When we last met in these pages, I was singing the virtues of the lay and Jesuit collaboration in our province office. As I finished putting those words to paper, we were—like many others—swept from the workplace by the COVID-19 pandemic. We learned to navigate a new world of Zoom meetings and social distancing, and I’m happy to report that the work of the Society of Jesus continued largely uninterrupted. Yet, the pandemic continues to wreak devastation on the health and well-being of many of our loved ones, and we pray that they and all affected may find relief.
Just before the pandemic appeared, a group from our offices traveled to meet Fr. General Arturo Sosa and Jesuits celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Kohima Region. We devote a special section in this issue to this most fruitful collaboration. Speaking of Kohima, Ursuline sisters from that region are just one group of women religious actively partnering in our ministries; they are a blessing in so many ways. Also, on the international scene, you’ll read of works in Asia, focusing on the impact of Jesuit education in Guam and presence in Japan.
Our cover story features Fr. Joshua M. Peters, SJ, who was to have been ordained in Milwaukee on June 13, with hundreds in attendance. Instead, he was ordained in Detroit on June 20, with a few dear family members in the pews; it was a moving and joyful celebration. On the other end of the Jesuit timeline of service, we have four Jubilarians sharing their wisdom as they celebrate 50 years in the Society of Jesus. We are grateful for the blessings their lives have been to others.
As it was with the pandemic, I write these words as our nation reckons once again with the “original sin” of racism which tragically has been part of the American experience for over 400 years. The death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis triggered massive protests and political and social unrest reflecting anger, distrust, and frustration over the treatment of Black people, Native peoples, and other people of color in the United States. We know there is much work to be done.
As followers of Jesus, let us strive to be part of the solution and not the problem when it comes to dismantling systemic racism and promoting racial healing. In the midst of these struggles, may we who have a voice find a way, wherever we are, to give voice to the voiceless when basic human dignity and decency are violated.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Brian G. Paulson, SJ
Provincial, USA Midwest Province
|From left to right: V. Rev. Brian Paulson, SJ; Most Rev. Donald F. Hanchon, auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit; and Fr. Joshua Peters, SJ|