Since the Second Vatican Council, “the Superior Generals and the General Congregations of the Society of Jesus have recognized the enormous value of the educational apostolate and its contribution to its mission to the society” (Sosa A., S.J., 2017). Recently, at the invitation of the Secretary for Education of the Society of Jesus, Education Delegates from the six Jesuit regions around the world, along with others in Jesuit educational apostolates, convened in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in October 2017.
JESEDU-Rio (Oct. 2017) marks the last step in a three-stage cycle of permanent educational discernment.
JESEDU-Rio2017 was preceded by the International Colloquium on Jesuit Education which took place in Boston, Massachusetts in 2012, followed by the Virtual Congress and the Seminario International sobre Pedagogía y Espiritualidad Ignacianas (SIPEI) which took place in Manresa, Spain in 2014.
Fr. General Arturo Sosa’s address, “Jesuit Education: Forming Human Beings Reconciled with their Fellows, with Creation, and with God” delivered to the Education Delegates at the International Congress in Rio de Janeiro, has had a significant and direct impact on our work at Fairfield College Preparatory School.
Inspired by GC 36, Fr. Sosa’s provocative analysis and comprehensive synthesis of the complex spiritual, social, economic, political, environmental, and ethical issues and dilemmas which present challenges in our world are presented eloquently, succinctly, and cogently. Fr. General invites us to “re-imagine” Jesuit education and, in doing so, has provided Jesuit schools world-wide with a roadmap for how we must “act as a universal body” on the local, regional, national, and global levels in the 21st century. Thus, the Director of the Work and the school leadership at Fairfield Prep has already begun to discern processes regarding how we might go about addressing the challenges that Fr. Sosa articulated.
I am grateful to Educate Magis (EM) Team for their support of my school, Fairfield Prep, for their support of me in my role as Dean of Mission and Ministry, and for their support of all the schools in the global Jesuit network by providing us with a platform to discern ways of proceeding in response to the JESEDU-Rio2017 Action Statement.
I do not purport to have designed a model process for implementation of JESEDU-Rio2017 and would welcome other schools in our global network to share their processes on the Educate Magis blog so that we can all learn from and network with each other, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.
Implementation of JESEU-Rio at Fairfield College Preparatory School
The International Commission on the Apostolate of Jesuit Education’s (ICAJE) prioritization of eight of the thirteen actions outlined by the Jesuit Education Delegates in Rio de Janiero has proven instructive and helpful to us at Fairfield Prep to begin implementing JESEDU-Rio until the 5-year apostolic plan is developed and disseminated by the Education Delegate for the UEA Province:
- November, 2017
In the monthly meeting of our President’s Council we reviewed where we currently stand as school in general with regard to the eight priority action steps. (Our President’s Council is comprised of the President, Principal, Special Assistant to the President, Vice-President of Advancement, Dean of Mission and Ministry, Chief Financial Officer, Academic Dean, Director of Diversity & Academic Support Services, and the Director of Admission).
- February 2018
In my work as Dean of Mission and Ministry, I recently attended a meeting of the UEA Province Mission and Identity Cohort in Atlanta, GA. The gathering was facilitated by UEA PASE Margaret Florentine and UEA Associate PASE Maura Toomb, and a segment of the meeting was devoted to JESEDU-Rio2017. We discussed the documents in relation to our roles and reflected upon the ways in which we can “act as a universal body” on the local, regional, national, and global levels.
- March 2018
Fairfield Prep’s President, Principal, Rector of the Fairfield Jesuit community, Chair of our Board of Governors, and I, attended a meeting convened by Rev. John Cecero, S.J., Provincial of the Northeast Province of North America, on Apostolic Discernment, Collaboration and Ignatian Leadership. A segment of this meeting was devoted to our response to JESEDU-Rio2017.
- June 2018
I introduced JESEDU-Rio2017 to our Mission Leadership Team (MLT) at our annual end-of-year review meeting. I sent the MLT the JESEDU-Rio documents (Fr. General’s Address and the Education Delegates’ Action Statement) in advance of our meeting. I also used the same reflection questions we used at the UEA Province Mission and Identity Cohort Gathering to help us discern how we might go about advancing the eight priorities articulated in the Action Statement in each of their distinct areas and roles. (Our MLT is comprised of 18 members and is a combination of three school leadership groups: our President’s Council, our school Deans, and Directors of school programs).
- December 2018
I plan to re-visit the eight Priority Action Steps of JESEDU-Rio2017 with our Mission Leadership Team at our annual mid-year review meeting. We will reflect upon, share, and informally assess the progress we have made in each of our distinct areas and roles with regard to advancing the eight priorities.