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Celebrating The Ignatian Year



CENTRO LOYOLA (Spanish-speaking Community) 

During this year dedicated to St. Ignatius, taking advantage of the rich spirituality that this great Saint has contributed to the Church through the Spiritual Exercises, the community wanted to celebrate it in a spiritual manner, with a series of spiritual exercises in daily life.


These spiritual exercises were under the guidance and direction of six priests who gave of their time, wisdom, and experience in every reflection, directing all persons who in daily life wanted to deepen their spiritual life. They were made every 15 days on the YouTube channel of the Loyola Center, where people could freely access each reflection, meditate, and share with people around them, inside and outside Japan.
The comments of people who participated in these spiritual exercises have been very positive, saying that this initiative was a new experience, different, and full of deep spiritual richness.




We had more than 40 online spiritual exercises, lectures, and study sessions, meditations facilitated by many priests and sisters. One big church event was the 400th Anniversary Mass. In addition, articles about St. Ignatius were serialized in the church newsletter MAGIS. Along with this information, reference books on Ignatius and related information on the Jesuits were also posted on the Japanese homepage.

Both of the above were good opportunities for many believers to feel closer to St. Ignatius and to experience the Ignatian way of thinking and Ignatian spirituality in their way of life. Many came to visit the church. Also, because many activities were online, those who could not come to the church due to corona illness or for various reasons, the elderly etc., could learn together. Being able to pray and celebrate wholeheartedly were fruitful and great blessings.







We celebrated this Ignatian Year by learning more about the life of St. Ignatius, experiencing Ignatian spirituality and putting focus on the Universal Apostolic Preferences. For example, we invited Scholastic Mukadi Ilunga SJ, to give a talk about the life of St. Ignatius. Last October, we had a retreat where we delved deeper into Ignatian spirituality. During this retreat, our members had a chance to practice some of its aspects and share their experiences with other participants. Lastly, we had a chance to discuss the Universal Apostolic Preferences with other youth ministry leaders from our church in preparation for last year’s Ignatian Youth Day. We had a fund- raising activity for families affected by COVID in India.


Our members were very receptive and cooperative during these activities. Together, we were happy to learn more about our Patron Saint and experience his spirituality and the Spiritual Exercises for the first time. We started praying the Prayer for Generosity before we serve at church each time. The Ignatian Year also provided us with opportunities for dialogue and sharing with other youth communities.




INDONESIAN COMMUNITY (Fr. Firmansyah Antonius, S.J.)

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola is a life-long treasure. That is why during this Ignatian Year, I personally wanted to spread its richness to other people as far as possible. For example, I used the principles of the Discernment of Spirits from the Spiritual Exercises to help some in the Indonesian community discern their future. A few years back, we had a community retreat with the same topic. And from time to time, through Mass homilies, I tried to bring it back to our consciousness. I also introduced the Spiritual Exercises to the university students whom I taught. Most of them are non-Catholic. It was interesting for me to read their reflection papers regarding the Spiritual Exercises. Some students became aware that it is important to be free from inordinate attachments in order to make a good election in life. They said that in daily life it is difficult to be aware of those moments when we are already preoccupied with our own biases or preconceived ideas. That is why they found a fresh awareness in the Spiritual Exercises.



Learning that very few people know about St. Ignatius, I took this Ignatian Year as an opportunity to tell them about him and about the Society of Jesus.
We come together just once a week for Mass so first of all, during my homilies, I would talk about St. Ignatius’ life. And because we have weddings almost every Saturday, I also use this chance to introduce young couples to ways of meditation according to the Spiritual Exercises so that they can use them in their families. We also had a little talk- show about Discernment, which I think will be a great help for young people when they have to decide things related to their lives.”

(Fr. Joseph Thanh Nha Nguyen, SJ)
Note: Fr. Nha also wrote an article, “My Cannonball Experience” in the April-May 2022 issue of the English Bulletin.


Apparently, not many foreigners coming to St. Ignatius Church know St. Ignatius of Loyola, how he became a saint, what his unique gift to the Church was, and how his spirituality is alive today. Thus, the celebration of the Ignatian Year was a great opportunity to know him.


The English Bulletin made a Special Edition featuring many references and articles to reach out to as many readers as possible. In the monthly English Group Meetings, the first 15 minutes were allotted for Ignatian formation. The Faith Formation Group, which basically studies catechism, had many interesting discussions on Ignatian spirituality, like Discernment of Spirits. The English Sunday School children were shown where in the parish the statue of St. Ignatius and his relics can be found. In a video they produced, there was a Question and Answer portion, where the children asked questions about St. Ignatius that they were curious about.
The fruits? Hopefully we have “planted seeds” in many hearts. MAGIS, AMDG, Discernment of Spirits, the Spiritual Exercises, EXAMEN, Prayer for Generosity, the UAPs, have become more familiar terms. Some wanted to know more, and others got motivated to practice these in their daily life. St. Ignatius of Loyola became more real, not just a name.





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