Jesuit Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal, a member of the Jesuits' Venezuelan province, was elected the first non-European superior general of the Society of Jesus Oct. 14.
Jesuits gathered in Rome were invited to draw on "the audacity of the improbable" during a Mass to open their general congregation.
Several electors say there is an increased probability the new superior general of the order will be of African or Asian descent.
The 36th General Congregation of the Society of Jesus begins Oct. 2 in Rome; this year's congregation will include the election of a new superior general.
Pope Francis formally approved a further list of delegates to October's world Synod of Bishops on the family.
The pope approved the Canadian bishops' election of: Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, conference president; Bishop Noel Simard of Valleyfield; Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto; and Archbishop Richard Smith of Edmonton.
The Canadian bishops' alternates also were approved. They are Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil and Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver.
The U.S. community organizers and union leaders hope to sway Pope Francis into addressing a number of lingering national social justice issues.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, superior of the Jesuits, has named Fr. Thomas H. Smolich, outgoing president of the U.S. Jesuit Conference, to be the next director of Jesuit Refugee Service.
The JRS international office in Rome announced the appointment Tuesday. Smolich will succeed German Jesuit Fr. Peter Balleis.
Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, superior general of the Jesuits, announced his intention to resign in late 2016 after he turns 80.
Previously, Canada's Jesuits were divided into French- and English-speaking provinces. Combining the men would challenge them to work across one of Canada's most enduring cultural divides.
Pope Francis confirmed the head of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life and named among its new members Australian Cardinal George Pell, Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, and Archbishop Joseph Tobin of Indianapolis.
The Vatican announced Saturday that the pope confirmed Brazilian Cardinal Joao Braz de Aviz as prefect of the congregation, the Vatican office that oversees the world's religious orders.