The Ignatian Year celebrated by Jesuit communities across the world begins on May 20, 2021, the 500th anniversary of St. Ignatius Loyola’s monumental “cannonball moment.” Ignatius was an eager young soldier in the Spanish army motivated by earthly fame and glory. This all changed when he was struck in the leg by a cannonball in battle. While recovering at home, he began reading texts about Jesus and the lives of the saints, as they were the only reading materials available to him at the time. These texts and this period of discernment in recovery led to his intense spiritual conversion and gave Ignatius a new sense of purpose.
Together with St. Peter Faber and St. Francis Xavier, St. Ignatius Loyola went on to found the Society of Jesus and created the Spiritual Exercises as a tool for all of us to grow in union with God and God’s will. The Ignatian Year presents all of us with the opportunity to embrace our own “cannonball moments” and to be especially attuned to our authentic selves in discernment from profession to purpose.
Ignatian Year events at Fordham University will be taking place all across our community from May 20, 2021, through July 31, 2022, the Feast Day of St. Ignatius Loyola.
Things Get Broken: A Jesuit Reflects on Leonard Bernstein's MASS at 50
An Ignatian Year Webinar: September 23, 2021 at 6:00 PM
Sponsored by the Center on Religion and Culture
On September 8, 1971, the premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS inaugurated the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Commissioned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in memory of her late husband, the work bore the weight of a decade of sorrows: the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, his brother Robert, Martin Luther King, Jr.; racial unrest over civil rights; ongoing losses in the Vietnam War; the recent Kent State shootings, and much else.
In this lecture, Stephen Schloesser, SJ, will explore not only Bernstein’s masterpiece -- and its incorporation of Jewish and Catholic liturgical elements -- but also its resonance for our present moment as we emerge from a lethal pandemic only to face grave threats to our civic order.
This virtual event inaugurates the Ignatian Year at Fordham, a global observance by the Society of Jesus to commemorate the moment 500 years ago when a cannonball shattered the leg of Ignatius of Loyola. The wound put an end to his youthful dreams of personal glory but started Ignatius on a journey of conversion.
Loss was not the last word for Loyola -- as it was not for Bernstein, who provides music of both lament and hope after a broken year.