Jubilarians clock up 576 years as Jesuits
There are many causes for celebration among the Jesuits in Britain this month, as several men are marking milestone Jubilees.
Three months before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941, Michael Flannery marched into the Jesuit Novitiate in Manresa, thereby becoming this year’s most senior Jubilarian with 75 years under his belt. He is a member of the Corpus Christi Jesuit Community in Boscombe, Dorset.
Yesterday (7 September), Fr Leo Arnold and Fr Paul Hackett (who started in primary school together) also marked 70 years in the Society of Jesus. Fr Leo is a member of a Jesuit community in Rome, as is Fr Bernard Hall who entered the Society just three weeks behind him on 28 September 1946.
Gold, rubies - and a diamond
Fr Bernard Walker – a member of the Jesuit community at St Aloysius in Glasgow, alongside Fr Paul Hackett who continues working as parish priest in Kinghussie in Scotland – looks rather spritely for someone reaching 60 years in the Society, ten years more than Fr Adrian Howell. Alongside Br Ken Vance who celebrated his 50 years as a Jesuit last March, Fr Adrian reflects Team GB’s golden success in the Olympics, as the remaining team from 1966.
The Jesuits in Glasgow celebrated with a cake and drinks with Fr Tim Curtis (Superior) and Fr David Birchall (Director of the Ignatian Spirituality Centre) who marked 40 years in the Society yesterday. “If you count all those celebrating this evening in our community,” said Fr David, "we have more years than Ignatius and the Society of Jesus combined! 576! Paul Hackett - 70 years, Bernard Walker - 60 years, Tim Curtis and David Birchall just 40 years ... and see the rest on the cake!”
As a footnote: on 7 September 1946, James Hodkinson walked up the path to Manresa House, Roehampton, and applied to enter religious life as a Jesuit brother. He joined the Society of Jesus officially six months later, on 8 March 1947.
For all our men - priests and brothers - who are celebrating anniversaries at this time, we ask for God's blessing and good health.