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Quebec - Haiti: a Jesuit Connection (A visit under the signs of rootedness and openness to the world)
It was in Quebec City that the French Jesuits of the 17th century established the "base camp" for their mission of evangelization in North America. It was in the footsteps of these pioneers that Father Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, had a very busy day in the same city of Quebec on Saturday, May 26.
The main reason for his visit to the historic city was the ordination to the diaconate of a Jesuit, Johnny Masséba. Johnny is Haitian; he studied theology at Laval University in Quebec City. His ordination was presided over by His Eminence Gérald Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec. He was therefore the successor of Saint François de Laval, the first bishop of New France. Like his venerated predecessor, Cardinal Lacroix is close to the Jesuits and shows great interest in their presence in his diocese.
During his homily, on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, Cardinal Lacroix insisted on the fact that the Trinity is "open", welcoming, and that it invites us to open ourselves. Talking directly to Johnny, with whom he had had a very rich preparatory meeting, he encouraged him to be a missionary of hope, to always let himself be led by the Holy Spirit and, quoting Pope Francis, to choose God without respite, without ever being discouraged because the strength of the Holy Spirit will always be there to support him.
At the beginning of the celebration, Father General gave a short talk. He stated that the strength of the spiritual roots of the founders of the Canadian Church continues to animate today's apostolic impulses in a changing world. He stressed that Jesuits all over the world wanted to participate in a project of an evangelization adapted and acculturated to our time. In closer connection with the celebration of the diaconal ordination, Father Sosa pointed out that Johnny Masséba's testimony was one of commitment to service. This testimony can help young and old alike to find meaning in their lives and a path for wholeness growth, in a world that seeks orientations and references. Father General affirmed that the path of the diaconate for a young Jesuit leads him to participate in the fabulous project of Ignatian spirituality, a project that always invites to love and to serve. Finally, Father Sosa pointed out how significant the ordination of a Haitian Jesuit in Quebec was. It is an example, among many others, of the universal character of the Society of Jesus of our time, which seeks, wherever it is called, to be at the service of faith based on the promotion of justice.
It should be noted that Johnny Masséba, like all Haitian Jesuits, is part of the Jesuit Province of French Canada. There are historical reasons for this: Canadian Jesuits were those who, in the last century and until their expulsion by Dictator François Duvalier, helped the Haitian Church train a local clergy. After their return to Haiti from 1986, many Jesuit vocations arose. Today, some fifty Haitian Jesuits have more and more autonomy in their apostolic commitments.
Father General's day in Quebec City included other activities, beginning with an early morning lunch with Cardinal Lacroix. He then spent some time at the Centre de spiritualité Manrèse, a major Jesuit work in French Canada, a training school for Ignatian spiritual guides. He answered several questions from the Manrèse team, some on his personal experiences and others about the place of Ignatian spirituality for the Society of Jesus today.
He then stopped, at noon, at Maison Dauphine pour les jeunes, a work associated with the Society of Jesus founded Fr. Michel Boisvert, who died prematurely. The organization provides services to youth in difficulty, including a street school that offers an educational track adapted to youth who have not been able to follow a regular school curriculum. A way for the Society of Jesus, in Québec, to intervene "at the borders", in the heart of the world, with the wounded.
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