Conclusion of General Congregation

March 11, 2008 in General, News

closingmass.pngThe 35th General Congregation of the Jesuit Order concluded on Thursday 6 March 2008.The new Father General, Aldofo Nicolás presided at the final Mass in the Church of the Gésu. Over two hundred and twenty delegates from around the world who had been in Rome since the beginning of January, are now returning home to inspire their Provinces , drawing on the insights of the Congregation. Click here for GC35 news.
General Congregation 35
S.J. Press Office, Rome, Italy, Tel. +39-06-68977.289,

Rome, March 10 2008, n. 21


As the assembly engaged in the final voting to approve or reject the emendations of previously discussed documents, the work of the Congregation in the two days preceding the closing of the 35th General Congregations became especially intense. Each emendation was presented by the group responsible for the drafting of the document, and then submitted to the vote of the assembly. The emendations were numerous (some documents elicited 48 emendations), and the time required to complete the operation long. After the approval or rejection of the emendations, the assembly voted on the entire document.

Then the Congregation moved to comply with the formalities prescribed in the Formula Congregationis Generalis. The closing of the Congregation “can be proclaimed not at the will of the General alone, but only with the consent of the Fathers of the Congregation by a majority vote”. The majority in this case was easily obtained and the date of the closing was fixed for March 6, sixty days after the opening on January 7. The Formula prescribes that the documents of the Congregation are to be printed and promulgated as soon as possible. The communication by the General in the name of the Congregation to Provincials is required and sufficient for their promulgation.

Among the last votes of the Congregation, also necessarily by a majority, is that to authorize Father General to make corrections which are clearly necessary “and resolve any contradictions that may be found in the documents.” After consulting with the Fathers of the General Curia who have the right by reason of their office to attend General Congregation, with a deliberative vote of their consent, the General “may polish the style and change the order of the decrees if it seems to help”.

The General Congregation also approved a letter expressing gratitude to Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach for his almost 25 years of guidance and spiritual inspiration to the whole Society.

With all the businesses taken care of, before declaring the Congregation concluded, four delegates, in four different languages gave eloquent expression to their spiritual experiences during the sixty days of interacting and common discernment.

The formal closing of the Congregation took place at the Church of Gesù with a very carefully prepared and movingly concelebrated Eucharist and the Te Deum. The homily of Father General for the occasion will be sent to the Provinces shortly.

Before the official closing, in an informal ceremony in the aula, Fr. General gave voice to his gratitude to the many who had contributed so decisively to the success of the Congregation: those who had handled the complex logistics; the team which prepared the daily prayers; the technicians who had maintained the communication systems, and last but not least, the dedicated and hard working group of translators. On their part the translators who had contemplated the assembly from their booth on the second floor of the aula assigned humorous awards (“Adolfo Awards” they called them) to several of the members of the Congregation.

On March 7th Fr. General gave a Press Conference in the aula attended by sixty four representations of press, radio and TV.


Approved Decrees:

– on Identity
– Obedience in the life of the Society
– Governance at the service of Universal Mission
– Collaboration at the heart of the Mission
– Challenges of Our Mission Today: Sent to the Frontiers
– Response of the General Congregation to the Holy Father

Topics discussed and entrusted to the care of the Ordinary Governance of the Society:

– Youth
– Vocations
– Migrants
– Fundamentalism
– Intellectual Apostolate
– Communications
– Ecology
– Formation
– Community Life
– Africa
– China
– Roman Houses
– Jesuit Brothers
– Indigenous people

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