PORTLAND — From May until July 2022, the Society of Jesus will celebrate “The Ignatian Year,” an opportunity for all to grow in relationship with God and our love for one another. 

This May marks the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ conversion on a fateful day when Ignatius the soldier, struck by a cannonball, began his transformation into Ignatius the pilgrim, changing from a person pre-occupied with success and romance to a person on fire with the love of the Lord.

To start the commemoration locally, members of the Maine Jesuit community will host an evening of reflection, both in person and via livestream, on Tuesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. at St. Pius X Church on 492 Ocean Avenue in Portland. Participants can attend the gathering or watch at www.ladyofhopemaine.org. Fathers Bob Levens, Bob Pecoraro, Paul Sullivan, Kevin Hughes, Jack d’Anjou, Vince Curtin and others will each share a brief reflection on an aspect of the Ignatian Exercises that has that has strongly influenced their lives. There will also be time for questions from those attending.  

It is the first of many events that will be offered during the course of ‘The Ignatian Year,” which will conclude on the Feast of St. Ignatius on July 31, 2022.

“Ignatius wrote about his own experience of being led by God’s grace so that others, too, might experience what he did. From this we have his ‘Spiritual Exercises’ which have influenced many, many people these 500 years,” said Fr. Sullivan, SJ, who is the pastor of Our Lady of Hope Parish in Portland. “Our Lady of Hope Parish, in collaboration with Cheverus High School and members of the Ignatian Spirituality Partnership of Maine, enable men and women here in Maine to experience the Exercises. For this Ignatian Year, we ask for the grace to see all things new in Christ. How might we commit to ongoing conversion? How might we learn to recognize and embrace those ‘cannonball moments’ in our own lives?”

“We will embark on a shared experience to deepen our Ignatian roots. The motto for this endeavor will be ‘To see all things new in Christ.’ Our goal will be to seek opportunities that work toward our four Universal Apostolic Preferences: promoting the Spiritual Exercises, walking with the excluded, journeying with youth, and caring for our common home,” said Fr. Joseph O’Keefe, SJ, provincial of the USA East Province of the Society of Jesus.

“God continues to invite each of us into a deepening relationship, to ongoing conversion. We believe that by embracing this invitation, we embrace our God who calls us to act in new, bold ways that reconcile our world, bringing about justice, peace, and compassion. For this Ignatian Year, we ask for the grace to see all things new in Christ,” said Fr. Arturo Sosa, SJ, superior general of the Society of Jesus.

For more information about the event on May 4 or “The Ignatian Year,” contact Our Lady of Hope Parish at 207-797-7026 or ourladyofhope@portlanddiocese.org.