gathering of delegates, only the 35th of its kind in the Jesuits' 470-year history, will set the course for the society and will elect its new Father-General. The election is similar to that of a papal conclave in that the delegates cannot be dismissed until a Jesuit has received the majority vote. Further, no one goes home until the Pope himself approves the choice.
Rev. Paul L. Locatelli, SJ, president of Santa Clara University, will be one of the delegates. (And one of our Diocesan Liturgical Commission members and Santa Clara University student, John Michael Reyes, will also be in Rome during the gathering studying there during the winter quarter.)
Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia has put together a couple of nice posts here and here on the upcoming gathering.
See also what Rev. James Martin, SJ, has to say about the gathering. And for great information on this event, see Creighton University's website, GC 35 Info.
The gathering begins with Mass after which Father-General Kolvenbach will light a lamp at the tomb of Saint Ignatius at the Gesu Church. The lamp, and others like it in Jesuit chapels throughout the world, will remain lit for the duration of the congregation. Below is the prayer that the Father-General will pray at Saint Ignatius' altar. You might light your own lamp and pray for the Jesuits that the Holy Spirit will lead them through their discernment and election.
PRAYER AT THE LIGHTING
OF THE LAMP AT THE ALTAR OF SAINT IGNATIUS
Father and Master Ignatius,
discerner of the ways of God,
faithful friend of the Lord,
and humble servant of Christ and the gospel
beneath the banner of the cross;
you who untiringly sought the greater glory of God
through discernment and prayer,
and were docile in obedience to the Lord and his spouse the Church;
you who did not seek riches or honor,
but preferred poverty with the poor Christ
and humiliations with Christ humiliated,
provided only that the most holy name of Jesus,
in which our salvation is placed,
was proclaimed to all;
intercede for us with the Father of mercies,
so that in this time of grace
we may seek and find in all things
God’s divine presence
and know his sovereign will.
To the Eternal King of all things
we entrust this least Society,
created not by human hands,
but by the powerful hand of Christ our Lord
in whom we place our hope.
May Christ conserve and prosper
what he has begun
for his greater service and praise
and for the salvation of souls.
To you, Father Ignatius, and to the Society of saints in heaven
we entrust ourselves,
so that, confirmed in faith,
refreshed in hope,
and inflamed by evangelical charity,
we may love and serve the Lord in all things
and renew each day
our prayer of offering:
“Take, Lord, receive
all my liberty,
my memory, understanding,
my entire will—
all that I have and possess;
you have given to me,
to you, Lord, I return it.
all is yours now;
do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace;
that is enough for me.”
We ask this in the name of Christ Jesus, our Lord.
Father General lights the votive candle and incenses the tomb of St. Ignatius.