Spiritual Journeys

Elderly woman credit Bill Hamway
December is a full month. There’s Advent, Christmas and New Year’s Eve and so much else in both the Church’s calendar and in the secular world. It’s cold and dark in our northern hemisphere. Our cities and towns try to counter the seasonal gloom by means of the lights, decorations and consumerism of the commercial season. Followers of Christ typically lament how little of Christ there is in Christmas any more, while some in authority make it their business to eradicate what little is left,...
Nick Austin SJ preaching at Farm St
When friends, family or colleagues learn that I’m about to take my Final Vows as a member of the Society of Jesus, they are often surprised that it has taken this long. I have been a Jesuit for 21 years, and a priest for 11. ‘And you still haven’t taken Final Vows? I knew that Jesuit training took a long time, but I didn’t know it took that long!’ Well, I guess we’re slow learners...During a Mass on 1st December at Farm Street Church, I will kneel before the Blessed Sacrament and take vows of...
Fr Holman with Fr Carlos in Golra Sharif
I spent the month of July this year in Pakistan, responding to a request from the Jesuits there for assistance with retreats for religious. I directed the Presentation sisters and some of the Jesuits, while another Jesuit directed the Sisters of Jesus and Mary and the Daughters of the Heart of Mary.For much of the time we were based in the northern hill town of Murree, 7000 feet above the cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, where the climate was cool in contrast to the oppressive summer heat...
Hands holding coins and a sapling.
I have a friend who is a professional fundraiser. Like professional politicians and professional journalists, professional fundraisers are commonly regarded by a cynical public as professional liars whose only contribution to society is to part the gullible from their money – a kind of Darwinian economic determinism. That is, of course, when they are not morally blackmailing overly generous little old ladies to the point of suicide. (Sadly, there are real such examples.)But my friend assures me...
Chris Brolly SJ at Rheims
Chris Brolly SJ is studying Philosophy at Centre Sèvres in Paris and belongs to a community of 35 Jesuits there.  He shares his experience of being part of a large mixed community and a member of a “fraternity group”.It’s fantastic to be among such a large group of Jesuits who come from all over the world (we have twelve different nationalities in our house!). There are 25 scholastics (those, like me, who are doing their ‘first studies’ having completed the novitiate stage of formation)...
Poppies credit Laura Goodsell
November is the month of the dead. We remembered the Holy Souls the day after we celebrated the Feast of All Saints. Then on Remembrance Sunday next week we remember all those who have died in two world wars and in the many sad wars waged and waging since then, with so much suffering, so many deaths, so many refugees forced to leave their country and their home.We may be far removed now from those two “Great Wars”, though we are still continuing to commemorate the centenary of the First World...
November’s monthly Intention from Pope Francis reflects his concern for the whole of the universal church and the whole of the world, especially the frontiers. Frequently he draws our attention to those frontiers, to the realities of the "rest of the world" geographically as well as economically. He has been particularly interested in Asia and in November he points us towards that vast continent, asking us to pray with him that “Christians in Asia, bearing witness to the Gospel in word and in...
Scarves laid out in memory of the 96 who died at Hillsborough
Last week, one of the gentlemen asked me why I didn’t preach about football any more and if this was in any way connected to Liverpool’s less than brilliant start to the season. That gentleman, of course, supports Manchester United!I said “no, of course not, I was merely waiting for the right occasion.”So, “Love your neighbour as yourself?!”Why your neighbour?Why not the people down the road?or some people in the next town?Or some other people a nice safe distance away..?Or the man in the moon?...
I arrived with five other recent graduates at St Beuno’s Jesuit Retreat Centre in North Wales, a short taxi ride from the Welsh town of Rhyl. The six of us had been sent to St Beuno’s as part of the induction process for the faith and politics internships offered by Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales. After a week of meetings all over central London, the second week was a silent retreat. The contrast on arriving at the centre was palpable.We had all looked forward to this...
Pub wedding credit jmason.org
I saw just that happen once – a long time ago in Northern Ireland. A rich man - a pub landlord – funny how pub landlords in Ireland are always rich men – can’t imagine why. Anyway, this man held his daughter’s wedding feast at the biggest hotel in a town a few miles outside Belfast. But this was in the time of the Troubles. And on the day of the wedding, there was a lot of trouble in the city, with fighting and shooting and bombs and road blocks, so many of the invited guests were too...

Pages