This interview was originally published in the Summer 2020 issue of JESUITS magazine shortly before the start of the USA East Province.
Where do you find pastoral joy and spiritual fulfillment in the day-to-day duties as provincial?
I find great joy in hearing the accounts of conscience of individual Jesuits, particularly in hearing about the gift of themselves to the work they are doing. I find it spiritually fulfilling when a Jesuit feels that he has been heard well by me as his provincial and when that gives him a sense of affirmation in his life or of a good discernment when we need to make a decision about his mission. I also find real joy and gratitude in the wonderful people I get to work with, whether on our province staff, or superiors of local communities, or leaders of our apostolates.
What were a few key moments over your six years as provincial that you’ll remember as truly blessed occasions for you?
The list is long: moments that particularly mark our vocation, like receiving the first vows or final vows of Jesuits or celebrating ordinations; participating in General Congregation 36; being present on two occasions when Pope Francis spoke directly to us as Jesuits; moments of gratitude for new initiatives that are flourishing, such as the Office of Ignatian Spirituality, or taking on the parish in Atlanta and the expanded Jesuit community there, or the new Jesuit community in Philadelphia; visiting JRS refugee camps. I also feel in awe at the excellent work our apostolates are doing. I feel blessed, too, in how we have been able to come together to put so many things in place in preparation for the new province, particularly in the way those things are allowing us to better accompany and support our apostolates.
As the last provincial of the Maryland Province, what are your hopes and prayers for the new USA East Province?
I hope we will deepen our communication of the good news of Christ through our works and by our particular charism. I hope the new provincial and those who lead with him will be blessed with a sacred wisdom in the choices they make. I hope our apostolates will continue to flourish in their service of God’s people. And I hope that many young men will be attracted to this very meaningful life as Jesuits and that more people will be drawn into sharing the life-giving spirituality of Ignatius and the labors of the Society.