The last week or so has been quite busy. We were all away over the Easter weekend, Joel and I were at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire. Carlos was at the Loyola Hall Jesuit Spirituality Centre and Henry was at the Holy Name church in Manchester. Then, last week we all went off to our Province Meeting which was held in Swanwick in Derbyshire. So, now, we are finally back in Birmingham, and should be here for the month or so.
The Easter retreat at Stonyhurst was notable for many reasons. One of our jobs there was to help out with the activities for the 10-18 year old’s on the retreat. It was great having loads of questions directed at us about God and Easter and why what actually happened 2000 years ago is important and relevant. The groups we had were fantastic because they asked lots of questions, questions about God and religious life that kept pushing us throughout the retreat. Also, whilst there, I was down as the co-ordinator of the altar servers for the Holy week Masses and liturgies. Considering, that I was never an altar server before joining the Jesuits and have rarely been one since (that’s right, you don’t need to be an altar server to join the Jesuits) it was very challenging. Thankfully, it all went ok, a lot of the people there had done it all before, but it left me with a feeling of wanting to go back again next year, just so I can show some improvement from before.
A few days later, we all went to the Province Meeting and returned to Birmingham on Friday. The Province Meeting started with celebrations on the first day for those having their 25th, 50th and 60th anniversaries of being a Jesuit or a priest. Then there was quiet reflective time on the second day, followed by presentations and workshops on the third day and a couple of large, general presentations on the last day. Towards the end of the meeting we had a talk on how a clear identity on online works is important because it focuses the audience on what is behind such projects. We also had a session by our Provincial (the head Jesuit in Britain, who recently wrote an article in thinkingfaith.org on the film critic Roger Ebert) who spoke positively about the future of the Jesuits in Britain, how important spirituality is to society at large and how the spirituality of St Ignatius of Loyola can help fill a void felt by some people in Britain today.
So, now, we are back in Birmingham, getting back into the swing of things and looking forward to wherever we’ll be sent of to next.