On the morning of 26 September 2014, our friend (and one of the two tertian directors) Fr. Jim Crampsey celebrated 50 years in the Society of Jesus. Now, you don’t need to hold an advanced degree from a prestigious European university to know that 50 years is a long time… As such, we pondered and mused on all the events that Jim has witnessed in his time in the Jesuits.
He entered the Society when Pope Paul VI was reigning – a name that the tertians are most familiar with from their history books. He then witnessed (as a Jesuit) the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and the tremendous movements that occurred in the Church over this period. He was around when the Jesuits held their famous General Congregation 32 in 1975… in fact, he was a Jesuit for more than a decade at this point… and he now speaks with great personal understanding about General Congregations 34 and 35.
We had an exceptional day of stories and remembrances of the many years that Jim has spent labouring in the Society of Jesus and the Catholic Church. But – perhaps most moving – was a letter read to everyone by Fr. Jan van de Poll (the other tertian director) from Fr. Adolfo Nicolás Pachón, SJ – the Superior General of the Jesuits. In this letter, Fr. Adolfo wrote a personal memoir of Jim’s vast history; he even included many personal stories about times that the two of them met. The letter was a touching summary of many years of service to the Lord. Once or celebration of the Eucharist had concluded, we – in good Jesuit fashion – toasted Jim with nice wine and a home-made cake. Ad multos annos!