Young Jesuits walking together in the Jubilee Year 2022

An invitation came from their formators: if they wanted to join to live the experience of their vow’s renewal retreat, doing the Ignatian Way in June 2022, following the Jubilee Year of 500 years, it would be an open possibility for them. They were the young Jesuit priests of the South-Central province of the USA. Some of them scattered in other countries, finishing doctoral studies, accepted the call. A total of 10 of them met at Loyola at the end of June to begin a pilgrimage that would end in Rome in July. Jesuits who know the life of Saint Ignatius well, but for some of them it was the first time that they were in the Ignatian places in Spain. They were days of discovery and personal growth. Daily Eucharist, celebrated in very significant places for them, such as the Chapel of the Conversion of Ignacio, where they renewed their commitments as Jesuits, or the sanctuaries of Javier (not on the route of the Ignatian Way, but within the possibilities of approaching if you have a private means of transport) and San Pedro Claver (this one is inside the Camino, in Verdú). Of course, the visit and celebration of the Eucharist in the chapel of the Virgin of Montserrat and in La Cueva de San Ignacio, Manresa, were the finishing touches to the whole experience. Once again, the heat of this summer forced them to get up extremely early, like leaving Montserrat at 5:30 a.m. On the other hand, it was also necessary to accept walking under the sun in the long stages or in those in which arriving too early in a town prevented them from entering the church to visit it, such as that of Tárrega, which is well worth it with its beautiful fresco paintings. The landscape, the meals, the shared walk, the meditations… everything led to a profound experience of the grace of the Camino: to start one’s own life over again. Although they already knew everything about Ignacio, living the path calmly helped to reformulate many things, to the point of confessing one of them “I needed this experience: I feel like a new man. I start again” Another confessed that the pilgrimage had helped him return to his Ignatian roots after a period of spiritual dryness. Along the Way, words of wisdom and encouragement to move forward were collected, which are applied to everyday life once at home. Accompanied by Fr. Iriberri sj. the pilgrims experienced the grace of being “Friends in the Lord” as Saint Ignatius wished.

After the experience, the dispersion of destinations materializes again and the group separates, but the commitment remains to continue walking interiorly and to remain united in prayer, until the Lord reunites them, perhaps once more on the Ignatian Way!