Press Release
Jesuits to Hold Worldwide Meeting, Elect New Leader in Rome this October

Only the 36th General Congregation in the 476-year history of the Society of Jesus

For Immediate Release

(Rome, Italy, September 27, 2016) — The Society of Jesus (Jesuits), the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church, will hold the first plenary session of General Congregation 36 in Rome on October 3. The supreme governing body of the Jesuit order, a General Congregation has only happened 35 times since the Society was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

At the Jesuit Curia in Rome, the worldwide headquarters of the Society just steps from the Vatican, 215 Jesuits from around the globe will gather to elect a new Superior General, as Superior General Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, 80, has announced his intention to resign.

Fr. Nicolás, the 30th Superior General in the history of the Society, has served as leader since 2008, when he was elected at the Jesuits’ 35th General Congregation. Born in Spain, Fr. Nicolás joined the Jesuits in 1953. Before his election as Superior General, he served in Japan and the Philippines, including as provincial (superior) of the Jesuits in Japan and as head of the Jesuit Conference of East Asia and Oceania, where he was responsible for the common works of the region from China to the South Pacific and Australia.

Fr. Nicolás said he believes this Congregation will be different from the previous one because “times have changed and there is a new awareness in the Society that we need daring, imagination and courage in facing our mission as part of the bigger mission of God vis-à-vis our world.”

The men who will gather in Rome to elect his successor represent the global Society of Jesus and come from 62 countries. One of the delegates will be Father Timothy P. Kesicki, SJ, president of the Jesuit Conference, the organization that represents the Society of Jesus in Canada and the U.S. Fr. Kesicki said that the delegates approach the upcoming congregation with generosity and faith. “They are eager to engage their brothers and to offer the expertise of our own Conference to the whole Society. This is the first time a congregation has begun with a Jesuit pope, and the Society has a great desire to join the church in serving the vision and witness of Pope Francis.”

The logo for General Congregation 36 includes the words, “rowing into the deep,” a phrase inspired by the exhortation of Pope Francis to the Jesuits in 2014, on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus. His Holiness encouraged the Society of Jesus to know how to discern in the midst of difficult times, to be submissive and obedient to the will of God, and to “row together in the service of the Church.”

While the first 19 General Congregations in the Society of Jesus were held at the house in Rome where St. Ignatius lived and died, next door to the Church of the Gesù, recent Congregations have been held at the Jesuits’ headquarters at 4 Borgo Santo Spirito in Rome. The proceedings will take place in the complex’s Aula, or hall, newly renovated as part of an extensive project that included wiring and plumbing upgrades, new LED lighting, and fire-retardant measures throughout the headquarters, which dates back to the 1920s.

The Congregation will gather for an Opening Mass on Sunday, October 2 to be celebrated by Fr. Bruno Cadoré, Master of the Dominican Order. The first order of business will be electing the new Superior General. Delegates vote in as many rounds as necessary until someone receives a simple majority.

Once a new Superior General is elected and Pope Francis is informed, the successor to St. Ignatius will be announced. Pope Francis is familiar with the process, as he attended two prior General Congregations — GC 32 (1974-75) and GC 33 (1983). Following the election, a Mass of Thanksgiving will be celebrated at the Church of the Gesù.

After a new Superior General is elected, delegates turn their attention to discussing issues of importance in the Society, including mission, structure and Jesuit life and work. For instance, the 32nd General Congregation in 1974 established “the service of faith and the promotion of justice” as the overriding characteristic of all Jesuit works.

There is no set end date for the Congregation, but when the delegates conclude their work, a closing Mass will be celebrated at the Church of Sant’Ignazio in Rome.

Feature stories, videos, delegate bios, an infographic, FAQ, and more about GC36 can be found at


About the Society of Jesus in Canada and the United States

Founded in 1540 by Saint Ignatius Loyola, the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) is the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church. Jesuit priests and brothers are involved in educational, pastoral and spiritual ministries around the world, practicing a faith that promotes justice. In Canada and the United States, there are 30 Jesuit colleges and 80 pre-secondary and secondary schools with a shared goal of developing competent, compassionate and committed leaders in the service of the Church and society. Jesuits minister in parishes and at retreat houses and serve as chaplains at prisons, hospitals, nursing homes and in the military. The Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States, headquartered in Washington, D.C., represents all Jesuits in Canada and the U.S. For more information on the Society of Jesus, visit

Recent Press

(Washington, D.C., November 2, 2017) — Timed to coincide with the upcoming UN COP23 climate change conference in Bonn, Germany, Jesuits and lay collaborators from around the world will hold a series of events in Bonn to complement and amplify the talks taking place next week.

(Washington, D.C., October 4, 2017) — Today, on the Feast Day of St. Francis, the saint most identified with care for creation, two Jesuit organizations have partnered to produce what’s being called an Ecological Examen.

(Washington, D.C., September 27, 2017) — This fall, the Society of Jesus (also known as the Jesuits) welcomed 38 new novices in the U.S., Canada and Haiti.

(Washington, D.C., September 5, 2017) — Dear Dreamers: We write on this difficult day to remind you of God’s love for you and to tell you that you are not alone. Across the U.S., Dreamers like yourself have graced classrooms in Jesuit schools — from the smallest among you to those now earning advanced degrees. You came to us for an education, you came for pastoral and spiritual guidance, and we welcomed you — not because of your nationality — but because you are our brothers and sisters in Christ. No government can tear that sacred bond.

(Washington, D.C., June 22, 2017) — This summer, the Society of Jesus, also known as the Jesuits — the largest order of priests and brothers in the Roman Catholic Church — will welcome 29 new priests in the U.S., Canada and Haiti (a member of the Jesuits’ French Canada Province).

(Washington, D.C., May 15, 2017) — The Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (PWPN) has announced that Jesuit Father William Blazek will become its U.S. national director next month, succeeding current director Jesuit Father James Kubicki. Founded as the Apostleship of Prayer and recently renamed by Pope Francis, the network communicates the pope’s monthly intentions to 50 million members in 89 countries, seeking to mobilize people in prayer and action. Its youth branch, the Eucharistic Youth Movement, is present in 56 countries.

(Washington, D.C., February 22, 2017) — The Jesuits of the U.S., together with the Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation and St. Francis Mission on the Rosebud Reservation, are deeply concerned by the recent decision of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concerning the Dakota Access Pipeline.

view all news

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 11/13/17

America 10/30/17

America 10/29/17

Sioux Spiritual Center
The Sioux Spiritual Center, nestled amid the hills of western South Dakota, is the heart of the Diocese of Rapid City’s efforts to develop native clergy and leadership on the reservations.