An Indian priest has been named general treasurer of the Society of Jesus, popularly known as the Jesuits, the second largest Catholic religious congregation for men after the Salesians.
Father Arturo Sosa, Jesuit superior general, announced this week that Father Sebastian J Jeerakassery, SJ, former head of the congregation in Delhi, will assume office on April 1.
Father Jeerakassery will succeed American Jesuit Father Thomas J. McClain who held the post for the past 12 years.
“Father Jeerakassery’s] skills in economic and financial matters and his ability to promote teamwork … are all elements that prepare him for this new mission,” said Father Sosa in a post on the congregation’s website
“I am grateful for his generosity and availability in accepting this service to the universal Society,” he added.
He said the purpose of a job entrusted to a member, such as the provincial, treasurer, or superior, is “apostolic,” although its nature is administrative.
“It is in the context of their apostolic purposes that these responsibilities find their meaning,” said Father Sosa.
“The daily mundane administrative works of a treasurer ensure the smooth functioning of the various apostolic works of the Society. Thus, the works associated with the general treasurer’s office are of themselves apostolic in nature,” he said.
Father Jeerakassery, popularly known as Jeera, was born on March 15, 1970, in Cherupuzha in the Kannur district of the southern Indian state of Kerala.
He entered the Society in 1989 and completed his initial formation in Patna. He studied philosophy and mathematics in Chennai, capital of Tamil Nadu, and theology from the Regional Theology Centers in Patna. In 2004, he was ordained a priest and he pronounced his final vows in 2010.
After his ordination, he served as the provincial treasurer of the Delhi province from 2005-2012. In 2012 he became the director of the Loyola Vocational Institute in Delhi, and in 2016 he was appointed the Delhi provincial.
In 2020, the superior general called him to become a member of the treasurer’s team at the General Curia in Rome where he served as assistant to the general treasurer.
The Society of Jesus was founded by Saint Ignatius Loyola in 1540.