December 4, 2014 — On December 3, the New England and New York Provinces of the Society of Jesus merged to form the USA Northeast Province, which includes eight states and stretches from Maine to New Jersey and beyond to Jamaica, Micronesia and the Middle East. Approximately 550 Jesuits are a part of the new province.
Father John J. Cecero, SJ, serves as provincial of the province, formed after many years of strategic planning as part of the larger reconfiguration of the U.S. Jesuit provinces. The new structure will allow the Society of Jesus to better respond to the changing needs and demographics of the church.
Father Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ, president of the new Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, said the changes are designed to ensure the continued growth of Jesuit ministries. “We always have to be free to respond to the peripheries,” he said. “All of this frees us to respond to the needs of the church and the people of God.”
“The new province that begins today is a movement of grace in our midst, and while grace sheds light on our next steps, it does not illumine the entire journey,” Fr. Cecero said in a message to his brother Jesuits this week. “That takes nothing less than shared faith, courageous hope and an ardent love for Christ and one another.”
Meanwhile, the USA Central and Southern Jesuits welcomed the Jesuits of Puerto Rico to their province on December 3. The 26 Puerto Rico Jesuits serve in a variety of ministries, including two parishes, a grade school, a high school, four universities and the diocesan seminary.
Father Mario Alberto Torres, SJ, regional superior of Puerto Rico, said, “If we Jesuits from the U.S. and Puerto Rico can discern and work together in a common mission, with a sense of respect and reverence for each other, the union between us will not only be an administrative decision, but will in effect constitute a renewed way of proceeding for all of us.” [Sources: Northeast Jesuits, Central and Southern Jesuits, The Boston Globe ]