A Topic at the 35th General Congregation

Cooperation with the Laity in Mission

Decree 33 of the 31st General Congregation

Decree 13 of the 34th General Congregation: "Cooperation with the Laity in Mission"

"Cooperating with Each Other in Mission" - Talk by Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.

Promotio Justitiae, Jesuit-Lay Partnership in the Social Apostolate

Review of Ignatian Spirituality, (CIS), Collaboration in Mission: Jesuit-Lay Partnership, (#114, 2007)

SHARING WHAT WE BELIEVE… Jesuit-Lay Partnership
Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach SJ

Cooperation between Jesuits and Lay Partners has been an important topic of discussion for the past 40 years. When Vatican II described the "universal call to holiness" it gave all of us a new awareness and respect for the vocation of the layperson in the Church. In 1966, a short time after Vatican II, it was a part of the discussion at the 31st General Congregation.

The proposal for discussion at the 35th General Congregation is to ask for not only confirmation of, but also a clarification of the Jesuit Lay partnership. Decree 13 of the 34th General Congregation declared that Jesuits will offer "our spiritual and apostolic inheritance, our educational resources and our friendship." Jesuits certainly offer Ignatian spirituality to animate the ministry of their lay partners. But clarification is needed about the wide variety of ways Jesuits and lay partners work together, and the different levels of collaboration, particularly where lay partners are in leadership roles.

Among many Jesuits and laity, there is a deep appreciation for the variety of ways they work together and an awareness of the desire to collaborate even more. There is a need to look at other means of collaboration respecting the cultural sensitivity that must be a part of this process, particularly for those who do not share in the Jesuit spirituality. Other laypeople are deeply committed to Jesuit spirituality but are not a part of a Jesuit ministry.

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