April 12, 2018 — Father General Arturo Sosa, SJ, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, has appointed Father Erik Oland, SJ, as the first Provincial of the new Jesuit Province of Canada, effective July 31, 2018, on the feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.
The appointment comes after Fr. Sosa signed the decree on March 29 confirming the creation of the future Jesuit Province of Canada. The new province will come into existence on July 31, 2018, and will unite the current Jesuit Provinces of English Canada and French Canada.
Fr. Oland has been serving as Provincial of the Jesuits in French Canada and Haiti since November 2016. He previously served as master of novices at the Jesuit novitiate for French and English Canada in Montreal.
The new province will be bilingual; since 2008, all young Jesuits in Canada are expected to be bilingual, reflected in a unified novitiate in Montreal that Fr. Oland directed before he became a Provincial. “We still really work at cultivating our sense of how to participate in the universal mission of the society and its particularity in the place where we’re missioned," Fr. Oland said. "As a former novice director, I tried to drive that home.”
Both Canadian Provinces have also stressed the importance of focusing on justice for indigenous communities, which Fr. Oland said has been a “rallying point” for Jesuits in both provinces.
He joined the Society of Jesus in 1994, was ordained to the priesthood on May 16, 2003, and took Final Vows on July 19, 2008. He studied theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry) and served as a retreat director at the Ignatius Jesuit Centre in Guelph, Ontario. He was also vice president of the International Jungmann Society for Jesuits and the Liturgy.
Prior to joining the Jesuits, Fr. Oland had a 15-year career as an operatic baritone and sang with the Canadian Opera Company. His music profession introduced him to Ignatian spirituality through the Jesuits, whom he first met while teaching singing at Concordia University in Montreal. As a Jesuit, he has sung at large Jesuit gatherings, participated in parish music ministry, toured with Jesuit music ensembles and given retreats based on music and spirituality. [Source: English Canada Jesuits, America magazine]