May 17, 2021 – On May 20, 2021, the worldwide Society of Jesus and the extended Ignatian family will begin an “Ignatian Year,” a 14-month celebration of the conversion of St. Ignatius Loyola that runs through the Feast of St. Ignatius, July 31, 2022.
It was on May 20, 1521 – 500 years ago – that Ignatius of Loyola was wounded by a cannonball while defending Pamplona during a siege by the French. His wounds would change the trajectory of his life. This “cannonball moment” began his conversion from soldier/courtier to pilgrim/priest and founder of the Society of Jesus.
“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,” wrote Superior General Arturo Sosa in his letter declaring the Ignatian Year.
“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.”
The motto of the Ignatian Year is “To see all things new in Christ.”
“It seems odd to celebrate the day that our founder’s leg was shattered by a cannon ball, yet we know of the overwhelming good that has flowed from such a painful episode in the life of Ignatius,” said Fr. Provincial Thomas P. Greene. “It is true that there are times in life when one can find oneself in a dark place, but it is also the case that in a dark place one can find oneself. This was certainly true for Ignatius, who ‘found’ himself by finding God in the dark place of injury and warfare and despair.”
To prayerfully inaugurate this important year, the Jesuit Curia is planning two events:
- Opening Mass from the Cathedral of Pamplona, Spain, on May 20 at 11 a.m. CDT (in Spanish). Join the livestream.
- Pilgrims with Ignatian, an online prayer service on May 23 at 7:00 p.m. CDT. The prayer service will be streamed at global/live. In addition to Fr. General Arturo Sosa, the webcast will include testimonies from people in different Jesuit Conferences and music from around the world.
The Jesuits USA Central and Southern Province will host various events to celebrate the year. Watch the dedicated page on this website for additional information throughout the year.
Key dates in the Ignatian Year
May 20, 2021: The opening of the Ignatian Year, the 500th anniversary of Ignatius’ injury. Mass at 11 a.m. CDT.
May 23, 2021: Pilgrims with Ignatius prayer service begins at 7:00 p.m. CDT.
July 31, 2021: The feast of Saint Ignatius.
March 12, 2022: The 400th anniversary of the canonization of Saint Ignatius of Loyola and Saint Francis Xavier on March 12, 1622
July 31, 2022: The end of the Ignatian Year, the feast of Saint Ignatius.