Brian Mac Cuarta SJ and Gerry Whelan SJ of the Irish Province were among 30 Rome-based Jesuits who took part in a recent renewal retreat, situated on the seashore about an hour north-east of Rome. Fr Federico Lombardi SJ, who for many years was spokesman for the pontiffs, gave the retreat in which he spoke on various elements of Jesuit life and the Society’s relationship within the Church.
The Irish Jesuits were content to take a break from their work in the Roman houses. Brian Mac Cuarta, who spends most of his ministry as archivist at the Jesuit Curia, commented on his experience. “This retreat is part of a number of recent initiatives taken to improve the quality of our life as Jesuits working here in Rome. The retreat was a warm and well-organized experience of Jesuit companionship and prayer.”
Fr Federico Lombardi was noted to be an inspiring speaker. He presented some themes from the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius where he drew out the implications for Jesuit life. He also highlighted Bible passages and a wide range of the Society’s documents. Moreover, he offered a series of reflections on the ‘Rules for thinking with the Church’, which Ignatius includes in the Spiritual Exercises.
Brian said, “By means of excellent conferences, we were immersed in the Jesuit spirituality which we all share. Through addressing contemporary concerns, I felt renewed and refocused”. Gerry Whelan, who teaches theology at the Gregorian University, enjoyed taking part in the retreat with his Jesuit brothers.
Some companions availed of the opportunity to swim regularly. The modern retreat house, run by a community of sisters, has a chapel with a mosaic cycle designed by Marko Rupnik SJ.
The photo includes from left to right: Brian Mac Cuarta SJ, Federico Lombardi SJ and Gerry Whelan SJ. The mosaic cycle is in the background.