Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, 30th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, died on May 20 in Tokyo, Japan. Father Nicolás, 84, was a member of the Jesuit community of Loyola House in Kamishakujii and had been ill for a number of years. He is deeply mourned by the Jesuits of Japan and Asia Pacific, his family and friends in Spain, and by Jesuits and friends around the world.
Father Nicolás was born on April 29, 1936, in Palencia, Spain. His parents were Adolfo Nicolás Rico and Modesta Pachón. The political corruption of that time in Spain forced his family to leave the region and to move often, and Fr. Nicolás spent a large part of his childhood in Barcelona. After considering a career in education as a member of a congregation of brothers, he was put in contact with the Jesuits by his brother, and he attended a Jesuit school in Madrid.
Throughout his life and time in the Society, and prior to being elected Superior General in2008, Fr. Nicolás had a vocation to serve in Japan. While there, he was a professor of systematic theology at Sophia University, rector of the scholasticate in Tokyo, provincial of Japan, and moderator of the Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific. He also served as director of the East Asian Pastoral Institute in Manila, Philippines, and as secretary of the General Congregation of the Society of Jesus.
All who worked with Fr. Nicolás in the Jesuit Curia appreciated his presence during his time as Father General. His strong relationship with Pope Benedict and his close bonds with Pope Francis helped the Society move into an unprecedented phase—the first Jesuit pope in the Catholic Church’s history.
Father Nicolás served as Superior General until his health no longer allowed him to carry out his mission. He convened the 36th General Congregation and offered his resignation on October3, 2016. After accepting it, the Congregation elected his successor, the current Superior General, Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ. Father Sosa said, “Fr. Nicolás gave of himself throughout his life. It was a life marked by intense service, calm availability, and a deep ability to inculturate in Japan, where he went as a young Jesuit. It was a culture he loved dearly and to which he committed himself.”
University of Detroit Jesuit High has completed the purchase of Joe Louis Park and the Johnson Recreation Center.
U of D Jesuit will begin work this summer on renovating the 20,500-square-foot building, including a gym, locker rooms, and community meeting rooms. Three soccer and lacrosse fields will be among 10.5 acres of open greenspace, including Joe Louis Park.
“U of D Jesuit is taking another historic step in its commitment to Detroit and the tradition of Jesuit education,” said Fr. Theodore G. Munz, SJ, the school’s president. “Our students will have unrivaled athletic facilities in the city of Detroit. Our neighbors will once again enjoy using the Johnson Recreation Center that has been shuttered for the past 14 years, and that U of D Jesuit is revitalizing. I am thankful to all those who have brought us to this moment and to our alumni, parents, and friends whose generous gifts make this possible.
Father Brian Paulson, SJ, is set to complete his term as provincial next summer. The process for identifying a replacement is carefully deliberative. It began with seeking input through discussion within Jesuit communities, as well as recommendations directly from individual Jesuits and other apostolic leaders. Another key step in this process, an extended consult, was completed in Chicago this past June, which considered the needs of the province, the qualities desired in the next provincial, and the most frequently recommended Jesuits for the next provincial. The process to establish a terna for the next provincial—a list of three candidates to be sent to Fr. General Arturo Sosa, SJ, who will make the final decision—will continue this summer and into the early fall of 2020 with the hope for a final decision by end of the year.