Posted: 20th May 2021

A year-long series of events worldwide is planned to mark the 500th anniversary of ‘the conversion’ moment of St Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits. The anniversary begins with the launch of the Ignatian Year 2021-2022 this May since the seeds of his conversion were sown in the siege at Pamplona in May 1521.

The Irish Jesuit  Provincial Leonard Moloney SJ will launch the year in Ireland at a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Dermot Farrell at Gardiner Street Church 7.30pm Thursday 20 May 2021. You are welcome to join on the Parish webcam.

In a letter written to Jesuits on the 7 September 2019 Fr. Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Jesuits, wrote: “In 1521, while Ignatius was convalescing at his family home in Loyola from the wound that damaged his leg at the battle of Pamplona, God brought about his conversion and put him on the road that led to Manresa. Together with our friends and the whole Church, the universal Society wants to remember that privileged moment when the Holy Spirit inspired Ignatius of Loyola in his decision to follow Christ and to deepen our understanding of this pilgrim way in order to ‘draw fruit’ from it.”

Gerry Clarke SJ, Parish Priest of Gardiner St Church, is the Ignatius 500 Ireland Coordinator. He has been writing to Jesuits, colleagues, and friends about what’s planned for here in Ireland and around the world.

There will be many activities throughout the year both nationally and internationally, according to Fr Gerry. He says that the organizing team he heads up hopes to keep people updated and encouraged “so that at the end of the year we will all be able to say we have ‘drawn fruit’ from this anniversary in some concrete way and, perhaps, that we ‘see all things new in Christ’, as Ignatius did at the Cardoner.”

The Irish Jesuit website is hosting a special page for the anniversary featuring stories, videos, podcasts and events.

Below are some events taking place here in Ireland this May month.

1. As mentioned above, Fr Leonard Moloney SJ will launch the Ignatian year at a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Dermot Farrell in Gardiner Street Church, beginning 7.30 pm on Thursday 20 May 2021. It’s likely that only a small congregation will be permitted under the current restrictions, but people are encouraged to join on the parish webcam.

2. The next event will be a Live Prayer Broadcast open to all with Fr. General, Arturo Sosa, on Sunday 23 May at 7 pm Irish time. Fr Sosa will give a talk and there will be testimonies from people in the different Jesuit Conferences, and music from Cristobal Fones, Keith Duke, and Laurent Grzybowski. You can join the prayer by visiting this website:

3. The twice-daily Masses of the Sacred Heart Novena will focus on three moments in the conversion of St Ignatius: Pamplona Devastation, Loyola Recuperation, and Manresa Reorientation. 11.30 am Mass will be streamed live here and the 7.30 pm Mass may be viewed via Zoom and Facebook (see website for details).

4. Messenger Publications have brought out a beautiful resource for personal reading and for spreading the word by Patrick Corkery SJ entitled St Ignatius of Loyola: A Convert’s Story. Order by clicking here or by calling 01-676 7491 or email sales@messenger.ie

Fr Gerry asks that all Jesuits, friends, and co-workers would support the events organised and spread the word. “Devastation, recuperation, and reorientation resonate with my experience of COVID-19 lockdown and our hopeful emergence from the pandemic,” he says, adding that, “Perhaps this Ignatian Anniversary, announced by Fr. General in 2019, comes as a providential gift in 2021 to help Jesuits and all our partners in mission take the next step in the journey.”

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