At the release of our last issue of JESUITS back in January, we could never have imagined the current situation that has changed our whole world. Like so many, we had such hopeful excitement for 2020, only to see our enthusiasm evaporate so abruptly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our schools and universities closed early, our parishes and retreat centers sat idle, and we mourned the loss of some very close friends and family, including a number of our Jesuits, who succumbed to the coronavirus. It has, no doubt, been a daunting year for all of us.
As people of faith, however, we remain convinced that the light of Christ will continue to shine through the darkness. Although forced to shut down and shelter away, our Jesuit schools and apostolates rose up to find creative ways of assisting health care workers, serving the poor, offering online Masses, providing spiritual direction and leading virtual retreats. Our Jesuits and lay colleagues also moved forward with plans to launch the new USA East Province on July 31. You can read about these many happenings, and more, in the coming pages.
The start of the new province will bring to a close our service as provincials of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, respectively—provinces whose rich histories are acknowledged in this issue and presented along with the size and scope of the new province, under the leadership of our successor, Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, SJ. It has been an honor and privilege to accompany you— brother Jesuits, friends, donors, parishioners, alumni, faculty and students. The Jesuits of the East Coast, some 650 of us, will continue to teach, minister, collaborate with and serve the People of God, all for His greater glory.
In a year during which we have given up so much, we remember that St. Ignatius asked only this—for the love and grace of God, and nothing more. We pray for an abundance of that love and grace for each one of you.
Sincerely in Christ,