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July 27, 2023 — The Society of Jesus’ 71st Congregation of Procurators, which was held in Loyola, Spain. Over 100 Jesuits gathered for the congregation, one from each province in the world plus Jesuit Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa and his assistants.

So what exactly is a Congregation of Procurators? It sounds like old-fashioned Church speak. A brief explanation: There are two types of big global congregations the Society of Jesus holds. The first and more famous type is called a General Congregation, in which a new superior general is typically elected. There have been only 36 of these meetings since the founding of the order in 1540.

All the way back at the second General Congregation in 1565, the delegates decided that more frequent meetings were needed. This led to the Congregation of Procurators, whose main technical function is to decide if a General Congregation should be called via a simple “yes or no” vote. Only very rarely do the procurators vote “yes.” But it’s a unique opportunity for Jesuits to gather and reflect on the state of the Society within today’s world.

While the gathering itself lasted two weeks in Spain, the work of the procurators takes over a year. Once elected by his respective province, each procurator travels throughout his province and speaks to as many Jesuits as possible. The point is to develop a sort of “state of the Society” perspective from your own corner of the world. The procurators submit their reports to the Superior General, who in turn crafts a document on the state of the global society called De Statu Societatis. This document will be published and publicly available soon.

Today’s guest is Fr. Victor Cancino, who was the procurator from the USA West province. Fr. Cancino lives on the Flathead Indian Reservation in western Montana and is the pastor-delegate for St. Ignatius Mission. Host Mike Jordan Laskey asked him about the gathering itself plus what he learned while traveling throughout the West province, which stretches from Alaska to Hawaii to the US -Mexico border in Arizona. It was fascinating to hear his insider’s take on the whole process – a reminder that we are part of a church whose name means “universal.”

Learn more about the Congregation of Procurators and read Fr. Cancino’s articles at America magazine.

AMDG is a production of the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the United States.

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