Jesuit Frs. Brian G. Paulson (left) and Thomas A. Lawler are provincials of the Chicago-Detroit and Wisconsin Provinces.
Though St. Ignatius is best known as the principal founder of the Society of Jesus, he was also a prolific letter writer, penning some 7,000 letters throughout his life. At that time, the speed of communication depended upon how fast a horse could carry the messenger, or how fast a sailboat could cross the sea. Saint Ignatius believed that regular communication is essential to service of the Church and its mission. Jesuits have always tried to use the latest tools to communicate.
Today, electronic communication has changed the way the Gospel reaches people. Whether it is an app on a cell phone, a website, or an ebook, Jesuits are finding innovative ways to bring Ignatian spirituality and other resources to people by the latest means. Technology is a tool and a gift that can provide new ways to make the Gospel known to a wider audience.
During the Society of Jesus’ 36th General Congregation in Rome last fall — during which the Jesuits elected a new Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ — we experimented with paperless meetings and electronic voting on tablets. The meeting might have been one of the most digital religious gatherings in history. Each day, updates were made available world-wide through email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Flickr, and YouTube.
Jesuit Frs. Brian Paulson (left) and Thomas Lawler (right)
met Pope Francis at GC36 in Rome.
Photos: Fr. Itua Egbor, SJ
Pope Francis has also demonstrated an eagerness to engage with the faithful online. He launched an Instagram account last year, Tweets spiritual insights, and shares his monthly prayer intentions through the Vatican’s “Pope Video.” “The Internet … offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity,” said Pope Francis on World Communications Day in 2014. “This is something truly good, a gift from God.” The pope warned, however, that we must use technology responsibly and avoid its potential pitfalls.
In this issue of Jesuits
magazine, we explore how the Midwest Jesuits and our lay collaborators use technology in creative ways to invite people to deeper prayer and reflection. Our outreach through Jesuit Prayer
) offers daily Scripture, Ignatian reflection, and prayer each day of the year (see page 4). The Jesuit Post
) helps followers see God in pop culture, politics, and other unexpected places (see page 10). Jesuits such as Frs. Frank Majka (www.frankmajka.com
) and Andy Alexander of the Collaborative Ministry Office at Creighton University (onlineministries.creighton.edu/CollaborativeMinistry
) use blogs and websites to share reflections on the Gospel, offer resources for prayer and the liturgical seasons, and guide people through the Spiritual Exercises (see pages 12 and 20).
Looking ahead, the next issue of Jesuits
magazine will be published after our new province is officially launched on June 5, 2017. We wish to thank everyone who has supported the Chicago, Detroit, and Wisconsin Provinces with your prayers, friendship, and assistance. To mark the birth of our new Midwest province, the Jesuits of the Midwest region will celebrate together in prayer and companionship in Milwaukee June 2–3, giving thanks for our rich history and asking God for future blessings. As always, you remain in our thoughts and prayers.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Click here for the Spring 2017 Jesuits magazine index