Worldwide, the Society of Jesus is marking the 200th anniversary this year of its Restoration by Pope Pius VII, an event we recall in this edition of Jesuits and Friends by considering the contribution made by the Plowden brothers during the Suppression. But there are other important anniversaries this year as well.
South Africa, for instance, will celebrate the 20th anniversary of free elections, following the apartheid regime. The older generation will no doubt be reflecting on the momentous events of 1994 and recalling the impact that the late Nelson Mandela had upon their lives. But there is an entirely new generation of voters in this year's election - a generation that never knew apartheid. Anthony Egan's article explains how the Jesuit Institute in South Africa is playing an important part in the democratic process in the country.
Heythrop College's history stretches back even further and its 400th anniversary is commemorated in this issue. "One would be hard pressed to locate a college that has … managed to survive everything the gusts of history blew its way," writes Jonathan Wright, concluding that, in miniature, the college's long and winding history encapsulates the story of the Jesuits in Britain. While expressing the hope that Heythrop's geographical odyssey is over, he says that its intellectual quest continues.
These anniversaries remind us of those who have gone before us and have striven to be faithful to our mission in the name of the Gospel. At the heart of that mission are "the service of faith and the promotion of justice", as the work of Jesuit Missions reminds us on page 12. It is a mission which needs constantly to be renewed and which depends upon your continued support and generosity, as we continue to express God's love and justice.
Fr Dushan Croos SJ