In March 2019, with very little fanfare, Fr. Tom Greene, SJ, of the Jesuits USA Central and Southern (UCS) Province and Fr. Rolando Alvarado, provincial of Central American (CAM) Province signed a renewal of a fraternal agreement first signed in 1982. It reads in part, “In the spirit of General Congregation 36 and its emphasis on networking and collaborating, we express through this renewed agreement our desire to deepen between ourselves that type of cooperative and fraternal relationship which is characterized by mutuality in exchange of resources and ministerial opportunities.”
The focus of the agreement is on commitments related to formation (Jesuit education and training) and apostolic collaboration. In particular, the missioning of Jesuits between provinces is encouraged. This often takes the form of UCS Jesuits teaching or working at CAM institutions, either long-term or for speaking engagements and workshops. Central American Jesuits often come to the UCS Province to study or work in ministries such as Arrupe Jesuit High School in Denver or St. John’s College in Belize City, Belize, where their language skills and cultural knowledge are of particular benefit.
In addition, the UCS Province provides financial assistance for CAM institutions and for formation of Jesuits of the Central American Province.
The agreement formalizes a mutually beneficial “twinning” arrangement between the Jesuit provinces that dates back to the 1930s and ′40s, when Jesuits of the former Missouri Province established missions in Yoro, Honduras.
The Central American Province includes Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. It is a part of the world that has been ravaged for centuries by social and economic forces that have led to poverty, wars and oppression. Yet in recent decades, the Society of Jesus has become known for its commitment to justice and peace, often speaking out prophetically and paying the price. This long-standing relationship with CAM has become for the UCS province more than just a cause for solidarity; it has become a source of hope.