For more than a week we have been fortunate to have Fr Jorge Serrano SJ visiting our Province. Jorge is a Colombian Jesuit based in Rome, presently the Assistant Treasurer for Development Resources.
He came to visit our ministries, meeting Jesuits, Delegates, Heads of Ministry and those in Treasury. While he was getting a sense of the financial support our Province needs for its present and future works he was also helping us, with his global insights, to see how best we might address our financial needs moving forward.
As many of us know, the global financial crisis had a big impact on those who held investments. Our Province’s experience was no different. The return on our investments remains low, as it has for some years. Coupled with an ageing and diminishing group of Jesuits, and the continuing costs incurred in addressing historical sexual abuse, it remains a challenge to balance present costs while, at the same time, being open and flexible to begin new ministries or reimagine old ones.
Apart from our ministries, an important priority of our funding is to financially support our men in formation – from the novitiate to tertianship – and our care for men in their ageing years, such as Geoff Schneider who died recently at 105 years of age. In addition, we have been asked to financially support those in formation in our Asia Pacific Conference.
Ignatius was a great fundraiser. His energy in seeking the support of friends and benefactors – evidenced also by his extensive letter writing – came from a deep spiritual passion whereby he saw his mission as Christ’s mission, bringing with it the invitation to ask others to join and support that mission.
Of course, in our Province, we can recognise the many and various ways people generously support our ministries – schools, parishes, social ministries, spirituality centres and our written and digital forms of communication. We Jesuits are blessed with many loyal lay friends and partners in mission. Not just employees but also volunteers, supporters and donors.
As we move forward in developing our Province Apostolic Plan 2019-24, and prepare to receive new Universal Apostolic Preferences from Fr General in early 2019, we know our resources are limited. In such challenging times we are being called to inject renewed energy into our fundraising efforts, move out of the ‘silos’ of our works and forge stronger collaboration and companionship with one another to open up new opportunities for all.
Like Ignatius we will continue to seek the resources we need and invite the support of others to help us fulfil our Province mission together. Like him, we will remain ever grateful for those who support us.