Ignatian year

On 20 May 2021, the Society of Jesus and the Ignatian family will start the worldwide celebration of an Ignatian Year. We will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the cannonball injury St. Ignatius experienced while defending Pamplona.

His injury at Pamplona was a major failure for Ignatius as he was imagining his future full of courtly riches and worldly exploits. However, this failure turned out to be only apparent. It started a process of conversion, which led Ignatius to have bigger dreams, no longer centred on himself, but rather on God. It helped St. Ignatius to see all things new in Christ (the motto of the Ignatian Year), which is why the theme of this year is ‘conversion’.

“It is my desire that at the heart of this Ignatian year we would hear the Lord calling us, and we would allow him to work our conversion inspired by the personal experience of Ignatius,” wrote the superior general of the Jesuits Fr Arturo Sosa in his letter to the whole Society on September 27 2019. “The Universal Apostolic Preferences (2019-2029) have confirmed the call to our personal, community, and institutional conversion, which is necessary for our greater spiritual and apostolic freedom and adaptability. Let us take this opportunity to let God transform our life-mission, according to his will.”

Although the reason for this celebration is the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius’ conversion, Fr. General warned us against the temptation of solely focusing on St. Ignatius: “He is not the centre of this Ignatian Year. He is the means by which we need to go to Christ. Christ should always be in the centre of this Ignatian Year. If we do not fix our eyes on Him during this year, then this anniversary does not make sense for us.”

In occasion of the Ignatian Year Fr. General gave a special message for young people: “We want to learn to accompany you. We want to learn from you. Each one of you is unique, born with a special purpose. Ignatius struggled to discover the meaning of his life. In him you can find inspiration as you struggle to make your life meaningful and as you ask how you can contribute to building a better world, where the dignity of people is respected and where you live in a joy-filled harmony with nature. I express our desire to accompany you through what we do and most especially through who we are – people willing to share our time, our dreams and our hopes.”

The Ignatian Year has an official logo. The logo presents in Latin the name of the Founder of the Society of Jesus, “Ignatius”. The cross is visible in the center of the word, and it also points to the classic emblem of the Society, “IHS”. The S at the end of the name doubles as the figure 5 at the beginning of the number 500 which connects Ignatius’ old signature with our days by means of a new design. Consequently combining the epoch of Ignatius’ conversion with the theme of the Ignatian Year celebration: “To see all things new in Christ”.