News
Office of Ignatian Spirituality: at the heart of all things Jesuit

By Mike Gabriele

Ignatian spirituality. Could two words ever fit so well together? Like Maryland crabs, Boston chowder or Philadelphia cheesesteaks, when you think of one, the other rolls off the tongue along with it.

Ignatian spirituality is at the heart of all things Jesuit. St. Ignatius Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises are the basis for how Jesuits and so many others find a deeper relationship with God. Yes, the Jesuits are indeed extraordinary, world-renowned educators. They are celebrated for mission work in some of the poorest communities on earth. Their tireless work for social justice spans the globe. But what is the common thread in all these Jesuit efforts? Spirituality—a way of both “looking at” and “being present in” the world that is founded on a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus and the Church. This is what St. Ignatius wanted not only for the priests and brothers of his order, but for everyone.

Late last year, the Jesuit Collaborative, an independent organization known for directing spiritual programs for Jesuit colleagues, young professionals and Hispanics, came under the direct supervision of the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces with a wider mandate.

Tasked with building a more comprehensive spiritual network and fortified with a new name, the Office of Ignatian Spirituality moved to the Maryland Province headquarters in Baltimore. Its broader, updated mission is to help increase communication among the spiritual ministries at our Jesuit schools, parishes, retreat houses and volunteer organizations. These apostolates have so much to offer and yet too often exist as silos in their respective communities. This initiative hopes to bring together the very best of these programs, connect more people to them, and cultivate spiritual directors to meet the ever increasing demand.

   

The Office of Ignatian Spirituality will help connect people with ministries and spiritual directors at their local Jesuit churches, schools, retreat centers and other apostolates.
When you step back and consider the sheer number of Jesuit schools and universities, parishes, retreat centers and volunteer organizations in our two East Coast provinces alone, you begin to realize the need for an organized bridge between these spirituality ministries so that development opportunities don’t fall through the cracks. More than 42,000 families are currently served by Jesuit parishes in the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces. Add in our countless retreat participants, volunteers, students and alumni, and the potential number of people to be served becomes a bit daunting. The need to facilitate a cooperative link between the ministries themselves and with individuals committed to Ignatian spirituality has never been greater.

Fr. George Witt, SJ, provincial assistant for spirituality ministries, heads up the new Office of Ignatian Spirituality. “One successful ‘partnership’ has been the 19th Annotation Retreat programs in Boston and in Baltimore, where we share resources across Jesuit works to provide the Spiritual Exercises to a larger group of people than would be possible through any individual institution,” said Fr. Witt. “We want to connect those who are looking for spiritual programs or personal spiritual direction with ministries and spiritual directors at nearby churches, schools, retreat centers or other Jesuit apostolates.”

Opening communication channels between Jesuit ministries and providing a more robust database for those pursuing spiritual guidance is one of several goals for the Office of Ignatian Spirituality. Another objective is to offer enrichment opportunities for those already engaged as Ignatian spiritual directors and to train new ones for the future. Fr. Witt reviewed the fundamental questions, “Are we providing both Jesuit and lay directors proper formation for their ongoing growth? Are we grooming new directors and retreat presenters to carry the torch and to help ‘set the world on fire’? These are calls we hope to address.” Popular programs that the Jesuit Collaborative has been known for will certainly continue through the Office of Ignatian Spirituality— Contemplative Leaders in Action, the Magis program, and Hispanic Ignatian ministries, just to name a few. But as an integral part of our Jesuit provinces, the office will also serve as a networking catalyst for all spirituality ministries and for those who seek their guidance.

Ignatian spirituality. The words have always belonged together. We will continue to update you on how the Office of Ignatian Spirituality is working to keep them at the forefront of all things Jesuit. Please visit www.JesuitsEastOIS.org.





Recent News

The Board of Directors of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) has elected Loyola University Maryland President, Fr. Brian Linnane, SJ, as its new chair.

Pope Francis canonized 35 new saints, including Brazilian Jesuit St. André de Soveral.

The story of American-born Jesuit Father Walter Ciszek (1904-1984), who spent 23 years in Russia in Siberian labor camps and Soviet prisons.

This summer, Fr. Charles Frederico, SJ, stepped down as director of vocations for the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces, having served for eight years. Fr. Philip Florio, SJ, will now assume the vocations director role for our two East Coast provinces.

Hurricane Maria left such devastation behind in Puerto Rico, that our Jesuit school and parish families need our help. We are accepting financial contributions to aid in recovery in Puerto Rico.

With Jesuit education, the earlier the better! St. Ignatius Church in Baltimore has opened the Loyola Early Learning Center, a preschool dedicated to serving lower-income families.

The board of trustees of Georgetown Preparatory School has announced that Fr. James Van Dyke, SJ, has been named the next president of Georgetown Prep, effective July 1, 2018.

view all news

Search news

Publications

JESUITS Magazine: Summer 2017

JESUITS Magazine: Spring 2017

JESUITS Magazine: Fall/Winter 2016



Ignatius House Retreat Center
For almost 50 years, the Ignatius House Retreat Center has been open to individuals of all faiths seeking a closer relationship with God.