Superior General Announcement
January 23, 2008
I am writing to share some news that might be of interest to you. On Saturday, January 19, at a world-wide meeting of Jesuits in Rome, delegates from over 70 different provinces met to select a new superior of the order. This gathering, called a General Congregation, is the 35th since the order was founded. The Congregation chose Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J., as the next Superior General of the Society of Jesus. Father Nicolás succeeds Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., who has served as Superior General for over 24 years.
Fr. Nicolás was born in Palencia, Spain, in 1936. He joined the Society of Jesus in the novitiate of Aranjuez, a small village close to Madrid, in 1953. After completing his studies of philosophy in Alcalá, Madrid, in 1960, he traveled to Japan to immerse himself in the country's language and culture. In 1964, he completed his theological studies at Sophia University, Tokyo, and was ordained to the priesthood on the 17th of March, 1967, in Tokyo. From 1978 to 1984, he served as the Director of the Pastoral Institute at Manila, Philippines, and then Rector of the house for young Asian Jesuit students of theology.
Fr. Nicolás spent years working in a poor immigrant parish in Tokyo, where he was able to help thousands of Philippine and Asian immigrants. In 2004, he was appointed to oversee the entire Jesuit region of East Asia, comprising countries from Myanmar to East Timor, including the new province of China. During this time he supported the phenomenal growth of the Jesuit presence in Vietnam and other Asian countries.
Fr. Nicolás is also a member of the advisory board of our Beijing Center, where I have come to know him as a thoughtful and creative visionary for our program in China.
There is a great deal of enthusiasm about this choice to head up the Society of Jesus. The meeting of Jesuits in Rome will continue for a few more weeks, and discussions about future directions and priorities will be the subject of the deliberations of this Congregation. Before the election process began, various delegates spoke about these upcoming deliberations. Fr. Nicolás spoke in favor of a short meeting!
I'd like to ask that you keep Fr. Nicolás in your prayers as he assumes the awesome responsibility of leading the worldwide members of the Society of Jesus.
Michael J. Garanzini, S.J.