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God answering through creation

Jesuits, Partners in Mission and friends in more than 100 countries joined together in prayer at the Pentecost Prayer Vigil on Saturday, 30 May, 2020. The Ignatian initiative was a direct response to the Covid-19 crisis affecting the entire human community. From the beginning of the live event that was broadcasted on social media channels, people were encouraged to open their hearts and post messages in the conversation feed attached to the video. This included presenting a specific prayer intention for the vigil, expressing thanks for anything or anyone in their lives and getting in touch with a consolation and hope during the pandemic.

During the half-hour vigil on the eve of Pentecost, there was a flow of testimonies and artistic expressions combined with symbolic and interactive moments for the wide audience. Pedro Walpole SJ, Irish Jesuit missionary in the Philippines, gave a testimony during the vigil. Speaking from Mindanao, he said:

“What do I ask the Spirit in the midst of this pandemic? I often see Jesus in the Feast of the Tabernacles speaking of the Spirit. The Feast of Tents celebrates the unsettled, migrantly life of the Israelites on the move.

They did not have bread and meat all the time on their journey. They did not even have water at times. In a simple, basic life with all its tensions and an unknown destiny, they called out and God answered through creation.

We share in the strength of God’s promise, of life, life to the full. It does not end finally in the suffering we experience. That is why the Spirit is the advocate.”

The live event took place at three separate times to accommodate the global Ignatian family across time zones. Many Irish people joined the online community at 7pm, which also suited people from countries such as Italy and Spain. Gavin Thomas Murphy of Irish Jesuit Communications participated in the vigil. He said:

“I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to tune into the prayer vigil on the Saturday evening. This meant I had to say goodbye to my own family for a while and join my worldwide Ignatian family. I clicked the YouTube link on my computer and readied myself for the Holy Spirit!

I recall a warm opening message from Father General Arturo Sosa and a friendly introduction from a young American Jesuit. I felt immediately at home because there were familiar references to the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius. It was a language of consolation.

It took me some time to express my prayer intention in words, but then I felt a certain inner freedom in sharing it on the live conversation feed. I found it easy to express thanks for a recent gift during the pandemic and I experienced consolation from my family.

I lit a candle with thousands of others around the world, took a photo as suggested and posted it on social media with the hashtag #TogetherAMDG [or #IgnatianPentecost].

One immediate fruit of the vigil was a lack of self-consciousness. Posting online messages, reading messages from others and praying for those most in need all contributed to this. I am grateful to my Ignatian family and I feel more aligned to the vigil’s motto, ‘one Spirit, one world, one vigil.'”

Click here to watch a recording of the live video ». You will also find a song with images of many who participated from around the world.