News
Jesuits Celebrate Mass at St. Peter's Basilica, Electors to General Congregation 36 Pass Through Holy Door of Mercy

By Tracey Primrose

October 7, 2016 — In a driving rain this morning in Rome, 215 Jesuits made the short walk from the worldwide headquarters of the Society of Jesus to St. Peter’s Basilica. They crossed St. Peter’s Square and, like millions of pilgrims before them during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, walked through the Holy Door of Mercy. While singing the official hymn of the Holy Year, “Misericordes sicut Pater” (Merciful Like the Father), the Jesuits passed through the large, ornamental bronze doors opened by Pope Francis last December to inaugurate the Jubilee Year and made their way to the altar at the Chair of St. Peter.

Please see our Flickr collection of photos from today’s activity in Rome.


Jesuits, including Fr. Adolfo Nicolás, SJ (second from right), who resigned as the Society's Superior General earlier this week, head to St. Peter’s Basilica. Photo by Don Doll, SJ.

There, they vested, each wearing a white cloth stole embroidered with the Jesuits’ starburst logo and the IHS (symbol for Jesus), for the celebration of the Mass. Presiding at Mass was Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ, 76, of the Philippines, the eldest of the group of 215 Jesuit electors gathered in Rome for General Congregation 36, the supreme governing body of the Society of Jesus, which will soon elect a new leader to replace Father Adolfo Nicolás, SJ, 80, who retired earlier this week.


Fr. Bienvenido Nebres, SJ (left), presided at Mass. Photo by Don Doll, SJ.

In several days, the electors will begin four days of conversation, called murmuratio. Outlined by St. Ignatius of Loyola, the Society’s first Superior General, in the Jesuit Constitutions, the process provides an opportunity for information gathering and one-on-one discussions about potential candidates for office.

Fr. Nebres, the former longtime president of the Ateneo de Manila University, led the concelebrants in prayer for the group’s coming discernment. “We ask the Father to place us, as he placed Ignatius, with Jesus carrying his cross. We ask the Lord Jesus who called us to the company that bears his name to be propitious to us. We ask the Holy Spirit to give light to our minds and to warm our hearts.”


Photo by Don Doll, SJ

Fr. Nebres later briefly reflected on Jesus and St. Peter, the first pope and Vicar of Christ. He prayed for a fire that “enkindles our hearts during this General Congregation so that we can kindle other fires and give the warmth of the love of God to a world grown cold.”

The centerpiece of the Cathedra Petri — the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter, where the Jesuits celebrated Mass — is an enormous gilded bronze monument designed by Bernini in 1666 to enclose an oak throne donated by Charles the Bald upon his coronation in St. Peter’s in 875. On the left wall of the chapel is a monument to Paul III, the pope who approved the Society of Jesus in 1540.


Photo by Don Doll, SJ

When Mass concluded, the Jesuits walked down the main aisle at St. Peter’s, where in the left nave, they passed the statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola. St. Ignatius is holding a large book open to a page that says Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam, For the Greater Glory of God, the Society’s unofficial motto. The opposite page of the book in St. Ignatius’ hand is the Jesuit Constitutions, his exquisitely thorough manual that covers every imaginable detail regarding how to run a General Congregation and how to elect a new Superior General.

It was a fitting end to the celebration of the Eucharist.





Recent News

January 22 will mark 45 years since the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision made abortion legal in the United States, and today the Society of Jesus in the U.S. is asking Jesuits and their collaborators to continue to stand in solidarity with the unborn and with mothers in difficult situations.

Seattle University President Father Stephen Sundborg, SJ, has been known throughout the Puget Sound region and beyond as a leader dedicated to academic rigor, service, and the promotion of justice.

The uniquely historical stained glass windows in LMU’s Sacred Heart Chapel can now be viewed without entering the building by visiting a new website.

Sean Reilly, a 2016 Santa Clara University environmental science and biology major, has been named one of 32 American Rhodes Scholars for 2018.

LMU has kicked off a program that helps community college transfer students earn performance-based scholarships to the university.

January 1, 2018 — As the new year begins, Jesuits.org invites you to reflect on 2017 with this Ignatian Annual Examen courtesy of Xavier University’s Jesuitresource.org.

December 17, 2017 — In honor of Pope Francis' 81st birthday today, here are 81 things the Jesuits love about Pope Francis.

view all news

Search news

Publications

Mission Magazine - Fall 2017

Mission Magazine - Fall 2016

Mission Magazine - Spring 2016


Companions
Fall, 2017

Update
Summer, 2017

Update
Spring, 2017


Loyola Institute for Spirituality
Loyola Institute for Spirituality (LIS), founded in 1997, is located in Orange, CA. LIS provides many programs and services for individuals, parishes, and dioceses throughout Southern California and beyond.