Australian Jesuits announce Apostolic Priorities & new bodies to oversee them

The Australian Jesuits recently announced the Apostolic Priorities that will guide the religious order’s activities in Australia over the next five years.

In February, the international Jesuits announced the Universal Apostolic Preferences (UAPs), the result of a 16-month discernment process for the Jesuits and their partners in mission across the globe.

In Australia, the Jesuits and partners in mission have been taking part in this discernment process, including a review of the needs of the Society of Jesus and the broader Church in Australia.

Australian Provincial Fr Brian McCoy SJ announced the results of this discernment process at the Province Gathering at Saint Ignatius’ College Riverview on 24 April.

Jesuit Provincial, Fr Brian McCoy SJ

Jesuit Provincial, Fr Brian McCoy SJ

‘A key question in this last stage of our own planning, since the announcement of the UAPs in February, has been how to incorporate our own foundations and priorities with the UAPs and those that will emerge in the future in our Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific (JCAP)’, said Fr McCoy.

He noted that the Australian Province review has taken place at a time when the Church in Australia is coming to grips with the findings of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

‘We are acutely aware that our own Province has not been immune to serious failures in this regard’, he said. ‘This Province Apostolic Plan includes our commitment to ensuring that the highest professional standards prevail in all our ministries, making the safety, protection and flourishing of the young and vulnerable our paramount concern.’

The five apostolic priorities are: Nourish our ministries through Ignatian spirituality; Heal humanity and our world; Form the young in a faith seeking justice; Strengthen Jesuit and lay partnership in mission; Serve Christ through the Church within our Jesuit and Ignatian tradition (more details on each below).

Fr McCoy announced a number of initiatives aimed at supporting the various priorities. A new body called Jesuit and Ignatian Spirituality Australia will be established to have oversight of the ministries of the Spiritual Exercises and of Ignatian Formation.

‘The members of this body will be tasked to have oversight of these two foundations and to be creative, imaginative and bold in the outreach and expressions of this priority’, said Fr McCoy.

Another new body, called Jesuit Social Ministries Australia, will have oversight of the Province’s social ministries.

‘They will be mandated not only to support our social ministries but also to explore ways in which all ministries can further dialogue, network and collaborate in relation to this priority.’

Fr McCoy said that with regard to strengthening Jesuit and Lay partnership in mission, a priority was to ensure that women’s voices are welcomed and encouraged in the Province, particularly on boards and councils.

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