Homily by Ergete Tesfaye, p.m.é.
Laval, Thursday, June 15, 2023

During the General Assembly of 2018, I participated in the gathering as an invited member. Throughout the assembly, I was hearing comments that my name was mentioned many times as the next General Vicar. I was feeling very uncomfortable about it and continued to ask the Lord to deliver me from this task. One evening, I received a long distance call from my elder brother. After exchanging greetings, he asked me how things are. I shared to him my concern and the heavy feeling I am experiencing related to the election. 

After listening to me carefully, he gave me his usual short and precise advice which is always related to wisdom and inner freedom. In this particular conversation, He said. "Say and do what you believe in. Only God is absolute. Just think to differentiate between what is human, political versus what is divine". His advice helped me to confirm the decision I wanted to take: to decline from accepting to be General Vicar, even if I found myself in that position a year and half letter.
After five years during our week end retreat, similar feeling started to emerge within me when the votes of consultation were released. I started asking myself "Is this possible? using the favorite expression of my predecessor I kept on saying to myself "Ça pas d'allure." When I turned to   some wise and discerning, confreres seeking words of wisdom, their advice led me to continue listening to the Spirit within at a deeper level and respond to the call with attitude of freedom and humility


The Jesuit Jean Mark Biron who guided our retreat, on the Saturday morning session, gave a reflection on the dialogue Mary had with the angel Gabriel. Mary asked "How is this possible"? "Nothing is impossible to God" was the reply of the Angel. Reflecting on this story made me realise that, what seems impossible to me is possible to God. Discerning upon the situation of Mary made me realise that God prepared Joseph to be at her side in every circumstance. 

What seemed impossible to Mary became possible. At this instant, I realised that God will provide to me not only one but three Josephs to form a team. I am very grateful about the team. Joseph Bertrand, Joseph Pedro Emilio and Joseph Juan Ramon. Thank you for accepting the call to serve in various capacities. We are the different part of one body, called for the same purpose.

Fr. Arturo de Sosa, when he was elected the General Superior of the Jesuits, said " I have a feeling I need help, It is not the work of one person but the work of the whole Society". I can never compare myself to Arturo. I know Some of you might say, "don't try to compare us with bigger congregations. We are very small society". Indeed we are small and yet dynamic society who we need each other. Members and associates, men and women, we are called together to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all nations wherever we are.
We all know that the smaller we are the greater our challenge is. We are invited to live the mission in communion in the spirit of shared leadership. This can be realised only if our relationship is based on Trinitarian spirituality. My predecessor Roland Laneuville, in one of his sharing of last week end put it in a very profound way that invites us to be inspired by the model of the Trinity, which enables us to live shared leadership in our mission. I was very touched by his reflection and meditated upon it deeply. Without entering into the Theological discussion about the nature of the Trinity, I was inspired to reflect that with the Trinity, there is pure love, no competition but cooperation and complementarities. With the Trinity there is trust and mutual love always generating harmony.

On behalf of the newly elected Central Council, I thank from my heart all who participated in various ways to make it possible for the Society continue by electing us to office. We continue to rely on your support, collaboration and your constant prayers.

 May the Lord bless all those present and all our missionaries throughout the world. Finally, I would like to entrust the our Society, every confrere and all our associates, men and women to the loving protection of the Holy Trinity. May God the Father Son and the Holy Spirit continue to guide our missionary endeavour that is entrusted to us so that we strengthen the cohesion between us and radiate his love bearing in mind that we are called to serve but not to be served.