One of the most telling signs of our times is that lay men and women are joining with Jesuits in all their ministries.
Lay ministers are working with recent graduates of Jesuit schools who want to continue their formation as people in service to one another and to the world. They are reaching out to business and professional people who grapple with the challenges of the work world, using the tools of Ignatian reflection. Lay people are assuming leadership roles in a broad range of Jesuit ministries and institutions.
The laity, as well as members of other religious orders who collaborate with the Society of Jesus, are helping to build an extended Ignatian community. They are entering into the heart of Jesuit mission and ministry.
At the 35th General Congregation, the Jesuits once again reaffirmed this development within the Society of Jesus. Referring to Pope Benedict’s words, “The Church needs you,” the congregation declared: “We must in turn look to our collaborators in mission and say, with gratitude and affection, that the call we have received is a call shared by us together.”
When he prayed for the Jesuits, days after succeeding Benedict, Pope Francis also made it clear that he was extending his blessing to “all those who cooperate with the Society of Jesus in her activities, those who benefit from her good deeds and participate in her spirituality.”