A new hymn by two Australian Jesuits was premiered at the Australian Jesuit Assembly in July.
Preparation for the Assembly included reflection on the first companions in Venice. This image was an important one in the deliberations of GC 36 and runs through Decree 1 (nn.4, 6, 7, 39).
As Fr General has said in reflecting on the Congregation, it is an image that ‘conveys beautifully’ the reality that ‘life and mission are inseparable for those who choose to follow Jesus Christ in the Society of Jesus in the service of the Church’.
In this light, the Australian Provincial, Fr Brian McCoy SJ, invited composer Fr Chris Willcock SJ and writer Fr Andrew Hamilton SJ to collaborate, as they have done in the past, on a hymn on this theme.
Hence ‘Companions in Venice’ was born and became the theme song for the Assembly. The chorus gives a taste of the whole:
Bruised feet, straw beds,
kinds hands, bent knees,
refined their plans, refined their plans.
May we, their heirs, conceive and shape our ministry
Through lives well-earthed and God-aware.
Fr McCoy also wanted to make this hymn available to the universal Society, and so the music is now available for use around the world.