Sharing the Lenten journey

Walking together with Jesus
Walking together with Jesus

For Lent, the Jesuits in Britain invite you to share a spiritual journey with others. Building on the success of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Glasgow's Lent Retreat in 2018, the 2019 retreat ‘Walking together with Jesus’ will explore different ways of praying, modelled on Ignatian Spirituality. There will be the choice of three different pathways to live in this time of preparation, encouraging, in particular, a fruitful shared experience.

The first option is to join a face to face weekly group, led by an experienced prayer guide. The Jesuits are working closely with several organisations to provide this wonderful opportunity for the retreat: Christian Life Community of England and Wales, the Prego/St Beuno’s Outreach in the Diocese of Wrexham, the Manresa Link, the Epiphany Group, Hearts on Fire Boscombe, and the St Bede’s Pastoral Centre and Retreat House Chester among others. Collaborating with them has been fundamental to recruiting trained prayer guides and spiritual directors, currently administered by Sarah Young, Teams and People Coordinator.

These regular meetings as a group will offer the chance to pray together, learn more about Ignatian spirituality, to reflect further on the material, in order to enrich our understanding of the Scripture together. There are currently more than 100 groups across the country, with higher availability in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham, Boscombe, London. Shortly after registration, the retreatant will be notified about the groups near to his/her location, although some areas are unfortunately not covered at this time. Early sign up is strongly advised, as some groups may fill up sooner than others.

Elizabeth Harrison, Spirituality Resources Coordinator at Jesuits in Britain, said: “It is really wonderful to see Jesuits, lay and religious co-workers, clergy, volunteer spiritual directors and prayer guides and our collaborators in various networks and organisations coming together to reach more people this Lent.

“Together, we’re teaching people Ignatian ways of praying, facilitating their journey with each other to a deeper relationship with Jesus. We hope that this will encourage a response of gratitude and in turn, of loving service to those around them. Moreover, our hope is that the faith communities that these groups and individuals belong to will be nourished and renewed by this shared journey.”

Another option, accessible to everyone, including those abroad, is to sign up to join an online group. Working as a forum, a digital space will be accessible to connect and pray with other fellow travellers.

As a third pathway, all the material will be available online on Pathways to God, with links to audio and video resources to complement the daily journey. The retreatants would also be able to subscribe for daily emails, to receive the content directly in their inbox.

In addition to short introductions to the most common Ignatian prayers, there will be meditative prompts, in the form of questions and quotes.

A different writer each week has kindly provided for the reflections: Dr Catriona Fletcher (ISC Glasgow) from Ash Wednesday to Saturday, Fr Philip Harrison SJ (Biblical Institute in Rome) for the first week, Fr Peter Edmonds SJ and Peter O’Sullivan SJ for the second week, the Prego Team (St Beuno’s Outreach, North Wales) for the third week, Brian Purfield (Mount Street Jesuit Centre in London) for the fourth week, Teresa McCaffery for the fifth week, and Fr Nicholas King SJ (Campion Hall in Oxford) for Holy Week.

Among the many people who has contributed to make this retreat possible, special thanks go to Fr David Birchall SJ and the team at the Ignatian Spirituality Centre, Glasgow for the use of their content and advice; to Ruth Holgate, Stephen Hoyland and Fr Paul Nicholson SJ for use of excerpts from the booklet ‘Resources for Weeks of Guided Prayer’; and to various Jesuits in Britain for providing Daily Offerings and material for the Examen.

Lenten donations will go towards the Spirituality outreach work. Your contribution will enable us to make available retreats to people who otherwise would not have made one because of lack of money, time or the confidence to visit a retreat centre. Please, consider supporting out work. Thank you.

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