Fr General’s second day in Madagascar (Wednesday, October, 5th) was quite eventful. He spent the whole morning interacting with pupils in the primary school level at Saint Michel College, a renowned school in the capital which educates over 4,000 pupils and students. The first part of the afternoon was dedicated to meeting with 16 Jesuit brothers working in the capital Antananarivo. Fr. General gave a poignant testimony on how his vocation was mostly inspired by Jesuit brothers in his native Venezuela. As a student in a Jesuit high school, his image of a Jesuit was hardly that of a priest. His long experience in the Society of Jesus (Fr. Sosa entered the novitiate in 1966) allows him to have a keen view of how the vocation to brothers in the society of Jesus seems to have undergone a major shift: we now contemplate a diminishing number of Jesuit brothers worldwide while at the same time, one witnesses brothers who have various profiles which was barely the case before. The General Superior of the Jesuit Order highlighted two important points: (1) the importance of the prophetic stance of the Jesuit brothers which symbolizes God’s power in consecrated life and, (2) the vocation to Jesuit brothers which gives particular meaning to the concept of “people of God” as fleshed out by the Second Vatican Council. As a reminder, Madagascar is among the few Jesuit provinces worldwide which prides itself to have a significant number of Jesuit brothers in terms of priest/brother ratio.
The theme of collaboration Fr. General pointed out throughout his intervention was again the focus of his homily during the inaugural mass of the new house of Saint Michel Jesuit community which ended the second day of his visit. Taking his cue from the reading of the day (Gal 2: 1-2; 7-14) in which zealous apostles such as Paul, Peter, James and Barnabas spread the gospel despite their innate differences, Fr. General Arturo Sosa, SJ underscored the need of solidarity among Jesuits which is key for success. Right after the Eucharist, Fr. General, flanked with Fr. Fulgence Ratsimbazafy, Provincial of the Malagasy Jesuit Province blessed the quite imposing new building which houses some twenty Jesuits who work in Saint Michel College and in other apostolic domains.