A Call to Discernment to Troubled Times: Ignatian Spirituality and Social Justice

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Ignatian spirituality invites us to connect with a God active and laboring in the world around us. These days, when we turn on the television, read the news, or surf the Internet, we may see everything but God amidst many images of suffering people at home or abroad: from blue-collar American workers struggling to make ends meet to migrants and refugees fighting for their lives against incredible odds around the world.

Ignatian spirituality can speak to these realities. It emerged an age just as divided and complex as our own, as the Christian church groaned under the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation; Jesuit missionaries accompanied European explorers who visited the New World; and the early Jesuits found themselves both directly serving the poor and serving as confessors for people with resources to help them. In the present, it continues to power the work of faith-based organizations like Homeboy Industries, HopeWorks, and Jesuit Refugee Services that provide some of the strongest institutional responses to addressing the systems and structures that bear responsibility for the plight of the least of these. Moreover, it serves as the foundation for the witness of Pope Francis, one of the leading advocates for the poor.

This course will use a presentation of the Spiritual Exercises developed by Dean Brackley, a Jesuit theologian who taught at the University of Central America, along with other materials along the way.  Participants will discern a social issue and then bring it to prayer, incorporating Brackley’s meditations, their own research, Scriptural images, and Catholic social teaching as needed, in order to connect with a God active and laboring even in difficult situations and discern how this God may be calling them to respond.

The course is offered in a hybrid format with an in-person opening session 2 – 4 p.m. Sunday September 10, and closing session 2-4 p.m. Nov 19 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Dallas. There are four online modules wherein the presenter will post his own reflections and prompts for prayer based on sections of Brackley’s book; in turn, the participants will post the fruit of their prayer and share with one another as they journey through the Exercises.

Text:
  • A Call to Discernment in Troubled Times by Dean Brackley, S.J. (available via Amazon here, or Barnes and Noble here)
Cost:

$25 Registration (non-refundable, $50 balance due at 1st class)
+$50 Tuition
$75 total cost

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Facilitator:
Stephen Pitts, S.J. 

Stephen is a Jesuit priest of the UCS province. Stephen was born in New Orleans, LA and grew up in Memphis, TN.  Before entering the Jesuits, he studied math and computer science at the University of Oklahoma, and spent a year abroad at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan. During his college years, Stephen worked as part of the campus ministry staff of St. Thomas More parish in Norman, OK. Stephen completed his regency formation at Jesuit College Prep, where he taught math and served as chaplain to the wrestling team, crew team, and robotics club. Stephen made the thirty day Spiritual Exercises as a novice and has made an eight-day retreat every year since. During first studies at Loyola University Chicago, Stephen participated in a yearlong practicum on Spiritual Direction in the Ignatian Tradition. He has assisted with individually directed retreats and the yearlong 19th annotation program through Loyola Chicago’s Office of Campus Ministry. Stephen completed a practicum at Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in giving preached retreats, and has given several retreats since then at Montserrat and Chicago, New Orleans, and other locations. Stephen has also helped with the Toward Greater Freedom retreat at Jesuit Dallas and the faculty 19th Annotation retreat there. Currently, Stephen is in final studies at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara at Berkeley.

Dates: 
Sunday, Sep.10, 2017
Sunday, Nov.19, 2017