In previous posts I proposed to deepen in new forms of regional structure. I suggested regions and interprovincial projects [link 1] and I enumerated some reasons why we should organize ourselves in this regional way [link 2]. In this post I want to write about why does such a step allow us to respond better to the mission we have received.

  • It allows us to make economies of scale, enabling us to use more effectively the economic, administrative and human resources we have.
  • It helps us to improve the quality of our service by uniting our efforts and using to greater advantage our human, technological and institutional resources. We might even say that it enables us to become more competitive globally. Regions of this kind could serve the provinces by coordinating investment in, for example, houses of formation or the Jesuit Refugee Network. We could think of formation, both Jesuit and lay, on this kind of regional basis, in a way that would guarantee numbers, the quality of instructors and programs, an appropriate context, the presence of some stage of formation in all the provinces, and the intercultural dimension of formation at all stages.
  • It allows us to deepen our sense of the body of the Church and of the Society of Jesus, making us more sensitive to our shared identity and mission.
  • It means that we are working along with the historical trend among our peoples, which is one of integration rather than conflict, and of a cultural enrichment coming through dialogue.

This is a novel proposal that requires serious discernment. But there is no need for us to fear novelty. Fr General himself in his letter invites us to be creative with regard to mission. That was the great achievement of Jesuits in the Reductions.

This path does not involve the creation of new levels of intermediate superiors, but rather agreements between provincials to assign a delegate for the common work of their provinces.

  • Perhaps an apostolic sector could be organized on a regional basis. For example, various provinces might unify their vocations promotion, or social ministries, or formation under a common delegate or coordinator.
  • We could think of a community as regional, of the kind that it is proposed to establish at the triple frontier of Chile, Bolivia and Peru, or a formation house.
  • We might organize a particular work on a regional basis: the Jesuit Migrant Network, for example, could have one director for various countries.

Would this kind of regional structure be more helpful to us in our mission?

PHOTO: from Flickr by advocacy_project under license Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0). This post is part of an article originally published in Portuguese and Spanish on the CPAL report number 288, published on 30th September 2013. This is a translation from the original in Spanish by Mario Cazal (Paraguay) and Philip Endean (Paris) for The Jesuit Networking Project. The whole document can be found on this website [English] [Spanish]