Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, a Jesuit educational institution, gears up for the visit of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Fr Arturo Sosa Abascal SJ, the first Latin-American to lead the largest religious order in the world.
XU president Fr Roberto “Bobby” C Yap SJ said in his message to the university, “I am delighted to inform everyone that Fr Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, will be visiting Cagayan de Oro from the 12th to 14th of December 2018.”
Sosa will arrive in the afternoon of December 12 at the Laguindingan Airport and will proceed to the Loyola House Jesuit Community. Members from various Xavier Ateneo units are set to welcome him along the university’s main lane.
On Thursday, December 13, he will visit the Xavier Ecoville in Lumbia, the XU-led resettlement village for typhoon Sendong survivors, to meet some partner beneficiaries of XU’s social development projects, including Tabang Marawi and Service Learning Program (SLP) in Alubijid.
In the afternoon, Sosa will attend the “Conversations with Jesuits and Lay Partners” at the XU-AVR1 to discuss the apostolates in Mindanao. A Eucharistic celebration to be presided by Sosa will follow at the University Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
“Let us welcome Fr General and his party to Cagayan de Oro and Xavier Ateneo,” Yap added. “Let us also extend our hospitality to the Jesuits and lay partners from other parts of Mindanao who will attend the various events.”
Xavier Ateneo considers this visit of Father General “a moment of grace for all those who participate in the Jesuit mission.”
The 31st Superior General
Sosa is the 31st Superior General following a long line of generals all the way to Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus.
He was born in Caracas, Venezuela on November 12, 1948. Just like Latin-American Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) who had to deal with his divided province during the Argentine dictatorship in 1970s, Sosa served as the Venezuelan provincial from 1996 to 2004, where he steered the tensions within his own province over the populist autocracy of Hugo Chávez.
His educational background includes a doctorate in political sciences from the Universidad Central de Venezuela. He received his license in philosophy from Andrés Bello Catholic University in 1972. He is fluent in Spanish, Italian, and English, and understands French.
Before his appointment as the provincial superior of the Jesuits in Venezuela, Sosa was the coordinator for social apostolate and later as the director of Centro Gumilla, a research and social action center run by the Jesuits in his home country.
Sosa has had a long career dedicated to teaching and research in the area of political sciences. He held a number of responsibilities in the academe, as a professor and a member of the foundation council of the Andrés Bello Catholic University. For ten years, he was the rector of the Catholic University of Táchira. He has published a number of works, mainly about the Venezuelan history and politics.
In 2004, he was invited by the Center for Latin American Studies of Georgetown University in the United States as a lecturer and was a professor of Venezuelan Political Thinking of the Catholic University of Táchira.
During the 35th General Congregation in 2008, he was chosen counselor general by then-Superior General Fr Adolfo Nicolás. In 2014, he joined the Curia of the Society of Jesus in Rome as the delegate for the Interprovincial Houses and Works of the Society of Jesus in Rome, which include the Pontifical Gregorian University, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Pontifical Oriental Institute, and Vatican Observatory, among other international colleges and residences.
In October 2016, 212 Jesuit electors, representatives of more than 17,000 Jesuits worldwide, voted for Sosa during the recent congregation following the resignation of Fr Adolfo Nicolás SJ.
Jesuit-run Xavier Ateneo
Ateneo de Cagayan was founded in 1933 by Fr James TG Hayes SJ, superior of the Philippine Jesuit mission and first bishop and archbishop of Cagayan de Oro.
On August 27, 1958, Ateneo de Cagayan was inaugurated as a university and was, thenceforth, called Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan, in honor of St Francis Xavier, a Jesuit missionary to the Indies and companion of Loyola.
Xavier Ateneo became the first university in Mindanao and the first Jesuit university (among Ateneo schools) in the Philippines.
Etched in its mission, “As a Jesuit university, Xavier participates in the Jesuit mission of reconciliation with God, with others and with creation; it seeks to serve the faith, promote justice, dialogue with culture and religions, and protect the environment; it upholds the Ignatian values of magis, cura personalis, and finding-God-in-all-things.