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Protecting the Least Among Us: A statement of USA Jesuits on Abortion
January 22 will mark 45 years since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in the United States, and today the Society of Jesus in the U.S. is asking Jesuits and their collaborators to continue to stand in solidarity with the unborn and with mothers in difficult situations.
"Protecting the Least Among Us: A Statement of the Society of Jesus in the United States on Abortion" reiterates the Jesuits' support for the unborn, calling abortion "part of the massive injustices in our society."
"A spirit of callous disregard for life shows itself in direct assaults on human life such as abortion and capital punishment. ... We also seek justice in ensuring that pregnant women and mothers have the resources they need to care for their children and live full lives."
Father Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S., says, "From the beginning, St. Ignatius founded the Jesuits for the promotion of the faith and the progress of souls in the teachings of Christ. As Jesuits, we continue this mission, to accompany the child in the womb and the community into which each one of us has been born."
The statement comes one day before members of the Ignatian family, including many students at Jesuit high schools and colleges, will gather in Washington, D.C., for the annual Jesuit Mass for Life. Noting that the work to end abortion requires not just a change in policy, but a change in culture, it says, "We see great hope in the large number of individuals, especially young Americans, who are active in pro-life efforts."
In addition to calling for Jesuits to stand in solidarity with the unborn - the "least of our brothers and sisters" (Matthew 25:40) - through prayer and political activism, the statement asks Jesuits to deepen their accompaniment with women who have had an abortion.
Jesuits and their colleagues must "find ever new and creative ways to bring the protection of the unborn and solidarity with mothers in difficult situations into whatever mission they serve."
To read the full statement, available in English and Spanish, click here.
Jesuits issue open letter denouncing ‘grave threats’ against Honduran priest
The conference of Jesuit provincials in Latin America and the Caribbean have released an open letter to the international community defending Jesuit Father Ismael Moreno, commonly known as "Padre Melo," against "grave threats," saying they hold Honduran president "Juan Orlando Hernández and his allies responsible for the safety and physical and moral well-being" of Father Moreno and eight other regional leaders.
Solemnity of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (January 3)
Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus
The foundational experience which led Ignatius and his companions to call themselves "Company (Society) of Jesus" is traced back to the vision at La Storta.
Ignatius and two of his companions, Peter Faber and James Lainez, travelled from Venice to Rome in 1538 to place themselves and the other companions at the disposal of the Pope. A few miles outside of Rome at a chapel at La Storta, the companions stopped to pray. At this spot, Ignatius had the second most significant of his mystical experiences. In his vision, God the Father told Ignatius, "I will be favourable to you in Rome" and that he would place him (Ignatius) with His Son. Ignatius did not know what his experience meant, for it could mean persecution as well as success since Jesus experienced both.
From the later writings of his companion Lainez, we know the following: "He [Ignatius] told me that God the Father had imprinted on his heart these words - I will be propitious to you in Rome... It seemed to him that he saw Christ with the cross on his shoulders, and near Him the Father who said to Him, ‘I wish you to take this man as your servant.' And Jesus so took him, and said to [Ignatius], ‘I want you to serve us.' And hence, having great devotion for this most holy name, [Ignatius] wished the congregation [of these companions] to be called the Company of Jesus."
Formal approval of this new order was given by Pope Paul III on September 27, 1540. Since they had referred to themselves as the Company of Jesus, in English their order became known as the Society of Jesus.
Earlier, The Society of Jesus celebrated 1 January as the Title Feast, Since the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus occurred on that day along with the Feast of the Mary Mother of God. In the revision of the universal calendar in 1996, the separate Feast of the Holy Name was restored (to 3rd January). However, the Society of Jesus retained for some years the practice of celebrating this feast with that of Mary Mother of God on 1st January.
On 3 December 2012, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, wrote a letter to the whole Society, declaring the decision to make changes in the Liturgical Calendar (Proper to the Society) to correlate with the universal liturgical calendar of the Catholic Church. Therefore, now, the Titular Feast of the Society of Jesus is celebrated on 3 January, on the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Jesus.
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