The Ignatian Year is coming to its conclusion on July 31st, 2022. From May 2021, all school communities from our diverse and rich Jesuit Global Network of Schools (JGNS) have taken on the invitation from Fr. General Arturo Sosa SJ “to see all things new in Christ” by reflecting, discerning, and sharing through the lens of the Universal Apostolic Preferences.
“We hope, during the Ignatian year, to share more deeply with you the foundational experience by which the apostolic body of the Society participates in the mission of reconciling all things in Christ. Many of you feel a deep commitment to this inspiration, to the charism that gives life to the Society of Jesus. I thank the Lord for that grace and I thank each of you for your enthusiasm and closeness. “ – Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus.
To celebrate the end of this reflective journey we invited Fr. John Ravi SJ, Secretary of the Jesuit Educational Association of South Asia (JEASA), to share some experiences and learnings from schools in the South Asia region after living the opportunity that was the Ignatian Year.
Question 1. Fr. Ravi, now that we are closing the Ignatian Year, what would you say was the highlight of living the Ignatian Year for the South Asia region?
The Ignatian Year was a moment of grace for all the Jesuits and their collaborators in South Asia. The celebrations during the year invited each one of us to introspect and see whether we are doing God’s will through our apostolic activities especially through the ministry of education. It also provided us with ample opportunities to take stock of our personal lives and assess the quality of one’s own life as a Jesuit and as a Jesuit collaborator. The cannonball moment of Ignatius helped us to recollect and relive our own cannonball moments and to see how these moments have affected our lives positively. It was a spiritual journey. The Ignatian Year Celebrations left a deep impact on the youth. The conversion of St. Ignatius challenged the youth of today to reorient their lives through prayer and reflection and thus invited them to go through the conversion of heart for efficacious and altruistic life.
Question 2. How did the schools in your region mark the Ignatian Year? Please provide 3 examples with links, pictures, or videos.
The covid pandemic did not deter the spirit of our school men, staff, and students from organizing inaugural celebrations to mark the Ignatian Year. A variety of functions was held across the conference. Kindly find below the pictures, videos, and the links are given below:
Ignatian Year videos
Ignatian Year photo gallery
Question 3. Did educators and pupils from the schools in your region get to know Christ better, deeper, thanks to these Ignatian Year activities?
All our teachers, students, parents and other well-wishers took part in the Ignatian Year celebrations with much enthusiasm and openness irrespective of their religious backgrounds. I have personally observed in some places that some of our teachers were deeply moved by the experience of the cannonball moment of St. Ignatius. Several alumni members also went through similar spiritual experiences. I cannot say that the educators and pupils from our schools get to know Christ better and deeper. But their understanding that it was Christ who inspired and strengthened the life and mission of St. Ignatius especially after his conversion was better clarified.
Question 4. What was it like living the Ignatian Year as a global community from a JEASA perspective?
The Ignatian family all over the globe took part in the Ignatian Year Celebrations at different levels. The Jesuit Roman Curia facilitated this process through several online programs and other forms of interactions. I can confidently say that the ‘spirit of universality and global citizenship’ got strengthened during the Ignatian Year. As a whole, the Ignatian Year was a clarion call for spiritual renewal both personal and communitarian. The South Asian Conference laid more emphasis on spiritual activities rather than just external celebrations. This has challenged the South Asian Jesuits to nurture more apostolic aggresivity and availability to the global mission of the Society of Jesus.
Question 5. What message would you give to fellow educators from around the world in light of the closing of the Ignatian Year?
We all know that the life in general has now become more trivial and challenging. In spite of several scientific and technological advancements, the quality of human life has declined significantly due to various personal, social and cultural elements. The world seems to be drawing one’s own identity from ‘what we have’ rather than ‘what we are’. The humanity seems to have lost its conscience. In other words, the humanity is going through an ‘identity crisis’. Consequently, people including the children are leading artificial lives with fake values and ideologies. There is a lack of spiritual depth among the people resulting in violence, corruption, immoral behavior, etc. This is where, we as Jesuits and our collaborators, can make a great contribution in rebuilding a new world based on love, justice, fraternity and hope. Promoting academic excellence alone is not enough. The need of the hour is the enhancement of ‘human excellence’. In order to achieve this, our educational institutions need to promote the 21st Century skills -collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, character formation, citizenship and computational skills. Ignatian Principles like Discernment, Examen, Magis and AMDG can be of great help in this regard. I wish and pray that St. Ignatius of Loyola continue to inspire and direct us to contribute our share in building a new world order through our responsible behavior and selfless services.
To read about other Ignatian Year experiences and learnings from Jesuit schools in the different regions of the world click here.