The Holy Father has appointed Father Juan Antonio Guerrero as the Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy of the Holy See.
Currently, the 60-year-old Jesuit, Father Juan Antonio Guerrero, is the Father General’s Delegate for Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works. He is also a General Councillor.
"As a Jesuit, it is a joy to receive a mission directly from the Pope. It is a privileged way to realize my vocation," said Father Guerrero. "The obedience I profess has always led me along unexpected paths, led me where I would never have dared to venture. And so, I am grateful. Obedience is, for me, a privileged place of encounter with the Lord.”
As the Father General’s Delegate for the Interprovincial Roman Houses and Works, Father Guerrero is the Major Superior of three hundred and sixty Jesuits. They come from sixty-nine Jesuit Provinces around the world. One hundred and fifty are in formation, and the other two hundred and ten carry out their mission at The Pontifical Gregorian University, The Pontifical Biblical Institute, The Pontifical Oriental Institute, the Vatican Observatory, Civiltá Cattolica, Centro Aletti, the Russian College, the Bellarmino College, the Gesù College, the Communication Dicastery (Vatican Radio), and a number of other departments of the Holy See. Father Guerrero has been working on the project to integrate the three academic institutions in Rome (the Gregorian, Biblicum and Orientale) entrusted to the Jesuits by the Holy See. He leaves this project while it is still in process.
He has also been involved in other governance missions: in addition to his current ones, he was the Provincial of the Jesuit Province of Castille, with over six hundred Jesuits, overseeing a good number of works. It was his responsibility to allocate scarce resources, always keeping gospel values in mind, and he contributed to the process of integrating and reorganizing the Jesuit provinces in Spain.
“’Surprise’ was the word that came to mind when I was called from Mozambique to Rome to be the Delegate of the Father General. For this new service, I have to look for another word, because it was in no way anything that I imagined for myself, even as a possibility. This call was something completely unexpected. Initially, it filled me with anxiety, and I felt quite numb. But I welcome it with humility, with confidence in the Lord and in the team that is already working in the Secretariat for the Economy. I will collaborate in the service of this mission by offering the best of myself."
Father Guerrero was born in Mérida, Spain (1959). He studied with the Salesians and the Jesuits. While at university, he lived in a Claretian college. He joined the Society of Jesus when he was twenty years old. He studied in Spain, Brazil, France and the United States. He graduated in Economics (1986), Philosophy (1993) and Theology (1994). Between 1994 and 2003, he was Professor of Social and Political Philosophy at the Pontifical University Comillas. He discontinued working on his doctorate when he was appointed the novice master for Spain. He served in this mission for five years, after which, in 2008, he was appointed as Provincial of the Province of Castile in Spain. Six years later, in 2014, he was sent to Mozambique, where he worked as an economist and project coordinator. There, he was also involved in the ministry of the spiritual exercises, taught philosophy, and helped build a school, of which he was also the principal.
In 2017, before completing his third year in Mozambique, Father Guerrero was called to Rome for the missions he currently carries out: those of being a General Councillor and the Father General’s Delegate for Roman Houses and Works entrusted to the Society by the Holy See.
Guerrero speaks Italian, English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.
"Personally, it seems that everything always changes in my life, but in reality almost nothing changes. In the end, we always do the same, the "one thing:” trying to be with the Lord, thanking Him so much for the blessings received, and putting all that we are and have at His service and that of His Church. Obviously, I come to this task from outside the Vatican Curia, and I will be entering a new world. I will need some time to adapt and to learn, to get to know and familiarize myself with the people, with the procedures, with the relationships between the various departments, etc. I will need some time to learn to know you. I am willing to dedicate myself fully to the task that has been entrusted to me.”
Fr Sosa, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, expressed the joy of the Society of Jesus in its availability for service to the Holy Father and the Holy See. "When the request of the Holy Father came to me, I welcomed it with openness and availability." Father Sosa asked His Holiness that this appointment not be associated with the episcopate, so that Father Guerrero could return, after finishing his mission, to his normal life as a Jesuit.
"I thank the Holy Father for allowing me to carry out this mission as a Jesuit, so that I can continue to remain a Jesuit when this service ends," says Father Juan Antonio Guerrero.
“In approaching this task, it helps me to realize that, as a member of the Body of Christ, other people, also members, have dedicated themselves to build up communities spiritually and in faith. They are often present in the divisions and wounds of humanity, trying to build bridges and to offer healing. They collaborate more explicitly and visibly in that Mission of Christ, in which we are all partners.
My desire is to get to know and to begin to work with the team at the Holy See's Secretariat for the Economy. I wish to become familiar with the criteria which the Council for the Economy established, and to collaborate in realizing what His Holiness desires for this Dicastery. I hope to contribute to the economic transparency of the Holy See, and to help to use efficiently the goods and resources that are at the service of the important evangelizing mission of the Church ."
Father Guerrero will take office in January 2020.