Jerusalem, July 31, 2012
Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola
Tuesday, July 31st, in the courtyard of the Jesuit House in Jerusalem
Celebration of the Feast of St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Society of Jesus.
Fra Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custos of the Holy Land, presided at the Solemn Mass, concelebrated by Fr. Joseph Nguyeãn Coân Doan, Director of the Pontifical Biblical Institute of Jerusalem. Also present was the French Consul General, Mr. Frédéric Desagneaux, many priests, religious and faithful.
“ It is a great joy and pleasure to be here with you on this happy occasion.” These are the words of greeting from the Custos before starting the celebration of the Mass.
In his homily, Fra Pizzaballa emphasized the importance of the convergence between St. Ignatius and St. Francis, seemingly unrelated, but, in fact, characterized by many similarities. Both converted and from backgrounds far from the faith, make the same journey: “from egocentric to Christocentric, from worldly life to a life completely dedicated to the Lord Jesus.”
St. Ignatius began as a knighted soldier; his conversion occurred while convalescing, while reading some texts of the life of Christ. He made a public confession at the Benedictine Abbey of Montserrat, after which he was stripped of his knights’ clothing and took a vow of perpetual chastity, devoting himself to the monastic life.
The Custos said that the wisdom of Ignatius was that he was able to discover, in the events of life, in the emotions of the heart, the way of life, of being a prophet, able to show where and how to choose life.
Fra Pizzaballa concluded by addressing an intercession to St. Ignatius for the entire Church, that it be nourished by this same wisdom and passion for God, for man, and to illuminate this journey that makes possible the encounter and friendship between God and man.
At the end of the Mass Fr. Joseph Nguyeãn Coân Doan, Superior of the house, invited all present to attend a fraternal dinner on the grounds of the Institute.
The expression “Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius”, the title of the book written by St. Ignatius of Loyola, is the experience that is being proposed. The term “Ignatian” specifies that it is a particular method, born of the experience of Ignatius and his first companions, approved and recommended more than once by Popes. The author of the book had a charismatic gift to be able to translate his personal spiritual journey in a way that is both deeply profound and organic and assimilating life in the Spirit of God.
The presence of the Jesuit Fathers in the Holy Land is enrichment for the entire Church both for their theological insights and specialization in Bible study, along with other academic institutions in Jerusalem. Here the Jesuit Fathers live in openness to others with the ecumenical and pastoral spirit characteristic of the Church in the Holy Land. The Jesuits are also present in Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, with academic institutions considered amount the most qualified.
The Pontifical Biblical Institute has been present in the Holy Land since 1927, as the seat of the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, to carry out the formation of teachers of sacred scripture, through experiencing and living in the land of the Bible, the land of Jesus.
Even today, the Institute carries out the mission of formation for teachers of sacred scripture from all over the world, who must complete their studies in conjunction with l’Ecole Biblique to learn the Aramaic language as well as other subjects, the Studium Biblicum Franciscanum for the study the geography and archeology of the Holy Land, or at the Hebrew University, specializing in Hebrew and the history of the Old and New Testament.