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Apostolic Mission & Goals

Vision Statement

The mission of the Society of Jesus, as a religious order within the Catholic Church, is the service of faith and the promotion of justice in living and proclaiming the Word of God. To fulfill this mission, partnership between Jesuits and laymen and women, other religious, priests and the leadership of the Church is essential. Our ultimate goal is to respond to the call of Christ to be in solidarity with the least and with all, and to grow in our personal and communal call to holiness, generosity, and availability in following Jesus and serving the Church through the Ignatian charism.

The California Province will fulfill this vision and accomplish this mission in each of its apostolic sectors and areas of administration and outreach, with four priorities guiding its efforts:

  • Ignatian formation: to actively encourage and support Jesuits and lay colleagues to engage in ongoing formation that is personal and spiritual, and that addresses the needs of one’s apostolic sector and/or ministry
  • Leadership: to actively encourage and support Jesuits and lay colleagues to take on and continue in positions of leadership and responsibility
  • Stewardship: to actively promote responsibility, both personal and communal, for the ongoing development and support of our apostolic works
  • Vocation promotion: to actively promote the Ignatian charism and the Society of Jesus

In planning according to these priorities, we will continue to reference the 1996 Province Apostolic Goals:

  • Fostering partnership in our Ignatian mission
  • Strengthening solidarity with the poor
  • Responding to the diversity of our province
  • Evangelizing contemporary culture

Fostering partnership in our Ignatian mission

Students at Sacred Heart NativityIn August 2003, 250 California Province Jesuits and more than 200 lay colleagues participated in a Convocation to examine the meaning, scope, and future of our partnership.

 

  • The Mission and Vision Committee, an outgrowth of Convocation 2003, assists the Provincial in planning and implementing Province-wide initiatives.
  • By co-sponsoring schools, we partner with local dioceses and other religious orders. Learn about these partnerships.

Strengthening solidarity with the poor

PICO press conference in New Orleans California Jesuit Tom Lucas, S.J., has written about the cold winter of 1538 in Rome, when the first Jesuits ran a soup kitchen for newcomers and established refuges for prostitutes and their daughters. Today, Jesuits and lay partners around our Province are sustaining that mission, reaching out to those less fortunate both within and beyond our Province.

  • Two parishes in California are partnering with others in Central America—a collaboration that includes visits, building projects, and worker training.
  • Fathers Jim Gallas, Camille Prat, Jim Rude, and Jim Torrens are assisting the Diocese of Fresno by reaching out to local parishes and celebrating Mass for inmates at correctional centers, among other ministries.

Responding to the diversity of our Province

Work with immigrant communities—including Italians, Portuguese, Irish, Germans, and Mexicans—has been a significant ministry from the beginnings of the Province. During the 1990s, the immigration of 3.89 million people from even more countries into our Province, and the 33 percent increase in the Catholic population, brought many underserved groups into our region.

  • California Jesuits are using innovative ways to unify their multicultural parishes: America’s quintessential pastime—baseball—provides the “social glue” that transcends nationality at St. Francis Xavier, and Most Holy Trinity wants to install a simultaneous-translation projection screen for multilingual Masses.

Evangelizing contemporary culture

When we reach out to people on the margins, they have a profound effect on how we evangelize contemporary society. A core tenet of Ignatian spirituality is finding God in all things—and that includes our experiences with “the widow, the orphan, and the stranger in our midst."

  • Ignatian Family Teach-in at Columbus, Georgia. Following the Gospel means pursuing social justice in contemporary culture. This annual event reminds the world of the tragic injustices committed by Latin American military personnel trained at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security. The annual vigil attracts thousands of Jesuits, laity, and other religious. Participants worship together and express solidarity with people who struggle against many forms of injustice.
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"Many people buy into justice, but they don't always make the faith connection. Our whole tradition grows out of the concern for justice that we see in the Prophets and Gospels."
Robert Caro, S.J.