General Congregation 35
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Rome, January 8, 2008, n. 3
THE OPENING OF THE 35 GENERAL CONGREGATION
In a solemn, and carefully prepared two hour ceremony in the Gesú, the mother church of the Society, the General Congregation took its first step.
Cardinal Franc Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, presided at the Eucharistic celebration. Father General, his counselors and the Secretary of the Society, concelebrated in the sanctuary. Cardinals Roberto Tucci, Thomas Spidlik and Urbano Navarrete, the three Jesuit Cardinals who reside in Rome were at the right side of the altar. The church was filled with members of the Congregation, Jesuits serving in Rome as well as members of religious congregations of Ignatian spirituality and the laity.
In his homily the Cardinal dedicated a “heartfelt gratitude” to Father Kolvenbach for his fidelity, his wisdom, his righteousness and his example of humility and poverty. In the rest of the homily, the Cardinal, using the Constitutions and the Spiritual Exercises, highlighted the core elements of Ignatian spirituality: its apostolic charism, obedience to the Holy Father and the sentire cum ecclesia. The Cardinal expressed sorrow and anxiety because in his estimation the sentire cum ecclesia is diminishing among some members of religious families.
Addressing himself directly to the Jesuits, the Cardinal mentioned “the many institutes of Consecrated Life who, following an Ignatian spirituality, pay attention to your choices: there are many future priests in your Colleges and Universities…There are many people from both within and outside the Church who frequent your centers of learning seeking a response to the challenges which science, technology and