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Guyana: Ignatian year begins

The Jesuit priests stationed at the church of St Ignatius, in St Ignatius, Central Rupununi, celebrated a special Mass on May 23 (Pentecost Sunday) to mark the start of an Ignatian Year celebrating the 500th anniversary of St Ignatius’ conversion.

Fr Amar Bage SJ celebrated the Mass at which brother Jesuit priests Frs Edwin Anthony and Ramesh Vanann concelebrated.

In his homily, Fr Vanann spoke about the life and conversion of St Ignatius, who was the founder of the Jesuit Order.

Catholic Standard reported that during the Mass, the church’s statue of St Ignatius was crowned, and at the end of Mass, the congregation gathered outside the church and chanted “St Ignatius pray for us”.

One of the activities the local Jesuits will focus on during this Ignatian year is spreading information about the life of the saint and encouraging others to have a spiritual awakening through Ignatian spirituality.

St Ignatius aspired to be a famous soldier as a young man. His military career ended on May 20, 1521, when a cannonball injured his right leg while he was defending the city of Pamplona in northern Spain.

In a message marking the start of the special year, Pope Francis—the world’s first Jesuit pope—said that the cannonball that wounded Ignatius of Loyola 500 years ago not only changed the saint’s life, but also the course of the world.

“Seemingly small things can be important. That cannonball also meant that Ignatius failed in the dreams he had for his life. But God had a bigger dream for him,” the Pope said.

He added: “God’s dream for Ignatius was not about Ignatius. It was about helping souls. It was a dream of redemption, a dream of going out into the world, accompanied by Jesus, humble and poor.”

Pope Francis explained that although Ignatius’ conversion began in Pamplona, it did not end there. “He converted throughout his life, day after day,” he said. “And this means that throughout his life he put Christ at the centre.”