May 18, 2015 — Nearly 300 Jesuits will gather at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles this June — all Canadian and U.S. Jesuits currently in formation along with their provincials. The group includes everyone from first-year novices to men in their third year of theology.
The meeting, the first in the U.S. since 2006, is being held to give these Jesuits an opportunity — sometime during their formation — to meet everyone else. “The guys in formation are excited about getting together,” said Fr. David Godleski, SJ, the delegate for formation and Jesuit life for the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, the group organizing the meeting.
The logistics are challenging: organizing room and board at LMU for five days for nearly 300 men for three meals a day equals 4,500 meals. But perhaps the most challenging thing? Getting the group photo, according to Fr. Godleski.
The theme of the gathering, which runs from June 15-20, is “Global Mission in a Digital Age,” which “reflects the fact that the mission of the Society of Jesus is no longer restricted to a Jesuit’s own province or his own country because all Jesuits need a global perspective on their ministry,” Fr. Godleski said. “We’re an international Society, and we’re called to minister around the world.”
Speakers at the meeting will include Fr. Matt Malone, SJ, America magazine’s editor-in-chief; Fr. Timothy Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States; Fr. Tom Rosica, C.S.B., CEO of Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation; and Fr. Peter Balleis, SJ, international director of Jesuit Refugee Service.
In addition to talks, panel discussions and breakout sessions, Jesuits will have time for prayer and daily Mass, as well as opportunities for socializing. “There’s a desire to meet other people and a real appreciation for meeting other Jesuits,” said Fr. Godleski. “While there are programmed events during the five days, there’s also time just to get to know each other.”