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Jesuit order leader set to visit Oro next week

THE leader of the Jesuits, the largest religious order in the world, is scheduled to visit Cagayan de Oro next week, and Xavier University is now making preparations for the event.

Fr. Roberto Yap, president of the Jesuit-run university, announced the scheduled visit of Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, superior general of the Society of Jesus, from Dec. 12 to Dec. 14.

Sosa is the first Latin-American to lead the Jesuit order.

The Jesuit leader is scheduled arrive in the afternoon of Dec. 12 at the Laguindingan Airport and will proceed to the Loyola House Jesuit Community. Members from various Xavier Ateneo units are set to welcome him along the university’s main lane.

Next Thursday, he will visit the Xavier Ecoville in Lumbia, the XU-led resettlement village for typhoon “Sendong” survivors, to meet some partner beneficiaries of XU’s social development projects, including Tabang Marawi and Service Learning Program (SLP) in Alubijid.

In the afternoon, Sosa will attend the “Conversations with Jesuits and Lay Partners” at the XU-AVR1 to discuss the apostolates in Mindanao. A Eucharistic celebration to be presided by Sosa will follow at the University Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Xavier Ateneo considers this visit of Sosa as “a moment of grace for all those who participate in the Jesuit mission.”

Sosa is the 31st superior general of the Jesuit order following a long line of generals all the way to Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.

He was born in Caracas, Venezuela on Nov. 12, 1948. Just like Latin-American Pope Francis who had to deal with his divided province during the Argentine dictatorship in 1970s, Sosa served as the Venezuelan provincial from 1996 to 2004, where he steered the tensions within his own province over the populist autocracy of Hugo Chávez.

His educational background includes a doctorate in political sciences from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He received his license in philosophy from Andrés Bello Catholic University in 1972. He is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and English, and understands French.

Before his appointment as the provincial superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela, Sosa was the coordinator for social apostolate and later as the director of Centro Gumilla, a research and social action center run by the Jesuits in his home country.

Sosa has had a long career dedicated to teaching and research in the area of political sciences. He held a number of responsibilities in the academe, as a professor and a member of the foundation council of the Andrés Bello Catholic University. For ten years, he was the rector of the Catholic University of Táchira. He has published a number of works, mainly about the Venezuelan history and politics.

In 2004, he was invited by the Center for Latin American Studies of Georgetown University in the United States as a lecturer and was a professor of Venezuelan Political Thinking of the Catholic University of Táchira.

During the 35th General Congregation in 2008, he was chosen counselor general by then-Superior General Fr Adolfo Nicolás. In 2014, he joined the Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome as the delegate for the Interprovincial Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome, which include the Pontifical Gregorian University, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Pontifical Oriental Institute, and Vatican Observatory, among other international colleges and residences.

In October 2016, 212 Jesuit electors, representatives of more than 17,000 Jesuits worldwide, voted for Sosa during the recent congregation following the resignation of Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ. (pr)

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