Celebrating the Feast of
St Ignatius of Loyola
The Feast of our Patron Saint Ignatius was celebrated this year in a different way. Aside from the usual 8-day Novena and Mass, it was decided that a “Garden Party” be held on July 28 spearheaded by the St Ignatius International Youth Ministry (SIIYM) along with the Japanese group. But because of the terribly hot summer, instead of a “Garden Party” it turned out to be an “Indoor Party.” Some 100 participated. Many young people, both Japanese and foreigners, came in eye-catching, colorful yukatas, Some Jesuits also graced the event.
The celebration began with BENEDICTION in our Lady’s Chapel led by Fr Bony. For some, it was their first time to experience “Benediction” and the explanations were helpful. It was a tranquil time with Taizé songs and personal reflections in between. Personally, it helped me to talk to the Lord and offer my worries and thoughts to Him. Everybody liked that the celebration started this way.
In St Joseph’s Hall, we had some FUN GAMES to get to know each other. Then, Fr John Sakai SJ, shared with all zeal the life story of St Ignatius of Loyola, his conversion, and how he founded the Society of Jesus. Personally, this was the first time I heard his story. It taught me that we all should learn to dream big and achieve our goals wherever life may take us. Ignatius, along with his friends St Francis Xavier and St Peter Faber, dreamt big and started the “Company of Jesus”. Eventually, they inflamed the world with God’s love. Fr Sakai ended his story by telling us how St Francis Xavier travelled east towards India and then Japan. After the talk, there was a QUIZ BEE to test how much we had learned about St Ignatius. To everyone’s surprise, one group got a perfect score!
Next in the program was a SERENADE. Youth from different language groups sang songs inspired by Ignatian spirituality. The Japanese, Filipino, Chinese, and International Group and a Sri Lankan (me) enthusiastically and joyfully rendered several songs in their native tongues. The Serenade was to likewise thank the Jesuits in St Ignatius for helping us grow in faith through the sacraments and their various ministries in the church. For us foreigners who are away from home we are truly grateful.
I spoke to a few members in the crowd at the end of the program and they said they were indeed happy to be there. They were especially glad to have learned about the life story of St Ignatius, as well as managing to make new friends. That day, St Ignatius united us as one big family. I was a witness to it!
By: Amantha Weerasinghe