In November 2019, the Jesuits celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ creating the Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat, but accompanying vulnerable and marginalized communities has marked the whole history of the Jesuits since its earliest origins. Grounded in the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius and our relationship with God, Jesuits and lay companions are challenged to follow the Gospel call to love our neighbor, to become friends with those living in poverty, those suffering, those outcast. These relationships are the foundations of our work to promote justice and reconciliation in the world. Our faith gives us the courage to respond to this suffering with joy and hope.
Our faith call to confront the structures of our world that perpetuate poverty and injustice is the embodiment of God’s love and saving mercy. As the Jesuits declared at the 32nd General Congregation in 1975: “The mission of the Society of Jesus today is the service of faith, of which the promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. For reconciliation with God demands the reconciliation of people with one another.”While there are several ministries connected to the USA East Jesuits directly serving communities, the work of social ministries is integrated into Jesuit communities, parishes, middle schools, high schools, and colleges and universities across the East coast. As Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ wrote in his introduction to the 2020 Jesuit Annuario, Jesuit social ministries “makes visible our desire to be on the side of the poor and the excluded. We want this commitment to be part of every ministry in the Society.” For this reason, the province is focused on creating opportunities for collaboration between institutions, across our apostolic sectors, and beyond.During an audience with Jesuit social ministries leaders in 2019, Pope Francis reminded us, “the purpose of the social apostolate is more than to solve problems. The Social apostolate exists to promote processes and encourage hope. We are called to open the future, inspire possibilities, generate alternatives, and help us to think and act differently.”To discuss this work across the USA East Province, contact Nick Napolitano, assistant for social ministries. For regular updates on this work, sign up for our social ministries e-newsletter.