About 2.4billion Christian faithful around the world are commemorating the 500th Anniversary of St. Ignatius.
The Ignatian year themed “to see all things new in Christ” begins from May 2021 to July 2022. This years anniversary opened on Thursday, 20 May commemorating the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’s injury during the Battle of Pamplona on 20 May 1521.
While defending the citadel of Pamplona against French forces, St. Ignatius was seriously injured after being struck by a canon ball. This led to a long period of convalescence which began his conversion and subsequent transformation from soldier to saint.
During this year themed “to see all things new in Christ”, the Jesuits will also mark the 400th anniversary of the canonization of St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier on 12 March 2022.
The Ignatian year will conclude on 31 July 2022 – the Feast of St. Ignatius. The solemn opening Mass for the Ignatian year took place in Pamplona, Spain on Thursday.
Guided by the theme of the Ignatian year, the Society of Jesus hopes to encourage everyone to draw inspiration from the example of St. Ignatius and his inner struggle to conversion which led him to a close familiarity with God.
This familiarity, in turn, led him to find God in all things and to see all things new in Christ.
“The Ignatian year is, first of all, to be considered from a spiritual perspective. It gives us the opportunity to highlight one of the four apostolic preferences of the Society of Jesus which is to show the way to God. For that, St. Ignatius gave us an extraordinary heritage of the Spiritual Exercises and also spiritual discernment,” explained Fr. Pierre Belanger SJ.
“During this year, there will be several resources all over the world to better know the Spiritual Exercises – a way to help us find true liberty in our lives; and also the way of discernment – knowing how to consider the future, and justice in the face of different options placed before us. It is thus, an opportunity to know and deepen Ignatian spirituality.”
The Ignatian year “is a call to allow the Lord to work on our conversion,” said Fr. Arturo Sosa SJ, Superior General of the Jesuits.
“We ask for the grace to be renewed by the Lord. We wish to discover a new apostolic enthusiasm inside ourselves, a new life, new ways to follow the Lord. That is why we have chosen as our theme for the year: to see all things new in Christ.”
Different provinces of the Society of Jesus around the world are also organizing several initiatives adapted to their contexts to celebrate the Ignatian year.