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East Coast Jesuits Host Discernment Weekend

Jan. 25, 2018 - Seventeen men currently considering vocations to the Society of Jesus on the East Coast took part in a Discernment Retreat at Linwood Spiritual Center, offering them the chance to immerse themselves in Ignatian spirituality and hear talks from Jesuit scholastics about vowed life and their formation experiences.


The Jan. 19-21 retreat was hosted by Fr. Philip Florio, SJ, vocation director, and Fr. Fred Pellegrini, SJ, vocation promoter, who both serve the Maryland and USA Northeast Province Jesuits. The scholastics who gave talks included Bill Woody, SJ, Zach Presutti, SJ, Jason Downer, SJ, Matt Cortese, SJ, (pictured right) Brendan Gotschall, SJ, and Fr. Nathan Sparks, SJ, who are in various stages of Jesuit formation. 

Between periods of silent prayer and meditation, Eucharistic adoration, excerpts from the Spiritual Exercises and faith sharing groups, the participants celebrated Mass and still found time for social gatherings as well as individual conversations with the vocation director if they wished. 

“What’s notable about the group was that half of the men did not come from Jesuit works,” Fr. Florio said. “They came from outside of the Society, and that’s an increasing trend that we’re seeing. Some have been drawn to us by Fr. James Martin, SJ’s, book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, while others were inspired by Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope. Still others came simply based on the reputation of the Jesuits’ apostolic work.”

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