Fr. Tom, 03-05-17

Dear Loyola Parishioners and Visitors,

In Catholic educational and diocesan circles, the “Catholic identity” of our schools and universities has become an often-discussed topic. Presently, the “Ignatian identity” of Jesuit-sponsored parishes has become a discussion topic in our Province. The Provincial, as I wrote previously, has asked the pastors, lay staff members and parish leaders to “take some time to reflect together on how the Ignatian charism is present in your parish, and how you might feel drawn to deepen that charism. At the end of the process, we would like you to make some commitments as a parish community as to how you will deepen your Ignatian identity, and we will engage you in a discussion of how we can help.”

While I had previously set a February 22 deadline for having the preparatory work completed, I find myself still consulting with others. Simply put, the process will require some formation for all in Ignatian prayer and discernment in a parish context. For some though, Ignatian prayer and discernment may be foreign as well. Given many parishioners have participated in the programs and retreats of the Ignatian Spirituality Program over the years, maybe our people are already formed to enter a group Ignatian discernment process.

We hear in today’s reading: “Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you.” We are being invited to take note of the land and house (parish) we know to go forth to the land and house (parish) that the Lord shows us. The commitment we must make is to go as the LORD directs us and that requires first and foremost, in an Ignatian tradition, that we enter prayerful contemplation or consideration of the material presented to us with our Lord and that we pay attention to what happens in prayer, i.e. how we are moved one way or another. Finally, we need to be able to speak about those movements with a spiritual reflector in the presence of others to determine where and how the Spirit may be directing us as parish.

Fr. Tom