Secondary school leaders from Jesuit schools around the world gathered for the first time ever this summer for a ‘colloquium’ on their global mission into the future. This historic event was intended as a practical and initial response to General Congregation 35’s call to “pay special attention to the global context” of serving Christ’s mission in today’s world.
Father General himself endorsed the event by encouraging ‘’all Jesuit secondary school networks to take advantage of this opportunity to advance the Society’s commitment to form leaders who can serve both the Church and the world.”
The invitation was eagerly taken up by the Irish Province and a group of 11 travelled to the colloquium.
This mammoth undertaking was organized by Boston High School and hosted by Boston College. Fr. General’s Delegate for Education, Jose Mesa SJ, was a central driving force behind the event and he was actively supported and advised by the members of the ICAJE group.
According to Brian Flannery, Education Delegate for the Irish Province, "The Colloquium’s theme, 'The World is our House,' invited us all to a new level and spirit of collaboration. We were reminded that Jesuits schools are dedicated to forming the next generation of leaders in our Church and in the world. Our challenge today is to train all members of our school communities to think globally, work collaboratively and exchange ideas, strategies and practices."
There were presentations on themes such as: Our Global Mission, Technology, Jesuit Identity and Global Partnerships and Collaboration.
"And the highlights for the Irish group were Fr. Huang’s witty and masterly account of the Procurators meeting in Nairobi and the beautifully eloquent and prayerful reflection from Fr. Orbator on an ‘African Education’," said Brian Flannery.
Gerry Foley, headmaster of Belevedere College was one of the Irish group attending and he was impressed by the fact that meeting had the double benefit of being both inspiring and practical.
"There was a strong sense among participants that the Jesuit network is uniquely placed to educate ‘global citizens’; by virtue of our worldwide reach we are in a privileged position to educate students who will be able to participate in the globalization of such values as solidarity, cooperation and reconciliation that respects human life and dignity."
The outcomes arising out of the colloquium according to Brian Flannery, included the following:
The delegates made a formal commitment to ‘think globally’ and agreed that this way of thinking should be seen as part of ‘our new way of proceeding’. This commitment will involve on-going communication and collaboration through a continued development of the international network of schools.
Practically this will involve developing collaborations with other provinces - through the use of IT, twinning relationships, virtual classroom experiences, service outreach programmes and more.
The goals of this collaboration will be to better serve the faith, promote justice and care for the environment; to build bridges between youth and their faith communities and to provide students with opportunities for a truly global education.
The Irish Education Delegate also paid tribute to the organizers of the colloquium. "They were simply outstanding at every level and everything possible was done to ensure the colloquium’s success. The American sense of ‘magis’ was perhaps best demonstrated by Boston High being able to organize a police escort in rush-hour traffic. Commuters stood still for some minutes as all 380 delegates were whisked to our evening meal!"