With the announcement of the Universal Apostolic Preferences, has anything changed for Jesuits, their partners for the mission and the environment of Jesuit works? It is too early to judge, since the project launched by Superior General Fr. Arturo Sosa must be implemented and sustained over the next ten years. But the Province of Korea has not been dragging its feet. Even before the proclamation of the Preferences, the Korean Province started on a discernment process for defining a Provincial Apostolic Plan. This was a response to the request of the previous General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolás.
The Korean Provincial appointed Fr. YI Keun-sang (Simon) to facilitate the entire discernment process. When the current General asked all communities and works to reflect on ways forward, Korea was already on the move and responded quickly to this request. Fr. Yi Keun-sang facilitated more than 120 meetings, with small and large groups.
In February 2019, when the Universal Apostolic Preferences were released, Korean Jesuits and their partners saw that their own discernment led them to these same horizons. It was encouraging, but did it mean everything was considered done and perfected, and the ideals proposed by the Preferences were already met? Certainly not! Fr. Yi says that the UAPs present a “joyful challenge”.
During his presentation of the UAPs to Korean Jesuits, Fr. Sosa emphasised that this is a spiritual path inviting everyone to look forward. It is not to check if what is already being done meets any of the Preferences - and thus conclude that everything is fine and can go on as before. It is a call for each community and each work to always seek how to live the spirit of the four Preferences.
Each Province, because of its social and cultural context, must also find the most relevant ways of living and presenting the fruits of the Society’s universal discernment. In Korea, the theme of reconciliation has emerged as an essential dimension of the Jesuit presence at the heart of society and the Church. Father General’s program, activities, meetings during his visit helped the Jesuit family in Korea to better identify how the “ministry of reconciliation” could be a privileged and relevant way forward in the path proposed by the UAPs.