Posts Tagged ‘California Province’

Tour Explores South America’s Jesuit Heritage, Pope’s Homeland

Jesuit Reductions

Photo by Jorge E. Taracido

By Becky Sindelar

A Jesuit heritage tour of Argentina and Paraguay will follow the footsteps of Jesuits from the early 1600s through the present day — including the first Jesuit pope in his hometown. Sponsored by the California Province Jesuits, participants have the chance to immerse themselves in South America’s rich Jesuit history.

Jesuit Father John Mossi, from the California Province, and Argentinian Jesuit Father Michael Petty will lead pilgrims on the cultural and spiritual journey from February 17 to March 1, 2014. The tour will begin in Córdoba, Argentina, where a group of Jesuits missioned from Spain arrived in 1599 and created a center of learning.

From there, the journey continues to the Jesuit Reductions in Posadas, on the border of Paraguay. The Jesuits in the 17th century built the famous Jesuit Reductions, indigenous cities of culture, education, food production and religious evangelization in the jungle areas of today’s Argentina, Paraguay, southern Brazil and Uruguay. These thriving cities were one of the most ambitious creations of Catholic missionary activity, according to Fr. Mossi.

“They were renowned for their architecture, systems of government and flourishing community life that empowered the indigenous peoples,” explains Fr. Mossi. “As European governments saw the slave trade as a means of profit and commerce, the Reductions became sources of exploitations. The Jesuits kept moving the Reductions deeper into the jungles in order to protect them. Eventually, the creation of the Reductions and protection of native people was interpreted as subversive action instigated by the Jesuits and became another element of the suppression of the Jesuits in 1773.”

The tour will end in Buenos Aires, and while it was planned before Pope Francis was elected, the schedule is being updated to explore his connections to his native city.

“Fr. Petty, our local Jesuit guide, is an Argentinian who knows Pope Francis. He’s working to include sites and churches Pope Francis frequented in Buenos Aires,” says Fr. Mossi.

Fr. Mossi believes participants will come away with a sense of Jesuit missionary spirituality, history and culture in South America. He expects a group of about 25 people, including many who have participated in previous Jesuit pilgrimages sponsored by the California Province.

Photo by Jorge E. Taracido

Joe Naylor, assistant for advancement and communications for the California Province, has been on Jesuit pilgrimages to Europe and China and says that the groups bond from their Jesuit connections. He’s already looking forward to next year’s trip.

“A highlight of the pilgrimage will be visiting the religious sites where our new Jesuit pope celebrated the Mass. These pilgrimages provide not only an insight to the rich legacy of St. Ignatius and the traditions of the Jesuits, but also a more global view of our Jesuit ministries,” Naylor said.

To learn more about the Jesuit Reductions Tour, visit

California Jesuits Declare Solidarity with Migrants in Opposing Arizona SB 1070


Jesuit Father John McGarry, provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus, issued a letter on behalf of his province declaring that it stands “in solidarity with the migrants and their families in opposition to the enactment and implementation of Arizona SB 1070.”

In the letter, Fr. McGarry writes: “The enforcement of this law will unnecessarily divide otherwise peaceful communities along lines of racial difference and cultural suspicion, as U.S. citizens and legal residents with Latino backgrounds will likely be arrested. This law will needlessly and tragically lead to the separation of family members, in particular parents from their children.”

He goes on to say, “Most significantly, SB 1070 fails to address the concrete reality of our broken immigration system in the comprehensive, humane and just manner that the Church has been striving for in the Justice for Immigrants campaign.” The full letter is available online.

More Resources on SB 1070 and Comprehensive Immigration Reform from the California Province:
AZ State Legislature SB 1070 (AZ Legislature website)

“Bishops Challenge Arizona Law” (America magazine)

“Comprehensive Reform, Not Hostile Legislation, Is Necessary to Fix Broken Immigration
System,” by Fr. Sean O. Carroll, S.J., of the Kino Border Initiative (Jesuit Refugee
Service/USA website)

“Arizona Religious Leaders Call on Governor Brewer to Veto SB 1070” (Diocese of Phoenix

Statement of Bishop John C. Wester, Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration (USCCB

“Arizona’s Dreadful Anti-Immigrant Law” by Cardinal Roger Mahony (from his blog)

The Justice for Immigrants Campaign to Support Comprehensive Immigration Reform

“Strangers No Longer: Together on the Journey of Hope,” A Pastoral Letter Concerning
Migration from the Catholic Bishops of Mexico and the United States (2003, USCCB

“Comprehensive Immigration Reform: A Call to a Month of Prayer, Fasting, Action &
Advocacy in the California Province of the Society of Jesus, ” by Fr. John P. McGarry, S.J.
(January 27, 2006)