Message from the Jesuit Provincial of Canada, Erik Oland
I first encountered CJI from my desk at the Jesuit province headquarters shortly after Jenny Cafiso became the director in 2003. We would often exchange notes or just have a good conversation about what made the Jesuits tick!? That was a few years ago and now, as provincial of the Canadian Jesuits, I marvel at how CJI has deepened its vision; still seeking funding for Jesuit missions abroad, while at the same time adding the dimension of outreach and conscientization that, in turn, helps the average Canadian to better understand the challenges faced daily by most of the world’s population.
CJI has evolved into an organization which, while remaining deeply rooted in its long tradition, is committed to finding new responses to today’s global context. As a pillar of the new Jesuit Province of Canada and with its connection to the international Jesuit Xavier Network, CJI responds to the call of the poor Christ whom we meet in those who are most oppressed and marginalized.
One of my mentors, former Jesuit provincial Fr Jim Webb, wrote in an article for the CJI newsletter in 2011: “We are called to respond to the poor with charity and more comprehensively with justice, to restructure our world so that hundreds of millions are not left to live in poverty, so that the yawning gap between rich and poor does not continue to widen at an alarming pace.”
The extent of CJI’s mission bears witness to this call in its outreach to developing nations worldwide and in its work to bring the average Canadian into contact with the reality of inequality in our world. A quick look at CJI’s website shows the rich diversity of its work; helping us to respond to the call and to include a universal dimension in all that we do. I am happy to attest that all this is intimately connected to the mission of the Society of Jesus; in dialogue with cultures and religions, to promote reconciliation and justice among peoples.
Thank you CJI.
Erik Oland SJ