Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam: For the Greater Glory of God
We novices are currently back in Birmingham, embarking on our next six weeks of studies following a hectic few months of experiments and then a variety of Holy Week and Easter-related commitments. Having the time to slow down, reflect and write has been precious and I’ve been determined to use this time to ‘digest’ fully the many rich experiences I had during my time on experiment.
The three-month experiment is the longest placement of the novitiate process. It takes place from January to March during the second year of the novitiate (while the first-years make their 30-day Spiritual Exercises and then follow that up with a shorter six-week experiment). As I shared a few weeks ago, my three months was primarily spent alongside the homeless women and men of Dublin, shadowing the Irish Jesuit Fr Peter McVerry SJ. While doing this I stayed with the community in Gardiner Street, a Jesuit-run parish in the north of the city centre, where I also got first-hand experience of busy parish life. In my spare time I visited Ireland with my fellow novices (who were on experiment in Galway and Belfast) and I got involved in Pure in Heart, a young adult prayer group that holds a weekly prayer meeting in the city. Furthermore, there were opportunities for ‘one-off’ events, like visiting a local L’Arche community and accompanying Jesuits involved in organizing peace dialogues between members of different communities from north and south of the border.
Over the next few weeks I will share a series of blogs recounting these various experiences in the hope it will give a good insight into what a novitiate experiment and Jesuit life in general looks like in reality. Why? Well I see it as the least I can do in expressing the gratitude for the huge generosity God has shown me over the last few months, during which he has showered me with special moments and milestones on the path of my vocation. It is also a great way of thanking the many amazing people I have met over the past few months who have shown such hospitality and warmth, contributing in their own way to a deepening of my faith and my sense of vocation to the priesthood in the Society of Jesus.
Laus Deo Semper: Praise God Always