A joyful feast
The Feast of St Ignatius was celebrated at Farm Street Church yesterday in an extra special way, as this year’s feast also marked the 25th jubilee of ordination of the parish priest Fr Andrew Cameron-Mowat SJ. Also celebrating significant jubilees were Fr John Moffatt SJ, who was ordained with Fr Andrew at Clifton Cathedral in 1992, and Fr Michael Beattie SJ, former Farm St parish priest, celebrating the 50th jubilee of ordination. Br James Hodkinson SJ of the Mount Street Jesuit Community celebrated 70 years in the Society of Jesus. There were sixteen concelebrants including Fr Provincial Dermot Preston. Ministers of other local churches also joined the Jesuits in the sanctuary: Grosvenor Chapel, the Ukrainian Church and St Columba’s. Deacon Anthony Clark of St Edward the Confessor read the Gospel.
To mark Fr Andrew’s jubilee his friend the composer Christopher Walker had composed a new setting for St Ignatius’ famous Suscipe prayer which was beautifully sung in Latin by the Farm Street Church choir under the direction of David Graham. “It is very exciting to hear the world premiere of such a distinguished piece of music to mark this special occasion” commented Pauline Mercieca, Chair of the Farm St parish council.
As is traditional, the church was full of alumni of Jesuit schools from Britain and around the world. The collection was to benefit the British Jesuit Alumni Charitable Trust (BJACT) which supports Jesuit social justice projects around the world and helps alumni to keep in touch with each other. The director of BJACT Bernard Thompson (OM52) said “it is wonderful to see so many old friends come together on this special occasion every year, and to hear Fr Michael put us back in touch with our Ignatian roots”.
Broken leg day
As he began his homily Fr Michael shared some historical research he had been doing at Mount St Mary’s College “I was intrigued to find that today’s feast was referred to in the early twentieth century as “broken leg day”!” He went on to remind the congregation that for St Ignatius valued action in the material world as highly as action in the world of the spirit – that God can be glorified as much in cooking a meal as in spending time in prayer, and prayer can enfold the whole of our lives if we pause sometimes to “find God in all things”. He finished by encouraging the congregation to remember the simple Examen prayer and pray it every day. The text of Fr Michael’s homily is available on our Ignatian Insight blog.
After mass, Fr Superior Dominic Robinson invited everyone to join the community in the hall for refreshments to celebrate the feast and the achievements of the jubilarians.
Two splendid cakes had been prepared for the jubilarians.
St Ignatius day in Preston
St Ignatius feast day mass for alumni and friends was celebrated by the northern parishes at St Wilfrid’s Preston this year. Fr Stephen Patterson SJ was chief celebrant and preached the sermon on the life of St Ignatius and the importance of developing a personal relationship with Christ in our lives. There were eight concelebrants. The reception in the parish centre included a cake to celebrate Fr Ron Hull's 60 years of priesthood. He made a brief and gracious speech.