Superior General of the Society of Jesus Fr Arturo Sosa spent the first two weeks of December visiting the Vietnamese Province and the Philippine Province. It was his second trip to Asia Pacific; in 2017 he went to Cambodia, Indonesia and Singapore. From December 1 to 15, we at the JCAP Communications desk in Manila monitored the progress of Fr General’s trip with the help of the excellent teams of Jesuit Communications Vietnam and Jesuit Communications Philippines.
To prepare for the visit, there was a lot of coordination with Br Stephen Tran Thien Kinh SJ, who was sending us complete and up-to-date coverage of the highlights from the Vietnam leg that it almost felt like we were there.
Meanwhile, in the Philippines, we worked with Fr Nono Alfonso SJ, Executive Director of Jescom Philippines and JCAP Coordinator for Social Communications. During a meeting, I asked if I could go to Kalookan City with the Jescom team to cover the visit to Sacred Heart mission station. So I tagged along with the production staff headed by Ernestine Tamana, while Rev Harry Setianto Suyarno SJ from Arrupe International Residence took many incredible shots of that memorable day in Dagat-Dagatan.
When Fr Nono asked if I could interview Fr General, I immediately agreed. Then I began making copious notes. What questions to ask Fr General? I needed guidance, so the input from Fr Nono–who is a pro at these things–was helpful, also the advice and suggestions of Fr Tony Moreno, JCAP President, Fr Socius Eric Velandria and Vanessa Gorra, our very own Communications Assistant. I listened to Fr General’s homilies and speeches throughout the trip, and attended the Mass he celebrated on the Second Sunday of Advent and found myself infinitely consoled by his message of hope.
I had the opportunity to interview him on December 15, his last day in Manila, only hours before he would leave for the airport to fly back to Rome. I had a list of 10 questions handwritten in green ink on a sheet of paper. We sat down at precisely half past nine and at the beginning I was a bit nervous. But I found Fr General to be (as Fr Tony put it) muy simpatico. We spoke about his trip to the two provinces and the challenges and needs here in Asia Pacific. He shared: “Really it’s also a moment for me of consolation to find the people and it’s an opportunity to share the same vocation in so diverse a context.”
I am filled with gratitude for all the help and support we got from all over to cover this visit, and for such a privileged moment with Fr General Arturo Sosa.
Watch the interview here:
Ria Limjap is the communications consultant for the Jesuit Conference of Asia Pacific. She is a writer and producer, her latest film Smaller and Smaller Circles (2017) featured crime-solving fictional Jesuits.