This just in from a very interesting website set up for the Jesuit General Congregation, which opened today:
Press Release – January 3, 2008
The opening Mass of the 35th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus will take place at 10:00 a.m. Monday, 7 January, at the Gesù Church.
The concelebrated Mass will be presided over by His Eminence Franc Cardinal Rodé, Prefect of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, who will deliver the homily. Father Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, Superior General of the Society of Jesus will assist at the altar.
After the Mass the remains of Saint Ignatius of Loyola, which are housed under the altar at the right side of the church, will be venerated, and a lamp will be lit and will remain burning during the time the Congregation meets. Similar lamps will be lit in Jesuit chapels throughout the world as a symbol of the continuous prayer for the success of the Congregation.
The Mass is open to all who wish to join the 225 members of the Congregation.
Photographers and television crews who plan to attend the Mass are requested to apply for a permit via email before noon Sunday, 6 January indicating the number of the crew and specifying the type of permit: still photography or television. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. On Monday, 7 January photographers and television crews are to register at the entrance to the Gesù Church by 9:30 am. They will be escorted to the location set aside for them. They will stay in this location for the entire ceremony.
The General Congregation will have its first formal meeting the afternoon of Monday, 7 January. No press coverage is planned. The first phase of the Congregation (scheduled to last approximately 10 days) will be private and communication about it will be minimal. After the election of the new Superior General, the second phase of the Congregation begins. Daily communiqués are planned.
A visit to the “aula” where the 225 members meet is being considered. Information about this and other points of interest will be available from 8 January on the webpage: http://www.sjweb.info/35.
NOTE ON THE RESTORED ALTAR OF SAINT IGNATIUS AT THE GESU CHURCH.
The altar is considered a masterpiece of Brother Andrea Pozzo, S.J. (1642-1709) who succeeded in giving a visual expression to the basic elements of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius. The Trinity, the Incarnation, the monogram of the name of Jesus, the mission of the Society and many other elements of Ignatian spirituality are represented. Presiding over Br. Pozzo symbolic creation is the statute of the Saint, originally cast in silver. The statue was lost during the French Revolution and replaced in 1798 by an imitation with stucco head, hands and legs within the original chasuble.
According with the artistic tendencies of the time, Pozzo conceived the altar as a dramatic presentation composed of various scenes. Following the taste of the day, he created a piece of cloth which usually concealed the statue of Saint Ignatius. On given occasions, by means of a clever mechanism, the cloth would slide down and the statue would appear in all its splendour. This piece of cloth has great artistic value. The passing of time and the humidity of Rome caused the cloth to deteriorate; but now it has been restored.
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