February 5, 2019 — Today, on the 28th anniversary of his death, the cause for the beatification and canonization of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, SJ, the 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus, officially opens in Rome.
Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society, invited Jesuits around the world to participate in the opening session however possible. The ceremony will take place at the Apostolic Palace of the Lateran in Rome at 4 p.m. (10 a.m. ET) and can be livestreamed at https://telepacenews.it/diretta.
Fr. Pascual Cebollada, SJ, the postulator of Fr. Arrupe’s cause, invited all Jesuit communities “to celebrate the Eucharist on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at a time convenient to them, in thanksgiving for the life of our former Superior General on the 28th anniversary of his death.”
That would allow the whole Society of Jesus to be “united in prayer on the occasion of the official opening of the process of his cause of beatification,” Fr. Cebollada wrote in a press release from the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.
Fr. Sosa first mentioned the possibility of the opening of the beatification process of Fr. Arrupe in July 2018 at the meeting of the International Association of Jesuit Universities in Bilbao, Spain.
As the process formally opens, it will involve compiling the writings, hearing the sworn testimonies and evaluating the information gathered. The phase could take two or three years or less.
After that phase is completed, the documentation will be sent to the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. From there, the cause could proceed quickly, especially if there are no theological objections and Fr. Arrupe enjoys what the church calls “the fame of sanctity” — that he is venerated as a holy person — and there is one miracle attributed to his intercession.
Born in Spain in 1907, Fr. Arrupe entered the Jesuits in 1927. He was ordained in 1936 and moved to Japan in 1938 to work as a missionary. He served as superior general of the Jesuits from 1965 to 1983 and died on Feb. 5, 1991.
His influence on the Society can be seen in the countless apostolates, residences and other Jesuit initiatives (as well as those embracing the Ignatian charism) that bear his name today, as well as in the many phrases and sayings attributed to him (not all correctly). His famous 1973 address to Jesuit educators and students, “Men for Others,” has become a central guiding document for Jesuit education.
His commitment to justice led him to establish the Jesuit Refugee Service, which serves refugees and other forcibly displaced persons in 52 countries today.
“When people met him, when they talked to him, when they listened to what he had to say, when they prayed with him, they felt something special. He had a wonderful religious and spiritual quality,” said Fr. Cebollada of Fr. Arrupe. “That’s why people, when they met him, would say, ‘He’s a saint, he’s someone extraordinary.’ There was something inside him we call ‘familiarity with God.’” [Sources: America magazine, Crux]