Fr. General on the podium
The Jesuit Superior General, Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, arrived in Tokyo safe and sound on Sunday (2008-12-21)--accompanied by Fr. Jose de Vera, who served for many years as the PR man of the Jesuits in Rome--in time for lunch with his former Jesuit colleagues at Sophia University. He looked relaxed, healthy, and cheerful as usual. Many were relieved to see him still the same: casual, cordial, jovial, warm, and committed to fulfilling his responsibilities. Keeping a busy schedule, he addressed Sophia University Faculty and Staff on Monday morning, although his time for the session was extended from 15 minutes to nearly an hour. In the afternoon, he addressed Sophia University students and interested outsiders. There was a large crowd despite the fact that his address was scheduled during class time. The Metropolitan Archbishop of Osaka, Leo Jun Ikenaga, S.J., too came all the way from Osaka to meet with the General and listen to his address.
Archbishop Ikenaga in the audience
On Tuesday, the General met with numerous other persons, including Cardinal Peter Shirayanagi (who took the trouble of coming to Sophia University), with whom he had lunch.
On Wednesday, Christmas Eve, he met with the board members of Sophia University, and had dinner with them and their partners in the Jesuit Residence. He plans to celebrate Christmas Mass this evening with Sophians--but simply as one of the concelebrants rather than as the chief celebrant or chief homilist.
The General flanked by Provincial Fr. Sumita and Vice-President Dr. GroveDecember 26 will be an important day for all the Jesuits of Japan, as many are expected to gather at St. Ignatius Church, Tokyo, to meet the General in person. The events of the day will include also an academic lecture by the young historian, Fr. Kawamura, S.J., Ph.D. (Professor in the Department of History, Sophia Univeristy), on Jesuit successes and failures during the past 100 years, and the Last Vows of several Jesuits.
Photos: Professor Mike Milward, S.J.