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The Very Reverend Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J.
Superior General of the Society of Jesus
Omaha, Nebraska, October 7 & 8, 2004

"Cooperating With Each Other in Mission"

A Brief Biography

"Cooperating with the Laity in Mission"
Decree 13 of the 34th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus

Talks by Kolvenbach

"To Friends and Colleagues of the Society of Jesus"

"Working for "
European Conference of Alumni/ae
Malta, 2001

"Where the Mind Is Without Fear the Head Is Held High"
World Union of Alumni/ae
Calcutta, 2003

"Exercises and Partners"
Rome Consultation, 2002

On Ecology: "Our Responsibility for God's Creation." Harare, Zimbabwe, 1998

"Jesuit Ministry in Higher Education"
Assembly '89, Washington, DC

"The Jesuit University in Light of the Jesuit Charism"

"The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education"
Santa Clara University, 2000

"The Intellectual Dimension of Jesuit Ministries", Krakow, Polond, 2002

To Jesuit Secondary Education Directors,
Warsaw, Poland, 2002

To the General Assembly of the Christian Life Community,
Nairobi, 2004


The Importance of this Visit

Fr. Jim Grummer, S.J., Provincial of the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus, decided to use the occasion of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Jesuits coming to Omaha, and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Wisconsin Province, to invite Fr. Kolvenbach to come to Omaha, to visit our Jesuit sponsored ministries, and to give a major address.

The topic of the major address comes from the theme of the visit, "Celebrating 125 Years of Jesuit Lay Partnership in Omaha." The 34 General Congregation of the Society of Jesus, which met in Rome in early 1995, issued a decree, addressed to the Society itself, entitled "Cooperating with the Laity in Mission." Reading that decree would be an outstanding preparation for this historic visit of Fr. Kolvenbach.

Fr. Grummer has asked Fr. Kolvenbach to give a major address on this same topic, but addressing it to us all: Jesuits and Lay Partners: Cooperating with Each Other in Mission."

Please come and join us for this important reflection on our Mission together.

What Has Fr. Kolvenbach Said Already?

"Our unity respects both freedom of conscience and the amazing spectrum of gifts the Lord has given to each of you. Thus, among you are people from every walk in life, every profession: among you too we discover the richness and variety of ways in which you relate to God. Some of you have made the Spiritual Exercises in their entirety and are able, in consequence, to give them to others with profit. Others, as is provided for in the Exercises, have had experience of only one or other aspect of Ignatius' spiritual journey. There are others again who have never had the opportunity to make the Exercises, and still others whose spirituality is not Ignatian. All of this is entirely legitimate and, indeed, bears witness to the wealth and variety of the Church's spiritual heritage. Nor is it rare that others who do not share our faith and practice, nevertheless take part in our works on the basis of the values we share in common. In several countries, Christians of other denominations give us their valuable support. In Asia and Africa, in particular, there are many examples of our working alongside non-Christians, either in their institutions, or in our own.

"Many Jesuits and laypeople have been mutually enriched by their working together in freedom and maturity in such a way that they have been able to share their experience of God, very often thanks to the inspiration of the Exercises. In fact, the four hundred and fifty years of the Society's history have been a record of fruitful association with the laity, in which the Ignatian spirit has manifested itself in the Church in many forms, and it continues to do so with vigor today. At the present time, in fact, the Universal Church has devoted special attention to the laity in a Synod of Bishops. The Apostolic Exhortation, Christifideles laici urges that the participation of the lay faithful in the salvific mission of the Church be 'more rich, complete and harmonious'."

From Decree 13:
Cooperating with the Laity in Mission

331 1. A reading of the signs of the times since the Second Vatican Council shows unmistakably that the Church of the next millennium will be called the "Church of the Laity." During the past thirty years increasing numbers of lay people have responded to the call to ministry owing from the grace received in baptism. The actualization of their vocation in so many and such varied situations has become the predominant way by which the People of God minister to the world in promotion of the Kingdom. This growth of lay ministry will surely continue to expand during the next millennium. The Society of Jesus acknowledges as a grace of our day and a hope for the future that laity "take an active, conscientious, and responsible part in the mission of the Church in this great moment of history." We seek to respond to this grace by offering ourselves in service to the full realization of this mission of the laity, and we commit ourselves to that end by cooperating with them in their mission.

334 4. Jesuits are both "men for others" and "men with others." This basic characteristic of our way of proceeding calls for an attitude and readiness to cooperate, to listen and to learn from others, to share our spiritual and apostolic inheritance. To be "men with others" is a central aspect of our charism and deepens our identity.

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