Rome—Thursday the 25th of January saw continued conversations between the Continental Coordinators and the International office of the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), especially touching upon issues of governance, the process of re-creation, and upon the challenges encountered across the globe in different national and cultural contexts. In the afternoon there was an opportunity to visit the Church of the Gesu and the rooms St. Ignatius and his early companions lived and worked in during the early years of the Society of Jesus.
For more than 2 years, Fr. Louis Ramirez, SJ (Chile) has been working as assistant to Fr. Frederic Fornos, SJ (France) to present to the Holy Father updated statutes governing the PWPN/MEJ (AoP) at the international level, with the Procurator of the Society of Jesus, Fr. Benoît Malvaux. This work is nearly completed. “The importance of these statutes for us cannot be underestimated,” said Fr. Ramirez, “as they make clear our status as an ecclesial service of the Holy See which has been entrusted to the Society of Jesus.” As a work fo the Holy See, the network belongs to the entire Church, a work of the Holy Father, and belonging not only to the Jesuits, but in their care at the service of the Universal Church.”
In an afternoon session the Continental Coordinators Fr. William Blazek, SJ (North America), Fr Manuel Flores, SJ (Asia Pacific), Fr. Thomas Mbatna, SJ (Africa), Fr. Jagdish Parmar, SJ (South Asia), and Fr Thierry Monfils, SJ (Europe) met to discuss the role of the coordinators and to share updates on the situation of Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network across the globe. Fr. Javier Rojas, SJ (Argentina) represented South American coordinator Fr. Carlos Canillas SJ. “What struck me most is how much can be accomplished by committed membership and leadership operating at times with very minimal resources across very great distances. It is, I think, the mark of the Holy Spirit and the grace of God manifested in our labors.” wrote Fr. Blazek.
In the afternoon, several members of the conference took time to visit the Church of the Gesu and to visit the rooms in which St Ignatius served as the first General of the Society of Jesus. It was a time of group prayer and reflection, as well as a personal time to connect with the memory and works of the saint whom God used to give the Spiritual Exercises and the Constitutions of the Jesuits to the service of the Church. Fr. Blazek commented, “Praying in the rooms of St Ignatius was for me a very gentle grace. Clearly it is a very holy place marked by the Holy Spirit.”
Below: The “Cameretta of St Ignatius”: In this small office St. Ignatius led the newly formed Society of Jesus, conducted his worldwide correspondence and wrote the Constitutions. The founder passed away in his adjoining bedroom.