A Glimpse of My Pilgrimage to Spain and Rome

As I mentioned earlier this month, I had the privilege of enjoying a pilgrimage to Spain and Rome to follow in the footsteps of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. I can’t thank Loyola Press enough for making this sacred journey possible! Here are some pics I took that help to capture the essence of the dramatic story of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Here I am in Loyola, the birthplace of Ignatius (1491). Although he sought a military career, his plans were destroyed by a canon ball (1521) which shattered his knee (depicted in the statue next to which I am standing). While recuperating (after nearly dying), he sought to pass the time by reading tales of adventure and romance but all that was available were books about the life of Christ and the saints. By studying and reflecting on these, he came to realize he was fighting for the wrong army! What "cannon ball" experiences have you had—experiences that forced you to change the direction of your life?

Here I am in Loyola, the birthplace of Ignatius (1491). Although he sought a military career, his plans were destroyed by a canon ball (1521) which shattered his knee (depicted in the statue next to which I am standing). While recuperating (after nearly dying), he sought to pass the time by reading tales of adventure and romance, but all that was available were books about the life of Christ and the saints. By studying and reflecting on these, he came to realize he was fighting for the wrong army. What “cannon ball” experiences have you had—experiences that forced you to change the direction of your life?

Mass in Loyola

Fr. Paul Brian Campbell, SJ, our publisher, leads us at Mass in the Loyola room where Ignatius experienced his conversion while recuperating from his wounds.

This is the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat, where Ignatius laid down his sword.

This is the statue of Our Lady of Montserrat, where Ignatius laid down his sword.

After his conversion, Ignatius makes a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat where he made a general confession and laid down his sword

After his conversion, Ignatius made a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Montserrat where he made a general confession and laid down his sword. The sword is now kept in this glass case at Santa Maria del Mar in Barcelona. What “defenses” do you need to surrender?

After his conversion, Ignatius went into seclusion, living in a cave in Manresa (1522), where he wrote the Spiritual Exercises. Here, my hands trace the crosses that he carved into the cave wall.

After his conversion, Ignatius went into seclusion, living in a cave in Manresa (1522), where he wrote the Spiritual Exercises. Here, my hand traces the crosses that he carved into the cave wall. Where do you go to find seclusion and solitude?

Here I am at St. Paul Outside the Wall in Rome where Ignatius and his 5 companions, including Francis Xavier, made their vows to begin the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits in 1541.

Here I am at St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome where Ignatius and his five companions, including Francis Xavier, made their vows to begin the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) in 1541. Who do you “stand with” and what do you “stand for”?

A pair of shoes that belonged to Ignatius, on display in the house he lived in for 17 years next to the Gesu Church in Rome. Whose "shoes" do you revere/honor? Who is someone that walked in faith before you that you seek to emulate?

This pair of shoes belonged to Ignatius and are now on display in the house he lived in for 17 years next to Rome’s Gesu Church. Whose “shoes” do you revere/honor? Who is someone that walked in faith before you that you seek to emulate?

 

Fr. Paul Campbell, our publisher, leading us at Mass in Ignatius' own chapel in a house where Ignatius lived for 17 years next to the Gesu Church in Rome.

Fr. Paul Brian Campbell, our publisher, leads us at Mass in Ignatius’ own chapel in the house where Ignatius lived in Rome. It was here that Ignatius died on July 31, 1556.

 

This is the wonderful group I had the pleasure of traveling with. Many thanks, Loyola Press!

This is the wonderful group I had the pleasure of traveling with. Many thanks, Loyola Press!

Four Ideas for Celebrating Pentecost

Holy Spirit stained glass

Pentecost has long been one of my favorite feasts in the liturgical year. Who doesn’t love a story with fire, wind, speaking in tongues, and a bold proclamation of the Gospel? Unfortunately, though, by the time Pentecost rolls around in the calendar, many of our religious education programs have ended and our creative energy switches […]

Continue reading...

Planting a Spiritual Garden: Three Ways to Help Others Grow in Faith

gardening--people carrying plants

Spring has finally arrived after another harsh winter in Green Bay. As I turn my attention to my garden, I marvel at the hardiness of the tulips I planted before the ground hardened in the fall. Their bright green sprouts remind me that spring is a time for new life and growth. Helping others cultivate […]

Continue reading...

The ABCs of God’s Love

letters a, b, and c written on board

Jesus calls each of us to spread the Good News. One way we can do this as Catholic Christians is to show God’s love to those we encounter no matter if they are friend, family, or stranger. This concept can be tough for many adults to live out. How do we teach the children in […]

Continue reading...

Misery Loves Company

reader feedback

A few weeks ago, I wrote about my frustration with regards to not finding the “secret formula” to attracting adults to faith formation. I was tickled to receive the following e-mail from a good friend of mine who has been a catechetical leader for years and is one of the smartest people I know: To […]

Continue reading...

Communion Cash: A Child’s First Experience of Stewardship

present

One of the strange realities of the experience of First Holy Communion is the fact that relatives and friends shower the First Communicant with gifts of cash. While it is done with the best of intentions, it is simply a strange notion to give someone money for receiving Jesus in the Eucharist. The unintended result […]

Continue reading...

Eight Ways to Teach Ascension and Pentecost

Ascension and Pentecost icons

Ascension and Pentecost—the two great feasts that signal the end of the Easter season—often occur at the end of the school year. They may even occur after religious education programs have ended. We can easily forget about them. But understanding Ascension and Pentecost is essential if our young people are going to grow into what Pope […]

Continue reading...

Corporal Works of Mercy Movie Trailers

children making works of mercy movies

Growing up my family made the corporal works of mercy a common practice. When my siblings and I participated in a food drive at school, my mom would remind us that we were feeding the hungry. When I would gather my too-small clothes to donate to the St. Vincent de Paul Society, I was clothing […]

Continue reading...

Pentecost Fire Drill

Pentecost mosaic

In one of my first years teaching, I was introducing the story of Pentecost to my group of fourth graders. The book had an illustration of the Feast of Pentecost, with the disciples gathered in a room, tongues of fire over each of their heads. They were facing an open door with looks of shock […]

Continue reading...

How Two People Can Change a Parish

two doors

It is no accident that Jesus sent his disciples out in pairs (Mark 6:7, Luke 10:1). Think about it: if you want to convince people of something or be persuasive, it helps to have another person backing up your story. In a trial, it helps if there is more than one witness to testify. In […]

Continue reading...